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The 'Ricans Underclass Status? A Look from within Chicago

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PAGE 1

THE RICANS UNDERCLASS STATUS? A LOOK FROM WITHIN CHICAGO By ADRIANA SNCHEZ RUIZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006 1

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Copyright 2006 by Adriana Snchez Ruiz 2

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To all my Puerto Rican friends who were an inspiration and my support, as well as my parents and other family members and friends for thei r encouragement in achieving this endeavor. 3

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS I thank the chair and members of my superv isory committee for their mentoring and for believing in this project. I especially would like to thank Dr. Helena Rodrigues for her time and her support both personally and aca demically throughout the development of this thesis. She not only believed that I could finish it, but provided the guiding hand that helped me achieve this goal. 4

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TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS...............................................................................................................4 LIST OF TABLES................................................................................................................. ..........6 LIST OF FIGURES.........................................................................................................................7 ABSTRACT.....................................................................................................................................8 1 INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................. ...9 Chapter Notes.........................................................................................................................15 2 THE PUERTO RICAN MIGRATION...................................................................................17 Circular Migration and Puerto Rican Migration to Chicago..................................................24 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................29 Chapter Notes.........................................................................................................................32 3 DEFINING AND NEGOTIATING PUERTO RICAN IDENTITY......................................33 The Tano Revival and Displacement of the African Ancestry..............................................36 Puerto Rican Identity formation in Chicago...........................................................................40 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................45 Chapter Notes.........................................................................................................................47 4 PUERTO RICAN CHICAGO................................................................................................48 Gentrification and its Effect on the Pu erto Rican Population of Chicago..............................51 Division Street/ Paseo Boricua ..............................................................................................56 Conclusion..............................................................................................................................61 Chapter Notes.........................................................................................................................66 5 CONCLUSION................................................................................................................... ....67 LIST OF REFERENCES...............................................................................................................71 5

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LIST OF TABLES Table page 1-1 Puerto Rican Population in the United States by State, 2000............................................16 6

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LIST OF FIGURES Map page 4-1 Puerto Rican Communities of Settlement in the 1960s.....................................................64 4-2 Mexican Communities of Settlement in the 1960s............................................................65 7

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Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts THE RICANS UNDERCLASS STATUS? A LOOK FROM WITHIN CHICAGO By Adriana Snchez Ruiz December 2006 Chair: Phillip Williams Major Department: Latin American Studies This thesis examines the Puerto Rican populatio n in the city of Chicago. Its purpose is to explain and understand why nationa lly Puerto Ricans trail behind Mexicans and other Latinos on particular dimensions of well-being, such as access to employment, education, and proper housing. To do this, I looked at the structural an d social factors that have affected Puerto Ricans likelihood to achieve economic success, and how those factors have limited their ability to improve their livelihoods in th is city. I have chosen to stu dy the Puerto Rican community in Chicago because of the sizeable Mexican and African-American populations present in the city, facilitating comparison among these groups. Th is study found that understanding the success of Puerto Ricans (or lack there of), requires looking at the nature of the Puerto Rican migration to the mainland, the lack of U.S. funded or sponsored programs to assist in that migration process, varying racial and ethnic identities existing on the mainland and the is land, and widespread gentrification in Chicago communities. These factors have hindered the successful incorporation of Puerto Rican migrants into American society and its economy, ultimately limiting Puerto Ricans ability to achieve upward mobility in the United States. 8

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CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION The great immigration from Puerto Rico starte d after World War II, because of cheap air transportation, acquaintance with the mainland acquired by many during service in the army, rising education under the new po litical order on the island [and] the growing pressure of population which has more than doubled since the beginning of the century (Wagenheim and Jimenez-Wahenheim, eds, 2002:249). The economic challenges faced by Puerto Ricans on the island encouraged the migration of many non-skilled workers, who like most immigrants, faced a number of challenges such as racial discrimination, limited a ffordable housing and well-paid employment, etc., despite their legal status in this country. They joined the workforce on underpaid jobs such as service workers, precis ion production, repair, a nd transportation. They were also subject to discriminati on and had to live in central citi es of metropolitan areas, public housing or in areas more commonl y referred to as the hood. Nationally, Puerto Ricans trail behind Me xicans and other Latinos on particular dimensions of well-being such as access to employment opportunities, education, healthcare, proper housing, etc. This lag was caused by stru ctural and institutional factors that will be discussed throughout this resear ch. Furthermore, their disa dvantaged status is troubling considering that Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth, arguabl y granting them more employment opportunities, which in retur n, should allow for more opportunities for advancement. This research seeks to address broadly the question of w hy Puerto Ricans have been less successful than other Latino groups or other minority groups in the United States. Even though measuring success of this group is difficult, this research seeks to show how citizenship at birth does not necessarily mean that an individual will have equal access to opportunities that will help them improve their livelihoods. I will look at the nature of the 9

PAGE 10

migration of this group, as well as structural and social factors (employment market, gentrification, racialization in the U.S. white/bla ck dichotomy, etc.) that have affected their likelihood to achieve economic deve lopment. For the purpose of answering this question I have chosen the city of Chicago for it has sizeable Mexican and Afri can-American populations with which comparisons can be made. I chose to st udy Chicago instead of New York City because there have not been many studies performed on Chicago and though the Mexican population in New York City is growing, is not as sizeable as it is in Chicago. In addition to socioeconomic and demographi c factors, this research considers how Puerto Ricans in the United States found it more difficult than groups which came before them to form their own in-group leadership partly because they lacked a tradition in leadership due to the hundreds of years of colonial administra tion (Wagenheim and Jimenez-Wahenheim, eds, 2002:249). This condition may help explain why Pu erto Rican migrants were less successful than other immigrant groups in creating social networks/enclaves that could help their community to achieve upward mobility as opposed to the downward mobility that has been observed among second and third generation Puerto Ricans. For instance, Puerto Ricans have the highest poverty rates among Latinos, as well as the greatest percentage of femaleheaded households in the country as well as in Chicago.1 Interestingly, Puerto Rican migration to the mainland has not been unidirectional and some authors have argued that this circular mi gration is a disruptive process that prevents migrants and their children from establishing st rong roots and attachments in local communities, labor markets, and institutions such as schools (Prez, 2004:9 4). On the other hand, other scholars have argued against these claims by emphasizing the structural forces underlying these multiple movements, such as deteriorating labor possibilities as a result of economic 10

PAGE 11

restructuring in northeastern cities like New York or changes in minimum wage legislation in Puerto Rico in the 1970s (94). In addition, othe rs have shown that only a specific type of migrant engages in circular migration and that most are settled in particular communities (Prez, 2004:94). It can be argued that all these claims are possible and that they can be used to further explain why Puerto Ricans have not been able to build tight social networks from which they can benefit in order to succeed on the ma inland. The issue of circ ular migration and its implications will be furthered discussed in Chapter 2 of this research. According to the 2002 U.S. Census Bureau s survey on Hispanic population, Puerto Ricans constitute 8.6%, or 3.2 million, of the Hispanic population in this country. Similarly, they are 30.6% of the Latino population under 18 years old, falling behind Mexicans who make up 37.1%, but leading Cubans who are at 19.6% of the Latino population and Central and South Americans who constitute 28.1% of the Latino population. And as mentioned earlier, among Hispanic households, Puerto Ricans have th e largest proportion of single female-headed households (38.3%) as compared to 19.l8% of Mexican households, 17.35% of Cuban households and 23.6% of Central and South American households.2 With respect to education, Puerto Ricans re present 15.5% of the Latino population with less than a 9th grade education, as opposed to 32.1% of Mexicans, 19.2% of Cubans, and 22.3% of Central and South Americans.3 Though Puerto Ricans seem to have performed better in middle school; on the other hand, with respect to the Latino population with a college degree or higher, 14% of Puerto Ricans have a bachelors degree, compared to 7.6% of Mexicans, 18.6% of Cubans, and 17.3% of Central and South Amer icans. In addition, the unemployment rate among Puerto Ricans is higher than other minorit y groups (at 9.6 %), in comparison to Mexicans at 8.4%, Cubans at 6.1%, and Central and South Americans at 6.8%. Finally, 65.1% of full-time, 11

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year-round workers who are Latino with earnings of less than $35,000 (2001) are Puerto Ricans, compared to 76.3% who are Mexicans, 65.5% w ho are Cubans, and 72% who are Central and South Americans.4 These statistics illustrate how Puer to Ricans do sometimes lag behind other Latino groups in the United States even though they are citizens at birth a nd are believed to have certain advantages, including access to educati on and employment opportunities that are not readily available to non-citi zens or other minorities. These statistics contribute to a better understanding of the demographics of Puerto Ricans in terms of their income, educat ion attainment, age, family stru cture, etc., compared to other Latino groups. In addition, these statistics al so help to compare this group to AfricanAmericans. For instance, the pe rcentage of full-time, year-round workers with earnings of less than $35,000 in 2004 for African-Americans was 23.6% (compared to Puerto Ricans 65.1% of the Hispanic population), their unemploymen t rate was 10.7% (Puerto Ricans, 9.6% of unemployed Hispanics)), and the percentage of AfricanAmerican female heads of households was 44.7% (Puerto Ricans, 38.3% of the Hispanic population). Furthermore, with respect to educational attainment, 5.7% of Afri can-Americans have less than a 9th grade education (Puerto Ricans 15.5% of the Latino population), and 12.3% have completed a bachelors degree (Puerto Ricans, 14% of the Latino population). 5 From these statistics, we are also able to obs erve that in many ways, the poverty levels of Puerto Ricans, their unemployment conditions, a nd their household structure help explain why most Puerto Ricans live in poorer neighborhoods, have less edu cational attainment and, as a result, might have more opportunities for interact ion with African-Americans than whites or other minorities. Table 1-1, provides the geographi c distribution of Puerto Ricans in the United States according to state, with California, Connecticut, Massachuset ts, Pennsylvania, New 12

PAGE 13

Jersey, Florida, and New York have the la rgest proportion of the Puerto Rican population (>140,000 people). 6 It has been argued that Puerto Ricans share common ground with African-Americans not only because of their similar socioeconomic experiences as racialized ethnic minorities in the United States but also because Puerto Rican culture is as Spanish as it is African, considering how mestizaje took place on the island during the colonial time (Rivera, 2003:8). In addition, both Puerto Ricans and African-Ame ricans have been integrated into the lowest rungs of the labor structure under similar circumstances and, since then, have lived parallel experiences (Rivera, 2003:25). For instance, their shared history of unemployment and underemployment, police brutality, negative portrayals in academic literature and media, housing and employment discrimination, residential displacement and racial violence [which] have not only been similar but also linked (25). 7 Puerto Ricans have also been racialized as dark, dangerous others who, although different from African-Americans, share with th em a multitude of social spaces, conditions and dispositions (Rivera, 2003:26). It is for thes e reasons that Puerto Ricans have tried to distinguish themselves from the African Americ an population in order to avoid bearing similar racial and socioeconomic stigmas (27). This process was achieved by re assuring their Puerto Ricanness and embracing it as a race rather than just an ethnic origin and also by utilizing cultural markers such as language, the Puerto Rica n flag, and music. Nevertheless, it is their shared history as part of their African diaspora, as well as their shared socioeconomic exploitation, marginalization and cultural formation that Puerto Ricans, as well as other Latinos, and blacks learned they both suffer from oppression, poverty, and share common history and roots (Rodrguez, 1995). These issues will be furthered explore in Chapter 3, in which I will 13

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attempt to define what it is to be Puerto Ri can and how Puerto Ricans on both the island and the mainland view themselves according to their loca tion (island/mainland), see their Puerto Rican counterparts (mainlanders vs. islanders) and negotia te what they believe to be a true Puerto Rican identity with respect to each other and ot her minority groups. Finally, Chapter 4 addresses the history of Puerto Ricans in Chicago sin ce their migration, the characteristics of their employment, and the effects that gentrificati on and their displacemen t from their former communities has had on their livelihoods. 14

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CHAPTER NOTES 1 Chicago Urban League, Latino In stitute, and Northern Illinois University 1994; Latino Institute 1995. 2 U.S. Census Bureau. Survey on Hispanic Population. March 2002 April 17, 2006. April 2006. . 3 Ibid. 4 Ibid. 5 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Current P opulation Survey, Annual Social and Economic Supplement, 2004, racial Statisti cs Branch, Population Division. 6 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, Summary File I. 7 See Nazario, El elemento Afronegroide en el espanol de Puerto Rico; Juan Giusti Cordero, AfroPuerto Rican cultural Studies: Beyond Cultural negroide and antillanismo , Centro 8, no. 1 and 2 (1996): 57-77; Jos Luis Gonzlez, El Pas de los cuatro pesos y otros ensayos (Rio Piedras: Ediciones Hurac n, 1989); Isabelo Zenn Cruz, Narciso descubre su trasero (Humacao: Furidi, 1975). 15

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Table 1-1 Puerto Rican Population in the United States by State, 20001 State Puerto Rican Population State Puerto Rican Population New York Florida New Jersey Pennsylvania Massachusetts Connecticut Illinois California Texas Ohio Virginia Georgia North Carolina Wisconsin Hawaii Michigan Maryland Rhode Island Indiana Arizona Washington Delaware Colorado South Carolina Nevada Tennessee 1,050,293 482,027 366,788 228,557 199,207 194,443 157,851 140,570 69,504 66,269 41,131 35,532 31,117 30,267 30,005 26,941 25,570 25,422 19,678 17,587 16,140 14,005 12,993 12,211 10,420 10,303 Oklahoma Louisiana Missouri Minnesota Kentucky Alabama New Hampshire Kansas Oregon New Mexico Utah Mississippi Iowa Alaska Arkansas District of Columbia Maine Nebraska West Virginia Idaho Vermont Montana South Dakota Wyoming North Dakota 8,153 7,670 6,677 6,616 6,469 6,322 6,215 5,237 5,092 4,488 3,977 2,881 2,690 2,649 2,473 2,328 2,275 1,993 1,609 1,509 1,374 931 637 575 507 1 Adapted from: Prez, Gina M.2004. The Near Northwest Side Story. Berkeley : University of California Press. p. 11. Original source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census, 2000, Summary File I. 16

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CHAPTER 2 THE PUERTO RICA N MIGRATION Puerto Rico was occupied in 1898 by the Unite d States after its vi ctory in the SpanishCuban-American war. Puerto Rico, being in the Caribbean, was considered geopolitically strategic as it would serve as an important econo mic route to Central and South America and as a strategic military location for defending both U.S. mainland as well as U.S. interests in the rest of the Americas (Genova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:7). As Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States, and as such, it became an enclave of the U.S. economy (7), the U.S. government sponsored Puerto Rican migration by developing official labor recruitment campaigns established on the island in order to contract migran t workers to satisfy the labor demands present in the mainland industries (G enova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:8). The Puerto Ricans who migrated were comprised of many people from the rural areas, specifically displaced farmers and farm laborers, whose activities were considered economically marginal (Rodrguez, 1989: 1). Interestingly, the encouragement of immigra tion from the island by the U.S. was partly due to the break of the Cold War and the United St ates need to prevent the spread of communist ideas in the western hemisphere (Grosfoguel 2003) As new independent countries emerged in the periphery of the world economy in the aftermat h of World War II, it created competition and preoccupation between the two super powers of th e United States and the Soviet Union about how to control the elites of the newly indepe ndent countries if the old colonial means of domination had been destroyed (Grosfoguel, 2003: 107). The Truman administrations response to this challenge was to engage in an ambitious foreign ai d and technical-training programs to ideologically co-opt Third World elites [and] increase the symbolic capital of the U.S. model of development vis-vis that of the Soviet mode l (107). In other words, by 17

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achieving social and economic development in Pu erto Rico, the U.S. sought to present the success of its program on the island as a model fo r other Latin American countries to follow and prevent them from following the communist ideal. Part of this challenge constituted negotiations with the Luis Muoz Marns colonial government in Puerto Rico during the late 1940s in order to: 1. Conceal the colonial status of the island by creating a more subtle form of colonial relationship called the commonwealth. 2. Include Puerto Rico in U.S. federal programs for health, education, housing, and other infrastructural programs without its paying federal taxes. 3. Support Operation Bootstrap, which consisted of attracting U.S. laborintensive industries by offering tax-exemptions and a cheapo-wage labor force. 4. Reduce the cost of air fares between the island and the mainland to foster mass migration. (Grosfoguel 1992). Also after World War II, there emerge d a large demand for cheap labor for manufacturing industries in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Thus, in order to achieve the development program of Puerto Rico, the U.S encouraged the emigration of the lower strata of the island to allow the upward mobility of those who stayed behind (Grosfoguel, 2003:109). As a result, Puerto Rican migration to the mainland served as an escape valve for the increasingly poor popul ation and as a way to relieve the socioeconomic tensions created by the lack of indus trialization of the island. In return, this migration helped the Truman administration use Puerto Rico as part of the core-states geopolitical symbolic strategy to gain sym bolic capital vis--vis the Soviet Union, (Grosfoguel, 2003:110) and this model, if prove n successful, could be sold to Third World elites as an alternative for development that di ffered from the Soviet Union model. However, resources were channeled to the islanders and not to those who had migrated. Consequently, the migrant group did not rece ive proper state support in bilingual programs, education, health, housing subsidies, and job training (110). This lack of programs to help Puerto Rican 18

