Thursday, January 12, 2012

'Work It': Furthermore...

Is it the roar that comes before the real battle? Is it that intense feeling in the pit of the stomach before the real fight?

The controversial line in the debut of ABC's 'Work It' that set off that roar and intense feeling may be just what is needed to bring some attention, outside of the island, to the surmounting problems afflicting it. Nonetheless, it shouldn't be brushed off as just some 'joke' or one-liner as some may think.

According to a Primera Hora report, Puerto Rican actor, Noland Otero stated (via Facebook),
"There are more important things to do in this country. An apology from, Amaury Nolasco, for something that is a reality for some or many, perhaps not that in which we live, I think nobody is in a position to demand (an apology), when we don't do anything for anybody."

First, the country he speaks of is Puerto Rico. The same many Americans brush off as some far away Caribbean island worthy of a little vacation time without ever knowing of its nearly 114 year relationship with the U.S. Yes, I repeatedly make mention of the U.S. and Puerto Rico relationship because it may very well be a part of the problem. As tourists bathe on its beaches, enjoy the food, visit it historical sites and enjoy the nightlife, that very long relationship goes ignored.

Second, what is a reality is that with a lack of positive portrayals of Puerto Ricans on major networks and media, the one-liner that came from a Puerto Rican actor, adds wood to the stereotype fire and becomes part of that negative reality which positive role models try to break. An apology matters, in an American society with little to no substantive information about Puerto Ricans, in a Puerto Rican society, that continues to struggle with its socioeconomic and political future.

In the same article, Mariana Vicente, Miss Universe Puerto Rico 2010, goes on to say,  
 "We are not in a position to demand that the media guard our reputation when in our country we don’t even respect ourselves, brutally killing people, firing bullets in the air and so much violence in the home, let’s start out by caring for ourselves and demonstrating the contrary to the rest of the world."

Like Otero, she goes on to say, country, as if this was about Puerto Rico and Puerto Ricans on the island alone. This is not about guarding reputations. This is about all Puerto Ricans, whether on the island or the mainland U.S., a democracy, in which we can demand that media and major network act responsibly. 

Now, if we turn our attention to the country that both Otero and Vincente speak of and its myriad of problems then we have to think in terms of inter-correlations between unemployment, drugs, colonialism and corporatism. Caring for self is just one step in the right direction. Certainly, a visit by a President islanders can't vote for, slaps in the face by the U.S. Congress and the touting of Puerto Rico's Governor, Luis G. Fortuño  by conservatives, as a Republican vice presidential nominee aren't going to resolve any of these problems.
Regardless, of the difficulties the future holds, whether one liners or not, none should be ignored and all should be set at the forefront, if we aim to move further ahead. It has to begin with some debate less the bickering along the lines of island born and mainland born. The love for culture goes beyond saying that we are 'Boricuas' and waving flags to truly constructive action. For if we truly love our culture and the island, then that should transfer to cause, dedication and preservation.

I once mentioned that I had a dream,
"that all the powers that be in Puerto Rico finally came to their senses, sat at a big round table, put all differences aside and really discussed Puerto Rico's century old status of colonialism. That real decisions were made, hands were shaken and a unified movement, to end the real nightmare, had been born. Finally with fists up in the air (some with middle fingers raised at Washington **a little anger**), the Puerto Rican people would finally have leaders that stand as true patriots of the motherland and represent all that is Puerto Rican".

To that end, I would add Puerto Rican leaders in the U.S., as well, and discussions that begin to include ways to tackle the myriad of problems afflicting Puerto Rico.

Note: As of this writing, Aumary Nolasco had issued an apology via Twitter...hmm?

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