Are Puerto Ricans Black?

Hey everybody,

Today, I would like to announce our first, “yall talking shit” pushback award. This inaugural award goes to a fella by the name of, Puerto Rico Boricua, who left this comment under our “Afro-Latinas on HHM” video:

“They’re liars, they’ll say anything for us Latinos to buy into afro centric bullshit lol”
Thank you, Puerto Rico Boricua because you have helped us to develop today’s topic.
When we first began preparing for our first month of posts, we searched for Latinos who considered themselves a part of the African Diaspora and as you have seen we’ve found some to discuss this social and political hot topic. And prior to yesterday, they all just happened to be Dominican.
I actually reached out to a dear friend of mine who is Puerto Rican and an educator and I asked her, do you know any Puerto Ricans who consider themselves Afro-Latino. She returned that text saying,
“No. Only know “white” latinos.”
I wanted to ask her what she considered herself, but thought that best to be a discussion saved for a face to face interaction.
The funny thing about this country is that, if you phenotypically present as black, you have no choice but to be anything but black. But if you phenotypically could pass for white, or get a pass for light skin, you can choose to be black…or…white.
And in America, which created the one drop rule and continues to judge people by that one drop, Puerto Ricans can say they’re not a part of the African Diaspora….but…they got that one drop.
And when we get down to it, the disavowing of the African Diaspora means the continued fracture of all people and that the road to liberation for all, get’s longer.
But, let me, let you, hear it from the mouth of an Afro-Puerto Rican, Rosa Clemente.
Her groundbreaking piece, who is black, first featured in the Final Call newspaper (now that’s black), electrified thoughts on unveiling the true history of Puerto Rico;
“The Atlantic slave trade brought Africans to Puerto Rico in the early 1500s. Some of the first slave rebellions took place on the island of Puerto Rico. Until 1846, Africanos on the island had to carry a libreta to move around the island, like the passbook system in apartheid South Africa. In Puerto Rico, you will find large communities of descendants of the Yoruba, Bambara, Wolof and Mandingo people. Puerto Rican culture is inherently African culture.”
Clemente makes the point of connecting us all to a common Africa and that being black, is an inclusive identity marker, not an exclusive one.
For Clemente, her consciousness came as a result of going to college. Cathleen and I have talked about this many times, that most of our consciousness develop on the steps of a university. But what happens to all of those who never receive the privilege of going to college? Why is it that consciousness rising doesn’t begin as soon as our children step their feet into pre school? Why is it, that education for liberation only comes to those who can afford to pay a college tuition?
CREAD is dedicated to supporting the consciousness rising of every black and brown child from the time they leave the comforts of their mothers womb, from cradle to the grave. We believe, education is for liberation and it’s time to start this liberatory education.
In the end, we, here at CREAD, are not trying to convince anyone that they are anything other than what they desire to be. We are merely blowing the dust off of history and asking a lot of questions, especially this one, in a world where some of us can choose to be black or white. What is behind the choice?
As always,
Deep thinkers only!

Leave a Reply