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Ethnic Discrimination in PR and the USA against Boricuas of color....

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  • Ethnic Discrimination in PR and the USA against Boricuas of color....

    Originally posted by MinFaluMuhammad
    In my lifetime, there have been instances where I had to prove or show evidence that I am of Puerto Rican descent. Do Black Puerto Ricans have to prove that they are Puerto Rican? If so, why? Is it racism? Stereotypes?
    I am glad you asked that question.

    In my opinion, prietos puertorriqueños should not have to prove to anyone who they are. They are who they are, in their hearts, and minds. If they are Boricua either from love, birth, or ethnicity, then that is who they are.

    Now that is how things should be, but in reality, that is not how things truely are.

    Lets start with the topic of "race" in Puerto Rico.

    There are many types of discrimination in PR that has contributed to the discrimintion of our skin colors, such as ethnic background, colonization, social class, ethnic migration, and "modern" appliances.

    Now, an island-nation that has so many different cultures and ethnicities mixed into one, and to this day, still continues to mix with outside cultures, will ultimately have discrimination. There has been, traditionally, much discrimination between the rich, blanco Boricuas, and the poor, negro Boricuas, and even the poor whites as well. There has been less between the poor classes, but there has been some. Still, because of that absence, and because most Boricuas were poor throughout the centuries, Boricuas have become to assume that their is no ethnic discrimination in our society, which is totally false. Just look at the negro tv stars in PR during the 50's, they weren't even negro, they were blancos painted black!

    We have so many words in our slang Puertorro vocabulary that shows ethnicity is a topic in our society. If someone calls you a negro, or prieto, you turn around and say you are a trigueño. There are also many other words that describe the color and hues of our skins, or phrases such as "pelo malo" for that nappy hair, but straight hair is concidered "pelo bueno". hmmmmmm. That is the rich, blanco influence on our people.

    Therefore, there is ethnic discrimination within the island society of Puerto Rico, and in todays "modern" society in PR, there is also discrimination on Boricuas born, and raised outside of PR, or on Dominicans, Brasilians, Mexicans, Venezuelans, and Cubans, coming to live on our island and not totally assimilated. Now, some of the racist gringos who have come and colonized our people have contributed to the ethnic discrimination and in today's modern society with tv, magazines, billboards...etc, Puerto Ricans are brainwashed into thinking what is beautiful and what color you should have to be concidered beautiful. A negra Miss Puerto Rico? How many negro politicans are there in PR compared to the blanco ones? What about the tv and movie stars? Huh....?

    Now, I have somewhat wondered off from the mainsubject, but I am just showing that no one should have to prove who they are, especially in PR, that they are Puerto Rican or they should be concidered Boricua because of their skin color, ethnic ingredients, or birthplace. If you believe in our culture and love our people, you should be concidered a Boricua no matter what!

    Anyway, I can guess you asked on the part of the USA, well I will answer that part as well.

    Now, as I said before, no Boricua should have to prove they are Boricua, but still, from ignorance and discrimination, we have to, especially if you are of a darker hue in skin color.

    As I said earlier, because of the economical conditions of PR and less discrimination between the poor, and the mass migration of Boricuas to the USA happened before the modern appliances of Western Culture was available in PR, many Boricuas felt no shame of being dark skinned and having relatives who were light skinned. Even though American colonization of PR has somewhat given a picture to many Boricuas what it meant to look, act, speak and be an American, many Boricua simply ignored that due to poor brainwashing techniques on the behalf of the Americans, thank god.

    When the Boricuas came to the USA in large numbers, the most in 1953, what they recieved was nothing but racial discrimination ranging from jobs to walks in the park, and they were even USA citizens. Read the books, "Down These Mean Streets" by Piri Thomas and "Boricuas: Influential writings of Puerto Rican Society-An Anthology" by Roberto Santiago to get an idea of what it was truely like back then. As well as the movie, "West Side Story," which perfectly portrayed the discrimintion of the Puerto Rican people in the USA, and intreastingly enough, the main "Boricua" character wasn't even Boricua, but a white girl painted brown, still it was the true Boricua, Rita Moreno, which won the Academy Award!

