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Benicio Del Toro Might Play Khan In “Star Trek Sequel.” This Is Not A Bad Thing


It may be that I’m getting older and tired–or maybe I’m maturing (yeah, right)– but whatever it is, I have to admit that I’m fine with the possibility that Benicio del Toro might play the evil Khan Noonien Singh in the upcoming Star Treksequel. I’m sure there are a few people out there who will complain about how Hollywood is getting a Latino to play a villainous alien (It’s the role Benicio was illegally born to play, right Arizona?). And I’m sure people will complain about how this is just another example of Hollywood failing to create a positive role model for Latinos. [Benicio/Kahn rumors]

While I can empathize with those arguments, I would like to address any fears by saying the following: a positive role model is the last thing we need.

Think Tim Tebow. That guy is arguably the model of American morals: sports star, model citizen, praises God more times than a porn star taking the Lord’s name in vain while in the midst of an orgasmic meltdown. Despite all of Timbo’s good traits, people agressively hate him. And this isn’t the first time people have turned on a classic good guy. Back when The Rock hit the wrestling world, he played the good guy so straight that eventually crowds, hungry for an anti-hero, turned against him and began cheering on the beer-chugging, finger-flipping Stone Cold Steve Austin.

People don’t like to be told who’s good or bad, especially these days where it seems like people who are supposed to be role models often times end up being child predators and drug addicts. So it’s not like Benicio taking this alien role is necessarily even a bad thing. Hell, it could be worse.

Remember Carmen Miranda? She danced and wore apples on her head like some Fruit of the Loom sexpot. That’s gotta be way more damaging to the Latino culture than someone playing a blood thirsty martian. Remember good guy Ponch from CHIPS? Is that what you want people thinking of us? Charlie “Estevez” Sheen. Enough said. And don’t even get me started on the corporate friendly, American nightmare stereotype that is George Lopez. When someone with permanent coked-up eyes is seen as a good thing, I know we’re doomed as a culture.

Typically when Hollywood tries to put Latinos into clean, positive roles, they end up causing us more damage than if they had left us alone. But this is not about giving us more positive, cliched roles to play. It’s about giving us, or any culture, the ability to display their humanity through any role, even if they are playing an inhuman alien on Star Trek. Good or evil, as long as there’s a shred of honesty in it, we’ll be better off in the long run.

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