It was August 2009 when I was admitted to the University of Puerto Rico in Rio Piedras and that what was when I first saw the amalgamation of a new breed of Puerto Rican I had never encountered before in my life, the guaynabit@s/blanquit@s. Most impoverished and working-class people in Puerto Rico call them guaynabit@s, guaynabich@s and/or blanquit@s; derivatives from the word blanquito, meaning white Puerto Ricans with money. I remembered that I heard those terms when I had been in the barrio of Sabana Seca in Toa Baja and somebody started saying “En poco le rompo la cara al guaynabito pendejo ese…” and also heard, “Ese es un blanquito de la YUPI…” I wondered what could a guyanabit@ or a blanquit@ be? Most of the guaynabit@s or blanquit@s were dressed in different styles: some were dressed like hipsters, others dressed like yuppies, followed by west coast-looking surfers while others dressed in European fashions. Most of them were the whitest Puerto Ricans I had ever seen in all my life and had no problem in taking pride in their whiteness.
Many of them spoke English very well but unlike New York Puerto Ricans they spoke like white Americans with the ‘bro’, ‘totally’ and ‘dude’ colloquialisms. They uttered the words, ‘like’ and ‘loca’, in the same sentence every time they spoke. I was impressed by the way they were speaking in Spanglish with an Anglo-American twist because it was these people who were supposed to hate Nuyorican Spanglish and be patriotic ‘Spanish Only’ Puerto Ricans. They behaved very similarly to U.S hipsters who talked about hipsters but never admitted they were the very hipsters they criticized. These blanquit@s were the same way, always criticizing upper-class people without looking in the mirror.
There I was with an old New York Yankees fitted baseball cap, a long white t-shirt, and my crusty Nike sneakers. My black skin covered in tattoos wanted to disappear in thin-air like Chevy Chase in the movie Invisible Man. It was obvious that they enjoyed a good chunk of white supremacy and privilege and didn’t mix with Puerto Ricans of darker hues even if Puerto Rican nationalism stressed that we were all mixed. One could tell that most of the professors at UPR-Rio Piedras came from the same blanquit@/guyanabit@ stock, which probably did not think much of me either, even though they never gave me an unfair grade and even to this day I am grateful for that. It might have been because they had the privilege of being color-blind. Most of those professors also refrained from talking about blackness, stateside Puerto Ricans or anything that questioned their privileged gatekeeping, prophetic intellectual identity and above all; archetypical Puerto Rican identity. I would spend five more years defending the Puerto Rican diaspora and contemporary blackness in those classrooms which was usually rebutted by a simple silent treatment by the professor and the students.
It was surprising for me to see white privileged Puerto Ricans play plena, bomba, and salsa music considering that those are Afro-diasporic derived musical inheritances of black resistance.This usurpation of black culture caused me frustration because I knew that black Puerto Rican culture was more than listening to salsa while getting drunk off of Medalla Lights on the Juan Ponce de Leon Blvd. I noticed that what acclaimed Afro-Puerto Rican scholar, writer and researcher, Isar Godreau argued was right: that there is a selective celebration of blackness in Puerto Rico. A selective blackness that was folklorized and distanced that does not require critically assessing inner-workings that contribute racial inequity and injustice. In these academic spaces most black Puerto Ricans seemed more interested in being accepted as Puerto Rican first before being black and never spoke about racism and white supremacy, always reinforcing racial harmony.
Felipe Luciano’s publication A New Deal Between Stateside and Island Puerto Ricans: The View From a New York Rican (2012) predicted the problems with the ongoing smug institutional racism in Puerto Rico. He comments:
We’ve noticed that your professional class has been coming in droves to America, many with their bourgeois attitudes on class and race, their inability or unwillingness to deal with Black people and their occupation of top level positions in our cities based on their educational attainment. In the main they’ve done well, but, now, they’ve got to take a back seat. They’re hurting us.
Nowhere is Luciano’s comments truer than experiencing it oneself in racist institutional spaces surrounded by blanquit@s/guaynabit@s. Only, in spaces that certainly contribute to glaring racial inequities in higher education and lack of black racial advancement, one has to find out exactly who are these blanquit@s/guaynabit@s that Feliciano mentions and how they came to be.
One of the most well documented and researched works on gated communities in Guaynabo City is Carlos Suarez-Carrasquillo’s dissertation Marketing and Gated Communities: A Case study of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (2014), which examines the emergence of surveillance and luxury gated communities and its relationship to race and class. He posits,
Homogeneity can be accounted, for in these communities in the Puerto Rican context is dominated by income, and not surprisingly, the spheres of power that belongs for the most part to white Puerto Ricans. A clear example is how the term guaynabito has been gaining more prominence in popular conversations. This in my opinion certainly an offspring of the term blanquito which is how whiteness has been defined in the Puerto Rican context that not only includes race but income as well.