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migrants incorporate successfully into the Amer ican society, resulted in these migrants moving into urban ghettos as unskilled low-wage workers with one the highe st poverty rates in the United States (Grosfoguel, 2003:110). The Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. mainla nd and the lack of programs to assist those who migrated presents an occasion to compare to the migration of Puerto Ricans to another Latino group, namely Cubans. Cubans had been present in Florida since the late-19th century through the establishment of a flourishing cigar industry in 1885 by Vicente Martnez Ybor and Ignacio Haya. Ybor and Haya purchased fort y acres of swamp near Tampa, drained the land, and set about building a company town which woul d become part of a steamship line between Havana, Key West and Tampa. Consequently, by the early twentie th century there were nearly 50,000 to 100,000 Cubans traveling between Havana, Key West, and Tampa. In addition, the small Cuban elite tied to U.S. companies invested their money on Wall Street, sent their children to U.S. colleges, vacationed in this country and many became citizens (Gonzlez, 2000:110). Furthermore, in addition to th e political refugee status gr anted to the Cubans in the aftermath of the Cuban Revolution (and the subs equent establishment of a communist regime) the U.S. government provided them with assi stance programs under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment Act. Cuban refugees were instantly eligible for public assistance, Medicaid, food stamps, free English courses, scholarships, and low interest college loans as well as able to secure immediate business credit and start-up loan s (Gonzlez, 2000:110,111). To date, no such comparable assistance has been given to Me xicans, Puerto Ricans, or other Latinos. These benefits given to Cuban migrants, helped put Cubans in a more advantageous position vis vis other Latinos. Not Dominicans, Haitians, or Central Americans (Guatemalans, Salvadorans, Nicaraguans), who were fleeing fr om civil wars and pers ecution in their own 19

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countries, received any such servi ces or legal status as the Cuba ns fleeing Castros communism. In addition, the experien ce of Cubans in the U.S. after their massive exodus from the communist regime was different from other minority groups because in the white/black racial dichotomy of the United States, they were not racialized in the same ways Puerto Ricans and Mexicans who were, often considered dark, dangerous, others (Rivera, 2003:26). This is partially due to the differences in race and class of the early C uban migrants compared to Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, who were often dark (at least in the white American social imagery) and low skill workers, while the Cubans tended to be light-skinned professionals. Puerto Rican migration to the mainland was di fferent than that of the Cubans because they were not fleeing political repression. In ad dition, their migration was unlike of that of the Cubans because it was influenced by the crisis and decline of U.S. export-oriented agriculture on the island (sugar and tobacco) betw een the 1930s and 1960s. This process resulted in massive unemployment and shift on the island toward ex port-oriented, light, la bor-intensive, machinebased industry; the uneven imposition of welfar e-state reforms; and a mass market for lowincome housing and individual mechanized tr ansportation (Santiago -Valles and JimnezMuoz, 2004:89). The subsequent re-incorporation of Puerto Ricans within the restructured world-economy led to the migration of manual da y laborers, landless peasants, and distressed small-property owners. Even though, many of these immigrants brought non-transferable skills, they also brought transfer able skills that could not be us ed. As Handling (1959) argues, Puerto Ricans had to accept whatever jobs were available even if th ey had skills or had training in white-collar occupations, they still had to take the jobs being offered to them (70). The migrants who left the island during th is period (1960s) moved into the rundown buildings that had provided housi ng for Italians, Jews, and Poles in northeastern U.S. cities and 20

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Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s. As they settled in these cities, the Puer to Ricans joined the similarly colonized populations from the U.S. South, U.S. Southwest, and Mexico who were nevertheless being incorporated within a much a broader spectrum of the U.S. economy (Santiago-Valles and Jimnez-Muoz, 2004:89). Th is broader spectrum of the economy can be observed through how Puerto Ricans working as seasonal migrants in the U.S. mainland began overlapping with other ways of exploiting peripheral labor in the United States such as share-cropping, the convict-lease system, the bracero programalongside higher-wage labor in the industrial produc tion of capital consumer goods (90). Nevertheless, during the 1960s, Puerto Ricans successful struggles for labor and civil rights made them too expensive for the incr easingly informalized manufacturing sector (Grosfoguel, 2003:165). At the same time, the de-i ndustrialization of New York, as well as other cities, led to the loss of thousands of manufact uring jobs. Many of th e manufacturing industries transferred their operation to peripheral regi ons around the world, such as Asia and Latin America, where they could find cheaper sources of labor. Moreover, th e manufacturing industry, targeted new Latino immigrants, whether legal or illegal, since they lacked the rights that internal colonial subjects such as Puerto Ricans had acquired th rough their citizenship (Grosfoguel, 2003:165). The subsequent excl usion of Puerto Ricans from surviving manufacturing jobs in the North east and Chicago, and the raci alized, segregated educational system that excluded Puerto Ricans from the best public schools, produced a redundant labor force that could not reenter the formal labor market (Grosf oguel, 2003:166). Further, the economic restructuring that t ook place on the island and the extension of federal minimum wage levels to Puerto Rico, as well as the strengthening of capitalist views around the world and its subsequent need worldwide for cheaper labor after the 1980s, led 21

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employers to substitute different segments of Puerto Rican labor on the island with immigrant labor from other places in the world, such as As ia and the rest of the Caribbean Basin (SassenKoob 1985; Duany 1995). Unfortunate ly, those who were affected by the changes on the island migrated to the U.S. only to find that Puerto Ri cans in some U.S. cities were facing the same challenges. Employers replaced them from the few manufacturing jobs available with cheaper laborers. This led to the creati on of what is considered the Pu erto Rican underclass, but which Ramn Grosfoguel and Sherri Grasmuck (1997) have referred to as a redundant colonial/racialized labor force, which for the most part encouraged Puerto Ricans to engage in alternative forms of employment (whether legal or illegal) in order to survive (Grosfoguel and Grasmuck 1997). Even though the Puerto Rican migration of the 1940s through the 1990s was comprised mostly of working-class individuals, in the 1980s and the 1990s a more socio-economically mixed migration which included students and prof essionals took place. None theless, in spite of this rise in class differentiation among Puerto Ricans on the mainland, according to estimates from 1998 and 2000, 30.4% of all Puerto Ricans live d below the official poverty line, with 7.3% receiving some form of public assistance and an une mployment rate of 8.3%.1 Hence, Puerto Ricans as a group have steadily continued to be the poorest among Latino groups, and they have also remained among the poorest U.S. citi zens (Genova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:11). An important consequence of the long-wave of global economic dec line that led to the de-industrialization of cities su ch as New York was a change in the demographic profile of Puerto Ricans, who had overwhelmingly settled in the Northeast. In response to the economic changes in the Northeast, Puerto Ricans started to move in significant nu mbers to Illinois, Ohio, and Indiana. As a result, the percentage of Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. Midwest, including 22

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the city of Chicago, increased from 4 % to 10% during the late 1960s and early 1970s (SantiagoValles and Jimnez-Muoz, 2004:89). However, moving to a city like Chicago did not constitute a qualitative shift for Puerto Ricans toward different kinds of job opportunities than those found in New York City, but was rather a quantitative shift. Puerto Ricans were trying to find more of the same kind of subsistence ac tivities that had starte d to decrease in the northeast (Santiago-Valles and Jimnez-Muoz, 2004:89). Due to racial segregation and limited afford able housing, Puerto Ricans became spatially and socio-economically concentrat ed in different areas establis hing a variety of identifiable barrios (Santiago-Valles and Jimnez-Muoz, 2 004:97). For the most part these new ghettos were established in close proximity to, or intermixed with, other Caribbean and African American populations similar to East Harlem (E l Barrio), New York Citys Lower East Side (Loisaida), southern Brooklyn (Los Sures) the South Bronx, Roxbury in Boston, Northern Philadelphia, and the Division Street sector of Chicago (Santiago-Vall es and Jimnez-Muoz, 2004:97). The socio-economic marginalization of Puer to Ricans had a negative impact on future generations: 50% of all Puerto Rican children in the United States in 1998 still lived below poverty level (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000) Furthermore, the unemployment rates for Puerto Ricans continued to fluctuate betw een 2.17 times (1990) and 2.38 times (2000) the general United States average pe rcentages. By the year 2000, Puerto Ricans continue to have one of the highest unemployment rates (8.3 %) and most prominent poverty levels (30.4%) among all of the U.S. Hispanic population groups.2 By 1999, 64 % of all Puerto Ricans in the U.S. had obtained a high school diploma or mo re education (up from 58%in 1991), performing better than Chicanos and Mexicans (49.7%), but still performing behind the equivalent 23

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proportions for U.S. whites, whose high school completion rates had increased to 87.7% during this time (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000). Nonetheless, Kelvin A. Santiago-Valles and Glady M. Jimnez-M uoz (2004) argue that this dramatic increase in educational attainment appears to be associat ed with the increasing social polarization among Puerto Ricans in the United States si nce the 1980s, rather than any single statistical anomaly between Puerto Ricans and Chicanos and Mexicans (107). To explain this discrepancy, they show that despite ha ving higher poverty levels than U.S. Mexicans, by 1999 there were proportionally more Puerto Ricans than U.S. Mexicans in the U.S. mainland who were full-time, year-round workers with annual earnings of $35,000 or above (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000). Consequently, the presen ce of this particular Puerto Rican population, which was moderately in a better economic situation, threw off th e curve and contrasted sharply with the continuing bleak conditions among most Pu erto Ricans in the Un ited States during the 1990s (107,108). In other words, the evidence found by Santiago-Valles and Jimnez-Muoz illustrates that though some statistics may show that Puerto Ricans had higher earnings than Mexicans in 1999, it does not necessarily mean th is group does not have higher poverty rates than Mexicans. Instead, this discrepancy is expl ained by the influx of Puerto Rican professionals from the island during this time, which could have possibly skew the statis tical curve and portray a reality that was not experienced by the mainland Puerto Rican community in general. Circular Migration and Puerto Rican Migration to Chicago As it was discussed earlier, the U.S. o ccupation of Puerto Rico in 1898 and the subsequent consolidation of U.S. agrarian capitalism and shrinking small-scale subsistence cultivation helped set in mo tion population movements to places like Hawaii, Arizona, California, and most notably, New York City (Prez, 2004:10). In addition, between 1900 and 1940, more than ninety thousand Puerto Ricans mi grating from the island (even though some 24

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would later return to Puerto Rico) seeking employment in New York, Pennsylvania, and New Jersey.3 This massive migration was encouraged in itially by the large demand for cheap labor for manufacturing industries in urban centers after WWII, and then by the post-war deindustrialization of cities such as New York, which led Puerto Ricans to the Midwest seeking similar job opportunities. Furthermore, in 1946, single Puerto Rican women were recruited by a Chicago-based employment agency to remedy th e citys maid shortage, hence contributing to the growth of Puerto Rican s in this city (Prez, 2004:9). According to Prezs study (2004), nearly one-third of th e islands population circulated or emigrated to the United States between 1955-1970, as Puerto Ricans continued to leave the island in large numbers (10). Later by the early 1970s, however, the de-industrialization in Northeastern and Midwestern cities led to the migr ation of Puerto Ricans to other cities in the U.S. due to the decline in manuf acturing jobs; it inversely reduced migration from the island as it became a less attractive option for working-class migrants (Prez, 2004:10). Nonetheless, this trend would change in the mid 1980s and 1990s, wh en migration from the island increased yet again (10). Puerto Rican migration has not been unidirectional and it is in fact circular as return migration began in the mid 1960s and then increased considerably by the early 1970s and in some years even surpassed emigration from the island, a trend that cont inued through the early 1980s.4 Interestingly, in similar ways to other late-twentieth century migrations, Puerto Rican migration had evolved to include a variety of new destinations, multiple movements, and sustained connections among different places, a phenomenon popularly regard ed as a va y ven (or vaivn), movement, an experience of coming and going familiar to many Puerto Ricans, and one that has provoked serious debate both inside and outside the academy (Prez, 2004:11). 25

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For some scholars, the vaivn tradition is a consequence of economic changes both in Puerto Rico and on the mainland and it has becom e a culturally conditioned way for migrants to improve their economic and social position (Pr ez, 2004:12). According to sociologist Marixsa Alicea (1990), the migrants and their families cons truct and utilize dual home bases, which is observed in how Puerto Rican migrants built these home bases on the isla nd and the mainland, in order to maintain social and psychological anchors in both the United States and Puerto Rico and belong simultaneously to several dwellings.5 It can be argued that for other scholars like anthropologist Jo rge Duany (2002), these dual home bases developed through circular migration or mobile livelihoods practices is also a flexible survival strategy that helps enhance the mi grants socioeconomic status. For Duany, the poor economic conditions on both the island and the mainland have led Puerto Rican migrants to create and make use of extensive networks, including multiple home bases in several labor markets. These transnational practices not only counterweigh the fact that economic opportunities are unequally distributed in space, but they also undermine the highly localized images of spac e, culture, and identity that have dominated nationalist discourse and practice in Puerto Rico and elsewhere. 6 These transnational practices therefore, illustrate the difference in economic opportunitie s in both the mainland and the island, which makes it in some ways preferable for Puerto Ricans to leav e the island and look for better employment opportunities in the mainland. Similarly, these pract ices deconstruct what island Puerto Ricans have believed to be an authentic Puerto Rican id entity as well as its culture for mainland Puerto Ricans have recreated traditional Puerto Rican cu ltural practices and have also created a new sense of identity that goes in hand with their experiences in the United States. The ways in 26

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which circular migration have undermined these h ighly localized images of space, culture, and identity argued by Duany will be furthered studied in Chapter 3. The dual home bases and mobile livelihoods practices are better illustrated in Gina M. Prez ethnographic study (2004), which looks at the links betw een Puerto Ricans migrating from the community of San Sebastin de las Vega s del Pepino in Puerto Rico to the city of Chicago and from Chicago to back to this community in the island. Her findings show that circular migration can be understood, in the sa me way observed by Jorge Duany, as a flexible survival strategy used by mi grants to negotiate changi ng political-economic realities circumscribing their lives and to enhance their ec onomic status (94). Pu erto Ricans move to Chicago searching for job opportunities and th e means to provide a better socio-economic environment; however, more often than not, they are faced by dead-end jobs and poor living standards. As a result, many families return to Puerto Rico seeking a safer environment for their children and families or to improve thei r living conditions and according to Prez, they may subsequently return to Chicago for better h ealth care, jobs, or scho oling. Prez further argues that the decision to move rests partly on the migrants assessment of which place offers the best opportunity to meet household needs, bu t it is also conditioned by decades of migration practices that have become woven into the fabric of Puerto Rican island and mainland communities (94). Prez ethnographic study fu rther helps scholars understand the difficulties undertaken by those who return to Puerto Rico after being in Chicago. One of her interviewees, Elena explained: It wasnt easy. After living in Chicago where you have your good job, and you would eat out on Fridays and maybe Saturdays too and to come to Puerto Rico I had to get used to cooking breakfast, l unch and diner It wasnt easy After one has lived in Chicago, its not easy to adjust to life here I would never tell anyone to come to Puerto Rico [to live] (107). 27

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As it is observed, Elenas experience in engagi ng in this reverse migration illustrates the difficulties faced by her family on the island. It also shed light on how life in Chicago may be hard, but returning to the is land does not necessarily guarantee an improvement in their living conditions. Perezs study is filled with different examples outlining the struggles these families faced once they returned to the island. For exampl e, she includes how many were seen as the outsiders and in many ways, their cultural iden tity had been renegotiated as they adapted to U.S. lifestyle; their Puerto Ricanness was ofte n questioned by those still living on the island. Her study of the different families shows that it is harder for the children to adjust because their Spanish is often not perfect, and they tend to speak Spanish with an American accent as opposed to a Puerto Rican one. Women also have an arduous time in adjusting because they are subjected to live up to constructe d norms of behavior or dress and when they fail to do so, they are punished and labeled de afuera [women who have lived in the U. S. and come back to Puerto Rico], which Prez argues is a process that demonstrated the ways in which a glorified Puerto Rican past depends on racialized constructions of women and motherhood (Prez, 2004:116). These changes are blamed on the influences of American popular culture which are found to threaten traditional Puerto Rican conservative/cultural norms. Nonetheless, despite these challenges, the women interviewed eventually adju sted to life in San Sebastin and believed it was the best move they had made for it provide d a safer environment for their children. Nonetheless, other writers have argued that the continual circulation of Puerto Rican migrants is a key contributor to increased economic immiseration and poverty among Puerto Ricans on the mainland, since such movement disrupt s families and peoples participation in the labor market. 7 Though such a claim may be applied to certain circumstances, it is almost 28

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impossible to generalize and agree that circular migration has c ontributed to the immiseration and poverty of the Puerto Rican community. As it has been observed, it is the poverty levels of this community as well as their struggles in the United States what has caused Puerto Ricans to return to the island on the first place in an attemp t to improve their livelihoods. Perhaps it can be argued that the way this movement disrupts their participation in the labor market has to do with their unavailability to be promoted in their jobs for they are constantly in the move and once they return they are given the same position and have to start over again to advance. Nonetheless, this issue cannot be observed in absolute terms and one needs to look at what structural and institutional fact ors are affecting Puerto Rican s ability to find good paying jobs that will improve their living conditions and co nsequently, will not encourage their migration back to the island. Conclusion The Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. ha s been an ongoing process influenced by the labor needs of the U.S., the American response to the Cold War challenges, and the crisis of global economy after the 1960s. The first large wave of Puer to Rican migrants were skilled/urban laborers between 1900 and 1945 and dur ing this period, Puerto Ricans they were actively recruited as cheap labor for the manufacturing industries in New York City after the first and second world wars. The sec ond large wave of Puerto Rican migrants during the 1950s and 1960s were mostly unskilled/rural which were di splaced by the decline of U.S. export-oriented agriculture on the Is land (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Unfortuna tely, though the Migration Division established offices in New York and Chicago in order to help the migrants to find jobs (Lapp 1990); it was not able to guarantee or intervene on behalf of the workers wh en their civil rights were violated. Furthermore, Puerto Rican mi grants were subjected to extremely negative discriminatory public opinion [as well] overc rowded and dilapidated housing, a lack of 29

