Thursday, November 9, 2023

Erasure of Puerto Ricans

Some of you may wonder when reading the title of this post why I am calling saying that there is an "Erasure of Puerto Ricans."  Well, there are many reasons why and I will try to go through them briefly in this writing.

Who Are Puerto Ricans?
Puerto Ricans are people who are either born on the island of Puerto Rico or come from parents who were born on the island.  They are mostly a mix of European, Taino Indian, African, and sometimes even Asian races.  All Puerto Ricans are natural citizens of the United States of America whether born on the island of Puerto Rico or on the mainland 50 states.    

Puerto Ricans are indeed American citizens. Being born in Puerto Rico is tantamount to being born in the United States. However, this wasn't always the case, and some ambiguity remains.
Contrary to what many people believe, the Jones Act of 1917, which Congress passed over 100 years ago, was neither the first nor last citizenship statute for Puerto Ricans. Since 1898, Congress has debated more than 100 bills containing citizenship provisions for Puerto Rico and enacted 11 overlapping citizenship laws. Over time, these laws have conferred three different types of citizenship to people born in Puerto Rico.

The United States annexed Puerto Rico during the Spanish-American War of 1898. Between 1898 and 1901, U.S. academics, lawmakers, and other government officials began to invent a new tradition of territorial expansionism. This enabled them to strategically annex territories like Guam, American Samoa, the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands for military and economic purposes without binding Congress to grant them statehood. To support this effort, they also created interpretations of the Constitution that allowed them to govern Puerto Rico and other territories annexed during the Spanish-American War.

In summary, being born in Puerto Rico grants automatic American citizenship, but historical complexities have led to ongoing debates about Puerto Rico's status as an unincorporated territory.

Puerto Ricans as "Black, White, Brown"
Puerto Ricans are hard to classify racially speaking. They come in all colors.  One can meet a Puerto Rican as white as Casper the friendly ghost with blue, hazel, or green eyes; or even a Puerto Rican as black as coal with features found among Africans born in Africa. Puerto Ricans are part of the African/Black diaspora!  Furthermore, there are Puerto Ricans who look Indian, Arab, or Asian with their particular eyes, skin tones, and bone structures.  Because of this, there can be great confusion on the part of non-Puerto Ricans who mistake them for other races. This also creates a problem on census forms where Puerto Ricans have trouble identifying with a particular race.  Scientists have recently claimed that the Puerto Rican is the "perfect human" or perfect genetic specimen. This is because of their richer genetic background with the mixtures that took place since Columbus landed on the island of Puerto Rico.  However, Puerto Ricans have always found it difficult to "fit in."  Despite some being white, non-Hispanic whites do not always accept them. The same with Puerto Ricans who are black or brown. They are often treated as a "sub-species" among those who share similar physical/racial characteristics but are not Puerto Rican or Hispanic.  However, regardless of how Puerto Ricans are treated, they have prospered immensely and have created their own way which many Latinos have followed. 

Discrimination in America and Religion
Puerto Ricans are culturally proud people who love to display their music, food, and flag publicly without shame.  They are festive and it is rare to find an anti-social Puerto Rican. Unfortunately, the history between the United States of America and Puerto Ricans has not been so tidy.  
Puerto Ricans were often mistreated by non-Puerto Ricans in mainland America.  Some in the Catholic Church even gave Puerto Ricans a hard time by making them pay a quarter to sit at Mass or were forced to attend Mass in a basement or lower church.  Because of this, many Puerto Ricans left and are part of Evangelical or Pentecostal sects.  With the onset of the internet, some have even stopped believing and have become atheists or agnostic. This has created conflict among families and identifying as Puerto Rican.  Many cultural elements in Puerto Rico have Catholic ties. Puerto Ricans who subscribe to atheism or agnosticism often have a hard time identifying as Puerto Rican because atheism and agnosticism are primarily non-Hispanic white liberal ideologies and unrelated to being Latino or Hispanic.  So in effect, these atheist and agnostic Puerto Ricans have an identity crisis and are slaves of neocolonialism with the adoptance of atheism and agnosticism.

They were originally under Spanish rule until the United States took the island over and Spain eventually gave it away completely to alleviate its debts.  It wasn't until 1917 that Puerto Ricans became official citizens in the United States of America.  In 1948, Congress broadened the citizenship to include all Puerto Ricans born in the States or the Island of Puerto Rico.  Over 75% of Puerto Ricans speak English fluently.  This allows them great flexibility in American life.  However, they are a forgotten people in America.