    Even many negro Boricuas, because of this discrimination, removed all solidarity with the Morenos in the same neighborhood ghettos in which both Boricuas and Morenos lived in, "we were different, better then them" some would say. Sadly, in the eyes of the white Americans in control of the USA, we were both the same, dirty, lazy, stupid people!

    All this discrimination has somewhat truely given the idea to many Boricuas of what they should look like, and through many decades, it has seemed that many of the black Boricuas disappeared, and white Boricuas were everywhere and they "represented" what Boricuas should look like. On TV, radio, billboards, everywhere, if there was a Boricua, they had to be white, and it wasnt limited to Boricuas but to all Hispanics on television. That rich, blanco European and gringos in Latin American continuted to do the same. Thus, if you were a negro Puertorro, you were not really concidered a Boricua or thought to be a Boricua unless you said you were, because everyone thought Puerto Ricans were white.

    I am a trigueño Boricua-Dominicano, I have curly hair, big lips, and pretty much everyone, at first, think I am Moreno. Many older Boricuas knew instantly I was Boricua, but the ones my age think I am African-American. See how much in a generation or two, we were brainwashed! When I say I am Dominican as well, they instantly said "Ohhhh, thats why you are so dark." I would be like, "No pendejo, thats not the reason, my Boricua mother is dark as night negra, and my Dominican father is blanco!" Now, there is even stereotypes of what Dominicans should look like, but I am not going to get into that. I had to prove my Boricuaness by wearing a Boricua flag in beads around my neck. I enjoyed wearing it, but it also showed people not to ask, I am Boricua. Instead, people just started to ask my friends if I was Puerto Rican, lol! What ignorance! I felt sorry for my brother and sister, who looked more like my mother, so were even blacker with that nappy hair, they were criticized more. "Your not Portorikan, your too black, your just trying to act Portorikan, because there better," they were told. Now, it has become that because Boricuas are concidered white, that we are better then any other minority in the USA, that, as well, is wrong to be concidered superior then anyone else! I don't concider myself or my family "victims" of anything, except ignorance, I dont wallow in self-pitty because of discrimination. We have to overcome, some can do it better then others, so as a people we need to overcome together to create the opportunities for everyone. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a great example, but still, in places such as Mississippi, discrimination still exists to an extent.

    It is a sad story, but that is how many black Boricuas were and still are treated, and it has everything to do with racism, and stereotypes brought up in time from Westernization, the society of the rich white gringos and Europeans and their influence, in PR, to the discrimination and culture shock of the 50's from the Puertorro migration to the USA. As a result of that, the idea from the brainwashing was "To be white, was to be better, to survive better, to live better, and to be treated better. To be black, was to be nothing!" That is the reality for the Puerto Ricans in the USA. It might of toned-down a little, but it is still there, and it is still in PR, and increasing with the migration of dark-skinned hispanics and rich, white gringos to PR. As all things in PR has become, political, statehood is not going to stop the discrimination either!

    Something has to be done, we have to realize that discrimination exists, it has been fought more in the USA then PR, and it might be too late for the USA, but it is not for PR. We cannot be ignorant on this subject, because lives are being hurt and cultures are being re-arranged to fit what beauty is suppose to be, and Boricua culture has mostly been campo and to destroy that is to destroy PR, so if we give in to our people that being white is A-OK, and being black is nothing, then we have destroyed our culture. Realizing discrimination is not, it will bring out the truth that there is no discrimination in PR, which is already assumed, but continuing discrimination without a fight will shatter our society and make it worse. All diserve a good life no matter what they are from the outside, and to achieve that will truely be good. Lets just drop the stereotypes and racism, but that, in itself, will be hard. Just look at how many threads in this forum is dedicated to "race," and on the many different perspectives and you will realize that it is a problem that needs to be solved! I am not saying a mass revolution, but as a people we need to try, especially through education. No one has completely succeeded in turning a multi-cultural society completely equal, but that doesn't mean it isnt possible!

    For more information go to my site in which a friend of mine wrote an intresting article on this subject, http://www.geocities.com/wazzzzz_aaaaaap/reddrace.html

    [Edited by Patria_y_LaPava on 28th December 2001 at 21:58]

  • #2
    Great thoroughness demonstrated about this topic

    In Latin America there is racism and classism and discrimination. And sometimes and very often it is ugly and stark. In Mexico I have seen beautiful Indian looking people buying weird contraptions to make their noses less Aztec looking and more "European". African descent boricuas also spend fortunes on hair products and such trying to make their hair as Patria mentioned "bueno". This is ludicrous.