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institutional support for educa tion, and poor medical services (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Hence, it can be argued that these factor s have contributed to their so cio-economic marginalization in American society. The Puerto Rican migration to the mainland, as it was discussed, has been varied starting with the move of displaced farmers and farm labor ers in the 1940s as well as students and other professionals after the 1980s. Puerto Ricans migrating to the U.S. had to take the jobs available to them regardless of their skills, and were considered a cheap labor force until the 1960s civil and labor rights movement made them somehow unaffordable to manufacturing companies due to their citizenship status and the rights entitled to them as such. Furthermore, the restructuring policies within the U.S., the de-i ndustrialization of ma jor cities with high concentrations of Puerto Ricans, and the restructuring policies on the island, led to more unemployment and their subsequent migration from cities such as New York and, from the island itself, to other areas in the American Mid-West. With respect to circular migration it was seen how there is an ongoing debate regarding this issue; and though, some scholars have argu ed that these dual home bases and mobile livelihoods practices provide a flexible survival strategy used by Puerto Ricans in response to their declining livelihoods and their poor living conditions; othe r scholars believe that these processes hinder their participation in labor market and it disrupts families. Nonetheless, the ethnographic study performed by Gina M. Prez (2004) has shed light in how while many Puerto Ricans engage in circular migration in search of ways to improve their lives; and at the same time, it can also inhibit them from being able to advance in their current jobs and it does disrupt families as the children and the women have to ad apt and learn traditional Puerto Rican cultural values in order to be acc epted in the community. 30

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The lack of programs tailored to help those who first migrated to successfully incorporate into the American economy, as well as racial segregation and limited affordable housing, has perpetuated their marginalization in this societ y. This claim is better exemplified by Antonio Pantoja statement gathered in a February 2000 newspaper interview, The underlying problem is indifference by both government and the public, including economically comfortable Puerto Ricans, to a society where children are not taught by the schools they attend, families do not have decent housing to live in, where the color of your skin will keep you out of the services and resources all citizens are entitled to. (Navarro 2000) (c.f. Santiago-Valles and Jimnez-Muoz, 2004:108). This research will continue to study how th is socio-economic marginalization has had a negative impact on this groups ability to achieve upward mobility. In addition, it will look at how Puerto Ricans define and negotiate thei r identities vis--vis African-Americans and Mexicans as well as the relationship of bot h tension and cooperation among them. 31

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CHAPTER NOTES 1 Data compiled by researchers at the Lewis Mumford Center for Co mparative Urban and Regional Research at the State University of New York at Albany, based on pooled estimates from the U.S. Census Bureaus Current Popul ation Survey (March 1998, March 2000); (cf. Logan, 2002). 2 Except Dominicans, whose unemployment rates a nd poverty levels surpass the Puerto Ricans. 3 History Task Force 1979; Snchez-Korro l 1994 (cf. Gina M. Prez, 2004:10). 4 Melndez 1993, 15-17 (cf. Gina M. Prez, 2004:10). 5Alicea (1990) writes that many Puerto Rican migrants create dual home bases on the island and the mainland, a process that allows them to m aintain social and psychological anchors in both the United States and Puerto Rico and belong simultaneously to several dwellings (14). See also C. Rodrigues 1993; Melndez 1993b; and Ortiz 1993. 6 Duany, 2002:235 (cf. Prez, 2004:12). 7 Tienda and Daz 1986; Chv ez 1991 (cf. Prez, 2004:12) 32

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CHAPTER 3 DEFINING AND NEGOTIATING PU ERTO RICAN IDENTITY This chapter does not attempt to define Puerto Rican identity in absolute terms, but it seeks to achieve a better understa nding of how Puerto Ricans de velop such an identity on both the island and the mainland and how this identity is renegotiated as Puerto Ricans interact with other minorities and are incorporated into the American mainstream. Furthermore, this research is limited for it cannot extensively explore racial dynamics among this population; yet, it will engage in an effort to understand how these raci al dynamics play a role in how Puerto Ricans ultimately define themselves. According to Puerto Rican national discourse, Puerto Rican culture has three historical roots: the Tano Indian, the African, and the Spanish (Duany, 1998 and 2002; Ramos-Zayas, 2003). These three roots and the product of their mestizaje have contributed to the formation of a national identity. Nonetheless, the degree in which Puerto Ricans choose to what root their mestizaje comes from depends highly in the way th ey are racialized on the island and on the United States mainland, as well as how they prefer to identify themselves. As a result, it is observed that some Puerto Ricans will claim to be more Spanish than Tano or black and vice versa. Furthermore, as it will be observed, Puerto Rican national discourse has exalted its Spanish heritage and simultaneousl y glorified their Tano ancestry at the expense of their African legacy as part of a political a nd racial discourse that helps them differentiate themselves from African-Americans as well as other Latino groups. The racial component of Puerto-Ricanness thus emphasizes those elements from the Tano Indian, African, and Spanish heritage that are most closely associated with anti-colonial resistance. This anti-c olonial resistance discours e is thus articulated in different ways. During the Puerto Rican struggles against the Spanish ru le, they emphasized their Tano heritage and 33

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while in Chicago, popular education programs a nd nationalist activists persisted on stressing those characteristics of the triad which were considered to represent resistance (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:197). These practices can be observed in the ways in which Puerto Ricans have acknowledge their African ancestry during the Civil Rights moveme nt as well as embracing their Spanish heritage in contrast to the white American other. Whereas on the island whiteness implies havi ng more Spanish Blood, in the diaspora it is used to portray members of the dominant American society, los blancos (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200). What is observed theref ore is that on the island coal itions between popular and elite sectors required that a large mulatto popular class evoke a raci al discourse that valorized whiteness and thus reinforced dominant racial hi erarchies (Guerra, 1998:213; cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200). As a result, Puerto Ricans in the Un ited States perceived valorizing whiteness as evidence of acceptance of the U.S. classifi cation scheme, while they simultaneously acknowledge their inability to br eak into the power granted to whiteness from the standpoint of racialized subjects (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200). The United States popular constructions of cla ss differ from those present in Puerto Rico for it is race, not class, which is the key co mponent of popular consciousness. Consequently, Arlene Torres (1998) argues that even as people are categorized by phenotype, ancestry, class, and status, the acceptance of blacks is shaped by cultural lightning (296). This cultural lightning is not necessarily determined by the colo r of an individuals skin, but by their success in leaving behind social and cultu ral markers, which are related to blackness and are thus thought to be negative. The assumption therefore is that upward mobility cannot be attained if individuals retain a black identity for there exis t negative cultural ascriptions associated with blackness (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:201). 34

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The process in which this cultural identity is formed is historical as seen by the division of classes in colonial Pu erto Rico, in which the creole class was oppressed by the Imperial power exerted by Spain, and in turn was oppressing one other social class in Puerto Rico, the class made up of slaves, until their emancipation in 1873, of landless laborers, a nd of small craftsmen (Gonzlez, 1993: 8). In Puerto Rico, as for much of Latin America, the construction of race is closely related to class and as such, class tends to whiten individuals as they rise up the class hierarchy. Grosfoguel and Georas (2002) also argue that Puerto Ricans need to be seen as a category colonial/racial subjects of empire rather than simply racial subjects [for] racial categories are built in relation to colonial histories and they need to be looked at together (155). What they argue is that focusing on the persons color does not address the fact that, although diverse colonized groups may be phenotypically undistinguishable from dominant colonizer groups they can nevertheless be racialized as inferior to others in a colonial situation. This situation is exemplified by the relationship betwee n the Irish within the British Empire as well as white Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mainland (155). This condition is furthered illustrated by Jose Luis Grosfoguel (2003) in which no matter ho w blond and blue eyed a person may be, or whether she or he can pass, the moment that person identifies herself or himself as Puerto Rican, she or he enters the labyrinth of racial Otherness. As a result, Puerto Ricans of all colors have become a racialized group in the social imaginary of Euro-Americans, marked by racist stereotypes such as laziness, viol ence, criminal behavior, stupidity and dirtiness (165). In order to understand how Puerto Ricans navigate the l abyrinth of racial otherness, the following section of this chapter will discuss how some Pu erto Ricans have chosen to exalt their Tano 35

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ancestry as a way to create an identity of their own and further differentiate themselves from African-Americans in the American white/black social imaginary. The Tano Revival and Displacem ent of the African Ancestry The Tano were the pre-Columbian indi genous population that once inhabited the Caribbean, but are now largely presumed to be extinct since the 18th century (Dvila, 19971998: 33). Historically, during and after Puerto Ricos struggle fo r separation from Spanish rule, the Tano were the only non-transplanted popula tion on the island and as such it became a channel of patriotic devotion a nd a tool to affirm a legitimate and continuous connection to the soil by the Creole Puerto Rican elite vis vis the Spanish colonial auth orities (37). Moreover, this preference of exalting the Tano past of the island was also due to how this population was viewed as a noble and generous legacy (38) in contrast to how African heritage was seen as backwards and less gracious though they have cont ributed greatly to Puerto Rican culture. Jorge Duany (1998) argues that until the mi d-twentieth century, an thropologist often characterized the Tanos as an inferior race, compared to Europeans, but superior to Africans (65). Furthermore, anthropologists, archaeologist s, and historians explicitly compared Tanos and Africans, consistently coming to the conc lusion that the Indians were physically more attractive, intellectually more capable, and culturally more developed than blacks (65). Nevertheless, as Puerto Rico ch anged colonial masters in 1898, fr om being Spanish territory to becoming a commonwealth of the United States, the nationalist first turned to Spanish, not indigenous culture, as a form of resistance a nd affirmation against Am ericanization (56). The term Tano came into widespread use during the early decades of the twentieth century, when academics such as Antonio Bachiller y Morales, Jesse Walter Fewkes, and M.R. Harrington used this phrase to refer to th e whole indigenous populat ion of the Western Caribbean (Haslip-Viera, 2001:2). Later during the 1960s and ea rly 1970s years of political 36

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tumult and cultural change, many alienated Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latinos in the Northeast and Middle West sought to reaffirm their identities in diffe rent ways. As a result, they changed their dietary habits, re vitalized Latin music, invented new art forms, and studied Caribbean history and culture (H aslip-Viera, 2001:3). By the e nd of the 1980s, this movement resulted in the creation of a number of Tano tribes, counc ils, and associations that emerged at the grassroots level in different parts of the United States (3). These groups thus became ways in which the de-franchised Puer to Ricans ad other Caribbean Latinos could develop their own sense of identity within the United States. Even though the Tano has also been utilized as a symbol of nati onal identity in New York and the Diaspora, this role has been most of all directed at enha ncing the status of a minority group through the assertions of cultura l distinctiveness (Dv ila, 1997-1998: 40). In particular, the Tano has been more directly associated to social movements and grassroots activism in the United States than on the island, where the T ano has had a long history of appropriation by nationalist elites and cultural institutions (40). Though Arlene Dvila (1997-1998) argues that whereas on the island, the nationalist discourse promotes that we are a ll Puerto Rican, veiling the subordi nate status of sectors of the population according to race and limiting the recognition of distinct groups among Puerto Ricans in the Unites States, the discourse of multiculturalism has provi ded larger opportunities to see the Tano culture as a distinct unit (41). In addition, I argue that the revival of Tano identity in the mainland is another effort from th e Puerto Rican community to differentiate itself from African-Americans and asse rt an identity of its own to avoid bearing similar negative stigmas. 37

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This Tano revival is matched by an Afro centrist movement found among Puerto Ricans and other Latinos from the Caribbean who tend[ed ] to be persons of darker skin color who are defined as mulatto, black or African in appearance (Haslip -Viera, 2001: 5). Nonetheless, those Puerto Ricans who were aware of the contempt for African-Americans by American society, were also aware of the African-Ameri cans who not only sought to improve their lives but also shared the belief in the inferiority of Black people (5). Puerto Ricans thus responded to the discrimination against them by emphasi zing a cultural uniqueness that presumably transcended racial concerns. For instance, as Puerto Ricans we re subjected to the institutionalized racism of the United States, th ey could and often didhold themselves apart as being neither white nor black, neither oppressor nor oppressed (Jimnez Roman, 1998:116). However, this attitude became more problematic to maintain during th e tumultuous 1960s and early 1970s, when calls to take a stance against the status quo were invariably phrased in racial terms. Hence, considering that Puerto Ricans were seen as people of color in the black-white imagery of American society, and as such, Puerto Ricans shared similar experiences of racial discrimination; for those who were of noticeable African descent, encountering the Black Power movement upheld a significant meaning (116) for it gave them an opportunity to break away from the discrimination they were subjected to and be entitled to ci vil rights and equal opportunities. In the debate about who were the first Puerto Ricans, Jos Luis Gonzlez (1993) argues that by 1534 the island was so depop ulated that there were hardly any people of Spanish descent, there were only blacks, and it s hould be concluded that the fi rst Puerto Ricans were actually black (10). Gonzlez further ar gues that the Spanish ingredient to the formation of a popular Puerto Rican culture must have taken the form of agricultural laborers, mostly from the Canary 38

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Islands, imported to the island when the desce ndants of the first African slaves had already become black Puerto Ricans (Gonzlez,1993:10). For this reason, Gonzlez claims that the first Puerto Ricans were in fact black (10) What he is claiming is that it was the blacks, the people bound most closely to the territory which they inhabited who had the greatest difficulty in imagining any other place to live (10). He also explains that the black population was the first to feel Puerto Rico as their true home and becau se they had no roots in or loyalty to Spain, Corsica, the Balearic Islands, or indeed anywhere else (39). Gonzlez assertions that the first Puerto Ricans were indeed black bring into the academia two important arguments. First, that it is plausible to consider that the first Puerto Ricans were black as they constituted the majority of the population during the early colonial period and their allegiance belonged to Puerto Rico as opposed to anywhere else. Secondly, though the African contributions to Puerto Rican culture are extensive, this black ingredient to Puerto Rican national identity is often omitted in favor for an exaltation of the Spanish heritage and an, almost mythological, emphasis on the Tano ancestry. Nonetheless, because Puerto Rican migrants constituted a large numbers of mulattos, black, and mestizos, they were initially mistaken in the white social imaginary for AfricanAmericans due to the social construction of racial categories in the United States, where having one drop of black blood is enough to be clas sified as black (Grosfoguel, 2003:164). Ironically, accepting their African historical heritage, they found common ground in the United States to participate in the civil rights movements along Africa n-American leaders in an attempt to improve their socio-economic status by challenging the status quo. 39

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Puerto Rican Identity formation in Chicago Puerto Ricans in Chicago challenged their racialization as black in the U.S. black-white dichotomy as well as their identity as Latino by creating an alternative nationalist identity that emphasized cultural and political distinctiveness while securing social autonomy and citizenship rights. In order to achieve this they utilized historical narr atives and nationalist symbols to reject dominant racialization pr actices while alternately oblite rating and exacerbating internal racial divisions on behalf of Puerto-Ricanness (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:36). Similarly, in Chicago cultural authenticity entailed exhibits of ethnic and natural solidarity such as participating in festivals and grassroots politics as well as living in the zones marked as Puerto Rican. Their participat ion in community-based projects and being knowledgeable of Puerto Rican history and politic s in the United States relied on being marked as Puerto Rican and deploying this markedness for navigating the soci al margins (RamosZayas, 2003:143). Nevertheless, defining Puerto Ricanness is often contradictory and ironical among islanders and mainlanders for while ma inland Puerto Ricans would organize salsa parties to promote unity between islanders and mainlanders along national lines, Puerto Ricans from the island generally avoided those events in favor of partie s with rock or Motown music (145). Furthermore, Puerto Rican writers a nd poets in the U.S. cr iticized the irony of assimilation among Puerto Ricans; for while Puerto Ricans on the island maintained that Puerto Ricans from the U.S. were assimilated, the island ers were the ones who [at e] McDonalds in the American discotheques (Laviera 1981; authors translation) In some of the interviews carried by Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003), it is observed how island Puerto Ricans questioned the authenticity of Chicago Puerto Ricans. For instance one of her interviewees, Francisco Ruiz, an electrical engineer who worked for General Electric and lived in the Chicago suburbs observed: Some Puerto Ricans from here do not even speak 40

