The season finale of Jane The Virgin revealed a family secret about a long-beloved character. As it turns out, Rafael (Justin Baldoni), Jane's (accidental) baby-daddy, is not a Solano. In Monday night's episode we found out that Rafael was actually adopted. We even got a glimpse at Rafael's birth certificate, which says he was born in Italy. This huge plot twist is obviously an interesting character development for Rafael, but some fans have a big problem with the shocker — which, some viewers say, is an attempt to justify the whitewashing of Rafael's character.
We have long assumed Rafael was Latin, of course. The actor who plays him, however, Justin Baldoni, is a caucasian American of Italian descent. Now, fans are speculating that the show is trying to, erm, smooth over the fact that they cast a white man in a Latino role by changing his heritage. "Jane The Virgin revealed that Rafael is actually adopted and is Italian so does this cancel out the supposed Latinx erasure?" tweeted the account Nerdy POC. "[H]onestly it feels like a copout to avoid addressing it," a viewer wrote. Another critic of the show tweeted, "now they're trying to justify rafael being whitewashed on 'jane the virgin' by giving him an adoption storyline. typical."
These are some serious accusations against a show that has done a lot to shatter racial stereotypes in the TV landscape, and given talented actors of color like Gina Rodriguez the spotlight. But the people unhappy with this latest reveal do have a valid point. There has been no indication thus far in the series that Rafael Solano was anything but Latino. So, assuming he was Latino, the decision to cast Baldoni in the role was indeed a poor one. Therefore, the possibility that the show's writers are trying to cover their asses, so to speak, isn't out of this world.
It's impossible to know the writers' true intent, though. Perhaps they had this twist planned since day one, which is why they cast an Italian actor in the first place. Or is it that they just what they want the audience to think? This is one mystery Jane the Virgin won't be solving for fans.