Please Stop Acting Like All Colombians are Drug Dealers

Whether or not you support or even care for it, the Miss Universe pageant is such an ingrained part of Latinx culture

Please Stop Acting Like All Colombians are Drug Dealers

Photo: Instagram/gabrielatafur

Whether or not you support or even care for it, the Miss Universe pageant is such an ingrained part of Latinx culture. We beam with pride whenever a pageant contestant from Latin America  Miss walks out on the stage. For one night, she gets to represent the beauty of her nation along with the excellence it can create, all while displaying her national pride.

No matter what was happening in Colombia at the time, we always had Miss Universo. We had a way to show something positive, to show a single human being who stood for the millions of people in the country who weren’t criminals, weren’t selling or doing drugs and weren’t cold, heartless murderers. Who were in fact educated, career-driven, good people who genuinely wanted the best for Colombia.

But none of that matters if whenever a Colombian does something amazing, they are intercepted by the old as heck, not funny, and blatantly disrespectful, dangerous stereotypes and drug jokes. Just like what happened when Steve Harvey joked to Miss Colombia Gabriela Tafur that the Colombian cartel hadn’t forgiven him for accidentally naming Colombiana Ariadna Gutierrez as Miss Universe instead of Miss Philippines Pia Wurtzbach, in 2015.

I’m not going to pretend the cartel doesn’t exist, or that drugs aren’t a part of Colombia. We are aware of this as Colombians. Harvey claims to have been threatened by the cartel, joke or not, it was inappropriate and harmful for him to say that to Miss Colombia, who is an attorney working to fight violence in Colombia. Making a statement to her about the drug cartel in Colombia could have even jeopardized her odds of winning the crown. It was unfair, stereotypical, and just pushes the narrative that these kinds of dangerous jokes, where Colombians are all made to be drug-loving violent criminals with cocaine available on the ready, are completely okay to say wherever and whenever. We Colombians ARE SO TIRED of hearing these stupid jokes. It’s played out. Just STOP!

But in chaos, beauty truly shines. Gabriela Tafur is a walking, talking example of grace, poise, elegance, and resilience. She politely laughed off the totally tone-deaf statement and pointed out how Harvey was forgiven by the happy, cheering Colombians in the audience, which included her abuelita. To which, again, he made the cartel joke.

Tafur proceeded to continuously hold Colombia up high with her intelligent, thoughtful, heartfelt, and strong feminist messages. That is what the world should think of when they think of Colombia because there are plenty of amazing Colombian people out there just like her. Colombians are more than our worst moments, just as every human being is. We deserve to show our best first — as everyone else does — and not be judged and minimized before we even have a chance to speak. There is a reason why every single day I choose to be proud of being Colombian, letting the rest of the world know that through my work and my actions. Let us have the opportunity to show you who we are before you ask us if we have coke on us. In the words of our hermana Mexicana Jenni Rivera, “basta ya.”

In this Article

Colombia Gabriela Tafur Miss Colombia Miss Universe Steve Harvey
More on this topic