    African Beauty is gorgeous. The features, the bodies, the voices the presence and so on....is a unique beauty. It is beauty in every sense. And I do mean you Patria. For you are beautiful....no doubt in my mind. Lol. Why when God has given you such beauty would you want to trade it in for some one else's or race's beauty. Europeans can be beautiful. Asians are beautiful. All peoples in all races have beautiful people. And feitos too!!. Lol. But the problem is that race and class and bank accounts and social status are all interlinked in our racist societies and as such people do not see a black man and woman and say "Success, beauty and dignity and intelligence" instead they think...."Poverty, failure, ugliness and shame and ignorance." They are WRONG!!! And foolish as well. Ignorance, and foolishness and haughtiness and superiority and discrimination and privelege and class and caste consciousness all go together.

    I have white co-workers in my office who say in the lunchroom..."I don't know why African-Americans are always complaining and bringing out the race card....all that is just an excuse. They are full of excuses. Excuses, excuses are all they talk about....why don't they open a business, make money, be pro-active instead of reactive."

    "I say....if you are black have you tried to get a loan from a bank? Have you tried to buy a home in a rich, gated community being black? Do they pay you as much for the same work? Some companies do....others no. And history and social values and caste thinking in America does exist. Try being black for a few years in the USA and just live as if race is not an issue....soon it will become one, when you realize no one is seeing you as John Doe first and color second. But color first, and John Doe last."

    Suki.

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Great thoroughness demonstrated about this topic

      Originally posted by Suki
      In Latin America there is racism and classism and discrimination. And sometimes and very often it is ugly and stark. In Mexico I have seen beautiful Indian looking people buying weird contraptions to make their noses less Aztec looking and more "European". African descent boricuas also spend fortunes on hair products and such trying to make their hair as Patria mentioned "bueno". This is ludicrous.

      African Beauty is gorgeous. The features, the bodies, the voices the presence and so on....is a unique beauty. It is beauty in every sense. And I do mean you Patria. For you are beautiful....no doubt in my mind. Lol. Why when God has given you such beauty would you want to trade it in for some one else's or race's beauty. Europeans can be beautiful. Asians are beautiful. All peoples in all races have beautiful people. And feitos too!!. Lol. But the problem is that race and class and bank accounts and social status are all interlinked in our racist societies and as such people do not see a black man and woman and say "Success, beauty and dignity and intelligence" instead they think...."Poverty, failure, ugliness and shame and ignorance." They are WRONG!!! And foolish as well. Ignorance, and foolishness and haughtiness and superiority and discrimination and privelege and class and caste consciousness all go together.

      I have white co-workers in my office who say in the lunchroom..."I don't know why African-Americans are always complaining and bringing out the race card....all that is just an excuse. They are full of excuses. Excuses, excuses are all they talk about....why don't they open a business, make money, be pro-active instead of reactive."

      "I say....if you are black have you tried to get a loan from a bank? Have you tried to buy a home in a rich, gated community being black? Do they pay you as much for the same work? Some companies do....others no. And history and social values and caste thinking in America does exist. Try being black for a few years in the USA and just live as if race is not an issue....soon it will become one, when you realize no one is seeing you as John Doe first and color second. But color first, and John Doe last."

      Suki.
      It is such a terrible and unfortunate reality that race plays such a huge factor in how you are viewed in society, not just the US, but all over. I am an African-American woman, and I know how difficult it can be living, in a world where color is the 1st thing people see. I have met a lot of people from different countries all over the World, and have found it to be incredible that so many people within each culture, view those with lighter-skin, and/or straighter hair, with praise and adornment, while those with darker skin were treated like outcasts. The same similarities exists even today amongst African-Americans. Lighter-skinned Blacks with longer or straighter hair were treated better than those with darker skin, or more pronounced features such as Big lips, noses, or coarser ("nappy") hair (same story). I know because my mother was born of an African-American mother and a father who was Native-American, and Polynesian. She inherited my grandfather's features and has (over the years), been treated differently and favored more than my uncles who were born of both Black parents.
      One thing that I can say, is that I wish that this could all end. That all would realize that we are all beautiful inside..that all of this prejudice and unfairness would cease to an end...because in the end, we will ALL ANSWER TO ONE GOD.