Shockingly, however, over the past ten years white middle-class Puerto Rican migration to the United States is on the rise and continues to change the Puerto Rican landscape. The massive population decrease in Puerto Rico and the alarming reconfigurations of Puerto Rican destinations to mainly Florida, the Midwest amongst other regions requires an examination through an Afrolati@ lens and epistemology if we are to condemn black racism and continue anti-racist organizations that began in Latin America and the Caribbean in the 1970s. The term Afrolatin@ was reared in the United States with a transnational cross-fertilization between the United States and Latin American and the Caribbean. This movement stresses anti-black racism within the Latin@ communities themselves who stress a propensity to uphold mestizaje while upholding blackness at the bottom of the racial hierarchy.
What implication do these blanquit@s and guaynabit@s have in the way that transnational Puerto Ricanness is constructed? How does the Puerto Rican construction of whiteness and white supremacy reflect on the massive population decrease in recent years? Are these blanquit@s/guaynabit@s going to be in solidarity with marginalized folks in the U.S upon their arrival, or will they assimilate to U.S notions of whiteness?
The lack of sustained academic attention of this new wave of Puerto Ricans is worrisome from an Afro-latin@ epistemology. Puerto Rican racial politics is in deep connection with the whitewashing of Latinos in the United States in order to give them honorary whiteness. Despairingly, the significant academic and cultural politics of the Nuyorican movement, and Afrlolatin@ movements amongst other community initiatives by important figures like Tato Laviera, Miguel Pinero, Mariposa Rodriguez, Pedro Pietri followed by foregrounding works of scholars like Juan Flores, Miriam Jimenez, Jossiana Arroyo, amongst others, are under scrutiny by many Ivory towers in Puerto Rico and the United States. This reminds us that we have a strong base and our presence cannot be ignored, especially in mainland territory. The Afrolatin@ and Latinegr@s movements are in the rise and would benefit from analyzing the constructions of Puerto Rican whiteness and recent migrations. The crux of my argument suggests that with the increase of white Puerto Rican migration in mostly white American spaces intersected with the already racist culture and customs of Puerto Rican culture, Puerto Rican blanquit@s/guaynabit@s in the United States and the island will continue to efface the Afro-diasporic linkages of black cultural and political heritage of Puerto Rican culture supported by their dissociation with blackness.
According to the lauded Puerto Rican scholar, Juan Flores, more than just economic remittances result as a circular migration between countries of origin and the United States. Flores coined the term “cultural remittances” as the process that results from the cultural exchanges, interactions, and experiences Puerto Ricans have in the ebb and flows of migrations resulting in a fluid re-construction of Puerto Rican identity. Flores has investigated on how Puerto Rican migration from below, meaning; marginalized classes from the U.S and Puerto Rico have influenced Puerto Rican culture with the introduction of converged musical forms such as New York salsa and hip-hop amongst political movements. I predict that due to white Puerto Rican migrations toward predominantly white spaces will create cultural remittances that will rapidly increase the already racist establishment in Puerto Rico and the mainland. White U.S supremacy and racism can also become part of “cultural remittances” affecting Puerto Rico. Conversely, the racist baggage Puerto Ricans bring with them is also worrisome. Simply writing of blackness in Puerto Rico and the United States gives Puerto Rican academics the impression that race only has to do with blackness and nothing to do with whiteness making it fundamental to further investigate how whiteness affects the process of Puerto Rican migration, the construction of a new state-side Puerto Rican and development of racial politics.
White supremacy has increased exponentially in Puerto Rico since the island has experienced economic recession, severe population decrease and talks about statehood further alienating the Puerto Ricans Caribbean heritage. The same way social media creates groups of resistance through global hip-hop movements so has social and corporate media propagated the construction of guaynabitonness in Puerto Rico. Many scholars refuse to write about blanquit@s/guaynabit@s because scholars of them are in fact blanquit@s/guaynabit@s, an issue, which continues to diminish spaces for black introspection in the academy.
Construction of White Puerto Rican identities in the Island
Isar Goudreau argued at the Second Symposium of Arturo Alfonso Schomburg: Culture, Race and Gender (2014) at The University of Puerto Rico-Rio Piedras while accompanied by Miriam Jimenez: “Taino culture is explained thoroughly while black history starts in slavery without mentioning powerful African nations and cultures prior to resistance, capture and slavery.” Indeed, very seldom do Puerto Ricans in general ask the question: How did plena and bomba come to emerge? Was there a black consciousness taking place that created these Puerto Rican elements? Does blackness have to always be examined with a national lens or is African diaspora really credible? Do black Puerto Rican figures like Arturo Schomburg, Tego Calderón, and Mayra Santos-Febres have a black consciousness? How has it been obliterated and swept under the rug by a ruling white middle and upper-class by calling one a vende patria or a Boricua de embuste whenever one claims an existential right to have our reason to exist and recognized as black bodies. There is a white Puerto Rican history; it is called Puerto Rican history. There is white Puerto Rican poetry it is called Puerto Rican poetry. Puerto Rican culture has been unable to shepherd our people out of the wilderness of racism and inequality. U.S colonialism was resisted while simultaneously privileging whiteness and denying any charges of racism while controlling blackness through a nationalistic agenda.
