maid in manhattan

Author: Josh Wickett

Counter-Racist Movie Review – Maid In Manhattan

Cover of "Maid in Manhattan"
Cover of Maid in Manhattan

If you like fairy tales, Maid in Manhattan is the perfect movie for you. Its the modern version of Cinderella with “Hispanic Diva” Jennifer Lopez starring in the lead role as a “Puerto Rican” maid in a high class hotel who unwittingly finds herself being pursued by a charming, wealthy WHITE senatorial candidate. The key to understanding the racial messages in this film is to connect the metaphors that run throughout the movie. The biggest one being class. In this movie, the big deal is supposed to be the fact that Lopez is a maid, being romantically pursued by a senator; the color issue is skillfully obscured; although it does erupt at least once during the movie.

Anyway, it’s like this.

Jennifer Lopez portrays Marisa Ventura, a single mom who works as a lowly maid in an expensive hotel in Manhattan. She is assigned to look after the needs of a rich White woman “Caroline Lane” who will be occupying one of the most exclusive rooms in the hotel. While prepping the room Marisa and a fellow maid discover a $5000 designer suit, which Marisa reluctantly tries on. Her 10 year old son meets the White senator on the elevator when he is going out to walk his dog; boy meets dog…owner meets boy… and soon they are headed upstairs to get permission to go walk the dog. The senator sees Marisa in the $5000 suit and thinks she’s a wealthy socialite; not realizing he already saw her cleaning his bathroom earlier in the movie in a maids uniform. The message here is one of “Brazillianization” i.e. if you have money, you get treated like a White person.

The problem of “class” is pushed real hard all through this movie. It’s a common tactic the White supremacists use to confuse their victims. Eminem does a good job of using his dysfunctional childhood as a qualification for being Black. M$M sings about all his social pathologies i.e. living in a trailer park, “broken home”, raping his mother, beating up his wife…as if that makes him a nigger. It’s as if he’s saying…”my life is so fucked up that I’m functionally a Black person.” I’ll be the first one to admit that Eminem has a lot of problems, but BEING MISTREATED ON THE BASIS OF COLOR IS NOT ONE OF THEM!

That’s why he’s the “King of Hip Hop”. *smile*

Eminem is a White person and a White person can’t be a nigger…but they can be a nigger lover.

Where was I…Oh yeah,

When the senator sees Marisa in the $5000 outfit he asks her out on a date (not realizing that she’s his maid). Marisa is torn between pretending to be something she is not and being herself (a Puerto Rican single mom working as a maid living in the Bronx). I think this scene is a good metaphor for every non-white female who “gets involved” with a White man. Whether it’s trying not to appear “ethnic”, his mom asking you, “are you mixed?” or doing the Pocahontas shuffle…at some point you will be face to face with White supremacy. It may be sooner or it may be later…but it’s gonna happen. You may be “exotic” now but if he ever gets pissed off you’ll be the nigger, the chink, the spic… This is what it means when a person says, “I’m White”, they are saying, “you aren’t”. They don’t say it to other White people.

Marisa decides to go on the date and with the help of friends and coworkers, she arrives in a stunning gown and beautiful diamonds (and too much make up) Marisa has become uncomfortable “pretending” and has actually shown up just to say goodbye. I think she just wants to have one fun night and then run away.

But you know that can’t happen.

“Mr. Charlie” has been working too long and hard to give up on getting him a “slice of pie”. And besides, as a wealthy WHITE senator, it looks good for him to be dating an *ethnic* female who is also a single mom… It gives him “street credibility” among the victims; you know, the “Pocahontas syndrome”. I suspect this phenomenon is becoming increasingly popular due to the dwindling numbers of White people. Listen to hip-hop, call your friends “hommies” and “dawg”, and adopt some Black *kids*…it won’t make you a nigger, but it will make your niggers confused.

They leave the party and go back to his house for a night of passionate lovemaking. J Lo didn’t hafta “ho out” for the camera like Halle Berry, she didn’t hafta rip the White mans clothes off and scream “make me feel good!”–Hmmm?

In the morning she sneaks out of his pad before he awakes and heads back to the hotel were she works as a maid. And that’s when she gets BUSTED!

Remember the $5000 outfit she was wearing when she first met the senator? Well that outfit belonged to “Caroline Lane”, the rich White woman who was staying in the room Marisa was cleaning. Talk about an annoying White woman…conceited, vain, and selfish…rich and desperate…you know the one. Caroline sees Marisa sneaking back into the hotel and reports her to management.

She gets fired and goes home. Mom chews her a new asshole…things are looking bad. Luckily she has a cute smart son who contacts the senator who tracks Marisa down…they get married and they live happily ever after.


This movie was a standard “fairy tale”, the plot was good but they didn’t follow the concept through. They could have uses Rosie Perez instead of J Lo; but they didn’t wanna work that hard running that class over race bullshit. Jennifer Lopez can act; it’s not like watching a Madonna movie. All J-Lo lacks are better scripts, better writing. I think it would have been very interesting to have the intergenerational conflict highlighted between Marisa and her mother with the mom telling her something like: “why are you chasing these wealthy White men? They don’t respect us and he’s just gonna leave you like the last one did…find yourself a good *Hispanic* man like your father…

Marisa could then counter by saying “look where he got us, we live in a one-room apartment with no money, sometimes I wish I’d never been born!”

Now, here’s the part for the academy award: the mom who was listening to this with her back turned would turn around and slap the shit out of Marisa and while pointing her finger at Marisa, slowly back her into a corner while telling her in an intense low voice, “your father came to this country with nothing, he worked from dawn to dusk to provide for us, he worked himself into the ground, he never complained and unlike that *gringo* you married, he never left me, don’t you ever say that about your father again!”

Have her say it all in Spanish and don’t include subtitles, make the White people in the audience wonder what was said that was so intense; also frame the shot to only show Marisa’s profile, Moms profile, moms finger pointing at Marisa’s face. Have Marisa holding her face with that surprised “you slapped me look” and fearful that she might get slapped again; in the background show a slightly out of focus portrait of the deceased father.

(please pardon my daydreaming)

Like I said, this is a cheap fairy tale with a few interesting concepts thrown in as “side dishes”.

First, the main White characters (Caroline Lane and the senator) each have an insecure annoying “Jewish” sidekick to manage their lives for them, handle their images and make racist comments. I found these characters highly credible and a great metaphor for the actual role *Jews* play in a system of White supremacy. Their knowledge of perceptions, use of language and ability to handle press was accurately portrayed in this movie; as was their skill at playing both sides of the “racial chess board”. As a “Jew” once told me, “I’m non white but I function as a White person”. Rather than scratch my head I said, “when the White supremacist start hangin niggers are you gonna grab a rope?”

He said, “no I won’t grab a rope but I will lie and say I’m a White person cause I don’t wanna get hung”

See what I mean? Says he won’t grab a rope but he will lie.

(I thought to myself “this motherfucker could be lying right now)

(((shakin my head)))

All said, “Maid in Manhattan” was a big infomercial for “class”. Non-white people are runnin around thinkin, “If I have money I will be treated like a White person”

But who controls the money?

If you wanna buy somethin on this planet you better use a piece of paper with a picture of a White person on it, especially an OLD White person.

White supremacy ain’t based on hope or faith.

Its based on what each an every White supremacist thinks, does and says each and everyday.

What are you



and saying?

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