Sunday, June 10, 2018

PR: Pride, Resistance

Today is National Puerto Rican Pride Day, and the streets of Manhattan will play host to an estimated two million attendees. I occasionally post about Puerto Rican matters- in the course of working in the South Bronx for fifteen years, off and on (I was a rover, having assignments all over the NYC metro area), I developed an appreciation for Puerto Rican culture. My friends and co-workers, solid working and middle class people who came from humble origins, embraced me and taught me about their music, their food, their solid family values. I was introduced to the music of Eddie Palmieri and reveled in the Puerto Rican Traveling Theater's annual performance of scenes from my beloved Don Quixote. Working Sunday mornings with a solid mountain-born boricua, I ate so much mondongo that another co-worker was convinced that the two of us were 'a couple of drunks'. Puerto Ricans, and the diaspora Nuyoricans, are an integral part of the metro area's fabric- they tend to work as civil servants: police, firefighters, health care professionals, teachers.

This year, though, in the wake of the revelation (no surprise) that almost five thousand people died as a result of Hurricane Maria, the parade takes on a new urgency. This year, the parade will not only be about pride, but about resistance. The Puerto Rican people were abandoned by the federal government, led by a chief executive and a coterie of advisors who have an antipathy for people of color, especially people de la herencia latina. Last month, a Republican candidate opined that Puerto Ricans who settled in Florida in the aftermath of Maria should not be allowed to vote. As a mental exercise, could you imagine a political candidate suggesting that New Jerseyans resettling in Pennsylvania after Sandy should not be able to vote? Actually, PA being a swing state, don't answer that... Not only are Puerto Ricans US citizens, but Puerto Ricans have a tradition of service in the US armed forces. I find it shameful that such loyal Americans have gotten such a raw deal in their hour of greatest need, but I have hope that they will be a major force in reclaiming the government of the nation. Yo tengo fey en la alma de mis amigos puertorriqueños, y esta fey me da esperanza.

This being a post about Puerto Rico, I can't finish off without posting some good salsa, so here is Puerto Rico by Frankie Ruiz:

Al fin, recuerdan que no son olvidados.


Harry Hamid said...

What happened in the after math of the hurricane in Puerto Rico is yet another horrible black mark on our history. We just keep allowing this crap - being inhumane and allowing the government to treat groups of people in inexcusable ways again and again.

I hope things change, but it looks like we manage to find yet another way to treat people horribly even years after we admit that the old things we did, way back when, might have been bad.

mistah charley, ph.d. said...

i have a sister in law who is a nuyorican, now living in texas - she has 'skin the color mocha' - one of her daughters is the same color she is, the other is as white as all of her completely european-descent relatives - this daughter, my niece, has on her facebook page a picture of herself (a blonde - natural blonde when young, possibly augmenting her blondness now that she is over 30), her mother the mulatta, and her abuela, obviously african in ancestry - pointing out proudly "i am NOT adopted" - when her mother would take her out in her baby carriage passers-by would assume she was the nanny, not the mother - so it goes - walking in to restaurants with our family group i have seen sudden waves of disapproval of our integrated gathering pass over the faces of diners already there - admittedly this was in the south a couple decades ago

maybe the revival of racism in the 21st century will fade as people get used to a more obviously mixed country - and older people leave the scene - or maybe not

chris hedges quotes w e b dubois on what american white people have been like for a long time

history happens - you got to live it, or live with it, and eventually get out of the way