In her book Locked In and Locked Out: Gated Communities in a Puerto Rican City (2013) Zaire Dinzey-Flores, investigates how spatial boundaries are deliberately delineated to enforce and reinforce boundaries of inequality based on social class and race. Gates were erected during the 1970s and 80s, which led to more unequal segregation. Increasing fear of crime led to voluntarily erected gates for the rich and involuntary gates for the poor. The most famous epicenter known to harbor the construction of whiteness and gated communities in Puerto Rico is the city of Guaynabo.
White racialized homogeneity excludes black and low-income people. Guaynabo City was a microcosm and paradigmatic example of the future new waves of white Puerto Ricans that would immigrate to the United States in the 21st century. During the 1970s while the development of gated communities or controles de accesso was on the rise, so were low-income government housing projects. During this time there was a massive return migration from stateside Puerto Ricans usually seeking alternatives to post-industrial economic hardships. It was from these interstices that salsa, reggeaton, and hip-hop germinated, feminist and queer ideas fertilized and flourished into the eventual conduit of poor working-class and Afro-Puerto Rican identities. Institutional racism neglected working-class and black populations and sought to control a Puerto Rican national identity that stressed racial harmony. Puerto Rican became a race in itself that ignored racial hegemonies in the island further exacerbating equality for black people, which increased white privilege.
Institutions like El Instituto de Cultura, Department of Tourism and the University of Puerto Rico amongst other prestigious universities and government agencies are in part responsible for making sure the politics of exclusion within Puerto Rican identity went unmentioned. These universities very seldom teach Black Studies, African Diaspora studies, or Puerto Rican diaspora and migration, which further emphasizes how Puerto Ricanness should be envisioned—another project of white supremacy.
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White middle-class Puerto Ricans would benefit and appropriate the ideological social problems of the 1970s without the benefit of having to engage in self-criticism by scapegoating U.S colonialism as responsible for all the problems in the island, including racism. More compellingly, the crack-cocaine trade was attractive as a counter to poverty within the postindustrial cities of Puerto Rico. Furthermore, during the 1980s many black Puerto Ricans and Dominicans, particularly, young black men, were excluded from both the service and high tech industries that were developing in the island, leading to high unemployment rates among black youth.
The white Puerto Rican middle classes benefitted from these social inequalities and were recruited for well-to-do jobs by family members also colloquially known as palas, which goes unmentioned as a destructive economic element. These inequalities led to emerge of illegal activity as a primary conduit for economic survival amongst poor segments in Puerto Rico. Illicit activities like petty thievery, prostitution and even drug dealing had been a small part of the informal economy of segregated black spaces throughout the twentieth century. Reggaeton, a genre despised by most white middle-class Puerto Ricans would be an important representation of these lifestyles confronted and far removed historically and intellectually from the landscape of Puerto Rican epistemologies. After years of Puerto Ricans’ blatant dissociation with stateside Puerto Ricans for not being “real” Puerto Ricans, has now become a reality for themselves.
Massive Population Decrease 1990s-Present
Puerto Ricans in the island have been an important presence in more recent massive migrations to areas of the U.S. without previously established Puerto Rican communities, which some analysts read as brain drains and as a drastic population decrease. Puerto Rico has been experiencing a massive population decrease in the last fifteen years with a new type of Puerto Rican moving from Puerto Rico to the United States. Although many are poor working-class Puerto Ricans who are seeking a better life, an abundant white Puerto Rican population is also migrating to the United States. Unlike poor working-class Puerto Ricans, many guaynabitos have a strong academic background, enjoy white privilege in the U.S, and continue their studies and thrive among their white constitutes while working-class Puerto Ricans benefit from their whiteness and anti-black attitudes. Many of these white middle-class Puerto Ricans have white counterparts and are creating the new Americans. As Arlene Davila’s states in her book Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race (2008):
In dispute is whether Latinos will mongrelize America, or become the new group on the route to whiteness, the new Italians or Irish Americans; or whether they will become the new “mainstream”, or perhaps, the new base for the Republican Party
In the last decade various racist videos in YouTube have been uploaded by Puerto Ricans from the island to discuss “Boricuas Vs. Nuyoricans The Truth!” stressing the difference of white and sophisticated islanders in comparison with the ghetto uneducated stateside Puerto Ricans. In her article Boricuas Vs. Nuyoricans–Indeed! (2008) Miriam Jimenz argues:
It is to this white identity that our amateur video-maker pays homage citing census figures and mitochondrial-DNA studies of University of Puerto Rico biologist Juan Carlos Cruz to “buttress” his argument that “real” Puerto Ricans owe their genetic and cultural mestizaje to European and indigenous peoples. And it is this understanding of a de-Africanized mestizaje that many Puerto Ricans cling to when they first arrive to the United States.
