I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

November 4, 2022 0 Comments

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair – Lewis, P.R. – Around five wooden drums, a dozen dancers in bright, colorful ankle-length skirts gather. Their shoulders and hips bumped, pulsating with an upbeat, African-inspired rhythm.

Loiz, a town founded by formerly enslaved Africans, is one of several places in Puerto Rico where African-inspired traditions are observed, e.g.

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

More than three-quarters of Puerto Ricans identify as white in a recent census, although a large percentage of the island’s population has African roots. That number is down from 80 percent 20 years ago, but activists and demographers say it’s still wrong, and they’re working to get more African-American Puerto Ricans to identify as black in the next census in an effort to draw attention to the island. appeal. Ethnic differences.

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All Puerto Ricans can select “Yes, Puerto Rican” on the census to indicate their Hispanic ancestry. But when it comes to race, residents must choose from among the many options of “white,” “black,” “American Indian,” Asian heritage, or they can type in something. Most Puerto Ricans choose “white”.

But the Trump administration’s slow response to Hurricane Maria and other natural disasters has forced many Puerto Ricans to rethink their decision to identify as white Americans, said Kimberly Figueroa Calderon, a member of the Puerto Rican Coalition of Educators and Organizers. In the 2020 census, Ricans identified as black. She said, “We are not the ‘citizens’ we think we are.”

After Hurricane Maria, Maricruz Rivera-Clement, founder of Corporación Piñones se Integra, said it took longer to restore electricity in Loiz than in the capital, San Juan, and other parts of the island. “We have the same electricity connection, the same power source as Isla Verde,” Rivera-Clemente said, referring to the nearby tourist area of ​​San Juan. “After two months, there is no electricity.”

“Yes, for visual reasons, I consider myself black,” said Jose Luis Elisier-Pizaro. “Because of identity, I consider myself Puerto Rican.” Credit … Eric P. for the New York Times. Rodriguez

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Maricruz Rivera-Clemente said it took longer than other parts of Puerto Rico to restore power in Lois after Hurricane Maria. Credit… Eric P. for the New York Times. Rodriguez

Barbara I. Abadía-Rexach, a sociology professor at the University of Puerto Rico and a member of the Colectivo Ilé, was surprised to learn how many Puerto Ricans identified as white in the last census. “How can I fit in in a country where I’m a minority?” said Dr Abadia-Rexach, who was born on the island and identifies as black.

Colectivo Ilé organized educational workshops across the island where residents learned about the impact of the census and the achievements of Afro-Puerto Ricans such as historian Arturo Alfonso Schomberg and singer Ruta Fernández. They also teach about the contributions of African civilizations, hoping to inspire people to mark “black” on the census or write “afrodescendiente,” or African descent.

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

“There are people who don’t want to use the word black because they think it’s insulting, and there’s still this idea that we need to ‘fix the race,'” Dr. Abadia-Rexach said.

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A popular saying in Latin American countries suggests that light skin is more desirable than dark skin.

Many Puerto Ricans have said they also feel that being black erases their unique cultural identity, including language, food and customs, and closely aligns their experiences with mainland African Americans.

“We are clear that we want to reduce the number of people who identify as white and increase the number of people who identify as black,” added Gloriana Saha Antoni-Lebron, another member of the Colectivo Ele.

Ms. Antony-LeBron said the shame in identifying as black in Puerto Rico stems from a lack of positive or affirming images of blackness. “An education system that never talks about the contributions of all black people has always portrayed us as slaves, not enslaved people,” she said.

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A music teacher at the community center Corporación Piñones se Integra, opposes recognition as black. “I don’t say I’m Afro-Puerto Rican because my father is not African and my mother is not African,” said Mr. Elisier-Pizaro, who has dark brown skin and once wore his hair in dreadlocks.

“Yes, I consider myself black for visual reasons,” he said. “Because of identity, I consider myself Puerto Rican.”