      Comment


      • #4
        Oppppsss, sorry....

        I made a little mistake.

        I wrote a title of a book in my post, wrong.

        It is suppose to be,"Boricuas: Influental Puerto Rican Writings-An Anthology," by Roberto Santiago.

        Also, get "Not of Pure Blood: The Free People of Color and Racial Prejudice in Nineteenth-Century Puerto Rico" by Jay Kinsbruner.

        Comment


        • #5
          Saludos a todos los participantes de este tema:

          [i]Patria_Y_LaPava

          I am glad you adressed this issue. It is a issue that our people deal with very commonly. Well, you adressed the majority of the issue already and provided alot of good information. I just wanted to emphasize a couple of other areas. For instance, alot of Puerto Ricans from the states sometimes mistake our questioning of their "Puertorriqueñidad" as total denial of their Puerto Rican blood. I am not denying that complete denial doesn't happen, because it does, but rather, for instance like when they talk about Puerto Ricans from the states like John Ruiz, Jennifer Lopez, etc. they are usually adressed as "Puertorriqueños de herencia puertorriqueña," "Puertorriqueños de padres puertorriqueños," "Puertorriqueños de decendencia puertorriqueña," or sometimes the common "él o ella es de allá." For example, lets say an anglo that was born and raised in New York by parents who were from Texas and then later went to Texas to live. Sure he looks just like the other anglos there and both his parents are Texans and all but do you think the people would be so quick to start calling that individual a Texan? In most cases he would have a New York accent due to the circumstances, he would probably have New York ways instead of Texan in reference to customs and things like that. You have a cetain nature to you when you are raised in a particular place. It's like for instance, first example - Alot of Puerto Ricans from the states can't even defend themselves in spanish alot of times yet they have dominated in english. Second example - Alot of times they don't even know basic history about Puerto Rico, yet have learned everything about the anglos. Third example - alot of the younger generation their in the states would rather listen to the latest "Mobb Deep" or "Ruff Riderz" album instead of "Millo Torres y la tercer planeta" or "Victor Manuelle" or "Britney Spears over "Noelia." Do you think that New Yorker that went to Texas would be viewed as a Texan if the situation was just as I described. Imagine yourself on the other side of the fence. It is very hard to veiw a person as being like you when they are so different in many ways. Imagine a Puerto Rican born and raised on the Island by New York parents going to a place like New York and not being able to speak english at all, knows nothing about the latest rap albums or New York styles and has a very Puerto Rican (mainlander) style of dressing, has Puerto Rican ways of acting due to customs etc... etc. Now just imagine that Puerto Rican saying to people that he or she was a New Yorker. Do you think people would be so quick to except that, especially when the only thing they can claim themselves with is "oh but my parents are New Yorkers so I am too." Do you see what I'm saying? Now before you get mad and send me anthrax in the mail, allow me to adress the other side of the coin. Let's say all the above mentioned individuals who were used as examples went and made the effort of learning the languages, picking up and learning about the customs, were very knowledgeable on their heritage in terms of history, music, foods, etc. Then maybe that would be a big difference. For example, Marc Anthony, due to his "Puertorriqueñidad", the majority of the time he is adressed on the Island as a Puerto Rican. It is very seldom that he is adressed in the manner that I described above "Puertorriqueño de decendencia puertorriqueña," or "él es de allá." Now someone like "Huey Dunbar" may be another story. Alot of people get confused and think it has all to due with if your parents are Puerto Rican or not to be excepted on the Island as a Puerto Rican. It's just not true. Look at "Yolandita Monge", one of her parents is Dominican. Trust me, on the Island she is not veiwed any less Puerto Rican than anyone else. Her daughter "Noelia" is three (3) different races, the same goes for her. Even "Eric Morel" a champion boxer from the Island. Both his parents are Dominican. He was born and raised in Puerto Rico and he even is excepted as a Puerto Rican. When he goes into the ring, he goes just like "Tito Trinidad" does, covered from head to toe in the colors of our patria. He doesn't come out with a Dominican flag or anything. The only flag, the only patria he has ever known, is that of Puerto Rico. It is his home and his nation, he has no other.