The perils and advantages of these attacks underscores that not identifying as white is a clear indication that white Puerto Ricans want to continue to enjoy white privilege in the U.S while also claiming Puerto Rican identity through a racist agenda. Stateside Puerto Ricans who refuse to acknowledge their whiteness due to defiance to white Anglo supremacy also do a disservice to Puerto Rican equality due to lacking an acknowledgment of white privilege and multi-dimensionalities within Puerto Rican identity. This indoctrination has been ingrained in them since birth with hopes of forgetting powerful African empires, African slavery, black resistance, the aesthetic Caribbean transformations that resulted from it and also the black consciousness that lead to the creation of black culture. Many recently Puerto Rican migrations have settled in locations that tend to be predominantly inhabited by Anglo-Americans. According to Jorge Duany and Felix Matos’ investigation of Puerto Rican migration to Orlando, the media falsely portrays Puerto Ricans from the island as an educated middle-class, white collar, and from the suburbs while they conclude that many come from working-class backgrounds as well. Yet the report states:
In particular, Puerto Rican communities in Orlando differ significantly from their counterparts in other major U.S cities, such as New York, not only in their historical origins and settlement patterns, but also in their mode of economic, political and cultural incorporation. Economically, Puerto Ricans have been more successful in Central Florida than elsewhere, as measured by their income, occupational, residential and cultural incorporation.
Duany’s and Matos’ 2000 census analysis in Florida also underscores:
More than two thirds classified themselves as white, the highest proportion of all states. Inversely a smaller proportion of Puerto Ricans identified themselves as black or some other race. According to the census, Island-born Puerto Ricans are more likely to describe themselves as white and less likely to describe themselves as black than mainland-born Puerto Ricans.
These investigations are helpful but do not address white privilege and discrimination. Also, there is a possibility that due to living in the U.S south, a region known to be extremely racist, Puerto Ricans may identify as white as a protective measure. This also shows that although not all Puerto Ricans are identifying as white in the United States and prefer the option of ‘Puerto Rican’ or ‘other’ in the census, it tells us that discussion of race is still an unspoken issue in Puerto Rican culture. No longer can we allow racism and white supremacy in the Latino and black communities.
In September 2014, director and activist Cesar Vargas published an article: “The privilege of White Hispanic II, Facts, Stats and Cognitive Dissonance” arguing that white Latinos enjoy more privileges than Black or Afro-Latinos and more opportunities for upward mobility. He also underscores the white middle class complaining about alleged racism for not being white enough. However, Vargas argues:
Do you know what’s the biggest struggle white Latinos face according to these articles/blogs? Being confused for white and having to prove to other Latinos their Latino-ness. Seriously, if that is your biggest struggle then it would behoove you to reconsider your entire existence and why you think that should supersede any other issue we’re facing today.
The article was an extension of his first version “The Privilege of White Latinos: Leaving Out the Rest” that infuriated many white and black Latin@s when it went viral in the Huffington post. He argues “People talk so much about Latin@s denying their blackness but bring up the term white Latino and you will see an extreme reaction, visceral attack by white Latin@s themselves”.  This exemplifies the extent to which white supremacy and racial harmony admonishes any pathway toward racial equality.
Puerto Rican diaspora research needs to focus on white supremacy in the island and the uncritical celebration of “Latin@ middle class” desires that is masked by the continuous mainstreaming of racism in the Latino media, color-blind ideology, and false pan-Latin homogeneous racial makeups. Arlene Davila’s research on the controversial transformations by El Museo del Barrio and other Latin@ institutions discussed in her book Latino Spin (2008) exemplifies how the gains of the Afro-Latin@ movement have begun to faltered due to white Latin@ establishments who are obsessed with “Latininzing” (aka whitewashing) our black identities.
During the 1970s a massive migration of stateside Puerto Ricans returned to Puerto Rico only to be mistreated and referred to as immoral, violent, Afrocentric, lazy, welfare-dependent and drug-addicted felons consumed by American values. Ironically for white Puerto Ricans the script has flipped and now they are the ones who are moving to the United States and “consumed” by American values. In these times, new research agendas should focus on destabilizing any purity with Puerto Rican identity and asking on which side of the struggle with the U.S are they? Are they for white supremacy or are they for equality and justice for all? Will black Puerto Rican island scholars take off their anti-U.S. Black and Puerto Rican Studies blinders and help us achieve racial justice?
The recent white Puerto Rican migration to the United States is further co-opting Puerto Rican identity and culture into a larger project of whitening that, far from acquiring honorary whiteness, has contributed to the multiple marginalizations of Afro-Puerto Ricans, other Afro-Latin@s and people of color in general. Many middle-class Puerto Ricans are strikingly reminiscent of Puerto Rican identity while embracing romanticized articulations of nationalism. More compellingly, it carries its white consciousness and culture through its racist efforts to diminish seeing the Puerto Rican experience through the black lens. Their lens provide a view that stems from European colonialism that perhaps will not leave its inherent influence that now has further spilled to the stateside eradicating strenuous years of counter-culture stemming from the Nuyorican movement to the Afrolatin@ movement.