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Spanish, or if they do, they speak a dialect, Spanglish. They dont even speak English well either. They speak Black English, not the English we learn in high school in Puerto Rico or in college (Ramos-Zayas 2003:148). His comment cl early outlines the tensions often present between Puerto Ricans from the island and th e mainland when trying to define and find an authentic Puerto Rican identity. Similarly, Chicago islander professionals tended to use isla nder and mainlander distinctions to point differences in attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles between themselves and their U.S. coethnics for they are aware of the di scriminatory attitude toward Puerto Ricans in the U.S (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:149). As a result, they have also created alternative Puerto Rican identities that continued to reproduce their dominant status, the one they experienced on the island on the basis of their social privilege (149). What it is obse rved then, is how this Chicago islander elite has used what they see as their cl ass status in the island to avoid bearing the same discrimination that mainland Puerto Ricans face as they are socio-economically marginalized along with African-Americans. Puerto Ricans in Chicago have also reacted negatively to the term Nuyorican For example, they first declared that the term did not apply to them, and secondly, they defined their status in contrast to the N uyorican Other specifically by focusing on class identity and racialization process that satu rate the term on the island. As Edna Acosta-Beln (1992) explains, Nuyorican, or Neorican -a hybrid of New York and Puerto Rican, or new Puerto Rican initially had negative c onnotations, especially as it was used on the island. When the term was first starting to be used, it suggested a cultural impurity that the island elite attributed to uneducated younger generations of Puerto Ricans from El Bronx, a racialized space (980). 41

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Moreover, Nuyurican was the first terms to articulate the distinctions between Puerto Ricans from the island and the mainland. The term or word Nuyorican entails a double marginality founded on both class and blackness. As a result Nuyoricans are often described as dark, young, and displaying mannerisms and dress styles that some Puerto Ricans on the island associ ate with black youth in the United States (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:33). Being Nuyorican in many ways exemplifies the ways in which second and third generations renegotiate their Puerto Ricanness vis vis the islanders, for they identify themselves as Puer to Ricans in every sense of the word; even though, their interactions with the African American co mmunity has shaped other cultural markers such as language, dress, and the wa y they carry themselves. With respect to Chicagos Puerto Rican barrio, the public perception of physical encroachment, displacement, and gentrificatio n reshaped national identities by inducing a popular nationalism that conflated cultural and politic al modalities. Hence, this conflation led to the portrayal of a Puerto Rican citizenship id entity that was not incompatible with separatist nationalism, but in fact contributed to the negot iations of boundaries in re lation to other Latinos, African-Americans, and whites (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:36) Interestingly, this nationalist discourse employed by Puerto Rican activists, while differentiating itself from African-Americans, al so selectively incorporated and emphasized blackness in order to achie ve three main goals. First, black ness was related to the struggle of African-American civil rights leaders, many of wh om held nationalist views, rather than solely with an ahistorical African heritage root or folklore.1 Secondly, the activists explicitly acknowledge that Puerto Ricans were racialized as black or similar to black by dominant society and other Latinos alike (Ramos-Zayas 2003: 199). Finally, Puerto Rican blackness 42

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could be negotiated as different from Af rican-American blackness. Emphasizing this distinction between how Puerto Ricans see them selves and how a dominant other sees them further fueled the growth of a Puerto Rican nationalism in Chicago. The racialization of most Puerto Ricans as proxies for blacks in the bi polar racial system of the United States, the nationalist claimed, is another attempt by domin ant society to oppress Puerto Ricans as it oppresses African-Americans (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 199). For Chicago Puerto Ricans, resistance entails not only a reconfigur ation of the racial ideology of mestizaje, but also a recognition that the embodime nt of Puerto Rican Creole culture, the jbaro, is a militant black, rather than the passive white peasant of Puerto Rican national imaginary (Torres, 1998; cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200). The fusion of jbaro and negro in Puerto Rico modifies how race has been essentializ ed in racial categories in the Puerto Rican cultural imaginary; thus, this union correspond s to a movement towards blackness (Torres, 1998:295-95). Consequently, the jbaro is no longer constituted a white-skinned peasant, but rather he is a jbaro negro. In Chicago, as this movement became nationalized; Puerto Rican blackness was not to be conflated with African American blackness (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:201) Despite these common grounds found with th e African-American community, Puerto Ricans in Chicago have the highest segregati on rates in relation to both white and AfricanAmericans of all Puerto Ricans in the United States (Massey and Bitterman 1985; Massey and Denton 1989). The predominantly Latino ne ighborhoods throughout th e city occupy the interstitial zones between African-American neighborhoods a nd diminishing white working class communities (De Genova 1998). The Puerto Rican community has traditionally been located in the area encompassed by the thr ee adjacent Northwest Side neighborhoods of Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan Square and the heart of the Mexican community, 43

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especially Pilsen and La Villita [Little Village], which is on the Southwest side of Chicago. On the other hand, the African American community is largely concentrated in the West and South parts of the city (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 209). Puerto Ricans are the only racialized group that has re sisted a hyphenated identity (Grosfoguel, 2003). In some ways this resistance is partly associated to their resistance against being fully assimilated in a society that marginalizes and racializes th em. The discrimination they face reinforces a feeling of belonging to, and an idealization of, the imagined place of origin (Grosfoguel, 2003: 141). Furthermore, th is feeling becomes more pronounced with the continuous circulation of Puerto Ricans from and to the island thanks to the lack of border restrictions. As a result, many second-, third-, and even fourth-generation Puerto Ricans in the United States preserve a feeli ng of belonging to the Puerto Rican imagined community, even if they have never visited the island (141). However, though Puerto Ricans in the mainland continue to construc t their identity as Puerto Rican, they face challenges of becoming a cu ltural hybridity in the United States which is not tolerated not only by nationalist intellectuals on the is land but also by Puerto Rican middle classes (Grosfoguel, 2003:142). This intolerance is shown by the prejudice against nuyoricans and, how this population in return, questions some of the racist and elitist representations of Puerto Rican identity on the island (142). The cultural hybridity of the Puerto Ricans in the United States represents a form of identity that includes elements of African-American culture which threatens island el ites efforts to conceal their African heritage while privileging the Spanish culture (142). 44

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Conclusion As it was observed Puerto Rican identity and national discourse is founded around three historical roots: the Tano Indian, the African, and the Spanish and the subsequent mestizaje process undergone among these populations. Moreover, we learn that Puerto Ricans at different times choose what root to emphasize to navigate the racial discourse in both the U.S. and the island, and that those roots have al so served as a form of resistan ce. Hence, they have exalted their Tano past against the Spanish colonial ru le, then exalted their Spanish blood to resist American imperialism; and later would recognize their African ingredient to find allegiances during the civil rights movement. Though Puerto Ricans in the mainland continue to construct their identity as Puerto Rican, they face challenges of becoming a cultura l hybridity in the United States which is not tolerated not only by nationalist intellectuals on the island but also by Puerto Rican middle classes (Grosfoguel, 2003:142). This intolerance is show n by the prejudice against nuyoricans and how this population in return questions some of the racist and elitist representations of Puerto Rican identity on the island (142). The cultural hybridity of the Puerto Ricans in the United States represents a form of identity that includes elements of African-American culture which while maintaining an identity of its own. In addition, Ramn Grosfoguel (2003) argues th at there exists heterogeneous ways of being Puerto Rican that are not limited by the use of a common language, or a common anything for that matter (142). His study s hows that many middle-class Spanish-Speaking Puerto Ricans on the island are more assimilated to American white middle-class cultural practices with their suburban houses cable TV, racist representati ons of Puerto Rican identity and mass consumption of fancy shopping cente rs than many non-Spanish-speaking Puerto Ricans in the United States living segregated in urban ghettos (142).2 His findings are 45

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important for it reminds scholars that we cannot po ssibly define Puerto Rican identity in absolute terms and even though the core culture of what it means to be Puerto Rican remains and it is transmitted from one generation to another, this identity is always evolving and being negotiated in their daily lives. Interestingl y for mainlanders to be Puerto Rican is not only about choosing a color in the black-white racial dichotomy in the U.S., but it ha s become a race in itself. Furthermore, as it was discussed throughout th e chapter, by asserting their Puerto Rican identity, Puerto Ricans on the mainland attempt to first, differentiate themselves from AfricanAmericans to avoid carrying similar stigmas of oppression and prej udice; and secondly, it provides a sense of belonging as they are viewed as the other in the American social imaginary and as such they are rejected even though they are fellow American citizens. 46

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CHAPTER NOTES 1 Interestingly, in Puerto Rico, blackness is di splaced onto specific marginal populations, like Dominicans or Puerto Rican retu rn migrants, rather than depl oyed as inherent to Puerto Ricanness (cf. (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:261). 2 See Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003) study pages 147-152. 47

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CHAPTER 4 PUERTO RICAN CHICAGO Puerto Rican migration to the city of Chicago during the 1930s and 1940s was encouraged by the de-industrializa tion of manufacturing in cities such as New York as well as by the United States Operation Bootstrap in the 19 50s, an effort to industrialize Puerto Rico by giving American companies incentives (such as ge nerous tax breaks, free land, and low interest loans) to move their operations to the island (C ruz, 2004: 9). However, this operation failed to create enough jobs for the growing Puerto Rican population; therefore, pr omoting immigration to Chicago and other cities in the search for empl oyment opportunities in the steel mills, factories, and other manufacturing companies (9). This migration wave had been facilitated by the Jones Act of 1917 which gave U.S. citizenship to all island-born and U.S. mainland-born Puerto Ricans. In addition, in the beginning of 1946 a private Chicago-based employ ment agency, Castle, Barton and Associates, recruited Puerto Rican men to work as unskilled foundry laborers a nd Puerto Rican women to be employed as domestic workers in Chicago and surrounding suburbs such as Waukegan (Edwin 1979; Padilla 1947; Padilla 1987). These early migrants moved into different neighborhoods such as Woodlawn the Near North Side Lake View Lincoln Park Uptown West Garfield Park East Garfield Park and the Near West Side However, by the 1960s most Chicago Puerto Ricans were concentrated in Lincoln Park, West Town, and Humboldt Park and shared these neighborhoods with Mexican and Polish immigrants as well as African Americans (Padilla 1987). Map 4-1 illustrates the primary and seco ndary Puerto Rican communities in the 1960s before undergoing gentrification. Even though Puerto Ricans were recruited to work in manufacturing industries, most of their immigration took place duri ng the historical period when the traditional unskilled and 48

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semiskilled jobs, which had represented the initial step of integration to the American institutional life for a large numbe rs of European immigrants, we re in steady decline as major economic activities in many cities and were bein g replaced with white-collar and professional jobs (Padilla, 1985:43). As a consequence, for Puerto Ricans in Chicago the decrease of employment opportunities in these kinds of factor ies led to their concentr ation in non-industrial, poorly paid, menial, dead-end jobs (43). For instance, Elena Padillas (1947) study Puerto Rican Immigrants in New York and Chicago: A Study in Comparative Assimilation of the first group of Puerto Rican immigrants to Chicago in the 1940s, shows how many of the newcomers found employment in the restaurant business as busboys, sweepers, kitchen help, waiters, as messenger and delivery men in stockrooms and packaging areas of many stores, and as janitors (cf. Padilla, 1985: 43). The U.S. Census of Population corrobor ates that during the 1960s and 1970s, most Puerto Ricans worked in the industrial sector of the city (Toro-Morn, 200 1:27). Changes in the global economy during the 1980s, however, caused many factories to clos e their businesses and move overseas to more profitable places in the Caribbean and Central America. Ironically, ToroMorn (2001) argues, these industrie s closed their operations in Chi cago to open plants in Puerto Rico, thus further cementing the links between Chicago and Puerto Rico (21). Many Puerto Rican families were laid-off and many of them were not able to recover economically and slipped into poverty, a problem that hit the Pu erto Rican community hard in the 1980s (ToroMorn, 2001:27). The effects that the relocation of manufacturing factories had on the Puerto Rican community are further discussed in Martha Tien das article Puerto Ricans and the Underclass Debate (1989). In this articl e, she argues that structural f actors, namely, rapidly falling 49

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employment opportunities in jobs where Puer to Ricans traditionally have worked and the concentration of Puerto Ricans in areas experi encing severe economic di slocation, are largely responsible for their disproportionate impoverish ment in comparison to Cubans and Mexicans (Tienda, 1989:107). Furthermore, her case st udy shows that the weak ened labor market position of Puerto Ricans and thei r consequent impoverishment have roots in their placement at the bottom of an ethnic hiring queue coupled with residential concentration in a region that experienced severe economic dec line and industrial restructuring after 1970 (Tienda, 1989:107). Martha Tienda uses Stanley Liebersons cl aims that a discriminatory hiring queue results when employers activate their prejudices and preferentially hire workers on the basis of ethnic traits rather than market skills 1 as a way for explaining the growing inequality among Hispanic workers. For example, she states that Mexicans have been preferred workers in agricultural jobs at l east since the mid-1800s (as opposed to Puerto Ricans who have been actively recruited in manufacturing companies) (108). Fo r Tienda, though the incomes of agricultural workers are low compared with thos e in other low-skilled jobs, when evaluated against the alternative of unemployment or nonparticipation in th e labor force, agricultural work is preferable because it at least ensures some earnings (108). As a result, the massive industrial restructuring of the Northeast led to the disappe arance of many unskilled and unionized jobs, which in return has dimmed the employment prospects of all Puerto Ricans (108). This analysis is inte resting and helpful in understand ing why Puerto Ricans economic performance lags behind other minority groups for it draws a contrast between the jobs they have traditionally performed, the lack of those job opportunities due to de-industrialization of manufacturers, their subsequent unemploymen t, and the situation experienced by other minorities groups such as the Mexicans. For inst ance, her study shows how Mexicans, whom are 50

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employed in other sectors of the economy which have proven to be more stable (i.e. agriculture), have been able to achieve economic security desp ite the low-wages earned in such industries, but that are in return preferable than no wages at all. Gentrification and its Effect on the Puerto Rican Population of Chicago By the late 1960s, gentrification in Linc oln Park, an attractive neighborhood near Chicagos North Side lakefront became desirable to developers and young, white middle-class professionals (Cruz, 2004:9). This displacem ent was furthered encouraged as De Paul University, McCormick Seminary, and large hospita ls began to develop in this area during the 1960s (Aspira 1996; Padilla 1987). The subsequent rise in property taxes and the creation of expensive new homes [then] forced thousands of Puerto Ricans to move from the up-scale Lincoln Park to more affordable, work ing-class neighborhoods (Cruz, 2004:9). In addition, the renewal projects under taken during the 1960s and 1970s through the Chicago 21 Plan in order to transform the dow ntown area into a regional, national and global business district further contribut ed to the dislocation of Puer to Ricans (Betancur et al, 1991; Perez 2000). These renewal projects seeking to rehabil itate this area throu gh the development of more profitable businesses and encouraging white-m iddle class professionals to move into this neighborhood, thus created buffer zones to pr otect the downtown area from the low income communities around it, causing the displacement of low-income Latino, African-American, and white residents (Betancur et al, 1991; Per ez 2000). These buffer zones became areas economically developed in which Puerto Ricans and other low income groups had no access to because they could no longer afford the increasi ng property values. Puerto Ricans were also forced to move out of the Near West Side neighborhood along Harrison Street to make way for the University of Illinois at Chicago Campus (S uttles, 1968). As a result, Puerto Ricans moved into West Town and Humboldt Park, creating Chicagos first Puerto Rican barrio 51

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In the late 1990s, a new wave of redevel opment hit the city encouraged by Mayor Richard M. Daleys initiative to attract affluent whites back into the city (Flores-Gonzalez, 2001). Nonetheless, this program and the subs equent arrival of middleand upper-class whites preoccupied community residents who remembered how the rapid influx of affluent whites to Lincoln Park and Wicker Park preceded and precip itated the displacement of Puerto Ricans from these areas (Flores-Gonzalez, 2001 : 10). For Puerto Ricans, whose income is considerably lower than that of white-middle class professionals, the movement of this white population into their neighborhoods is preoccupying. For instan ce, the influx of affluent whites does not only threatens the Puerto Ricans sense of communit y, cultural values and lifestyle, but it also translates into higher property values th at they will not be able to afford. Census data from the 1990s supports the rapid pace in which gentrifi cation of the Puerto Rican community in Chicago took place during this time. According, to Nilda Flores-Gonzalez (2001), West Town experienced a loss of 24.7% of its Latino population while the white rate increased by 7%in the last decade. In 1990, there were 54,361 Latinos in West Town, constituting 62% of the residents. By 2000, thei r numbers decreased to 40,920 or 46.8% of the population. This constituted a loss of 13,441 Lati no residents in West Town. The number of white residents increased from 44,728 to 50,887 for a total gain of 6,159 white residents from 51% to 58.8 % while the black population remain ed stable with a 0.1% decrease (FloresGonzalez, 2001: 12). These statistics do not only illustrate the rapid increase of the white population in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, but also s hows prove that the fear s of this community are well founded for the moving of professional middle-class whites into traditionally Puerto Rican areas have histori cally led to the displace ment of the latter group. 52