Puerto Ricans Treated Like Second-Class Citizens
Democrats and others who identify themselves as "liberals" or "progressives" often push for "immigrant rights" and so on. They feel that immigrants who came here illegally should be allowed to stay.  A form of amnesty is often proposed in Congress allowing them to stay with full rights and protection under US law.  We are seeing this now with the invasion of illegal migrants and how so-called sanctuary cities are now complaining about their existence in their territories.  

Naturally, many Americans oppose this because it is not fair for people to come illegally to the nation and then get a free pass to become citizens.  These critics are often the descendants of immigrants themselves who came from Europe but argue that their ancestors earned their citizenship and did not enter the nation illegally.

Those in favor of illegal immigrants try hard to pass laws to allow them to have licenses, better job opportunities, welfare assistance, earn college degrees, and so forth.  However, not much is said of Hispanics who are already citizens, namely Puerto Ricans.  Only about 14% of Puerto Ricans earn a bachelor's degree.  This is not good.  Despite having Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Dr. Neil Degrasse Tyson, AOC, Ritchie Torres, Ruben Diaz, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony, Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Joaquin Phoenix, and a few others, more needs to be done to bring Puerto Ricans out there in American society.  Leaders in the Puerto Rican community often forget their own people and do not encourage education nor advocate for their fellow Puerto Ricans.  Puerto Ricans have suffered discrimination, poverty, and other social issues for no reason.  They are American citizens and deserve to be treated as such and not forgotten.

In many instances, illegal immigrants are given priority over Puerto Ricans!  This is absurd and a
complete betrayal of the Puerto Rican people and their status as citizens of the United States of America.  Archbishop of San Juan, Roberto Gonzalez was under fire from Vatican officials years ago for speaking a little more on Puerto Rican rights than he should; however, I don't blame him. Gonzalez was born in the States and probably knows well the hardships that his people have endured and still endure.  To be a citizen, yet not be; is not something that lifts the morale of any people.  For a Puerto Rican to be wrapped up in red tape when trying to get assistance or an opportunity to live the American dream while an illegal immigrant can easily get help is unfair. 

Puerto Ricans have much to contribute to American society as a whole.  Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is an example of what a Puerto Rican can become if he/she is given equal treatment and not treated like a second-class citizen while others who are not citizens are put ahead. The Puerto Rican people need a Dr. King figure who will bring about change and respect.  It is disturbing to see Al Sharpton show his face when a controversial issue involves Puerto Ricans and no other Puerto Rican leader is present.

Puerto Rican Falsely Identified, LatinX, Prejudice & Stereotype Placement
African Americans are not the only group who are harassed and profiled.  Many times, when a Hispanic commits a crime, he is automatically labeled a Puerto Rican despite being Mexican, Dominican, Cuban, or whatnot.  Take Salsa singer Marc Anthony for example who was harassed for singing the anthem at the All-Star game.  Legendary singer Jose Feliciano faced a similar situation when he sang his own rendition of the National Anthem.  Despite being American, they faced prejudice and were treated like they were non-Americans. Moreover, other Latinos often mock Puerto Ricans by calling them "whites" or non-Latinos.  Others mock the fact that Puerto Rico is not independent non-Latinos

In some instances, members of other groups purposely pretend to be Puerto Rican to fit in society or get opportunities.  They have even stolen the identities of Puerto Ricans which forced Puerto Rico to reissue birth certificates.  Only those who can distinguish between dialects, accents, and body language can truly tell who is Puerto Rican and who is not.  Shouting 'wepa' or dancing Salsa does not make one Puerto Rican.   Puerto Rican food and music is often misappropriated by other Latinos.  We can see on social media outlets such as Instagram and Tiktok where Latinos adopt Puerto Rican slang words as their own or claim Puerto Rican cuisine like acapurrias or pasteles are their culture when it is not.

Now with the popularity of the LGTBQIA agenda, Puerto Ricans and other Latinos are being called "LatinX" by non-Hispanic whites, particularly liberals or progressives. The term is extremely disrespectful to not only Puerto Ricans but all Latinos and Hispanics; in a word, the Spanish culture and language. LatinX is a very offensive term showing neocolonialism at work. Non-Hispanic whites are trying to force change in Hispanic culture and language. Spanish is a gender-specific language. This must be respected. Latinx is a racist slur.

