Why is Hollywood so obsessed with Chicano actors getting their shit pushed in?
One of the most awkward scenes in Chicano cinema gets a revisit as we examine why Hollywood seems to get it rocks off portraying sexual deviancy in Chicano movies.
"You ever had your shit pushed in? It's a simple question." - Moreno, in Training Day (played by Noel Gugliemi)
Indeed, it’s a simple question. Shit (no pun intended), doesn’t everyone go around asking each other that? Hell, the Starbucks barista just the other day asked, "Here’s your coffee, sir. By the way, you ever had your shit pushed in? It's a simple question."
Ok, don’t ask me how/why these kinds of questions come to mind but recently, I pondered how, exactly, the filmmakers of Training Day (2001) arrived at the weirdo decision to make this now infamous scene/dialogue, and also what the scene is actually saying to the viewer and how this relates to the overall negative portrayal of Chicanos in film.
Firstly, if you’re unaware, the scene (linked below) is from the film Training Day (2001), which was written by David Ayer, a white dude who gets his jollies making films about stereotypical Chicanos and blacks in Los Angeles. Ayer also wrote and directed Harsh Times (2005) and End of Watch (2012) and most recently The Tax Collector (2020). He gets a pass from the press and fans because according to his bio he “grew up in South Central Los Angeles” as a teen and draws his inspiration from that experience. This makes me wonder if Ayer had his shit pushed in during his “experience.” I kinda doubt it but who knows with these weirdos.
And whatever, right? He is certainly not alone in his portrayal of brown and black people on film. But after revisiting this now infamous scene about “getting your shit pushed in,” I had to wonder where the hell the idea came from and why it didn’t raise more red flags. Not that negative portrayals of Chicanos in film raise any kind of flags, but you get the idea.
Ayer is not the first filmmaker to make references about prison rape, nor will he be the last. Chicano actor and filmmaker, Eddie Olmos, received legitimate death threats for portraying Chicano prison gang members raping a guy in American Me (1992). So why do Ayer and others get a pass when doing the same?
Further, I’d argue that the two biggest cult films in relatively recent popular Chicano film history portray, or at least infer, prison rape multiple times. Why??
Hell, in Blood In Blood Out (1993) and American Me (1992), prison rape is portrayed or inferred so many times it becomes a subplot and theme to the central story, which is bizarre to say the least!
I have often written about how film shows the audience (and society) what Hollywood thinks of certain groups and cultures. As far as Chicanos are concerned, they think we are all gang members, criminals and immigrants who are very much into prison rape, among other things. This should bother more people but instead these films achieved cult status and mythos and are considered “cornerstones of Chicano film,” which is just gross in my not-so-humble opinion.