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On the other hand, Humboldt Park experienced a very small increase in Latino population (6.3%, probably in part absorbing th ose leaving West Town) (Flores-Gonzalez, 2001: 13). Nevertheless, the commun ities to the north and northwest of Humboldt Park radically gained a large number of Latinos. For instance, th e percentage of Latino residents in Hermosa, Avondale, and Belmont Cragin increased by 41.6 %, 99.6%, and 198.1%, respectively (13). For Flores-Gonzalez (2001), although the statistics presented above do not specify that all Latinos moving to this area are Puerto Ricans, this trend support[ed] community residents assessment that Puerto Ricans [were] moving west into other neighborhoods such as Hermosa, Avondale, and Belmont Cragin (Flores-Gonzalez: 2001, 13). Statistics taken in 2000 by the U.S. Bureau of the Census for the City of Chicago illustrate the displacement suffered by the Puerto Rican population from Li ncoln Park and Near West Side between the 1960s, where the population was highly concentrated in this area, to the 1990s, where new renewal programs further diminish ed their presence in these neighborhoods. In Lincoln Park the white population in 2000 was estimated to be 84.47% while AfricanAmericans constituted 5.31% and Hispanic 5.00%.2 Similarly, the population of Hispanics in Near West Side in this same year was 9.73%, the white population constituted 24.83% and, interestingly, 52.95% of the population of th is neighborhood was Afri can-American. Facing displacement, Puerto Rican residents then relo cated to West Town and Humboldt Park. The Census statistics from the year 2000, show th e population of West Town to be 39.9 % white, 46.76% Hispanic and 9.32% African-Americans, while in Humboldt Park 3.15% are white, 48.01% are Hispanic and 46.6% are African-American. The statistics for both West Town and Humboldt Park further show evidence of how whites are moving to these areas by how the percent of the white population is close to that of Hispanics. 53

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Map 4-1 presents the location of Logan Squa re, Humboldt Park, and West Town. These areas have been traditionally considered Puer to Rican Chicago although Puerto Ricans have continuously moved to other northwestern ur ban and suburban areas in and around Chicago because of gentrification.3 While the Puerto Rican community have trad itionally settled in Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan Square, the Mexican community or iginally settled in major areas where they newcomers found employment: (1) South Chicago (steel), (2) Back of the Yards (packing houses), and (3) Near West Side (railroad) (P adilla, 1987). Today, the Mexican community is generally concentrated in the P ilsen area, which initially deve loped as a seasonal stop-over for migrating Mexican families working in the Michigan Beet fields (Walton and Salces, 1977: 17) and La Villita [Little Village] on the Southwest Side. Map 4-2 shows the distribution of these Mexican community settlements in the 1960s. N onetheless, what were traditional Mexican communities in the 1960s; i.e. the Near West Side and South of Chicago, statistics of the 2000 U.S. Census show that these areas have la rger African-American communities, representing 52.95% and 67.63% respectively of the tota l population in th ese neighborhoods. The concentration of Mexicans in the neighbor hoods of Pilsen and La Villita has been noticed by Puerto Rican residents in Humboldt Park, who have rec ognized folkloric markers in these neighborhoods that they associate with the Mexican culture and thus have been able to identify and define these areas as Mexican (Ramos-Zaya, 2003:212). Even though these folkloric markers seem to provide a way to enclose the Mexican popul ations presence into certain neighborhoods; however, De Genova (1998) ar gues, that Mexican migrants in Chicago cannot be enclosed within a homogenous space of cultural isolation for they also share living spaces with Puerto Ricans, African-Americans and whites in other neighborhoods despite the 54

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fact that Pilsen or La Villita appear to be populated almost exclusively by Mexicans. This observation is important for it illustrates in other ways the effects of gentrification. For instance, it is observed that those nei ghborhoods, which could be in the past defined in terms of the minority group living in them, can no longer be ex clusively identified as entirely Mexican or Puerto Rican. Hence, we cannot only acknowle dge the movement of people across the border (i.e. from Mexico or Puerto Rico), but there is also a movement across neighborhood limits as families are displaced in search for better employment opportunities or more affordable housing. As a result, through the statistical evidence provid ed early in this chap ter we can observe how the demographics have changed in neighborhoods that were traditionally considered Puerto Rican or Mexican communities of settlement. Chicagos Mexican population has also increased by nearly 40% in the 1980s alone, and it is the second-largest concentration of Mexican/Chicano settlement in the United States numbering well over half a million in the metropo litan area and over 15% population within the city limits (De Genova 1998, 100). This large p opulations visibility and the Puerto Rican communitys need to both define the geographica l limits of their own communities as well as the spaces in which other minorities groups live, is achieved by locating cultural markers in specific urban locations. Consequently, they are limiting what they considered to be areas of strong Mexican heritage to areas like La Villita and Pilsen while empha sizing Humboldt Parks PuertoRicanness (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:212). The use of cu ltural markers by Puerto Ricans to identify other non-Puerto Rican communities, thus s eems as an attempt to define their own neighborhoods vis vis the other in order to safeguard their own sense of community and identity as well as maintaining cultural values which seem to be threatened by the presence of other minority groups who may not understand or accept their cultural pride. 55

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African-Americans, on the other hand, are larg ely concentrated in the West and South Sides of the city and share common living sp aces with Puerto Ricans and Mexicans alike (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:209). According to the 2000 Census of the City of Chicago, AfricanAmericans constitute 67.63% of the South of Chicago, Hispanics 27.20% and whites 2.64%; and in the Near West Side, Afri can-Americans comprise 52.95% of the population, Hispanics 9.73% and whites 24.83%3. Similarly, in the community of Uptown, African-Americans constitute 21.07% of the population, Hispanics 20.05% and whites 42.05%; and in the community of Garfield Park, African-Americans comprise 97.75%, Hispanics 0.96% and whites 0.59% 4. In addition, in the Near No rth Side neighborhood, African-Americans are 18.90% of the population while Hispanics are only 3.91% and 69.30% are whites, and in Woodland, AfricanAmericans are 94.07% of the population, Hispanic s 1.14%, and whites 2.78%. These statistics are significant for they illustrate the large numbe r of African-Americans who reside in the same communities with Hispanics in areas that were tr aditionally considered Puerto Rican or Mexican in the 1960s. These communities include Garfield Park, Near West Side, South Chicago and Near North side. Furthermore, these population figures and changes illustrate how white middleclass professionals displaced Puerto Ricans a nd Mexicans, as well as AfricanAmericans who sought affordable housing and employment opportunities. The statistics presented thus illustrate that the historical arrival of middle-class white professionals into these neighborhood between the 1960s and 1990s have changed the demographical composition of these neighborhoods and thus represent the displacement suff ered by the Puerto Rican population. Division Street/ Paseo Boricua Following the gentrification, community orga nizations and busine ss leaders founded the Humboldt Park Empowerment Partnership (H PEP) out of concern for the impending displacement of the Puerto Rican community and previous attacks on service-oriented 56

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organizations (Lyndersen 2000). In addition, Pu erto Rican leaders developed the Humboldt Park Empowerment Zone Strategic Plan in 1996 as an economic initiative to develop various commercial strips around the comm unity, increase affordable housing, maintain the Puerto Rican flavor of the community through the developm ent of cultural landmarks (Flores-Gonzalez, 2001: 13). This initiative from the Puerto Rican community resulted in the creation of Paseo Boricua along Division Street as part of the redevelopment plan. According to Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003), nati onalist activists and some barrio residents explained gentrification in terms of the invasion of Puerto Rican space (211). The subsequent development of a community building project was referred to as la Islita [the little Island], suggesting that the barrio was a surrogate Puerto Rico (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:211). The issue at hand for barrio activists meant that the disappe arance of the community threatened theirs and others jobs. For instance, Ra mos-Zayas explains, it was possi ble that workers at communitybased institutions, vendors who sold their wares from rolling carts, and owne rs of ethnic specific businesses would not find a place in the institutions newly located in the barriofancy hospitals and proliferating coffee shops that were not created for Puerto Ricans (211-212). The potential displacement of these types of ethnic-based employment generators, coupled with the elimination of job opportunities in the industrial sect or, limited the Puerto Rican communitys access to alternative forms of employment and further diminished their economic success. Puerto Ricans were also aware that Chica go Mexican migrant workers satisfied the need for cheap labor which was more easily exploite d due to the workers predicament of legal vulnerability (De Genova 1999). This legal vulnera bility was represented by the undocumented status of most Mexican workers in the United Stat es. This is in contrast to Puerto Ricans 57

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citizenship status, providing them with legal rights to minimum wage and other government benefits. While the tension with Mexicans was centered towards the latters group ability to provide cheaper labor due to their undocumented status; with respect to African-Americans, the hostility manifested by Puerto Ricans towards this group was articulated in other terms. Puerto Rican residents explained the growing hostility toward incoming African-American residents by focusing on the tightening housing market and th e diminishing commercial opportunities in the barrio, for which they blamed blacks competition over rehabilitated neighborhood housing (Ramos-Zaya, 2003 229). These conditions further ex acerbated racial tensions for Puerto Ricans not only felt as if they had to differentiate themselves from the African-American population to not bear the same type of nega tive stereotypes and stigmas, but they also had to compete with them for the few available resources. Furtherm ore, by revisiting Chapter 3 of this research, it can be better understood that thes e racial tensions are also f ounded in the Puerto Ricans own prejudice against African-Americans and their belie f in the inferiority of these people (HaslipViera 2001). This condition is also observed by the Puerto Ricans exaltation of their Tano and Spanish heritage while devaluating the African c ontribution to their cult ure in the process of defining an authentic Puerto Rican identity. The previous statements are not meant to claim that Puerto Ricans are racist, but that in the white so cial imaginary of the U.S. and the confinement of Puerto Ricans to certain stereo types associated with the Afri can-American population, Puerto Ricans have made an effort to differentiate themselves from this minority group by asserting a cultural identity that is different from that of African-Americans in order to avoid the same discrimination. 58

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Some Puerto Rican activists belief was th at blacks wont take as good care of the Puerto Rican area as [they] would because th ey dont understand the sy mbols, struggles, and they dont experience the cultural pride [that Puerto Ricans have] (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:230). Thus, part of the antagonism towards African-Ame ricans came from the belief that because they are not Puerto Rican, they will not protect a nd be considerate towards the neighborhood as Puerto Ricans would and that their influx to th eir communities will be followed by a decrease in the neighborhoods safety and sense of communi ty. In addition, Puerto Ricans believed the increasing presence of African-Americans would intensify the competition for low-paying jobs and affordable housing (Ramos-Zayas 2003). The increasing African-American population in the westernmost section of the Puerto Rican barrio encouraged those residents and activists who were preo ccupied by the growing African-American population in thei r neighborhoods to develop new grassroots efforts to protect the Puerto Rican community from imagined or tangi ble threats to their security and their sense of community by establishing cultura l markers that would identify the neighborhood as Puerto Rican. Thus, as a response to these concerns, the unveiling of the flags on Division Street suggests most efforts evoked nationalist symbol s and rhetoric (Ramos-Zaya, 2003:230). The establishment of the Puerto Rican flag arches, on e of the proposed projects by area activists and popular education centers, was thus significant for it served as a cu ltural marker of the area as mainly Puerto Rican. Furthermore, other Puerto Rican symbols, -like Old San Juan garitas [Spanish fortress], Tano Indian hieroglyphics, and Afro-Caribbean vejigantes [festival masks and costumes] were inscribed on stee l boards that hang from Spanish-style faroles [light poles] along the sidewalks of Paseo Boricua (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 212) 59

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Ramn Lpez (1995), a Chicagobased artisan and anthropologist (cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003:14), described what the two steel flags on Division Street meant for the culturally intimate: The flag is a monument with multiple meanings It commemorates the 100th anniversary of the Puerto Rican patriots w ho fought Spanish colonialism and declared it the national flag It also commemorates the nostalgia, the visible symbol of our belonging to a territory that we always remember, always with the hope to return or visit It commemorates the tradition of images the Three Kings day celebration, coqus, vejigantes -that accompanies us in a city that belongs to another climate and whose rented walls we want to paint an d ornament with our own footprint It commemorates the many times when Puerto Ricans filled the streets with the flag during parades and protests It commemora tes all the times that we hung the flag from our necks It commemorates the blood shed in the history of that Island and in the pavement of this street (Lpez, 1995:20) Lpez (1995) concluded, here in Chicago the flag is panted in the most total sense: to reclaim space, to mark a point, to announce that our presence is much more than a transitory passage, that we have made history in Chicago an d that we are going to continue making it (21). The flag monument thus represented the opposit ional resistance discours e that emerged when the validity of dominant norms was questioned fr om the perspective of an everyday practice that challenged belief in the depolitici zed nature of the steering mechanisms of law, bureaucracy, and consumerism (Franco, Ydice, and Flores 1992; cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 216). For Puerto Ricans this flag monument articulates a discourse of historical and political resistance in which they have defied both cultural norms which have bounded them to a second-class citizen status due to their ethnicity and the prejudice they have suffered as such, and it also serves as a statement that makes their presence in the ci ty Chicago tangible and which needs to be considered. 60

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The location of these steel flags on Division Str eet, and the marking of this area as Puerto Rican, was historic for the creation of the Chica go Puerto Rican community because it is in this area that Puerto Ricans have hi storically settled and where thei r resistance movements have been born. Furthermore, Division Street has been th e location for several cultural activities and celebrations of national pride for Puerto Ricans. As one example, the annual Puerto Rican Parade is celebrated every June, ending with a procession down Division Street. It was originally celebrated as El Da de San Juan (St. John's Day), an event organized by Los Caballeros de San Juan (the Knights of St. John), one of the first Puerto Rican religious and social organizations in Chicago (Padilla 1987). Conclusion This chapter discussed how the Puerto Rican migration to Chicago took place extensively during the 1930s and 1940s, largely as a c onsequence of the de -industrialization of manufacturing cities like New York. Further, the migrati on was encouraged by the United States Operation Bootstrap in the 1950s, when the U.S. sought to industrialize Puerto Rico by giving American companies incentives to transfer their factories to th e island. The Project, however, failed to provide enough jobs for the growing Puerto Rican population. In addition, Puerto Rican migration wave wa s facilitated by the Jones Act of 1917 and the citizen status granted to all island and mainland-born Puerto Ricans, and the active recruitment by private Chicago-based employment agency such as Castle, Barton and Associates. This chapter also addressed the issue of how Puerto Ricans migrated during a time in which employment opportunities in the sectors of the economy where most of the population had traditionally worked were decreasing. As discussed, many manufacturing companies chose to move their operations overseas in search for ch eaper labor. These cha nges, coupled with the gentrification in neighborhoods where Puerto Rica ns lived, created conditions which threatened 61

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their livelihoods, as many Puerto Ricans were disp laced in search of more affordable housing. Furthermore, the displacement caused by gentrification hurt ethnic-base d Puerto Rican shops, because as African-Americans, whites, and othe r minorities moved into their neighborhoods, not only did the demographics change, but so did th e needs, therefore diminishing some of the demand for these shops. The effects of gentrification are corroborated by statistical evidence. Early Puerto Ricans migrants had moved into di fferent neighborhoods such as Woodlawn, the Near North Side Lake View Lincoln Park Uptown West Garfield Park East Garfield Park and the Near West Side However, by the 1960s most Chicago Puerto Ri cans were concentrated in Lincoln Park, West Town and Humboldt Park and later in the 1990s, most Pu erto Ricans were displaced from Lincoln Park and are now mainly concentrated in Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan Square (Ramos-Zayas 2003). The effects of gent rification were also fe lt by Mexicans, who, in the 1960s were concentrated in both Near West Side and Sout h Chicago, but, by the 1990s had left, as the population of these neighborhoods had become majority African-American. In addition, it was observed how gentrification, the tightening housing market and the decrease of job opportunities for Puerto Rican s exacerbated racial tensions between Puerto Ricans and African Americans. Puerto Ricans became concerned with the influx of AfricanAmericans, fearing it would have a negative impact on the neighborhoods safety, and that it would also diminish the Puerto Ricans sense of community. In response to these changes Puerto Ricans worked in creating a physical space, what Ramos-Zayas (2003) has called a surrogate Puerto Rico along Division Street, which in return serves as an identifiable cultural marker of where the Puerto Rican community is present. The steel flags monument also articulates a discourse of resistance in a city where Puerto Ricans have had a histor ical presence and where 62

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they continue to struggle to both preserve th eir community and provide better lives for their families. 63

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MAP 4-1 PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITIES OF SETTLEMENT IN THE 1960s2 2 Adapted from: Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Ca se of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 41. 64

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MAP 4-2 MEXICAN COMMUNITIES OF SETTLEMENT IN THE 1960s3 3 Adapted from: Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Ca se of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 21 65

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CHAPTER NOTES 1 See Stanley Lieberson. 1980. A Piece of the Pie Berkeley: University of California Press. (cf. Tienda, Martha, 1989:108).2 Though these statistic do not specify the percen tage of Puerto Ricans within the Hispanic population in this area, and considering that Linc oln Park was traditiona lly an area in which Puerto Ricans were concentrated prior to 1960s, the effects of gentrification are observed by the high percentage of the white population in this neighborhood in comparison to African Americans and Hispanics. 3 Source: Ramos-Zayas, Ana Y. 2003. National Performance: The Po litics of Class, Race, and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 45. The Map is Courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development, City of Chicago. 4 Consider, in the 1960s, both Near West Side and South Chi cago were Mexican community settlements. 5 Interestingly, in 1960s East and West Garfield Park were considered traditional Puerto Rican community settlements and in the 2000 Census, th e percentage of African Americans constitutes almost the entire population of this are, while Hispanics and whites population is minimal. 66

