Monday, December 14, 2015
I am not an immigrant
That means two things:
1. I am a US citizen.
2. I'm not an immigrant.
Being from Puerto Rico, I get to hear wonderful questions like:
"Where in Mexico is that?"
"How long does it take to drive here from Puerto Rico?"
"Do you have McDonald's?"
And one of my favorites:
"Do you know Ricky Martin?"
Off the bat, I need to say that although Puerto Rican, my favorite boxer is Juan Manuel Marquez who is actually Mexican. Apart from that, a love for Mexican Cuisine, and a well made margarita, Puerto Rico and Mexico only share language and certain parts of history, meaning Spanish invasions and plundering.
Also, Puerto Rico is not in Mexico and actually quite far from it. Puerto Rico is a small island in the Caribbean while Mexico is one of the largest countries in the world and has both Pacific and Atlantic Coastlines. It borders California, Texas, Arizona and a snippet of, you guessed it, New Mexico. but don't take my word for it, google both just to see the difference in scale and geographic location.
Secondly, until I have an amphibian car, I need to fly anywhere that isn't Puerto Rico.
Now the third question cracks me up. There's McDonald's in India and other NON BEEF eating countries, so trust me... yeah, there are McDonald's. To one up that, the highest selling JC Penney in the world is in PR, we sell the most Krispy Kreme donuts, and are second in consumption of Burger King only to China I believe. Not things to really be proud of in comparison to our rich history, but these are statistical facts. Being a US country, Puerto Rico is actually pretty americanized by Hispanic standards.
Lastly, and this one should be obvious, of course I know Ricky Martin. Everyone in Puerto Rico is some type of cousin to Ricky and we gather in big Martin festivals. :D That means no I don't know Ricky on a personal level, although I wouldn't mind meeting the guy. Wonderful showman and does a lot to promote good things in the world while helping put PR on the map.
So why do I bring this up now? Well it seems the Reverend Al Sharpton and various other people are of the opinion that Puerto Ricans should not be US Citizens. It's something that doesn't necessarily come as shocking to me because I've heard quite a few choice thoughts on behalf of other fellow US citizens. It doesn't matter that we pay social security and Medicare (not having full parity in rights by the way, but that's another topic). It doesn't matter that we have a US passport. It doesn't matter that countless thousands upon thousands of brave men and women of Puerto Rico have risked and given their lives in the armed forces. By the way, feel free to check out more information on the 65th infantry, which is actually only one example of that. But still, that's not good enough... with no logical reason for it, we aren't as worthy of the title of US citizen.
Heck, if our friend Trump gets his way, he'd revoke my US Citizenship along with the lovely plan he has for my muslim brothers and sisters.
The fact remains, due to strategic negotiations, treaties and federal regulations, Puerto Rico is a US territory and as such makes me a US citizen with almost all the rights that you can enjoy. I still can't run for president, but the Supreme Court, running for mayor and other government positions are fair game. You can thank Woodrow Wilson and the Jones Act for Puerto Rican's being recognized as US Citizens and yes, that does mean that in little over 2 years, it'll be 100 years since Puerto Ricans have been recognized as US Citizens.
I'd ask why the hate or resistance against Puerto Ricans, but seeing the news and some of the things that come about, I can't say I'm surprised. Disappointed that people still feel a blind hate towards us? Of course. It's only natural. But I'm not surprised and I'm not saying any of this condescendingly.
I've been subject to a bit of racism on a couple of occasions and to me it always cracks me up a bit because I think racism not only goes against the very foundations of the US, but because racism is just silly childish behavior from people who have a lot to learn, a lot to forgive, and a lot to learn about love.
So suffice for me to smile in retaliation. Besides, I know English may be my second language, but I think I do pretty well in getting my point across. :)
I'll be sharing a bit more about my lovely country during the next couple of weeks, but by all means, share your opinion about why PR citizens should or shouldn't be recognized as US Citizens, although one request: unlike the politicians who are blindly against it, I'd like some dialogue to happen and not just a shouting match. For now though?
Peace, love, and tostones