Over the past two weeks, we've heard plenty of rumors about Mildred Patricia Baena, the mother of Arnold Schwarzenegger's love child. Baena has gone into hiding, so all we know is what's been leaked to the likes of TMZ by anonymous sources. However, that hasn't stopped one writer from psychoanalyzing the housekeeper's affair with her employer, in one of the most racist ways imaginable.
In an article on The Wrap, Carole Mallory criticizes TMZ's Harvey Levin for painting Baena as a psycho who plotted to win Arnold and had a penchant for wearing Maria Shriver's clothes. Mallory says this characterization is, "taking the focus off predator Schwarzenegger's abhorrent and crude behavior." So far we're with her. Then she writes this:
Baena is from Guatemala. Some years ago I lived in Guatemala while shooting a film in Antigua, its major city. The people were the most charming, compliant people I have ever met and largely Indians. You could call them naïve.
Baena would have been in awe of her master and could have seen succumbing to his wishes as part of her duty. Clearly he was attracted to her enormous breasts and Guatamalan naiveté, seeing a live-in opportunity to turn her into his sex slave, satisfying his need to dominate women.
WTF. This is so absurdly offensive that it seems like it may be sarcastic, but she's serious. Throughout the rest of the article, Baena is referred to as "naive." Later Mallory adds:
A Guatemalan woman by nature would have respect for those in charge of the household, both Maria and Arnold.
She would probably be in awe of Maria Shriver, seeing such respect as her duty. She might well have been torn and conflicted about where her true allegiance belonged. The fact that Arnold's advances —which could have been deemed rape — turned into an affair is understandable, given the power structure of the household. Arnold was her master.
Many argue that this is like Thomas Jefferson having an affair with his slave. While Jefferson had six children with one of his slaves, let's rejoice that Arnold was caught after having only one child. Schwarzenegger is no Thomas Jefferson, an otherwise good politician who fathered illegitimate children with a woman who worked in his household.
It's definitely possible that Arnold abused his power over Baena to coerce her into the affair. He certainly has a reputation for being predatory and controlling when it comes to women.
It's common for the "other woman" to be smeared when a man cheats, particularly when the man is a rich and powerful celebrity with a knack for dodging the consequences of his misconduct. Baena may not be a saint herself, but she probably isn't the calculating backstabber she's portrayed as by sites like TMZ and Radar. But how is insulting an entire nationality supposed to help her? If Arnold was abusive toward Baena, she deserves to be defended because she's the victim in the situation. It has nothing to do with her being a savage who's easy to take advantage of. Right now we don't have enough information to know what Schwarzenegger and Baena's relationship was like. And the information Mallory gathered from briefly living in Guatamala certainly doesn't justify her making crude generalizations about an entire nationality.