Reaction to ABC’s “Work It” Puerto Rican Fiasco Has Been Organic and Overwhelming

Jan 9, 2012
12:33 AM

Every cause has an effect, and when media was limited and owned by a select few, effects that came out of the causes were easier to control and shape. Now that everyone has a camera, a smartphone, wifi, social networks, friends, followers, email, texts, uploads, downloads, the old media is dead. It is not coming back.

In the case of ABC's "Work It" social media fiasco, the community response has overwhelmed the streams of many Puerto Rican influentials. What started with this:


Has led to the following in just four days:

  1. A viral YouTube video that was picked up by the largest newspaper and online page in Puerto Rico.
  2. Grassroots movements in New York City and in Chicago.
  3. The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico saying that fellow Puerto Rican Amaury Nolasco's performance was "offensive."
  4. Political leaders calling for ABC to apologize and for Latino media to cover it.
  5. A petition that is asking ABC to do the right thing, admit they they goofed, and try to consider a portion of their audience.
  6. Questions about how the content creators and performers of the show should answer the community's concerns.

And opinions. A LOT of them about this:


Some samples from our YouTube:

"People don't be so touchy. Pueden joder a los mejicanos con eso mismo 20 veces y se mean de la risa pero hacen un chiste pendejo aqui y se cae el mundo. Be glad que por lo menos nos reconocieron y no se refirieron a nosotros como "otros mejicanos de esos"

"For the idiot who wrote dont be so touchy…if we dont,people will think it is acceptable to have negative viewpoints on latinos and bully them in media etc..and it is not acceptable,we must stand up and fight for positive and Negative prejudice views!"

"Si ven un mejicano pues creen que es un indocumentado. Ven un arabe pues es un terrorista. Ven un Puertoriqueno, pues ya lo ven como un criminal. Son hipocritas! Simple as that. Insulta a un Americano para que tu veas."

"Gente este show es mas que una burla a nosotros los Puertorriquenos….que nos quieren marginar ahora con el problema que enfrenta nuestra bella Isla con el problema de las drogras…pero la union hace la fuerza y esto se tiene que poner un alto por lo que si tomamos esto como un "Chiste" es como abrirle las puertas a mas insultos raciales mas adelante…asi que no sean ignorantes y vamos a unirnos y parar estas comedias estupidas que no llevan un buen mensaje a nuestra comunidad."

"Mira is not about been "so touchy", is about that this got to be stop completely to any other race, because they refer to Puerto Ricans about selling drugs but next time am sure is going to be " Mexicans"….and you definately wont like that one.

Samples from this site:

"It's embarrassing, but this is was coming out of the Island, Crimes, drugs, women's and children's being abused. We need to put a stop to this and we need to start at HOME, Our children need to learn the Values of life and as Victor Manuel's song says" learn the ABC before carrying a gun".

"So when midle class is been beat up, just silence, now some joke say drug dealer, huuu, that get attention. All of you need another hobbie, we need people who can standard for the real situation. No jokes. Stand for people who need jobs, not some jokes. Stand for a better pay rate. Not a comedy way. Stand for the people who lost friends and family in the ghost war. Not a boricua who lost dignity because" of a k joke". What a joke. So sad!!!!!

"This is how I can tell you know little about what it means to stand up for people. Little remarks you call a "joke" slipped into a national televised show is exactly what keeps the Latino community down (Latinos who need jobs, a better pay rate. There are Latinos out there with management skills who can't get more than 25 grand a year or a job at all because of discrimination like this that has companies thinking we are criminals. See where the stereotype fits into the real issues you claim? Read more often, you might just learn how this is all connected."

"ugh do u guys have something better to scream about?!..its a joke get over it…this society is so touchy u cant joke about anybody now with out someone crying!!…there r better things to fight about than this!!  latinos r homeless hungry!!..go help them!!!"

"Amaury, If you sell drugs speak for yourself, otherwise your just another ignorant, low self esteemed actor who will trash your people's reputation for a dollar."

"I caught this cheap shot as it aired live and it struck me to the point that I started making phone calls to ABC; Puerto Rican organizations; and started reaching out to influential intellectual Puerto Ricans via their facebook pages. ABC responded as I thought they would, but what disheartened me was the cavalier attitude of the people I spoke with at the organizations. It's sad to see mi gente remain passive with a second class mentality and see how other races readily ban together and get things done when they are harmed. Don Imus said 2 words – "nappy head" – and Sharpton and the NAACP were all over it and got things done! Being proud takes more then dancing at a parade. Shame on us.

"The reason it is not funny is that it plays to the negative stereotype. Also – what is with Nolasco's exagerated accent? Puerto Ricans are educated people who go to Princdeton and sit on the Supreme Court. The networks have a major problem – they don't understand the Hispanic community nor its clout, political and otherwise. The joke was facile and silly. The show is a mediocre attempt at comedy. ABC should know better. Maybe – if they had more Hispanics in their upper echelon of decision making, they would not act in such and arrogant and uneducateed manner."

And while the Internet waits for ABC to comment, more of these opinions will continue. Right now, this is a topic that people are talking about.

For those who think this is all silly, then take the time to share your story and demand that the conversation be changed with topics that you feel should be covered in more depth. Don't just say this movement is silly, because to thousands (and we have traffic stats to prove it), it isn't silly, it matters to them.

And for those who are uploading their videos that present a more diverse picture of Puerto Ricans, those who will keep pressuring ABC, demonstrating in New York City, and letting Nolasco that they are disappointed in him, where will this go next? Will the next issues you care about (the real issues of an island that has so many social, economic, and political problems) be addressed with the same passion and commitment as a one-line joke about Puerto Ricans being drug dealers?

This is all up to the community to decide. And we will be watching.