Moreover, many Puerto Rican elected officials sell out their own people by adopting the "white man's" rhetoric.  This rhetoric includes the Americanization of Puerto Ricans by forcing them to erase their cultural ties and become part of the American collective, so to speak.  It also includes adopting liberal ideologies such as abortion, contraception, gay rights, atheism, and other agendas that were never part of the Puerto Rican people's philosophy who value life, family, and tradition.  Being American doesn't mean one must forget where one came from, nor replace one's values and morals.  Let us not forget how Planned Parenthood and other organizations forcefully sterilized Puerto Rican women and men.  Puerto Ricans were often experimented on by the US government as well. 

June used to be the National Puerto Rican Day Parade month. Millions of Puerto Ricans and non-Puerto Ricans would flock to New York City's 5th Avenue to view or participate in the National Puerto Rican Day parade. The entire month was celebrated with displays of Puerto Ricanism. However, we now have "Pride Month." Puerto Ricans are again pushed aside. Their erasure takes new forms every couple of years.  The Puerto Rican Parade is hardly promoted now. It is all about Pride. Even social media, websites, and companies mark the colors of Pride. They never did this for Puerto Ricans.  We can see the discrimination and bias here. The LGBTQIA community does not care either despite Puerto Ricans being at the forefront of gay rights in the 60s and 70s.  

Erasure From Hip Hop
Furthermore, even some American Americans or Blacks are attempting to erase Puerto Ricans from Hip Hop. We celebrated the 50th anniversary of the genre in August of 2023. Before this race-baiter, Tariq Nasheed and others have been promoting misinforming disingenuous content claiming Puerto Ricans were not involved in the creation of Hip Hop. They even claim, it did not originate in the Bronx despite the evidence and living pioneers.  This came after legendary Rapper Busta Rhymes and Fat Joe made comments that Puerto Ricans were co-creators of Hip Hop.  Some in the Black community took offense to this believing it to be misappropriation or an attempt to push Blacks away from Hip Hop.  The claims are all ridiculous and uneducated. They are meant to create division. As stated, Puerto Ricans are part of the African/Black diaspora.  They are genetically hardwired in it! There is no way to divorce this fact.  Using Spanish to claim Puerto Ricans are not black is ridiculous. What of Haitians who speak French but are Black?  Since when is English the requirement to be African American or Black?  Moreover, we have clear evidence that Puerto Ricans are co-creators of Hip Hop.  This does not take away from Blacks because Puerto Ricans are also Black!  Again, the whole thing is just nonsensical an an attempt to push Puerto Ricans aside; to erase or cancel them and their involvement in Hip Hop and the Black diaspora.  

Conclusion
Puerto Ricans are being erased from Americanism.  Even some African American brothers and sisters are trying to erase their fellow brothers and sisters in the Puerto Rican ethnicity. Non-Hispanic whites are attempting to rewrite Puerto Rican identity with their "Latinx" constructs and homosexual scripts that were never part of Puerto Ricanism.  They are doing this to the point of using the word in the media to refer to Latinos and Hispanics and by making June "Pride Month" when it was always the month of the Puerto Ricans.  

We need to stop this.  Puerto Ricans need to stand up and represent themselves and demand respect dignity and acknowledgment required.  They need to be proud and push back against the agenda to erase Puerto Ricans.  They tried to physically sterilize Puerto Ricans out of existence and now are idealogically sterilizing them through education, culture, atheism, and divide-and-conquer tactics; neocolonialism.  I hope the Puerto Rican people are treated better and that they wake up and demand respect. Their needs have to be met and put before those of others who clearly broke laws by entering our nation.

To my knowledge, the breaking of a law means one is a law-breaker or criminal.  Why give preference to law-breakers when you have citizens here who are in need of many things and want to achieve the American dream without being discriminated against or assimilated into another ethnicity?

Puerto Ricans wake up and stand up!


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Sources:
1. [U.S. News & World Report: Are Puerto Ricans American Citizens?](https://www.usnews.com/news/national-news/articles/2017-03-03/are-puerto-ricans-american-citizens)
2. [The Conversation: Yes, Puerto Ricans are American citizens](https://theconversation.com/yes-puerto-ricans-are-american-citizens-73723)
4. [NCESC: Are you a U.S. citizen if born in Puerto Rico?](https://www.ncesc.com/geographic-faq/are-you-a-u-s-citizen-if-born-in-puerto-rico/)
5. [PR51st: Puerto Rico, the Nationality Act, and U.S. Citizenship](https://www.pr51st.com/puerto-rico-and-u-s-citizenship/)































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