Santana Lopez interactions with Finn a white male
Santana Lopez uses and is used by white men. Her character is used to showcase white masculinity flaunting privilege over Latina femininity. Before she and Brittany became an official couple, she uses men for sex and status. For example, Santana sleeps with Finn to gain status within the Cheerios. Finn uses Santana as well. The only reason he sleeps with her is to get back at Rachel who he loves but is sleeping with Jesse. The quarterback uses Santana to get back at Rachel for screwing with his heart.
During season two of Glee in the episode “Special Education”, Santana tells Rachel that Finn had slept with her because she’s envious of Rachel and wants to hurt her. Finn’s has white privilege evident when in Glee season three in the episode “Mash Up”, Finn outs Santana as a lesbian in the hallways because she teased him about his weight. Every time Santana teases Finn about his weight, Rachel or somebody else defends him because they see Santana as inferior and identify with Finn. In the same episode when Santana calls Finn a whale, Rachel defends him. When the quarterback outs Santana in front of the whole school nobody accuses him of bullying; nobody stands up against Finn instead they defend him when Santana makes fun of him. Brittany supports Santana but even she does not defend Santana against Finn for outing her as a lesbian. Finn’s white maleness allows him the privilege of not being corrected for his inconsiderate behavior against a Latina woman like Santana. In Glee, white privilege means you don’t get in trouble the way characters of color like Santana Lopez do.
Santana Lopez interactions with Rachel Berry and Quinn Fabray (Latina and White women)
Heterosexual white women are privileged over Latina Lesbians like Santana Lopez. Santana gets punished for teasing other students or doing “bad” things while the white women are rewarded for the same behavior. For example, when Quinn Fabray and Rachel Berry exhibit the same “bitch” behavior as Santana Lopez, they are either labeled a diva or a good person In Glee season three in the first episode, “The Purple Piano Project”, Santana and some other Cheerios light one of the purple pianos on fire while Blaine is performing beside it. Santana and the others douse the piano with gasoline. Quinn ignites the piano with a match. Mr. Sheuster finds out that Santana planned the fire and kicks her off the New Directions even after she explains that Sue made her burn the piano. In the next episode, “I am a Unicorn”, Quinn helps Sue make an Anti-New Directions video insulting Mr.Sheuster in the process. Even though Quinn is a troublemaker, Mr. Sheuster allows her to rejoin The New Directions without question. Santana, however, has to re-pledge her loyalty to the New Directions to get back on the team. While Quinn rejoins the singing with ease, Santana must prove herself despite the fact that Quinn committed a worse crime, than Santana.
Even though Rachel Berry regularly critiques the singers, she is labeled a diva the “star” of the group unlike Santana who is labeled a bully for doing the same thing. In the episode “A Night of Neglect”, Rachel announces to the group that she is a neglected artist. The truth is she performs in almost every competition and sings constantly. Everyone allows her to dominate. In the episode “Silly Love Songs”, Rachel retorts to Santana’s rude comments by claiming that the only job the Latina will ever get is as a stripper. Santana runs out crying; the sole person willing to comfort her was Brittany. Her Latianess “makes her a bitch” while Rachel Berry’s whiteness makes her a diva, which excuses the star’s rudeness. White characters are allowed to make rude comments to characters of color, but when characters of color are rude they are punished.
Brittana (interracial Lesbian/Bisexual relationship)
Santana Lopez subverts stereotypes through her relationship with Brittany S. Pierce. The Latina is quite protective and loving with the blonde cheerleader. In the Glee season two episode “Britney/Brittany”, Kurt yells at Brittany for saying she didn’t want to do a Brittany Spears number. Santana defends Brittany from Kurt, and then comforts her. The cheerleader may be acting aggressive in this scene, but it is because of her love for Brittany not just because she is a “Spicy Latina”. During “Sexy”, there are several scenes where Santana shows her gentle, loving side. In one scene Brittany, Santana and Mrs. Holiday sing “Landslide” together, which is Santana’s way of saying she cares about the blonde cheerleader. At the end of the song the two cheerleaders hug. The Latina cheerleader is revealed to be vulnerable in this scene. At the end of the episode, Santana expresses that the reason she acts like a “bitch” is “angry all the time” is because she loves Brittany, but can’t properly express the love because she does not feel comfortable coming out.
Santana’s true self is not the “Spicy Latina” that is just her cover while she is in the closet. Her true self is her gentle, loving, and vulnerable side. Eventually, when she and Brittany do come out, she stops showing interest in anybody else, subverting the stereotype of the seductresses. In the season three episode “Heart”, Santana gets upset because Principal Figgins says she can’t kiss her girlfriend in public on Campus. Instead of doing something spiteful or insulting, she finds another way to express her love. She purchases a singing Valentine to show Brittany how much she loves her. Brittany and Santana share a romantic dance then kiss in front of their friends (publically but off campus) while the singing Valentine serenades them.
Santana and Brittany’s love is shown to be pure and beautiful. Santana constantly tells Brittany that she is “genius” because many people put the blonde cheerleader down for thinking differently from them. For example, in the finale of the second season, Santana tells Brittany she is a genius for her beautiful speech about that their bonding almost as a “family” is more important than winning Nationals. Brittany helps Santana out in season three episode “Saturday Night Glee-Over” when she helps Sue get Santana into Louisville College in Kentucky through a cheerleading scholarship. Their inter-racial same sex relationship is shown to be reciprocal. Brittany has no privileges over Santana. In Glee, the only time white privilege does not dominate is in this romantic relationship between a white woman and a Latina woman.
The white relationships in Glee are privileged over Santana and Brittany’s interracial relationship. Finn and Rachel are able to sing romantic duets together in almost every single competition on Glee, even when they are not in an official relationship. Until season three, Santana can only perform romantic songs to Brittany in private. In Glee season three, Brittany and Santana are able to sing romantic songs to each other or in front of New Directions, but never in a competition. One could argue the obstacle to their signing love songs to each other publically is the fact that they’re in a same sex female relationship, not that Brittany is white and Santana is Latina. Kurt and Blaine do a romantic duet together during regionals, which suggests that Santana and Brittany’s race might be part of the “issue”. The gay couple, made up of two white men can be more open. The a lesbian/bisexual relationship between Santana and Brittany, paired with the fact that the relationship is interracial deprives them of the privilege of performing a duet in competition in front of a large audience. In my opinion, since Ryan Murphy is a gay man he might be privileging the gay couple over the interracial female same sex relationship.