Afro-Puerto Rican scholar and writer Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro published a short article suggesting that Puerto Rico should follow African studies in the United States amongst other countries. Many Afro-Puerto Rican scholars refuse to deconstruct white supremacy and white privilege. While return Puerto Rican migrants in the 70s were treated harshly, our national identity loyalties obligate us to give white Puerto Ricans a break and a right to be as racist as they want to be simply because we are all colonial subjects. Sympathetically, matters of national belonging and a fear of becoming completely invisible and unaccounted for is the space of liminality that black Puerto Ricans live in.
The options are limited: Black Puerto Ricans in the island either confront white supremacy straight on using their voice and risk being completely obliterated from belonging to a Puerto Rican nationhood, or not take the risk and continue to enjoy a small piece of belonging within a liminal space. It is a space of having a social life in a very limited and marginal space. We need to explore the space of liminalities of national identity in order to understand their fears of confronting an identity that attempts to erase them completely. How do people make the best out of this space of liminality? What does it allow us to do? How can we position ourselves as black bodies in order to have some agency? It goes back to strategic exceptionalisms. If we are to unite against the U.S it will not be by upholding a flag that represents white supremacy.
As a colonial territory there is little inkling in criticizing our own people while achieving autonomy and belonging. Many black subjects that seek independence in the island are often supported by many white middle-class blanquit@s/guaynabit@s who want the same thing, resulting in leaving race in the back seat for another discussion. As a U.S colony there is fear to erode any hopes of achieving independence; hence the fear of critiquing racism and white supremacy. These multiple positionalities are in contradiction sometimes. I say it is time we continue to explore white supremacy and white privilege in Puerto Rico while understanding our own afro-diasporic and multiplicities of black consciousness. Not just our African heritage, like bomba and plena, but our black Afro-Caribbean and diasporic inheritance as well. We do not owe anything to blanquit@s/ guaynabit@s or any other white racist Puerto Ricans.
Miguel Pinero’s poem, A Lower East Side Poem, stresses he does not want be buried in Puerto Rico and instead prefers to be near the stabbing, shooting, gambling, fighting, and unnatural dying and pleads to have his ashes scattered throughout the Lower East Side. This poetic statement may be interpreted as a cognitive dissonance in Puerto Rico for its unpatriotic tone but I wonder: Where are these recently arrived Puerto Ricans going to want their ashes buried at?
William Garcia is an Afro-Nuyorican by way of Staten Island. He is an MA candidate in history at the university of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. His research interests are Afro-Latino history, hip hop, and reggaeton in the Caribbean and Puerto Rican transnational migration. He is currently a bilingual elementary school teacher in Austin, TX.
Bonilla Eduardo, Racism Without Racists: Color Blind Racism & Racial Inequality in Contemporary America, (2010) Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.
Betances, Samuel, The Prejudice of Having no Prejudice in Puerto Rico. 1972. http://eric.ed.gov/?id=EJ081957
Chaves, Linda, Out of the Barrio: Toward a New Politic of Hispanic Assimilation, (1991)
Duany, Jorge, Blurred Borders, Transnational Migration Between the Hispanic Caribbean and the United States (2014), The University of Carolina Press.
Flores, Juan. From Bomba to Hip-hop: Puerto Rican Culture and Latino Identity. (2000) New York: Columbia University Press
Flores Juan. “Créolité in the Hood: Diaspora as source and challenge.” Centro Journal, Fall 2004, number 002, City University of New York, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños.
Flores Juan, The Diaspora Strikes Back: Caribeño Tales of Learning and Turning (2009) by Routledge.
Flores Juan, Jimenez Miriam. The Afrolatin@ Reader: history and Culture in the United States. edited, Duke University Press.
Fountain-Stokes, Larry La, Queer Ricans: Cultures and Sexualities in the Diaspora, University of Minnesota Press, 2009
Godreau, Isar (2006) “Folkloric Others:‘Blanqueamiento’ and the Celebration of Blackness as an Exception in Puerto Rico” in Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness. Deborah Thomas and Kamari Clarke ed. 171-187 Durham: Duke University Press.
Goudreau, Isar Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural Nationalism and U.S colonialism in Puerto Rico, University of Illinois Press, (2015).
Gonzales, Lydia, la Tercera Raiz: Presencia Africana en Puerto Rico. 1993. Centros de Estudios de La Realidad Puertorriquena de instituto de cultura Puertorriquena.
Kantrowitz, Nathan, Algunas Consecuencias Raciales: diferencias Educativas Y Ocupacionales entre los Puertorriqueños Blancos y No Blancos en los Estados Unidos continentales 1950, Revista de Ciencias Sociales 15(3): 387-97.
