Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pitiricans and Puertoricans: Cacofonías de la Identidad , NYC 1975

As it usually happens in NYC, the new employee in the academic department at an urban college was informally asked about her ethnicity. Her answer, “Pitirican”, was pronounced as tight as anyone who was either very uncomfortable with the question or was suffering from some kind of verbal constipation. If an interviewer wants to find out how a Puerto Rican feels about his ethnicity or his ancestors’ ethnicity all he/she needs is to hear how the interviewee says the word Puerto Rican. Those who open the vowels to highlight each phoneme, Pooerto Reecans, are quite proud and willing to show on your face either their ethnic identity or their ancestors (Given the political turmoil in the Puerto Rican archipelago there are those who claim ancestry only as they identify themselves as USA Ricans and not as Puerto Ricans to distinguish themselves from those born and raised in the islands.) Then there are those who would rather not have to answer such a question, and not because of some kind of politico-philosophical position but because the history of the islands colony and their so called diasporas is too “heavy” to carry around, to talk about..... (To be continued)

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