Sunday, June 10, 2007

Why I Hate the Puerto Rican Day Parade

Let me start off by saying that I'm half-Puerto Rican. Most of the relatives that I have, or, at least, that I know, are P.R. or a hearty blend. My brothers are half Puerto Rican and half Cuban. I speak Spanish and love that part of my heritage. I'm very proud of my roots and love hispanic culture.

That said, why in the world would I hate a day (week, in fact, that culminates into one day) of celebration in NYC of my Latin heritage? There are several reasons, but I'll start with one main one that really burns my ass.

I often get "Wow, you don't look Puerto Rican (Latin, whatever)." I look very much like the English/Irish part of me. My great-grandparents on my father's side (the P.R. side) are actually from Spain, so I have a mish-mosh; but if one knows what to look for, you can tell that I've got some Latin in me without a doubt. My father's whole family is light-skinned (the Spain-to-P.R. bit) so we all get that.

So, the times when I have tried to get involved and celebrate on this glorious day when all of my P.R. brethren are boogeying to Salsa and basically acting like drunken Irishmen on St. Patrick's day, I often get treated with racism and discrimination like you wouldn't believe. I'm not "dark" enough, nor am I fluent in Spanish well enough to speak rapidly. I once wore P.R. colors and a little flag, and was given more than my share of evil eyes and nasty stares by Latina girls; their dark curls and gold chains almost as impressive as their four kids and their moustaches.

Some folks reading this may say "Well, fine, white girl; now you get a taste of the other end of the stick - experience a little racism since it's usually the whites that are the racist jerks." -- well, I agree with the latter part of that statement, but here's my response to the first part of it: kiss my ass. I don't treat people that way and I don't expect to be treated that way. I hate the fact that I am half Puerto Rican and will get treated like shit by PRs that "look Puerto Rican" at this festival, but someone else who could be...say... full Dominican (and DRs and PRs seem to have this animosity towards each other, go figure) could go and everyone would assume that they had more of a right to be there than me. What the FUCK is that all about? Who said that someone who is Puerto Rican isn't white? Or is only darker skinned? There are white, brown, black PR people. Another thing I hate is that "white, non-hispanic" thing that I always get corralled into checking on applications for things. Christ, what happened to "White, mix-o-stuff?"

Today I was walking by a bunch of guys today who were walking in my neighborhood, coming back from the PR Parade in Manhattan. There is a large Hispanic community around here, and with the great weather, there have been several mini-celebrations all week; the P.R. flag flying and people wearing bandannas, etc. Somebody was playing Latin music and I started to boogie a little while I was walking. The Latino guys said in Spanish "she dances like she thinks she's Latina" and then made a comment that suggested that a white girl who dances like that might be good enough to bang.

So...yeah, I hate the Puerto Rican Day Parade and the whole fucking day. Mainly for the racism that I have to put up with. Let's face it: these kinds of celebratory days that are based around a nationality or specific country can get really out of control, because all it does is give folks a reason to get shitfaced and act like socially retarded individuals in the name of their heritage. The possibilites are endless in relation to bumping into an asshole because everyone who has that nationality or culture in their family tree is out that day getting hammered. This includes St. Patty's Day - but I'll tell you: I may deal with a drunken bastard who hits on me or pukes on me, but I don't deal with someone giving me shit because my Gaelic is non-existent or my hair isn't red enough.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Half lighter puerto rican because of spanish mutting father's side
half british scottish mutting mothers side

I know exactly what you mean
white not hispanic?
treated like I am white
challenged about being hispanic

12:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i sympathize enormously with this post.

myself, i was born half puerto rican, quarter castillian spanish, quarter irish. i am 19 years old and attend college with no degrees.
despite my extensive work experience and intense work ethic, i cannot get a job that is not involve the preparation/delivery of fast food. once, i had a job that didn't pay minimum wage at a nursery and i was fired after one month on the grounds of, to quote: "not fitting in".

at work and school white kids call me a puerto ritard, spick, and mutt. my entire life i have been the butt of cruel and strange jokes practical jokes by white kids. (i.e. shoved at work, i say "dont fucking touch me", i am gang-tattled for cursing by two white boys who deny physical contact, and i lose my job)

and it is no better with fellow hispanics. they call me gringo even though i speak spanish. they hate me for the small amount of white i have in me, and my desire to succeed in life and not go around banging.

racism disgusts me. it is the most prominent problem in my life. i thank you for posting this, i take comfort in knowing there are people in the world that can relate

2:54 PM  
Blogger MissNic said...