          I'd like to share a story with you. One time I went to New York to the 116st Puerto Rican Festival in the "Barrio." It was jam packed. Now there was a Puerto Rican from the Island, that was for Pro-Independence and he was waving around the monoestrellada and the independence flag (la bandera de Lares) and just about no one knew what flag that was and thought it was the Dominican flag and started making negative comments to him. When the argument developed, it became noticible that by coincidince he happend to have a Dominican accent. So people started telling him "You're not Puerto Rican", "You're Dominican", "Thats the Dominican flag", "Why are you waving around our flag?" He put them all in thier place, along with my assistance, although he didn't need it. He quickly explained to them, where the flag was and what it meant and the history behind it and what it stands for. Through explaining it he mencioned of course names like "Albizu Campos" and "Jose de Diego", "Lola Rodriguez de Tio" and "Hostos." He then asked "Do you people even know who the people are I am talking about?" He asked one person that was very ignorant, "What town are you from?" "Yeah, you're from there? Well, can you tell me who the mayor of that town is?" the guy couldn't and he felt stupid. This Puerto Rican actually did happen to be of Dominican parents. But he was brought to Puerto Rico at a very young age. He grew up in a largely dominican populated sector of Santurce that's why he had the accent he did, although if he went to Santo Domingo they would tell him he sounded like a Puerto Rican because of the words and refranes he used. Puerto Rico is his patria. He later showed me a tattoo of the Puerto Rican flag over his heart. I asked him "Why didn't yuo show that to those people?" He replied he didn't want to add to their ignorance in believe things like being Puerto Rican had something to do with wearing beaded necklaces with the flag and wearing Puerto Rico t-shirts and waving the flag around on a day that shouldn't even be concidered Puerto Rico independence day because it was the day we lost are freedom. He went on to say, what he wanted to show them was what he had inside of his heart for Puerto Rico. That anyone can wave a flag and wear Puerto Rico beads. He said, look at Ricky Martin when he went to Japon, he had all the Japonese waving around the Puerto Rican flag, does that make them Puerto Ricans too? he said. And I believe what he said to me and I feel the same way. It's what you have inside, the love you have for your patria. It's not about tattoos and stuff like that, it's just about being Puerto Rican, Borinqueñando. The more Puerto Rican yuo have in side the more it shows and the more people will veiw you as a Puerto Rican. The less you have inside you, well then what do you expect. It's like John Ruiz, when he goes into the ring to box, he goes with the American flag, doesn't have them play the Puerto Rican National Anthem, nor is a Puerto Rican flag in his presence. How do you expect people from the island to view him. Now Remember how I explained how Eric Morel goes to the ring. Who would you recognize or view as the Puerto Rican? Do you see what I'm talking about? These are all the factors I am talking about that come into play. They are daily issues that all Puerto Ricans have to deal with.

          Now as for the color of skin. My family comes from Loíza Aldea, which I am very proud of, I was born and raised in Rio Grande by un padre Loiceño (trigueño) y una madre Arecibeña (blanquita). I am trigueño, pero con pelo fino because of my mother. There is Taino and African blood strongly present in my family. When I go around Loíza Aldea, they look at me like "What is this guy doing here?" if they don't know me. Because I am alot lighter then the people there. Then when I go around Arecibo they do the same thing because I am darker than most. And the more north west of the Isalnd I go the more I stand out being darker. I'll admit it is not something that plagues me. I mean I am pretty acostumed to it and I don't pay any mind to ignorant people anyway I mean, sometimes it's so stupid. For example, if you have a northeast accent from Carolina or Rio Grande, and you head northwest, people are so quick to point that out for you. They'll say "es de la Loza" which means he or she is from the city. Or they'll call you a "Chamaco" which means a person from the metro area, or now the growing term of "Cako" which means also a person from the metro area. Even that term in itself is divided between "Cako-Guillao" and "Cako-Cafre." It's stupid how stereotypes and categories form but it happens all over the world in every culture and society. Look at religions for example. They all believe practically the same thing yet they somehow find a way to see differences and divide themselves. There's people form certain towns in Puerto Rico who don't like other Puerto Ricans from certain other towns. Like how in the states there are certain states who aren't too fond of each other either. Like eastcoast and westcoast, southerners.

