Ricardo Vila-Roger

1) Please explain what you do for living.

I am a freelance actor, director, and activist. I am also a teaching artist in the Theatre Arts department at Pitt.


2) How important in your identity is being Latino?

It is extremely important. I am a proud Puerto Rican—born on the island. Although I didn't live there for very long, I still consider it my home. Most Latino/a folks are a mixture of many races and, although a colonial mentality was forced on us for many years that has caused many of us to deny our African and Indigenous roots, they are as much (if not more) a part of us and our culture as the European portion. It's in our food. It's in our music. It's in our skin. It's in our land. 

3) Is there something that you particularly value of your nationality or being Latino?

I love our resilience as a people. I have family on the island right now that have not had power or clean water for a month but every time I talk to them they say "We are blessed. There are people with less."


4) Have you been treated differently because of being Latino (in the workplace, in public settings…etc.)? If so, can you describe a situation?

It has happened so many times. My father and I were refused seating at restaurants. One time in Colorado, the place was close to empty. When I asked why we were left in the waiting area while others (all white folks) who arrived after us were seated ahead of us, the hostess said "you people are gonna have to learn to wait your turn." 

During rehearsal for my first professional production after college, the director of the show stopped in the middle of a scene to ask if I'd be able to do the scene in "some sort of 'spic' accent." I was so shocked I said nothing.