Allowed black Puerto Ricans of mixed racial heritage to petition Spain to be reclassified as white for a fee. The practice of reclassifying people by race continued after the United States annexed Puerto Rico in 1898.

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

Before the 1960s, censuses in the United States and Puerto Rico determined people’s race by applying island-wide whiteness and sometimes reclassifying people from black to white. “Puerto Rican elites were very cooperative with the United States and privileged whiteness in the population,” said Mara Loveman, a sociology professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “The vague rules about what counts as white became increasingly liberal as part of a larger social project to make the United States look whiter.”

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Census data is used to determine funding for federal programs based on population, according to the University of Puerto Rico’s Census Information Center. Following political unrest and natural disasters on the island, the data has helped the government track population decline and the number of residents who have moved to the mainland. But activists say better census data on race is needed to understand what is considered taboo in Puerto Rico: racism.

“People say, ‘Well, how can we be racist?’ We are Puerto Ricans,” Puerto Rico’s A.C.L.U. said William Ramirez, executive director of Driving away from Lois, and he said he regularly meets men and women who tell. They have suffered discrimination because of their skin color.

“The Puerto Rican language is not ‘I’m black,'” said Marta Moreno Vega, founder of the African Diaspora Institute at the Center for Caribbean Culture in New York. “The colonizer never used that story. And that’s another part of colonialism: you label people with words they don’t know.

A group of Puerto Rican scholars and organizers, Colectivo Ile, is fighting to get more Puerto Ricans to identify as black in the 2020 censusCredit… Eric P. Rodriguez for The New York Times

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Terms such as “negra,” “mulatto,” “morena,” and “triguena” are often used in Puerto Rico to classify people of African descent based on skin color, hair texture and facial features, Dr. Moreno Vega, adding that labels can be misleading. Popular terms like “Afro-Latino” and “Latino” are useful, she said, but there are limitations when it comes to demolishing the legacy of colonialism.

The founders of Colectivo Ilé want their efforts from the 2020 census to promote social policy for all people of African origin, including Dominicans, Haitians and other Puerto Rican ethnic groups. Their act of controlling “blackness” comes alongside other efforts to identify Afro-descendants in Latin American countries such as Mexico and Chile.

“The way we measure and identify as black or white affects how much inequality we see in society along racial lines,” Dr. Loveman, a professor at Berkeley.

I Feel Like A Puerto Rican In This Hair

“I think it’s a really important symbolic policy to include blackness in the census, which is a very political and political space,” she said. “We will get a clear picture of racial inequality in life outcomes in Puerto Rico.”

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For Mr. Elchier-Pizarro, the census box is too limited to reflect Puerto Rico, which he sees as a wonderful ethnic melting pot. She is actually Latin American. But more than anything, he’s Puerto Rican.

“This is me. I’m a dark-skinned Latino, born in Puerto Rico,” he said. “I’m Puerto Rican.” Lin-Manuel Miranda (top row from left) Rita Moreno, Jennifer Lopez and (bottom row from left) Camila Cabello, Marc Anthony and Luis Fonsi are some of the musicians who participated in the new original song “Almost Like Praying” to raise money. For the elimination of consequences of the Puerto Rico hurricane.AP/file

“Hamilton” star Lin-Manuel Miranda was on a family vacation in Austria when Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, the island where his parents were born and where he spent countless summers.

Immediately he asked himself, “What can I do to help my skills?” Then she started singing in the bathroom.

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Two weeks later, what began as a crude, a cappella demo commemorating his spiritual homeland, thousands of miles away, has become “Almost Like a Prayer,” an upbeat charity single featuring an all-star lineup of Latin artists from across genres and generations, including Jennifer. . Lopez, Gloria Estefan, Fat Joe, Luis Fonsi, Ruben Blades, Camila Cabello, John Leguizamo, Rita Moreno and Marc Anthony.

The song was released to digital music retailers and late Thursday