Luciano, Felipe, A New Deal between Stateside and Island Puerto Ricans: The View From a New York Rican (2012) Latinegr@s Project, http://montyandme.tumblr.com/post/6469349094/a-new-deal-between-stateside-and-island-puerto
Pabón, Carlos, Nación Postmortem: Ensayos Sobre los Tiempos de Insoportable Ambigüedad, 2006, Ediciones Callejon.
Rodríguez Olleros, Ángel, Canto a la Raza: Composición Sanguínea de estudiantes de la Universidad de Puerto Rico, (1974)Rio Piedras colegio de Farmacia
Vargas, Cesar The privilege of White Latino: Leaving out the Rest (9/92014) Huffington Post, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/casar-vargas/the-privilege-of-white-hi_b_5780940.html
Vargas, Cesar: The privilege of White Hispanic II, Facts, Stats and Cognitive Dissonance, UPLIFTT, http://www.upliftt.com/film/the-privilege-of-white-hispanic-ii-facts-stats-and-cognitive-dissonance/
Wise, Tim, Between Barack and a Hard Place: Racism and white Denial in the Age of Obama (2009) City Light Books.
 See Isar Godreau, “Folkloric Others:‘Blanqueamiento’ and the Celebration of Blackness as an Exception in Puerto Rico” in Globalization and Race: Transformations in the Cultural Production of Blackness. Deborah Thomas and Kamari Clarke ed. 171-187(2006) Durham: Duke University Press.
 Isar Goudreau, Scripts of Blackness: Race, Cultural Nationalism and U.S colonialism in Puerto Rico, University of Illinois Press, (2015).
 Luciano, Felipe A New Deal between Stateside and Island Puerto Ricans: The View From a New York Rican (2012)
 Carlos Suarez Carrasquillo, Marketing and Gated Communities: A case Study of Guaynabo, Puerto Rico (9-1-2009), University of Massachusetts-Amherst, pp.: 179.
 Sookhee, Oh, Locked in, locked Out: Gated communities in a Puerto Rican City (2014), Book Review, published the American Journal of sociology, vol. 120, Nov 1, 2014.
 Arlene Davila Latino Spin: Public Image and the Whitewashing of Race (2008), New York University Press: pp. 1.
 Boricuas vs. Nuyoricans The Truth! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDvMf_DLrbE
 Miriam Jimenz, Nuyiricans Vs. Boricaus Indeed!, Revista, Harvard rEview of Latin America. http://revista.drclas.harvard.edu/book/boricuas-vs-nuyoricans—indeed
 Jorge Duany, Felix V Matos Rodriguez, Puerto Ricans in Orlando and Central Florida.
 Ibid, p. 21.
 Cesar Vargas, The privilege of White Hispanic II, Facts, Stats and Cognitive Dissonance (2014)
 Cesar Vargas, The privilege of White Latino: Leaving out the Rest (9/92014) Huffington Post http://www.huffingtonpost.com/casar-vargas/the-privilege-of-white-hi_b_5780940.html
 Op Cit, Miriam jimenez.
 Op Cit, Arlene Davila, Latino Spin, pp. 18.
 Yolanda Arroyo Pizarro, Estamos Listos Para Tener Nuestra Propia Facultad de Estudios Africanos en Alguna Universidad en Puerto Rico?, Revista Cruce, Critica socio-Cultural Contemporanea, Universidad Metropolitana, http://revistacruce.com/politica-sociedad/estamos-listos-para-tener-nuestra-propia-facultad-de-estudios-africanos.html
The Unknown History of Latino Lynchings
(Warning: this article contains images that some may find disturbing. Viewer discretion is advised.)
The following is a summary & analysis of Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review article, “Law of the Noose: A History of Latino Lynching” by Richard Delgado.
Delgado attempts to shed light on a largely unknown history of Latinos, particularly Mexican-Americans in the Southwest U.S., who were lynched between the years of 1846 and 1925. This is roughly the same time that many Blacks were lynched in the U.S., as well. While many know of the ominous and horrific fate that Blacks and African-Americans saw in the U.S., few know of the lynchings that Latinos were met with. Delgado challenges scholars and institutions by trying to unveil the truth on this shameful past, while exploring the history of these lynchings and explaining that “English-only” movements are a present-day form of lynchings.
Although research on Latino lynchings is relatively new, circa 2006-2009, lynchings have a deep rooted history. Such acts can be described as mob violence where person(s) are murdered/hanged for an alleged offense usually without a trial. Through reviewing of anthropological research, storytelling, and other internal & external interactions, there is believed to have been roughly 600 lynchings of Mexicans and Mexican-Americans beginning with the aftermath of the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo (this document essentially ended the Mexican-American war, where Mexico surrendered half of its land to the U.S.). This grim fate of Blacks & Mexicans in the U.S. was intertwined; both groups were lynched by Anglos for reasons such as “acting uppity,” taking jobs away from Anglos, making advances toward Anglo women, cheating at cards, practicing “Witchcraft,” and refusing to leave land that Whites coveted. Additionally, Mexicans were lynched for acting “too Mexican;” for example, if Mexicans were speaking Spanish too loudly or showcasing aspects of their culture too defiantly, they were lynched. Mexican women may also been lynched if they resisted the sexual advances of Anglo men. Many of these lynchings occurred with active participation of law enforcement. In fact the article reiterates that the Texas Rangers had a special animus towards persons of Mexican descent. Considering that Mexicans had little to no political power or social standing in a “new nation,” they had no recourse from such corrupt organizations. Popular opinion was to eradicate the Southwest of Mexicans.