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CHAPTER 5 CONCLUSION The purpose of this research was to address broadly the question of why Puerto Ricans have been less successful to advance than othe r Latino groups or other minority groups in the United States by understanding social and cultural characteristics of this group, as well the nature of their migration and how certain structural and social factors (such as the employment market, gentrification, their racialization in the U.S. white/black dichotomy, etc) have limited, if not inhibited, their ability to advance in the American society. It was thus observed how the first larg e wave of Puerto Rican migrants were skilled/urban laborers arriving between 1900 and 1945 and during this period, they were actively recruited as cheap labor for the manufacturing industries in New York City following the first and second world wars. The second large wave of Puerto Rican migrants came during the 1950s and 1960s and was mostly unskilled/rural worker s, displaced by the decline of U.S. exportoriented agriculture on the Isla nd (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Puerto Ricans upon migration to the mainland were subjected to extremely nega tive discriminatory public opinion [as well as] overcrowded and dilapidated housing, a lack of institutional support for education, and poor medical services (140). In addition, Puerto Ricans migrating to the U. S. had to take the jobs available to them regardless of their skills, and were considered a cheap labo r force until the 1960s civil and labor rights movement made them unaffordable to manufacturing companies, namely because of their citizenship status and the rights entitled to them because of citizenship. It was also discussed how Puerto Ricans migrated during a ti me in which employment opportunities in jobs where this population had traditionally worked were decreasing, as manufacturing companies began to move their operations overseas in sear ch for cheaper labor. These changes, coupled 67

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with the gentrification process undertaken in neighborhoods in Chicago where Puerto Ricans lived, created conditions which thr eatened their livelihoods as they were displaced in search of more affordable housing. Furthermore, gentri fication and the displace ment of Puerto Ricans threatened ethnic-based Puerto Ri can shops that addressed community needs. As more AfricanAmericans, whites, and other minorities moved in to traditional Puerto Rican neighborhoods, they changed the nature of these shops and diminished the need for them. It was also observed how gentrification, th e tightening housing market and the decrease of job opportunities for Puerto Ri cans exacerbated racial tensions as Puerto Ricans increasingly felt competition with African-Americans for the few resources available to them. Further, Puerto Ricans became concerned that the influx of Afri can-Americans would have a negative impact on their neighborhoods safety and would a ffect their sense of community. This research also discussed briefly how Pu erto Rican migration to the mainland can be argued to be circular in nature. Some scholars have claimed that circu lar practices allow for the creation of dual home bases and mobile livelihoods practices, providing a flexible survival strategy for Puerto Ricans in respons e to their declining liv elihoods and their poor living conditions (Prez, 2004, Duany, 2002). On the other hand, scholars believe that these processes hinder their participation in labor mark et, as well as inhibit employment advancement; these processes also disrupt families, as children and women have to adapt and learn traditional Puerto Rican cultural values in order to be accepted in th e community (Perez, 2004). Similarly, the lack of U.S. government-funded pr ograms tailored to help those Puerto Ricans who first migrated to successfully incorporat e into the American economy, and the subsequent racial segregation and limited affordable housing for Puerto Ricans, has perpetuated their marginalization in this society. 68

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As it was also observed, Puerto Rican ident ity and national discour se is founded around three historical roots: the Tano Indian, the African, and the Spanish, and the subsequent mestizaje between these groups. Moreover, it was discussed how Puerto Ricans at different times choose what root to emphasize to navigate th e racial discourse in both the U.S. and on the island, and that those roots have al so served as a form of resistan ce. Hence, they have exalted their Tano past against the Spanish colonial ru le, then exalted their Spanish blood to resist American imperialism, and later would recognize their African ancestry to find allegiances with African-Americans during the Civil Rights Moveme nt. In addition, it was discussed that by asserting their Puerto Rican identity, Puerto Rica ns on the mainland attempt to first, differentiate themselves from the African-Americans to avoi d carrying similar stig mas of oppression and prejudice; and secondly, asserting Puerto Rican identity provid es a sense of belonging, as Puerto Ricans are viewed as the other in the American social imaginary and as such they are rejected even though they are fellow American citizens. Though the conclusions of this research are pr imarily based on qualitative data, by using some statistical evidence it has been observed that Puerto Ricans are inde ed trailing behind other groups in certain areas such as employment, earnings, education, etc. Furthermore, the statistics used on this research have also illustrated the displacement of Puerto Rican communities by gentrification in the city of Chi cago. In addition, these chapters utilize socio-cultural factors in order to explain how structural and institutional re straints have affected the ability of Puerto Ricans to achieve upward mobility. Thus, we can draw parallels between the characteristics of the population which first migrated, their subseq uent marginalization and discrimination as a result of the prejudice presen t in a white/black dichotomous society, as well as economic 69

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changes in the global economy which caused de-i ndustrialization of major cities such as New York and Chicago and caused unemployment among this population group. The factors discussed earlier can thus be cl osely linked to their im poverishment, which in return, causes Puerto Ricans to move to urba n ghettos where opportunitie s for second and third generations to have access to prope r education are less than ideal. What is then observed is what some anthropologists have called the cycle of po verty; in this contex t the marginalization suffered by first migrants has been reproduced by later generations of Puerto Ricans and few have been able to break away from such cycle. In general, finding an answer to the question of why Puerto Ricans ha ve been less successful to advance than other Latino groups or other minority groups in the United States is not an easy task and there are no absolute answers. As it was discussed there exists a variety of variables that have contributed to the marg inalization of this minority group in the U.S. and this research has thus presented a link between so cial and institutional factors that can help explain the issue at hand. Nonetheless, further quant itative research of this popul ation specific to the area of Chicago needs to be performed so that we can adequately and accurately compare Puerto Ricans to other minority groups in this city and shed light on how sta tistical data, coupled with the qualitative findings discussed in this resear ch, can provide a better understanding of this population, and their struggles, and perhaps identify what can be done in order to help them achieve better livelihoods and succeed in American society. 70

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LIST OF REFERENCES Acosta-Beln, Edna. 1992. Beyond Island Bou ndaries: Ethnicity, Gender, and Cultural Revitalization in Nuyurican Literature. Callaloo 15, no. 4: 979-98. Aspira of Illinois, Inc. 1996. In Search of Our Flags: A look into the Division Street Gateway Project. Chicago: Aspira of Illinois, Inc. Betancur, John and Douglas Gills. 2000. The Collaborative City: Oppor tunities and Struggles for Blacks and Latinos in U.S. Cities. New York: Garland Publications. Bentancur, John J., Deborah Bennett, and Patric ia Wright. 1991. E ffective Strategies for Community Economic Development. In Challenging Uneven Development. P.W. Nyden and W. Wiewel, eds. New Bruns wick: Rutgers University Press. 198-224. Bordieu, Pierre. 1993. Structures, Habitus, Practices . Social Theory: The Multicultural & Classics Readings. Charles Lemert. Boulder, ed. CO: Westview Press. 479-484. Burnett, Christina Duffy, and Burke Marshall, eds. 2001. Foreign in a Domestic Sense: Puerto Rico, American Expansion, and the Constitution Durham: Duke University Press. Burke, Miguel. 1997. Puerto Rico Ho!!!: Frankie Cutlass. The Source. March, no 90. Chicago Urban League, Latino Institute, and Northern Illinois University. -------. 1994. Working Poor Families in the Chicago Metropolitan Area. Chicago: Chicago Urban League. Cruz, Wilfredo. 2004. Images of America: Puerto Rican Chicago Chicago: Arcadia Publishing. Davey D. 1999. Why is Cleopatra White? The FNV Newsletter May 21, 1999. Feb. 2006. < www.daveyd.com/fnvmay21.html >. Dvila, Arlene. 1997-1998. Local/Diasporic Ta nos: Towards a Cultura l Politics of Memory, Reality and Imagey. Tano Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics. Gabriel Haslip-Viera, ed. 2003 N.Y. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos Hunter College. 33-54. De Genova, Nicholas. 1999. Working the Boundaries, Making the Difference: Race and Space in Mexican Chicago. Latin American Perspectives. 25, no. 5: 87-116. De Genova, Nicholas and Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas. 2003. Latino Crossings: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and the Politics of Race and Citizenship. New York: Routledge. Duany, Jorge. 1995. Common Threads or Disparat e Agendas? Recent Research on Migration 71

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to and from Puerto Rico. Centro 7, no. 1: 60-77. -------. 1998. Making Indians Out of Black: The Revitalization of Tano Identity in Contemporary Puerto Rico. Tano Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics. Gabriel Haslip-Viera, ed. 2003. N.Y. Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos Hunter College. 55-82. -------. 2002. The Puerto Rican Nation On the Move: Identities On the Island & in the United States. Chapel Hill University of North Carolina Press. Flores, Juan. 1992-1993. Puerto Rican and Proud, Boyee!: Rap, Roots and Amnesia. Centro 5, no.1: 22-32. Flores-Gonzlez. 2001. Paseo Boricua: Clai ming a Puerto Rican Space in Chicago. Centro 13, no. 2: 7-23. Franco, Jean, George Ydice, and Juan Flores, eds. 1992. On Edge : The Crisis of Contemporary Latin American Culture. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press. Gonzlez, Jos Luis. 1993. Puerto Rico: The Four Storeyed Country. NJ: Markus Wiener Publishing, Inc. Grasmuck, Sherri and Ramn Grosfoguel. 1997. Geopolitics, Economic Niches, and Gendered Social Capital among Recent Caribbean Im migrants in New York City. Sociological Perspectives. 40, no. 3: 339-63. Grosfoguel, Ramn. 1992. Puerto Ricos Exceptionalism: Industrialization, Migration and Housing Development. Ph.D dissertation, Temple University. -------. 2003. Colonial Subjects: Puerto Ri cans in a Global Perspective. Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Guerra, Lilian. 1998. Popular Expression and National Identit y in Puerto Rico: The Struggle for Self, Community, and Nation. Gainesville: University Press of Florida. Handling, Oscar. 1959. The Newcomers: Negroes and Puerto Ricans in a Changing Metropolis Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Hogg, M.A. & Vaughan, G.M. 2002. Social Psychology Third Edition. London: Prentice Hall. Jimnez Romn, Miriam. 1998. The Indians are Coming! The Indians are Coming! The Tano and Puerto Rican Identity. Tano Revival: Critical Perspectives on Puerto Rican Identity and Cultural Politics. Gabriel Haslip-Viera, ed. 2003. N.Y: Centro de Estudios Puertorriquenos Hunter College. 101-138. 72

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Latino Institute. 1994. A Profile of Nine Latino Groups in Chicago. Chicago: Latino Institute. Laviera, Tato. 1998. La Carreta Made a U-Turn. Houston, Tex.: Arte Pblico Press. Lieberson, Stanley. 1980. A Piece of the Pie Berkeley: University of California Press. Logan, John R. 2002. The New Latinos: Who They Are, Where They Are. Press Conference Advisory, Lewis Mumford Center for Compar ative Urban and Regional Research, State University of New York at Albany. Lpez, Ramn. 1995. Paseo Entre Dos Banderas. Claridad. January, 20-30. Lyndersen, Kary. 2000. Paseo Boricua develops into a Chicago vision of Puerto Rico Town. Streetwise. 9, no.5: I. Maldonado, Edwin. 1979. Contract Labor and the Origin of Puerto Rican Communities in the United States. International Migration Review. 13, 103. Massey, Doreen. 1994. Space, Place and Gender. Minneapolis: Univers ity of Minnesota Press. Massey, Douglas and Brooks Bitterman. 1985. E xplaining the Paradox of Puerto Rican Segregation. Social Forces. 64, no. 2: 306-31 Massey, Douglas and Nancy Denton. 1989. Residential Segregation of Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans in Selected U.S. Metropolitan Areas. Sociology and Social Research 73, no. 2: 73-83 Navarro, Mirega. 2000. Puerto Rican Presence Wanes in New York. New York Times 28th of February. Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: the Case of Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans in Chicago Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. -------. 1987. Puerto Rican Chicago Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. Prez, Gina M. 2004. The Near Northwest Side Story. Berkeley: University of California Press. Ramos-Zayas, Ana Y. 2003. National Performance: The Politics of Class, Race, and Space in Puerto Rican Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Rivera, Raquel Z. 2003. New York Ricans from the Hip Hop Zone New York: Palgrave Macmillan. Rodrguez, Clara E. 1989. Puerto Ricans Born in the U.S.A. Boston: Unwin Hyman. 73

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Rodrguez, Edward. 1995. Hip Hop Culture: The Myths and Misconceptions of This Urban Counterculture. Manuscript. -------. 1996. Sunset Style. The Ticker May 8. Santiago-Valles, Kelvin A. and Glady M. Ji mnez-Muoz. 2004. Social Polarization and Colonized Labor: Puerto Ricans in the United States, 1945-2000. The Columbia History of Latinos in the United States Since 1960 David G. Gutirrez, ed. New York: Columbia University Press. 87-145. Sassen-Koob, Saskia. 1982. Recomposition and Peripheralization at the Core. Contemporary Marxism Summer, no 5: 88-100. Smith, Michael Peter. 2001. Transnational urbanism: Locating globalization. Massachusetts: Blackwell Publishers. Suttles, Gerald. 1968. The Social Order of the Slum. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Tienda, Martha. 1989. Puerto Rica ns and the Underclass Debate. Annals of the American Academy of Politic al and Social Sciences. The Ghetto Underclass: Social Science Perspectives. Vol. 501: 105-119. Torres, Arlene. 1998. La Gran Familia Puertoriquena: El prieta de belda. Blackness in Latin America and the Caribbean: Social Dynamics and Cultural Transformations. Arlene Torres and Norman E. Whitten eds. Bloomi ngton: Indiana University Press. 285-306. U.S. Bureau of the Census (USBC). 2000. The Hispanic Population in the United States: Population Characteristics. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, P20-535 Series. U.S. Census Bureau. 2002. Survey on Hispanic Population March 2002 April 17, 2006. April 2006. . Walton, John and Luis M. Salces. 1977. The Political Organization of Chicagos Latino Communities. Illinois: Northwester Universi ty Center for Urban Affairs. Wagenheim, Kal and Olga Jimnez-Wagenheim, eds. 2002. The Puerto Ricans: A documented History. Princeton, N.J.: Markus Wiener Publishers. 74


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THE 'RICANS UNDERCLASS STATUS?
A LOOK FROM WITHIN CHICAGO




















By

ADRIANA SANCHEZ RUIZ


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA

2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Adriana Sanchez Ruiz


































To all my Puerto Rican friends who were an inspiration and my support, as well as my parents
and other family members and friends for their encouragement in achieving this endeavor.









ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

I thank the chair and members of my supervisory committee for their mentoring and for

believing in this proj ect. I especially would like to thank Dr. Helena Rodrigues for her time and

her support both personally and academically throughout the development of this thesis. She not

only believed that I could finish it, but provided the guiding hand that helped me achieve this

goal .












TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. ...............4.....


LI ST OF T ABLE S ................. ...............6................


LI ST OF FIGURE S .............. ...............7.....


AB S TRAC T ......_ ................. ............_........8


1 INTRODUCTION ................. ...............9.......... ......


Chapter Notes .............. ...............15....

2 THE PUERTO RICAN MIGRATION ................. ...............17........... ...


Circular Migration and Puerto Rican Migration to Chicago .............. .....................2
Conclusion ................ ...............29.................

Chapter Notes .............. ...............32....

3 DEFINING AND NEGOTIATING PUERTO RICAN IDENTITY ................. ................. 33


The Taino Revival and Displacement of the African Ancestry ................. ......................3 6
Puerto Rican Identity formation in Chicago ................. ...............40...............
Conclusion ................ ...............45.................

Chapter Notes .............. ...............47....

4 PUERTO RICAN CHICAGO .............. ...............48....


Gentrification and its Effect on the Puerto Rican Population of Chicago ................... ...........51
Division Street/ Pa~seo Boricua .............. ...............56....
Conclusion ............ .... __ ...............61...

Chapter Notes .............. ...............66....

5 CONCLU SION................ ..............6


LI ST OF REFERENCE S ............ ...... __ ...............71..










LIST OF TABLES


Table


page


1-1 Puerto Rican Population in the United States by State, 2000............_ .. ......._._.......16










LIST OF FIGURES


Map page

4-1 Puerto Rican Communities of Settlement in the 1960s ......_._._ ........._. ........._.....64

4-2 Mexican Communities of Settlement in the 1960s ....._____ .........__ ...........__....6









Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

THE 'RICANS UNDERCLASS STATUS?
A LOOK FROM WITHIN CHICAGO

By

Adriana Sanchez Ruiz

December 2006

Chair: Phillip Williams
Maj or Department: Latin American Studies

This thesis examines the Puerto Rican population in the city of Chicago. Its purpose is to

explain and understand why nationally Puerto Ricans trail behind Mexicans and other Latinos on

particular dimensions of well-being, such as access to employment, education, and proper

housing. To do this, I looked at the structural and social factors that have affected Puerto

Ricans' likelihood to achieve economic success, and how those factors have limited their ability

to improve their livelihoods in this city. I have chosen to study the Puerto Rican community in

Chicago because of the sizeable Mexican and African-American populations present in the city,

facilitating comparison among these groups. This study found that understanding the success of

Puerto Ricans (or lack there of), requires looking at the nature of the Puerto Rican migration to

the mainland, the lack of U. S. funded or sponsored programs to assist in that migration process,

varying racial and ethnic identities existing on the mainland and the island, and widespread

gentrification in Chicago communities. These factors have hindered the successful incorporation

of Puerto Rican migrants into American society and its economy, ultimately limiting Puerto

Ricans' ability to achieve upward mobility in the United States.