          Discrimination I would have to say is a world issue. It happens in every people, and in every society and culture. It is nice to dream that some day these ignorant issues will resolve, but unfortunatley the planet we live on is called Earth and it's populated by humans. Furthermore, dreams are just dreams, and reality is reality. The human being never fails to find something different between his or herself and another. Wether the case be in speach, in height, skin color, beliefs, age, sex, etc. We are human beings and we are very dynamic and for that reason there will always be differences that will create discrimination. Especially when people are ignorant. Why? I believe it strongly has to do with reading. Atleast one of the reasons. People just dont like to read. For example, I know there are people wondering here at PuertoRico.com "What the hell is it with Guaili and Cuba?" Probably go as far to think about questioning my "Puertorriqueñidad", but if they read and knew there history, things like that wouldn't happen. It just makes me laugh. But seriously it is very sad. I am a proud Riograndeño, proud to be trigueño and I am very proud of my Loíza Aldea and Arecibo roots, as well as proud of my love for Cuba, our brother nation, but most of all proud to be Puerto Rican


          Atentamente,

          Guaili


          ..........Rio Grande...................Loíza Aldea.....................Arecibo......................Cuba......

          Comment


          • #6
            You have educated me immensely....

            since coming to Puerto Rico.com. I am very pleased by the fact that you are here in Puerto Rico.com.

            Comment


            • #7
              Discrimination:

              Discrimination?
              If you as a Boricua decide to live in Chicago or any other states where Mexican Americans predominate, you better be ready to deal with anti-Puerto Rican Mexican-American attitudes that prevail there.

              If as a Boricua you decide to live in Miami Florida, then you better start by hunkering down and getting ready to deal with Cuban American anti-Puerto-Rican discriminatory policies there.

              If you like New York City and plan on living there, then better prepare to deal with Dominican-American anti-Puerto Rican discrimination which is rampant there.

              So not only do we have to deal with Anglo-American and African-American discriminatory policies--but we are forced to deal with Hispanic discriminatory policies as well.

              Ironically, these prejudiced Hispanic groups are the same ones which are present on the island and are thriving economically because they are unmolested and are received hospitably by the Puerto Rican people.


              Inter Puerto Rican discrimination is the least of our worries compadre!

              Comment


              • #8
                Re: Discrimination:

                Originally posted by Radrook
                Discrimination?
                If you as a Boricua decide to live in Chicago or any other states where Mexican Americans predominate, you better be ready to deal with anti-Puerto Rican Mexican-American attitudes that prevail there.

                If as a Boricua you decide to live in Miami Florida, then you better start by hunkering down and getting ready to deal with Cuban American anti-Puerto-Rican discriminatory policies there.

                If you like New York City and plan on living there, then better prepare to deal with Dominican-American anti-Puerto Rican discrimination which is rampant there.

                So not only do we have to deal with Anglo-American and African-American discriminatory policies--but we are forced to deal with Hispanic discriminatory policies as well.

                Ironically, these prejudiced Hispanic groups are the same ones which are present on the island and are thriving economically because they are unmolested and are received hospitably by the Puerto Rican people.


                Inter Puerto Rican discrimination is the least of our worries compadre!

                Comment


                • #9
                  What's with the quoting-without-comments, "Slyguy," of Radrook's post? Are you Radrook in disguise? LOL!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Ecuajey
                    What's with the quoting-without-comments, "Slyguy," of Radrook's post? Are you Radrook in disguise? LOL!
                    No not at all. I was trying to respond to something he said, but because it was my first time in, I goofed it up. I was going to slam him though on the "us poor Puerto Ricans" comments about other spanish groups. If he wants to cry for the people that are discriminated against, then he should work for justice for the poor Dominicans who have to tolerate racism in PR on a daily basis!

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Puerto Ricans have been enculturated to deny malicious intent from everyone except from a fellow PRs. Toward
                      fellow Puerto Ricans they are constantly on the defensive and constanly suspicious about motives. That's why they are slow to make friends with fellow Puerto Ricans who aren't family and quick to take offense.

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