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The “disparities” of Puerto Ricans

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Ashley Reyes

Final Paper

The “disparities” of Puerto Ricans

        There has always been this misconception between Puerto Ricans living on the island, and those in the diaspora. The islanders think that once you leave the island, you are no longer truly Puerto Rican. The older people on the island say that those who move away are Americanized and lose a bit of their ethnic identity, as well as their culture. [1] Nuyorican is the name given to Puerto Ricans who migrated to the U.S. and their descendants. While many members of the Puerto Rican diaspora proudly describe themselves as Nuyorican, the term is used as a negative connotation on the Island.[2] 

I am one of those who migrated from Puerto Rico to the Big Apple, and although I don’t see this effect of “Americanization” on myself, there have been people who say otherwise. I am probably not the only one who sees it this way, and most don’t see the effect it has on us.  Most Puerto Rican migrants faced racial and socioeconomic prejudice in the diaspora, and they're tolerated, but not embraced, because they are a little bit different, on the island.

When I used to go back to visit family on the island, it was clear people thought differently of me. I would go visit my old friends, and they would treat me as if I was an outsider, and not someone who knew the island and what it has to offer; they treated me as if I was a tourist. I felt rejected by those I called friends, as if I didn’t belong in the only place I knew as home. I didn’t feel like I belonged in the mainland, I barely understood the English language, the history and cultures here were different than what I knew, but I also started to feel like I didn’t belong on the island either. A woman named Chloe S. Georas wrote a poem titled “Stranded between Vanishing Islands” and I thought part of the poem captured how I was feeling ‘my body is my only land, a land without home.’ [3] Sandra Maria Esteves is a poet who wrote something similar in her poem titled “Here” [4]

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