CHAPTER 1
INTTRODUCTION

The great immigration from Puerto Rico started after World War II, because of "cheap air

transportation, acquaintance with the mainland acquired by many during service in the army,

rising education under the new political order on the island [and] the growing pressure of

population which has more than doubled since the beginning of the century" (Wagenheim and

Jimenez-Wahenheim, eds, 2002:249). The economic challenges faced by Puerto Ricans on the

island encouraged the migration of many non-skilled workers, who like most immigrants, faced a

number of challenges such as racial discrimination, limited affordable housing and well-paid

employment, etc., despite their legal status in this country. They joined the workforce on

underpaid jobs such as service workers, precision production, repair, and transportation. They

were also subj ect to discrimination and had to live in central cities of metropolitan areas, public

housing or in areas more commonly referred to as the "hood."

Nationally, Puerto Ricans trail behind Mexicans and other Latinos on particular

dimensions of well-being such as access to employment opportunities, education, healthcare,

proper housing, etc. This lag was caused by structural and institutional factors that will be

discussed throughout this research. Furthermore, their disadvantaged status is troubling

considering that Puerto Ricans are American citizens at birth, arguably granting them more

employment opportunities, which in return, should allow for more opportunities for

advancement. This research seeks to address broadly the question of why Puerto Ricans have

been less successful than other Latino groups or other minority groups in the United States.

Even though measuring success of this group is difficult, this research seeks to show how

citizenship at birth does not necessarily mean that an individual will have equal access to

opportunities that will help them improve their livelihoods. I will look at the nature of the









migration of this group, as well as structural and social factors (employment market,

gentrification, racialization in the U.S. white/black dichotomy, etc.) that have affected their

likelihood to achieve economic development. For the purpose of answering this question I have

chosen the city of Chicago for it has sizeable Mexican and African-American populations with

which comparisons can be made. I chose to study Chicago instead of New York City because

there have not been many studies performed on Chicago and though the Mexican population in

New York City is growing, is not as sizeable as it is in Chicago.

In addition to socioeconomic and demographic factors, this research considers how

Puerto Ricans in the United States found it more "difficult than groups which came before them

to form their own in-group leadership" partly because they lacked a tradition in leadership due to

the hundreds of years of colonial administration (Wagenheim and Jimenez-Wahenheim, eds,

2002:249). This condition may help explain why Puerto Rican migrants were less successful

than other immigrant groups in creating social networks/enclaves that could help their

community to achieve upward mobility as opposed to the downward mobility that has been

observed among second and third generation Puerto Ricans. For instance, Puerto Ricans have

the highest poverty rates among Latinos, as well as the greatest percentage of female- headed

households in the country as well as in Chicago.l

Interestingly, Puerto Rican migration to the mainland has not been unidirectional and

some authors have argued that this circular migration is a "disruptive process that prevents

migrants and their children from establishing strong roots and attachments in local communities,

labor markets, and institutions such as schools" (Perez, 2004:94). On the other hand, other

scholars have argued against these claims by "emphasizing the structural forces underlying these

multiple movements, such as deteriorating labor possibilities as a result of economic









restructuring in northeastern cities like New York or changes in minimum wage legislation in

Puerto Rico in the 1970s" (94). In addition, others have shown that only a "specific type of

migrant engages in circular migration and that most are settled in particular communities"

(Perez, 2004:94). It can be argued that all these claims are possible and that they can be used to

further explain why Puerto Ricans have not been able to build tight social networks from which

they can benefit in order to succeed on the mainland. The issue of circular migration and its

implications will be furthered discussed in Chapter 2 of this research.

According to the 2002 U.S. Census Bureau's survey on Hispanic population, Puerto

Ricans constitute 8.6%, or 3.2 million, of the Hispanic population in this country. Similarly,

they are 30.6% of the Latino population under 18 years old, falling behind Mexicans who make

up 3 7. 1%, but leading Cubans who are at 19.6% of the Latino population and Central and South

Americans who constitute 28.1% of the Latino population. And as mentioned earlier, among

Hispanic households, Puerto Ricans have the largest proportion of single female-headed

households (38.3%) as compared to 19.18% of Mexican households, 17.35% of Cuban

households and 23.6% of Central and South American households.2

With respect to education, Puerto Ricans represent 15.5% of the Latino population with

less than a 9th grade education, as opposed to 32. 1% of Mexicans, 19.2% of Cubans, and 22.3%

of Central and South Americans.3 Though Puerto Ricans seem to have performed better in

middle school; on the other hand, with respect to the Latino population with a college degree or

higher, 14% of Puerto Ricans have a bachelor's degree, compared to 7.6% of Mexicans, 18.6%

of Cubans, and 17.3% of Central and South Americans. In addition, the unemployment rate

among Puerto Ricans is higher than other minority groups (at 9.6 %), in comparison to Mexicans

at 8.4%, Cubans at 6. 1%, and Central and South Americans at 6.8%. Finally, 65.1% of full-time,









year-round workers who are Latino with earnings of less than $3 5,000 (2001) are Puerto Ricans,

compared to 76.3% who are Mexicans, 65.5% who are Cubans, and 72% who are Central and

South Americans.4 These statistics illustrate how Puerto Ricans do sometimes lag behind other

Latino groups in the United States even though they are citizens at birth and are believed to have

certain advantages, including access to education and employment opportunities that are not

readily available to non-citizens or other minorities.

These statistics contribute to a better understanding of the demographics of Puerto Ricans

in terms of their income, education attainment, age, family structure, etc., compared to other

Latino groups. In addition, these statistics also help to compare this group to African-

Americans. For instance, the percentage of full-time, year-round workers with earnings of less

than $35,000 in 2004 for African-Americans was 23.6% (compared to Puerto Ricans' 65.1% of

the Hispanic population), their unemployment rate was 10.7% (Puerto Ricans, 9.6% of

unemployed Hispanics)), and the percentage of African- American female heads of households

was 44.7% (Puerto Ricans, 38.3% of the Hispanic population). Furthermore, with respect to

educational attainment, 5.7% of African-Americans have less than a 9th grade education (Puerto

Ricans 15.5% of the Latino population), and 12.3% have completed a bachelor's degree (Puerto

Ricans, 14% of the Latino population).

From these statistics, we are also able to observe that in many ways, the poverty levels of

Puerto Ricans, their unemployment conditions, and their household structure help explain why

most Puerto Ricans live in poorer neighborhoods, have less educational attainment and, as a

result, might have more opportunities for interaction with African-Americans than whites or

other minorities. Table 1-1, provides the geographic distribution of Puerto Ricans in the United

States according to state, with California, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, New









Jersey, Florida, and New York have the largest proportion of the Puerto Rican population

(>140,000 people). 6

It has been argued that Puerto Ricans "share common ground with African-Americans

not only because of their similar socioeconomic experiences as racialized ethnic minorities in the

United States but also because Puerto Rican culture is as Spanish as it is African," considering

how mestizaje took place on the island during the colonial time (Rivera, 2003:8). In addition,

both Puerto Ricans and African-Americans have been integrated into the "lowest rungs of the

labor structure under similar circumstances and, since then, have lived parallel experiences"

(Rivera, 2003:25). For instance, their shared history of "unemployment and underemployment,

police brutality, negative portrayals in academic literature and media, housing and employment

discrimination, residential displacement and racial violence [which] have not only been similar

but also linked" (25).

Puerto Ricans have also been racialized as "dark, dangerous others who, although

different from African-Americans, share with them a multitude of social spaces, conditions and

dispositions" (Rivera, 2003:26). It is for these reasons that Puerto Ricans have tried to

distinguish themselves from the African American population in order to avoid bearing similar

racial and socioeconomic stigmas (27). This process was achieved by reassuring their "Puerto

Ricanness" and embracing it as a race rather than just an ethnic origin and also by utilizing

cultural markers such as language, the Puerto Rican flag, and music. Nevertheless, it is their

shared history as part of their African diaspora, as well as their shared socioeconomic

exploitation, marginalization and cultural formation that Puerto Ricans, as well as other Latinos,

and blacks "learned they both suffer from oppression, poverty, and share common history and

roots" (Rodriguez, 1995). These issues will be furthered explore in Chapter 3, in which I will










attempt to define what it is to be Puerto Rican and how Puerto Ricans on both the island and the

mainland view themselves according to their location (island/mainland), see their Puerto Rican

counterparts mainlanderss vs. islanders) and negotiate what they believe to be a "true" Puerto

Rican identity with respect to each other and other minority groups. Finally, Chapter 4 addresses

the history of Puerto Ricans in Chicago since their migration, the characteristics of their

employment, and the effects that gentrification and their displacement from their former

communities has had on their livelihoods.









CHAPTER NOTES


SChicago Urban League, Latino Institute, and Northern Illinois University 1994; Latino Institute
1995.

2 U.S. Census Bureau. Survey on Hispanic Population. March 2002. April 17, 2006. April
2006. .

3 Ibid.

4 Ibid.

SSource: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Survey, Annual Social and Economic
Supplement, 2004, racial Statistics Branch, Population Division.

6 Source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census 2000, Summary File I.

SSee Nazario, El element Afr~onegroide en el espanol de Puerto Rico; Juan Giusti Cordero,
"AfroPuerto Rican cultural Studies: Beyond Cultural negroide and antillanismo,"~~11~~~11~~11 Centro 8, no. 1
and 2 (1996): 57-77; Jose Luis Gonzalez, El Pais de los cuatro pesos y otros ensssssssssssssayos (Rio
Piedras: Ediciones Huracan, 1989); Isabelo Zen6n Cruz, Narciso descubre su tra~sero (Humacao:
Furidi, 1975).










Table 1-1 Puerto Rican Population in the United States by State, 20001
State Puerto Rican State Puerto Rican
Population Population


New York
Florida
New Jersey
Pennsylvania
Massachusetts
Connecticut
Illinois
California
Texas
Ohio
Virginia
Georgia
North Carolina
Wi scon sin
Hawaii
Michigan
Maryland
Rhode Island
Indiana
Arizona
Washington
Delaware
Colorado
South Carolina
Nevada
Tennessee


1,050,293
482,027
366,788
228,557
199,207
194,443
157,851
140,570
69,504
66,269
41,131
35,532
31,117
30,267
30,005
26,941
25,570
25,422
19,678
17,587
16,140
14,005
12,993
12,211
10,420
10,303


Oklahoma
Loui siana
Missouri
Minnesota
Kentucky
Alabama
New Hampshire
Kansas
Oregon
New Mexico
Utah
Mississippi
Iowa
Alaska
Arkansas
District of Columbia
Maine
Nebraska
West Virginia
Idaho
Vermont
Montana
South Dakota
Wyoming
North Dakota


8,153
7,670
6,677
6,616
6,469
6,322
6,215
5,237
5,092
4,488
3,977
2,881
2,690
2,649
2,473
2,328
2,275
1,993
1,609
1,509
1,374
931
637
575
507


Adapted from: Perez, Gina M.2004. The Near Northwest Side Story. Berkeley : University of
California Press. p. 11. Original source: U.S. Census Bureau, Census, 2000, Summary File I.









CHAPTER 2
THE PUERTO RICAN MIGRATION

Puerto Rico was occupied in 1898 by the United States after its victory in the Spanish-

Cuban-American war. Puerto Rico, being in the Caribbean, was considered geopolitically

strategic as it would serve as an important economic route to Central and South America and as a

strategic military location for "defending both U.S. mainland as well as U.S. interests in the rest

of the Americas" (Genova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:7). As Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth

of the United States, and as such, it became an "enclave" of the U.S. economy (7), the U.S.

government sponsored Puerto Rican migration by developing "official labor recruitment

campaigns" established on the island in order to contract migrant workers to satisfy the labor

demands present in the mainland industries (Genova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:8). The Puerto

Ricans who migrated were comprised of many people from the rural areas, specifically displaced

farmers and farm laborers, whose activities were considered "economically marginal"

(Rodriguez, 1989: 1).

Interestingly, the encouragement of immigration from the island by the U.S. was partly

due to the break of the Cold War and the United States' need to prevent the spread of communist

ideas in the western hemisphere (Grosfoguel 2003). As new independent countries emerged in

the periphery of the world economy in the aftermath of World War II, it created competition and

preoccupation between the two super powers of the United States and the Soviet Union about

"how to control the elites of the newly independent countries if the old colonial means of

domination had been destroyed" (Grosfoguel, 2003: 107). The Truman administration's

response to this challenge was to engage in an "ambitious foreign aid and technical-training

programs to ideologically co-opt Third World elites [and] increase the symbolic capital of the

U.S. model of development vis-a-vis that of the Soviet model" (107). In other words, by










achieving social and economic development in Puerto Rico, the U.S. sought to present the

success of its program on the island as a model for other Latin American countries to follow and

prevent them from following the communist ideal. Part of this challenge constituted negotiations

with the Luis Mufioz Marin' s colonial government in Puerto Rico during the late 1940s in order

to:

1. Conceal the colonial status of the island by creating a more subtle form of
colonial relationship called the commonwealth.
2. Include Puerto Rico in U.S. federal programs for health, education, housing,
and other infrastructural programs without its paying federal taxes.
3. Support Operation Bootstrap, which consisted of attracting U.S. labor-
intensive industries by offering tax-exemptions and a cheapo-wage labor
force .
4. Reduce the cost of air fares between the island and the mainland to foster
mass migration. (Grosfoguel 1992).

Also after World War II, there emerged a large demand for cheap labor for

manufacturing industries in urban centers such as New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia.

Thus, in order to achieve the development program of Puerto Rico, the U. S encouraged the

emigration of the lower strata of the island to allow the upward mobility of those who stayed

behind (Grosfoguel, 2003:109). As a result, Puerto Rican migration to the mainland served as

an escape valve for the increasingly poor population and as a way to relieve the socio-

economic tensions created by the lack of industrialization of the island. In return, this

migration helped the Truman admini station use Puerto Rico as "part of the core-state' s

geopolitical symbolic strategy to gain symbolic capital vis-a-vis the Soviet Union,"

(Grosfoguel, 2003:1 10) and this model, if proven successful, could be sold to Third World

elites as an alternative for development that differed from the Soviet Union model. However,

resources were channeled to the islanders and not to those who had migrated. Consequently,

the migrant group did not receive "proper state support in bilingual programs, education,

health, housing subsidies, and j ob training" (1 10). This lack of programs to help Puerto Rican










migrants incorporate successfully into the American society, resulted in these migrants moving

into urban ghettos as "unskilled low-wage workers with one the highest poverty rates in the

United States" (Grosfoguel, 2003:110).

The Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. mainland and the lack of programs to assist those

who migrated presents an occasion to compare to the migration of Puerto Ricans to another

Latino group, namely Cubans. Cubans had been present in Florida since the late-19th century

through the establishment of a flourishing cigar industry in 1885 by Vicente Martinez Ybor and

Ignacio Haya. Ybor and Haya "purchased forty acres of swamp near Tampa, drained the land,

and set about building a company town" which would become part of a steamship line between

Havana, Key West and Tampa. Consequently, by the early twentieth century there were nearly

50,000 to 100,000 Cubans traveling between Havana, Key West, and Tampa. In addition, the

small Cuban elite tied to U.S. companies invested their money on Wall Street, sent their children

to U.S. colleges, vacationed in this country and many became citizens (Gonzalez, 2000: 110).

Furthermore, in addition to the political refugee status granted to the Cubans in the

aftermath of the Cuban Revolution (and the subsequent establishment of a communist regime)

the U.S. government provided them with assistance programs under the 1966 Cuban Adjustment

Act. Cuban refugees were "instantly eligible for public assistance, Medicaid, food stamps, free

English courses, scholarships, and low interest college loans" as well as able to "secure

immediate business credit and start-up loans" (Gonzalez, 2000:110, 111). To date, no such

comparable assistance has been given to Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, or other Latinos.

These benefits given to Cuban migrants, helped put Cubans in a more advantageous

position visad vis other Latinos. Not Dominicans, Haitians, or Central Americans (Guatemalans,

Salvadorans, Nicaraguans), who were fleeing from civil wars and persecution in their own









countries, received any such services or legal status as the Cubans fleeing Castro's communism.

In addition, the experience of Cubans in the U.S. after their massive exodus from the communist

regime was different from other minority groups because in the white/black racial dichotomy of

the United States, they were not racialized in the same ways Puerto Ricans and Mexicans who

were, often considered "dark, dangerous, others" (Rivera, 2003:26). This is partially due to the

differences in race and class of the early Cuban migrants compared to Puerto Ricans and

Mexicans, who were often dark (at least in the "white" American social imagery) and low skill

workers, while the Cubans tended to be light-skinned professionals.

Puerto Rican migration to the mainland was different than that of the Cubans because

they were not fleeing political repression. In addition, their migration was unlike of that of the

Cubans because it was influenced by the crisis and decline of U. S. export-oriented agriculture on

the island (sugar and tobacco) between the 1930s and 1960s. This process resulted in "massive

unemployment and shift on the island toward export-oriented, light, labor-intensive, machine-

based industry; the uneven imposition of welfare-state reforms; and a mass market for low-

income housing and individual mechanized transportation" (Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-

Mufioz, 2004:89). The subsequent re-incorporation of Puerto Ricans within the "restructured

world-economy" led to the migration of manual day laborers, landless peasants, and distressed

small-property owners. Even though, many of these immigrants brought "non-transferable

skills," they also brought transferable skills that could not be used. As Handling (1959) argues,

Puerto Ricans "had to accept whatever j obs were available" even if they had skills or had

training in white-collar occupations, they still had to take the jobs being offered to them (70).

