Amaury Nolasco Could Make A Difference.

by Efrain Nieves

“I am determined to not stop what I am doing. I refuse to go back since there is only one way, it’s forward.
Who I am today is who I always wanted to be; for I am a father, a lover and a giver of positive energy. The streets keep calling but I refuse to answer. I will not be a “used to be” or a “could have been.” I will be everything the streets tried to take away.” (The Streets Keep Calling).

The above quote came from a blog I wrote almost a year ago. The blog touched on my personal experience of how hard it is to live legit after “experiencing the fast life”. This is why Amaury Nolasco’s line in the ABC television show “Work It” offended me. In my opinion, Nolasco is just as much to blame as the whole production crew.

When I first saw Nolasco in the movie  2 fast 2 furious and realized he was Puerto Rican, I felt very proud. Finally, our people are actors, doctors, lawyers, nurses, professors, students and so much more. We are breaking the stereotype of drug dealers, welfare recipients and criminals. I was, and still am, proud to have left that stereotype lifestyle behind and become part of  a better evolutionized community of my people. Even now as I type this I am on the road to entering the field of Information Technology.

In spite of all this, it’s a shame to watch a Puerto Rican actor take a part in a tv show that will most likely keep living up to the stereotype many of us fight to break. Does Nolasco not understand how many of us look up to him? Does he not understand how those words can affect our youth’s way of thinking? Hopefully, our protest will remind him of his role in our society and next time make a responsible decision when it comes to joking about our community.

For those against the protest:

You are entitled to your opinion but as a fellow blogger stated ” it’s a form of self hatred on [their] part to attack us because we embrace our culture.”  I agree 100 percent. There is no reason to waste time writing your opinion simply because you feel “it’s not a big deal.” In the end, we have accomplished to bring our people together for a just cause. We are tired of brushing off the attacks on our community. If you’re not going to help, then step aside and let us handle our business. Pa’lante!

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12 Responses to “Amaury Nolasco Could Make A Difference.”

  1. Love it. Everyone matters. Everyone is valued. Your universe is what you make it. Go for it.

  2. I think you hit the nail right in the head my friend. If it does not bother them they should step to the side and let those who want to make a difference and it has value to them.

    Great post!

  3. couldn’t agree more with you Efrain! unfortunately some people forget morals and values when they see the $ sign before them! keep up your good work!

  4. This is a very good column, Efrain. I’m proud of you, too. For another analysis of this sad event, check out Ed Morales blog on the same topic. He shows how the reactinonary response to the protest against Nolasco’s line is way off base, missing the real story of Puerto Ricans everywhere.

  5. Albert Tainoimage Areizaga Reply January 11, 2012 at 10:25 PM

    Efrain. you hit the nail on the head. When I first went into the Army, there where many who had no idea what a Puerto Rican was. Others would immediately go into a West Side Story song, thinking I would be amused. I am so tired of being labeled a criminal because of my brown skin. What Amaury Nolasco’s character does is perpetuate these stereotypical notions that we’re all criminals. Has anyone ever seen a Puerto Rican actor play a doctor, scientist, politician, lawyer etc? Well, there’s Sonia Sotomayor and a prior U.s. Surgeon general who are Puerto Rican. I must admit, I was pissed.

  6. While I emphatically agree with what your saying about latinos taking responsibility for how they represent themselves and our culture and it being time for a cultural shift, I think there has to be some space for us to laugh at ourselves, our struggles and embrace change. We’re going through that awkward phase where we’re coming into our own. We’re going to make mistakes. Laughter is one way of easing the pain. Nolasco’s real crime IMO, is that the line just wasn’t funny, it was dumb

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