June 9, 2008

Whoops... we missed it

What with the heat, thunderstorms, and lack of technology (I broke free of my chains for the weekend, in case you didn't notice), I didn't even realize that NYC's world-famous Puerto Rican Parade came and left. Then again, I can't imagine it was that much fun, seeing as it was blazing outside. Anyone reading this go to it? How was it? Any stories?

If you're like me and trying to avoid the weather, here's some reading:

  • Apparently during my blackout I also missed Top Chef in Puerto Rico making Puerto Rican food. Check out a pretty funny description of the episode here. Another interesting look at it (along with vegetarian versions of some of the recipes) is right here.
  • A couple things on tourism--well, one is partly tourism and the rest just migration... yep, I'm talking about Puerto Ricans in Florida. Apparently they've beat New York for flights to and from the state. Hmm. The other one is about JetBlue, who is adding more flights from JFK, Orlando, and adding flights early (starting September) from Boston. Good news after AA's announcement; Puerto Rico needs it.
  • And now... politics, that inescapable topic. But this time I have decent reading about it (or at least I enjoyed it!). Check these out:
Many things have [caused us to change our stance]. Instead of getting more autonomy and powers, we have less than in 1952 because the federal government has grown exponentially and aggressively and now controls things that in the past were left up to the states. . . .

For instance, we have a strong dairy industry in Puerto Rico. For the last 50 or 60 years, the government of Puerto Rico has regulated the industry. Last year, a federal judge decided they were the ones that would regulate prices. This is something that affects the pockets of every Puerto Rican, our farmers, our agricultural sector, a whole industry in Puerto Rico, and from now on we have to go before a federal judge for changes.

Another example is we don't believe in the death penalty. Our constitution, which was approved by Congress, specifically bans it. . . . But under the Bush administration, we have seen the district attorney [in San Juan] very aggressively seeking death-penalty convictions. .
    • A slightly less political and more cultural look at some of the same thing, Americanization in Puerto Rico (it's not too well written but is a decent introduction to the issue):
In assessing the effects of the “Americanization” of the island of Puerto Rico, it is important to ascertain whether industrial progress is always beneficial to the people’s to which it is brought. Through the American perception of the ideal, one would believe that suburbanization and industrialization is akin to progress and success; however, Puerto Rico proves this to be a fallacy. The people of Puerto Rico, hard working individuals with a strong work and family ethic became so immersed in “Americanization” that no price was too big to pay to achieve that “ideal.” Such prices included the dissolving of the patriarchal society, the sterilization of one-third of the country’s women of child bearing years, and the loss of pride in one’s ability to provide not only for himself but for his family. Now, this society is rapidly becoming matriarchal with 20 percent of the males unemployed and living off of American handouts. But how did this happen?
Regardless its unexpected exposure to CNN's limelight, the primary event in Puerto Rico failed, once more, to engage in the potent issues that with some frequency rear their heads in the mainland campaigns. If politics is always local, in Puerto Rico, a superpopulated Island (with one of the highest population densities in the world, despite the fact that a full half of Puerto Ricans live in the United States) it is really a bizarre mirror labyrinth in which the colonial status is the overriding issue. Other social, economic and cultural contents revolve around the question of whether Puerto Rico will continue its colonial status (since 1898), or achieve some kind of resolution, any time soon.
"On the mainland, Obama is black, but not in Puerto Rico," said Juan Manuel Garcia Passalacqua, the island's most distinguished political commentator. "Here, he is a mulatto, and this is a mulatto society. People here are perfectly prepared to vote for someone who looks like them for president of the United States."

This is of course the party line on the island and is used frequently to say why the island does not need a black movement. However, a mulatto ran on Sunday and race was an issue and not in his favor.

I would argue, though, that when the author says that Black island populations are consistently poorer and less educated and White populations are not does not add up to the same wide discrepancies in Puerto Rico that may be found in other Latin America. Undeniably it exists in PR, but to the same extent as in neighboring countries? That is a very strong statement to make for an island that tends to share its poverties with the entire population. Blacks do tend to be poorer on average, but the margin is smaller than it is in other Latin American countries if I'm not mistaken.

    • Finally, an article about racism between Puerto Ricans and Nuyoricans, who are seen by islanders as Blacker and therefore are subject to various ugly stereotypes, including overly sexual. Highly recommended.
Photographs in a controversial video feature smiling fair-skinned beauty contest winners and fashion models contrasted with images of scantily dressed, full-bodied, dark-skinned women in public spaces ---"evidence" of the cultural and aesthetic differences between "real" Puerto Ricans and those who make illegitimate claims on that identity.

These are the verbal and visual claims of a controversial video making recent rounds on the Internet, explaining the alleged differences between Puerto Ricans on the Island and those in the United States. The two-minute video, which has repeatedly been yanked from YouTube, informs the viewer that “Puerto Ricans come from the island,” are overwhelmingly “blancos” or mestizos of Taíno and European ancestry, and “typically VERY classy and/or preppy or as we say in Puerto Rico ‘fino’.” Island Puerto Ricans are also highly educated, the video asserts. In contrast, Nuyoricans are “3rd or 4th generation Puerto Ricans that are usually mixed with African Americans, CAN NOT speak Spanish or speak it very badly!!! They act very, very trashy and ghetto or as we say in Puerto Rico cafre!!!” Nuyoricans are Afrocentric and one is more likely to find them “in prison than in college.” Indeed, Nuyoricans—a misnomer since it encompasses the entire Puerto Rican diaspora—often seem to be a target in this video and beyond for anti-Afro-Latino sentiment. Nuyoricans come under fire for their apparent obsession with race and racism and, most particularly, their identification with African-Americans and blackness.


Minerva said...

Great post, great links! Bravo! And thanks

Speaking Boricua said...

Glad you enjoyed!