If you are a fan of “American Crime” the ABC crime drama that airs Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. eastern/9 p.m. central than you probably know the man pictured above as Chris Dixon, the principal of Thurgood Marshall High school.
It’s the school on the wrong side of the tracks. It’s the school populated by the poor kids, the Black and Latino kids.
Elvis Nolasco (Chris Dixon) plays the African-American principal struggling to manage unruly students, budget shortfalls and now he is being called a racist by the Latino students and a fellow teacher.
It’s a great story line that explores the racial divides between African-Americans and Hispanics but it could be even better. It could be much better because Elvis Nolasco is actually a Hispanic man. He is one of many Afro-Latinos (he is of Dominican decent) on television who are playing African-Americans.
As I watched the first episode and realized that this man is actually Hispanic I thought wouldn’t it be interesting to see how an Afro Latino deals with the struggles between Hispanics and African-Americans, watch him struggle with his own identity.
It’s a much more nuanced story that forces the viewer to question not just racial conflicts but also how ethnicity and culture play a role in how we all self-identify.
I would love to watch Elvis relate to the struggles of his fellow immigrants as well as his African-American brothers and sisters. How both groups react to him and how he would inevitably choose to identify himself.
This season American Crime had an opportunity to tell the story of the Afro-Latino struggle in the United States, but they chose an easier “relatable” story. Hey ABC, there is still time to tell our tale.