Your plight is entirely understandable and saddening.
I'm half Puerto Rican & half Scottish decent and face the same "Wow, you don't look Puerto Rican" reaction, coupled with people sometimes calling me a flat-out liar when I tell them of my heritage, all because looks-wise I am as white as they come, my skin WONT tan, I have blue/green eyes, and NO ass, all I'm missing is the blonde hair. Even my own Puerto Rican family members shun me (but not my sister because she is dark with brown hair/eyes)
It's disgusting that we should have to deal with racism among our own kind, and honestly it hurts to have to tolerate it within my own family.

9:00 PM  
Blogger Ludrigo said...

I sympathize with both of all of you. Growing up in Hawaii part filipino, hawaiian, and caucasian I never dealt with any racism until I was in Miami for four months. God I hate that city. South beach can kiss my ass. I was treated like shit because I couldn't speak spanish but looked latino. Overall most of the hispanic people I have met are wonderful people and proud of their heritage. I just can't stand the few that think that everyone else is beneath them.

10:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I feel you, I almost feel like I can't be apart of any heritage...I'm usually too embarrassed to admit I'm Half hispanic too some people out of fear of being called a spic or "beaner" by racist ignorant assholes, and too my own culture I can barely feel apart of it because of my Russian heritage, I usually get the "I didn't know you were Puerto Rican" business by other spanish people, even though my hair is dark and my eyes are dark, I guess all it takes is fair skin...I can't tan.

like it matters what color your hair, eyes and skin are...Hispanic is an ethnicity not a race, too many Hispanics are ill informed of their heritage and think they're more Puerto rican or whatever because they have tan skin...I'm pretty sure I know much more about my Spanish heritage than half those kind of people know. It is painful though not feeling like I can be apart of any heritage or's unfair racism and I feel it almost everyday.

P.S don't go to the PR day parade anymore, the new generation of PR's are a disgrace to my mothers heritage. They've made a mockery of what real Puerto Ricans are

11:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Im so glad someone actually decided to write something about this because its been eating me up inside for a while now......

I am 17 year old girl Half white and half Puerto Rican and have absoultly no clue where I belong, when it comes to my race. My mamma is White and Father is Puerto Rican yet I never met him, so I know no spanish or any culture background and have no family members to teach me.I do actually look Puerto Rican then I do white I tan well, dark hair, dark eyes yet I still feel so empty.
It feels as if I dont get treated the same as the rest of my friends and family cause of my race, althogh some of them I know are jealous....hehe

Ive been called a gringa, wetback, mexican, and any other name in the book. And most that have called me that were my family members.....Sad aint it?

I have always been scared of the country because of the strong southerns and thats where I live now because some have a real problem with anyone but white people, some Im even scared of telling them that I have more in me so I keep it to myself, thats hard to, because I have so much pride about my heritage and I cant even show it without being discriminated..... I also had a problem with the country kids to because I got away with different things for example: My step sister is all white and me and her had some friends in our neighborhood (again this is a strong country area) and they asked us both a question they said so have you ever went out with a black boy? WTF kinda question is that??!! My sis had said she almost did but no she hadnt. and they were friggin shocked that she almost did and their mouths dropped. But when they asked me they werent as shocked and just kinda shrugged their shoulders and said "oh well your different"... How the heck am I different?

Yet Ive also found that being Puerto Rican can change everything to most african americans. For example this guy came up to me and was trying to get my number then told me that he has never been out with a white girl. I got defensive and told him I wasnt all white and that I was Puerto Rican too...WOW!!!! did that make a difference he was all up for me now, and now he really liked it???? And I have always been able to fit into the african american groups because they like the Puerto Rican side of me but they could care less about the White in me. I was even nicknamed by some as "The Puerto Rican" and my sis as "White Girl" thats not our names and I dont wanna be labled.

However I never really had any encounters with any hispanics messing with me about my race unless they were teasing me but yes I have had a few. I Feel as if I have got so much to prove because I dont know spanish and I have more of a southern accent. Ive had a mexican tell me that I looked Latina until I opened my mouth and it completly threw him off, I felt a little embarresed.....

Anyway all I am saying is Im tired of being labled and someone telling me what I am! I am me! I am Half White and Half Puerto Rican I have much Pride for both and if you cant see me for me then I have no time for you.
I am a Boricua, American
wether its approved by you or not. Or I'll call my self hmmm a Ritz cracker? Haha Either way its what I want to be!!

11:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I know what you feel. Im half white half puertoshit and grew up in the island for 19 years. At school I was always treated like an outsider, at the barrio I was always different cause they saw me as a gringo and even my family would comment on how white I am ( blancusino they said ).

I hate 99% of the fuckin ricans. Fuckin pieces of racist shit down there. On top of that they completely trashed an
awesome island. Fuckin bastards... Needless to say I dont live there anymore.

Awesome rant, thanks for posting.

9:58 PM  

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