We have all embraced each other as Puerto Rican’s and we blend well with each other. Locally, everyone is Latino and everyone is Puerto Rican (even those that where not born on the island).
I came to this realization when at the age of 24 I moved to Connecticut and started job searching. I had held a few jobs in Puerto Rico and had job searched before and I had never seen those ridiculous forms asking you for your ethnicity. I guess even when they hand you that form on the Island the options are very few.
Was this a Trick Question
I remember one particular form that brought me memories of taking the CPA Exam. There where so many options I thought I could choose that I did not know which one was the correct one. I ended leaving it blank it just seemed like the right thing.
Everyone Is Human
I lived and grew up on an Island where mostly everyone is Puerto Rican and there are few exceptions but people move past it. Puerto Rican’s on the island are very accepting of diversity and for the most part they see others as human first. So for me to go to a place like the U.S. as an adult and having to put a label on myself, I found it extremely difficult. It brought memories of when I was a kid and lived in Bridgeport, CT where people divided themselves into gangs, nationalities, or the color of there skin. It made me exposed to so many negative things as a child.
Choose A Label
I guess looking at that employment application and seeing the many options, White Hispanic, Black Hispanic, and the other ridiculous terms, made me laugh on the inside and uncomfortable at the same time. Being in the military and always interacting with many people from the U.S. I have been in the presence of many individuals that when you asked them for their background they mentioned they were 1/16 Jewish, 1/16 Irish, 1/16 German, 1/16 Cherokee, 1/16 Spanish, 1/16 Canadian, 1/16 Italian, 1/16 Turkish, 1/16 Portuguese, 1/16 Russian, 1/16 Moroccan, 1/16 British, 1/16 Scottish, 1/16 Bulgarian, 1/16 Swiss, 1/16 of a few other nationalities. I think you get my point on how so many people in the U.S. get so carried away. I am sure it happens elsewhere but on my Island it is less of a complication.
I am 100% Human
In my case I was born in Puerto Rico so that makes me Puerto Rican. I researched my background and realized that my family did not do a good job of keeping track of our lineage. So I could only find information based on what I heard. We have a bit of a mix. The only ancestor I can trace back, is from France. All the other claims that we have European ancestors is hard to substantiate since I really have no evidence to support it. So instead of complicating my life, I realized I am 100% human. I guess since I have never been a fan of symbols it makes it very difficult for me to identify myself with one flag (or any other symbol). Symbols like flags and coat of arms are supposedly there to unite but I have seen more division cost by them than people being united.
If we all make it a purpose to think we are human first, it makes it easier for us to find a commonality amongst other people. I am not a fan of supporting a nationality or group just because I am part of them. I support people because I believe in their values and I find common ground in their interests and mine.
How many times have you been pushed to support something because of tradition or nationality when you clearly don’t believe in that cause?
How do you step away from it? Does seeing yourself as a human first before any nationality help you deal with that issue better?
photo credit by jimg944