Many of these lynchings were treated as a public spectacle; Anglos celebrated each of these killings as if the acts were in accordance with community wishes, re-solidifying society and reinforcing civic virtue. Ringleaders of such lynchings often mutilated bodies of Mexicans, by shooting the bodies after individuals were already dead, cutting off body parts, then leaving the remains on display perhaps in hung trees or in burning flames.
These lynchings took place in the Southwest U.S., in present-day Texas, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado, and Nevada, amongst other states. The killings were carried out by vigilantes or other masked-men, as a form of “street justice.” These killings became so bad that the Mexican government lodged official complaints to the U.S. counsel in Mexico. Given that this region of the U.S. was at one time Mexican land, and it was shared with Indian/Indios, Mexicans, and Anglos, protests against the lynchings emerged. As legend has it, Joaquin Murrieta took matters into his own hands by murdering the Anglos responsible for the death of mythical figures Juan Cortina and Gregorio Cortes. Such acts were short-lived and perpetuated the conflict between Mexicans and Anglos.
Delgado goes on to cite that only some U.S. historians have written about these Latino lynchings and have pointed out that they occurred due to racial prejudice, protection of turf, and Yankee nationalism left over from the Mexican-American War. However, it has been concluded that such lynchings are a relatively unknown history due to a global pattern of shaping discourse as to avoid embarrassment of the dominant group. Those in power often have the ability to edit official records.
Further exploration reveals that these lynchings were not only edited & minimized outright, but were also ignored or misrepresented due to primary accounts in community newspapers being written in Spanish. Since very few mainstream historians read Spanish or consulted with these records, they were left to flounder. Also, many Latinos knew of these lynchings; their accounts were maintained, shared, and solidified as Mexican lore through ritualistically songs (corridos, actos, and cantares). Many oral cultures have equivalences of such interpretations. Today, Latino scholars are not surprised by history’s ignoring of such events; postcolonial theory describes how colonial societies almost always circulate accounts of their invasions that flatter and depicts them as the bearers of justice, science, and humanism. Conversely, the natives were depicted as primitive, bestial, and unintelligent. Subsequently, colonialists must civilize the natives, use the land & its resources in a better fashion, and enact a higher form of justice. The “official history” is written by the conquerors, thus showing them in the best possible light.
Delgado questions whether such remnants of Latino lynchings may still be present in society today. This can best be exemplified through movements to make English the official language of the U.S., forcing immigrants to assimilate to the dominant Anglo culture. Such actions can be illustrated in movements to end bilingual school opportunities and enforce English-only speaking at jobs, businesses, etc. Postcolonial scholars argue that such movements facilitate children to reject their own culture, acquire English, and forget their native language. These actions have far dire [documentable] consequence, like social distress, depression, and crime. As such, Delgado ventures to say that these actions are an implicit form of lynching.
Delgado ends the piece by saying that hidden histories of aggression, unprovoked war, lynchings, and segregation are corroborated/proliferated today by the mass media and entertainment industry. These groups, along with other scholars, have the opportunity to redress this history and reject further practices against Latinos. Otherwise, marginalized groups find themselves in a position where they are alienated from their family/identity/culture, co-opted, and unable to resist further oppression.
Such history is imperative to the framework of Americana and for acknowledgement purposes, not only because it is a matter of fact, but because this history is relevant to the ancestors of the land. History has always been exploited to benefit those who are in power, so to maintain their structures. However, today, I would argue that current powerbrokers would gain more respect & credibility by being honest with themselves and the actual history. Continuing to deny or ignore the history does an injustice to all. Current Chicanos, Mexican-Americans, and Americans alike would most benefit from this restoration for a few reasons.
First, a corrected version of history helps the people better understand themselves. Americans, Mexicans, the fusion of the two, in addition to people of the world, would recognize a better sense of their true identity & culture. The exploration of such history can perhaps allow for analysis of current rates of depression, crime/incarceration, and socioeconomic status(es). If we, the people, want to understand ourselves, we need to know the truth.
Secondly, if we want to understand why things are the way they are today, we can look to history. This shameful past can assist us in the interpretation of Mexican/American relations. Additionally, I believe that this understanding will help both groups reach a common ground with current relations. Since the year 2000 alone, the FBI has reported over 2,500 hate crimes against Latinos based on race and ethnicity. The U.S. is marred with a nasty & stalled immigration battle that is masked for hatred against Mexicans. In 2014, there is a continued, on-going crisis at the Southwest border affecting many children and families. With the history of these lynchings, it is now time for the “greatest country in the world” to make the wrong things right.
Again, we know that history can repeat itself, but only if we let it. Thus, the entire world needs to be educated on the true history of these lynchings. The more we are educated on such atrocities, the less likely we will allow them to happen again. Attacking the access of this knowledge is the third reason to explore this history. Ignoring the disastrous past does not make the history go away. With the knowledge of the truth, the Latino people can empower themselves to conquer stereotypes and achieve further greatness. Most Chicano/Latino studies programs in schools allow students to learn about their past while achieving higher marks. But in states like Arizona, educational officials have banned Chicano/Latino Studies in schools, and as a result have not allowed students to know the true history of the land they currently inhabit. This is not only a further atrocity, but it reaffirms Delgado’s point that current lynchings, lynchings of the mind, are happening today. This is blatant lying and it is unacceptable; when we lie to our government, we go to prison. When our government lies to us, it’s no big deal.
Furthermore, for those who are tired of people of color in the U.S. raising points of contention about racial issues in this country, you now see the justification. This is why we won’t be quiet about racism, racial prejudice, discrimination, etc. This is why we’ll march in the streets for the Trayvonn Martin’s, reject the school to prison pipeline, and continue to spread awareness until administrative action is taken on a grand scale. Today’s generation is a bi-product and reflection of this history; not only are these “lynchings” continuing to happen, but the masterplan has worked. In order to achieve our full capabilities, we need to reject a fragmented history and seek a personal revolution, which starts with ourselves. And we can achieve this revolution through education & knowledge.
Maximo Anguiano is a scholar, actor, and creative. Follow him on Twitter or Facebook.
The Law of the Noose: A History of Latino Lynching. R. Delgado (2009). Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, 44, 297-312.
Lynchings in the West, Erased from History and Photos. K. Gonzalez-Day (2012). New York Times.
Republican Colin Powell Deals a Death Blow to Hillary Clinton Email Scandal. If Hillary Clinton broke the law, as some Republicans are claiming, then Colin Powell also broke the law.
Clinton’s private email system was based
on the system that Powell used.
On ABC’s This Week, former Sec. of State Colin Powell admitted that he used a private email account for public business. Powell’s explanation of why he used a private email account amounted to a death blow for Republicans who are trying to build a scandal out of Hillary Clinton’s emails.
Transcript via ABC’s This Week:
STEPHANOPOULOS: But I do want to ask you one final question on this Hillary Clinton e-mail controversy. Which, of course, put you back in the news a bit this week, as well.
You were secretary of State during the early days of e-mails. You were one of the first secretaries, I believe, to set up a personal e-mail account. And you pushed to modernize the State Department’s system.
Based on your experience, what do you make of these revelations this week and what would you recommend that she do now?
POWELL: I — I can’t speak to a — Mrs. Clinton and what she should do now. That would be inappropriate.
What I did when I entered the State Department, I found an antiquated system that had to be modernized and modernized quickly.
So we put in place new systems, bought 44,000 computers and put a new Internet capable computer on every single desk in every embassy, every office in the State Department. And then I connected it with software.
But in order to change the culture, to change the brainware, as I call it, I started using it in order to get everybody to use it, so we could be a 21st century institution and not a 19th century.
But I retained none of those e-mails and we are working with the State Department to see if there’s anything else they want to discuss with me about those e-mails.
STEPHANOPOULOS: So they want…
POWELL: (INAUDIBLE) have a stack of them.
STEPHANOPOULOS: — they’ve asked you to turn them over, but you don’t have them, is that it?
POWELL: I don’t have any — I don’t have any to turn over. I did not keep a cache of them. I did not print them off. I do not have thousands of pages somewhere in my personal files.
And, in fact, a lot of the e-mails that came out of my personal account went into the State Department system. They were addressed to State Department employees and the State.gov domain. But I don’t know if the servers the State Department captured those or not.
And most — they were all unclassified and most of them, I think, are pretty benign, so I’m not terribly concerned even if they were able to recover them.
Powell’s description of his own emails as pretty benign matches up with Rep. Adam Schiff’s description of the Hillary Clinton emails that the Benghazi committee has read. According to Sen. Chuck Schumer, Clinton’s private email system was based on the system that Powell used.
The technology available in most federal agencies is woefully outdated. It isn’t surprising that appointees would use technology that is available in the private sector because it is better. Powell’s emails from his personal account went into the State Department system because they were addressed to employees in State. The same is the case with the Clinton emails. Powell’s discussion of his own experience with his personal email account adds credibility to the claim that there is nothing to see here.
If Hillary Clinton broke the law, as some Republicans are claiming, then Colin Powell also broke the law.
The more that is revealed about the use of private email, the more it looks like Republicans are trying to make something out of nothing. It has been a bad day for the Republican Clinton email scandal, and it is only going to get worse for the Republican Party as they continue to go down what looks like a dead end.
The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who watch them without doing anything. – Albert Einstein.