The migrants who left the island during this period (1960s) moved into the rundown

buildings that had provided housing for Italians, Jews, and Poles in northeastern U.S. cities and









Chicago during the 1940s and 1950s. As they settled in these cities, the Puerto Ricans joined the

"similarly colonized populations from the U.S. South, U.S. Southwest, and Mexico who were

nevertheless being incorporated within a much a broader spectrum of the U. S. economy"

(Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz, 2004:89). This "broader spectrum of the economy" can

be observed through how Puerto Ricans working as seasonal migrants in the U.S. mainland

"began overlapping with other ways of exploiting peripheral labor in the United States -such as

share-cropping, the convict-lease system, the bracero program- alongside higher-wage labor in

the industrial production of capital consumer goods" (90).

Nevertheless, during the 1960s, Puerto Ricans' successful struggles for labor and civil

rights made them "too expensive for the increasingly informalized manufacturing sector"

(Grosfoguel, 2003:165). At the same time, the de-industrialization of New York, as well as other

cities, led to the loss of thousands of manufacturing j obs. Many of the manufacturing industries

transferred their operation to peripheral regions around the world, such as Asia and Latin

America, where they could find cheaper sources of labor. Moreover, the manufacturing industry,

targeted new Latino immigrants, whether legal or illegal, since they lacked the rights that

"internal colonial subj ects" such as Puerto Ricans had acquired through their citizenship

(Grosfoguel, 2003:165). The subsequent exclusion of Puerto Ricans from surviving

manufacturing jobs in the Northeast and Chicago, and "the racialized, segregated educational

system that excluded Puerto Ricans from the best public schools, produced a redundant labor

force that could not reenter the formal labor market" (Grosfoguel, 2003:166).

Further, the economic restructuring that took place on the island and the extension of

federal minimum wage levels to Puerto Rico, as well as the strengthening of capitalist views

around the world and its subsequent need worldwide for cheaper labor after the 1980s, led










employers to substitute different segments of Puerto Rican labor on the island with immigrant

labor from other places in the world, such as Asia and the rest of the Caribbean Basin (Sassen-

Koob 1985; Duany 1995). Unfortunately, those who were affected by the changes on the island

migrated to the U.S. Only to find that Puerto Ricans in some U.S. cities were facing the same

challenges. Employers replaced them from the few manufacturing jobs available with cheaper

laborers. This led to the creation of what is considered the Puerto Rican "underclass," but which

Ram6n Grosfoguel and Sherri Grasmuck (1997) have referred to as a "redundant

colonial/racialized labor force," which for the most part encouraged Puerto Ricans to engage in

alternative forms of employment (whether legal or illegal) in order to survive (Grosfoguel and

Grasmuck 1997).

Even though the Puerto Rican migration of the 1940s through the 1990s was comprised

mostly of working-class individuals, in the 1980s and the 1990s a more "socio-economically

mixed migration" which included students and professionals took place. Nonetheless, in spite of

this rise in "class differentiation" among Puerto Ricans on the mainland, according to estimates

from 1998 and 2000, 30.4% of all Puerto Ricans lived below the official poverty line, with 7.3%

receiving some form of public assistance and an unemployment rate of 8.3%.1 Hence, Puerto

Ricans as a group have steadily continued to be the poorest among Latino groups, and they have

also remained among the poorest U.S. citizens (Genova and Ramos-Zaya, 2003:11).

An important consequence of the "long-wave of global economic decline" that led to the

de-industrialization of cities such as New York was a change in the demographic profile of

Puerto Ricans, who had overwhelmingly settled in the Northeast. In response to the economic

changes in the Northeast, Puerto Ricans started to move in significant numbers to Illinois, Ohio,

and Indiana. As a result, the percentage of Puerto Ricans living in the U.S. Midwest, including









the city of Chicago, increased from 4 % to 10% during the late 1960s and early 1970s (Santiago-

Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz, 2004:89). However, moving to a city like Chicago did not

constitute a "qualitative shift" for Puerto Ricans toward different kinds of job opportunities than

those found in New York City, but was rather a "quantitative shift." Puerto Ricans were trying

to "find more of the same kind of subsistence activities" that had started to decrease in the

northeast (Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz, 2004:89).

Due to racial segregation and limited affordable housing, Puerto Ricans became spatially

and socio-economically concentrated in different areas establishing a variety of "identifiable

barrios" (Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz, 2004:97). For the most part these new ghettos

were established in "close proximity to, or intermixed with, other Caribbean and African

American populations" similar to East Harlem (El Barrio), New York City's Lower East Side

(Loisaida), southern Brooklyn (Los Sures), the South Bronx, Roxbury in Boston, Northern

Philadelphia, and the Division Street sector of Chicago (Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz,

2004:97).

The socio-economic marginalization of Puerto Ricans had a negative impact on future

generations: 50% of all Puerto Rican children in the United States in 1998 still lived below

poverty level (U.S. Bureau of the Census 2000). Furthermore, the unemployment rates for

Puerto Ricans continued to fluctuate between 2. 17 times (1990) and 2.38 times (2000) the

general United States average percentages. By the year 2000, Puerto Ricans continue to have

one of the highest unemployment rates (8.3%) and most prominent poverty levels (30.4%)

among all of the U.S. Hispanic population groups.2 By 1999, 64 % of all Puerto Ricans in the

U.S. had obtained a high school diploma or more education (up from 58%in 1991), performing

better than Chicanos and Mexicans (49.7%), but still performing behind the equivalent










proportions for U.S. whites, whose high school completion rates had increased to 87.7% during

this time (U. S. Bureau of the Census 2000).

Nonetheless, Kelvin A. Santiago-Valles and Glady M. Jimenez-Mufioz (2004) argue that

this "dramatic increase in educational attainment appears to be associated with the increasing

social polarization among Puerto Ricans in the United States since the 1980s, rather than any

single statistical anomaly between Puerto Ricans and Chicanos and Mexicans" (107). To explain

this discrepancy, they show that "despite having higher poverty levels than U.S. Mexicans, by

1999 there were proportionally more Puerto Ricans than U.S. Mexicans in the U.S. mainland

who were full-time, year-round workers with annual earnings of $3 5,000 or above" (U. S. Bureau

of the Census 2000). Consequently, the presence of this particular Puerto Rican population,

which was moderately in a better economic situation, "threw off the curve and contrasted sharply

with the continuing bleak conditions among most Puerto Ricans in the United States during the

1990s" (107,108). In other words, the evidence found by Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz

illustrates that though some statistics may show that Puerto Ricans had higher earnings than

Mexicans in 1999, it does not necessarily mean this group does not have higher poverty rates

than Mexicans. Instead, this discrepancy is explained by the influx of Puerto Rican professionals

from the island during this time, which could have possibly skew the statistical curve and portray

a reality that was not experienced by the mainland Puerto Rican community in general.

Circular Migration and Puerto Rican Migration to Chicago

As it was discussed earlier, the U. S. occupation of Puerto Rico in 1898 and the

"subsequent consolidation of U.S. agrarian capitalism and shrinking small-scale subsistence

cultivation helped set in motion population movements to places like Hawaii, Arizona,

California, and most notably, New York City" (Perez, 2004:10). In addition, between 1900 and

1940, more than ninety thousand Puerto Ricans migrating from the island (even though some









would later return to Puerto Rico) seeking employment in New York, Pennsylvania, and New

Jersey."3 This massive migration was encouraged initially by the large demand for cheap labor

for manufacturing industries in urban centers after WWII, and then by the post-war de-

industrialization of cities such as New York, which led Puerto Ricans to the Midwest seeking

similar job opportunities. Furthermore, in 1946, "single Puerto Rican women were recruited by

a Chicago-based employment agency to remedy the city's 'maid shortage,'" hence contributing

to the growth of Puerto Ricans in this city (Perez, 2004:9).

According to Perez' s study (2004), nearly "one-third of the island' s population circulated

or emigrated to the United States between 1955-1970, as Puerto Ricans continued to leave the

island in large numbers" (10). Later by the early 1970s, however, the de-industrialization in

Northeastern and Midwestern cities led to the migration of Puerto Ricans to other cities in the

U. S. due to the decline in manufacturing j obs; it inversely reduced migration from the island as it

became a "less attractive option for working-class migrants" (Perez, 2004:10). Nonetheless, this

trend would change in the mid 1980s and 1990s, when migration from the island increased yet

again (10).

Puerto Rican migration has not been unidirectional and it is in fact circular as return

migration began in the mid 1960s and then increased considerably by the early 1970s and in

"some years even surpassed emigration from the island, a trend that continued through the early

1980s."4 Interestingly, in similar ways to other late-twentieth century migrations, Puerto Rican

migration had "evolved to include a variety of new destinations, multiple movements, and

sustained connections among different places, a phenomenon popularly regarded as a "va y ven"

(or vaiven), movement, an experience of coming and going familiar to many Puerto Ricans, and

one that has provoked serious debate both inside and outside the academy" (Perez, 2004: 11).









For some scholars, the "--ninen1 tradition" is a consequence of economic changes both in

Puerto Rico and on the mainland and it has "become a culturally conditioned way for migrants to

improve their economic and social position" (Perez, 2004:12). According to sociologist Marixsa

Alicea (1990), the migrants and their families construct and utilize "dual home bases," which is

observed in how Puerto Rican migrants built these home bases on the island and the mainland, in

order to "maintain social and psychological anchors in both the United States and Puerto Rico'

and belong simultaneously to several dwellings."'

It can be argued that for other scholars like anthropologist Jorge Duany (2002), these

"dual home bases" developed through circular migration -or "mobile livelihoods practices" -is

also a "flexible survival strategy" that helps enhance the migrant's socioeconomic status. For

Duany, the poor economic conditions on both the island and the mainland have led Puerto Rican

migrants to create and "make use of extensive networks, including multiple home bases in

several labor markets." These transnational practices, not only counterweigh the fact that

"economic opportunities are unequally distributed in space, but they also undermine the highly

localized images of space, culture, and identity that have dominated nationalist discourse and

practice in Puerto Rico and elsewhere." 6 These transnational practices, therefore, illustrate the

difference in economic opportunities in both the mainland and the island, which makes it in some

ways preferable for Puerto Ricans to leave the island and look for better employment

opportunities in the mainland. Similarly, these practices deconstruct what island Puerto Ricans

have believed to be an authentic Puerto Rican identity as well as its culture for mainland Puerto

Ricans have recreated traditional Puerto Rican cultural practices and have also created a new

sense of identity that goes in hand with their experiences in the United States. The ways in










which circular migration have undermined these "highly localized images of space, culture, and

identity" argued by Duany will be furthered studied in Chapter 3.

The "dual home bases" and "mobile livelihoods practices" are better illustrated in Gina

M. Perez' ethnographic study (2004), which looks at the links between Puerto Ricans migrating

from the community of San Sebastian de las Vegas del Pepino in Puerto Rico to the city of

Chicago and from Chicago to back to this community in the island. Her findings show that

circular migration can be understood, in the same way observed by Jorge Duany, as a "flexible

survival strategy used by migrants to negotiate changing political-economic realities

circumscribing their lives and to enhance their economic status" (94). Puerto Ricans move to

Chicago searching for job opportunities and the means to provide a better socio-economic

environment; however, more often than not, they are faced by dead-end j obs and poor living

standards. As a result, many families return to Puerto Rico seeking a "safer environment for

their children and families or to improve their living conditions" and according to Perez, "they

may subsequently return to Chicago for better health care, jobs, or schooling." Perez further

argues that the "decision to move rests partly on the migrants' assessment of which place offers

the best opportunity to meet household needs, but it is also conditioned by decades of migration

practices that have become woven into the fabric of Puerto Rican island and mainland

communities" (94).

Perez' ethnographic study further helps scholars understand the difficulties undertaken by

those who return to Puerto Rico after being in Chicago. One of her interviewees, Elena

explained:

It wasn't easy. After living in Chicago where you have your good job, and you
would eat out on Fridays and maybe Saturdays too... and to come to Puerto Rico I
had to get used to cooking breakfast, lunch and diner... It wasn't easy... After one
has lived in Chicago, it's not easy to adjust to life here ... I would never tell anyone
to come to Puerto Rico [to live] (107).











As it is observed, Elena's experience in engaging in this "reverse migration" illustrates

the difficulties faced by her family on the island. It also shed light on how life in Chicago may

be hard, but returning to the island does not necessarily guarantee an improvement in their living

conditions.

Perez's study is filled with different examples outlining the struggles these families faced

once they returned to the island. For example, she includes how many were seen as the

"outsiders" and in many ways, their cultural identity had been renegotiated as they adapted to

U.S. lifestyle; their "Puerto Ricanness" was often questioned by those still living on the island.

Her study of the different families shows that it is harder for the children to adjust because their

Spanish is often not perfect, and they tend to speak Spanish with an American accent as opposed

to a "Puerto Rican" one. Women also have an arduous time in adjusting because they are

subjected to "live up to constructed norms of behavior or dress" and when they fail to do so, they

"are punished and labeled de afuera [women who have lived in the U.S. and come back to Puerto

Rico]," which Perez argues is a "process that demonstrated the ways in which a glorified Puerto

Rican past depends on racialized constructions of women and motherhood" (Perez, 2004: 116).

These changes are blamed on the influences of American popular culture which are found to

threaten traditional Puerto Rican conservative/cultural norms. Nonetheless, despite these

challenges, the women interviewed eventually adjusted to life in San Sebastian and believed it

was the best move they had made for it provided a safer environment for their children.

Nonetheless, other writers have argued that the "continual circulation of Puerto Rican

migrants is a key contributor to increased economic immiseration and poverty among Puerto

Ricans on the mainland, since such movement disrupts families and people's participation in the

labor market." 7 Though such a claim may be applied to certain circumstances, it is almost










impossible to generalize and agree that circular migration has contributed to the "immiseration

and poverty" of the Puerto Rican community. As it has been observed, it is the poverty levels of

this community as well as their struggles in the United States what has caused Puerto Ricans to

return to the island on the first place in an attempt to improve their livelihoods. Perhaps it can be

argued that the way this movement disrupts their participation in the labor market has to do with

their unavailability to be promoted in their j obs, for they are constantly in the move and once

they return they are given the same position and have to start over again to advance.

Nonetheless, this issue cannot be observed in absolute terms and one needs to look at what

structural and institutional factors are affecting Puerto Rican' s ability to find good paying jobs

that will improve their living conditions and consequently, will not encourage their migration

back to the island.

Conclusion

The Puerto Rican migration to the U.S. has been an ongoing process influenced by the

labor needs of the U. S., the American response to the Cold War challenges, and the crisis of

global economy after the 1960s. The first large wave of Puerto Rican migrants were

skilled/urban laborers between 1900 and 1945 and during this period, Puerto Ricans they were

actively recruited as cheap labor for the manufacturing industries in New York City after the first

and second world wars. The second large wave of Puerto Rican migrants during the 1950s and

1960s were mostly unskilled/rural which were displaced by the decline of U. S. export-oriented

agriculture on the Island (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Unfortunately, though the Migration Division

established offices in New York and Chicago in order to help the migrants to find jobs (Lapp

1990); it was not able to guarantee or intervene on behalf of the workers when their civil rights

were violated. Furthermore, Puerto Rican migrants were "subj ected to extremely negative

discriminatory public opinion [as well] overcrowded and dilapidated housing, a lack of









institutional support for education, and poor medical services" (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Hence, it

can be argued that these factors have contributed to their socio-economic marginalization in

American society.

The Puerto Rican migration to the mainland, as it was discussed, has been varied starting

with the move of displaced farmers and farm laborers in the 1940s as well as students and other

professionals after the 1980s. Puerto Ricans migrating to the U.S. had to take the jobs available

to them regardless of their skills, and were considered a cheap labor force until the 1960s' civil

and labor rights movement made them somehow unaffordable to manufacturing companies due

to their citizenship status and the rights entitled to them as such. Furthermore, the restructuring

policies within the U. S., the de-industrialization of maj or cities with high concentrations of

Puerto Ricans, and the restructuring policies on the island, led to more unemployment and their

subsequent migration from cities such as New York and, from the island itself, to other areas in

the American Mid-West.

With respect to circular migration, it was seen how there is an ongoing debate regarding

this issue; and though, some scholars have argued that these "dual home bases" and "mobile

livelihoods practices" provide a "flexible survival strategy" used by Puerto Ricans in response to

their declining livelihoods and their poor living conditions; other scholars believe that these

processes hinder their participation in labor market and it disrupts families. Nonetheless, the

ethnographic study performed by Gina M. Perez (2004) has shed light in how while many Puerto

Ricans engage in circular migration in search of ways to improve their lives; and at the same

time, it can also inhibit them from being able to advance in their current j obs and it does disrupt

families as the children and the women have to adapt and learn "traditional Puerto Rican cultural

values" in order to be accepted in the community.










The lack of programs tailored to help those who first migrated to successfully incorporate

into the American economy, as well as racial segregation and limited affordable housing, has

perpetuated their marginalization in this society. This claim is better exemplified by Antonio

Pantoj a statement gathered in a February 2000 newspaper interview,

The underlying problem is indifference by both government and the public, including

economically comfortable Puerto Ricans, to a society where children are not taught by

the schools they attend, families do not have decent housing to live in, where the color of

your skin will keep you out of the services and resources all citizens are entitled to.

(Navarro 2000) (c.f. Santiago-Valles and Jimenez-Mufioz, 2004:108).

This research will continue to study how this socio-economic marginalization has had a

negative impact on this group's ability to achieve upward mobility. In addition, it will look at

how Puerto Ricans define and negotiate their identities vis-a-vis African-Americans and

Mexicans as well as the relationship of both tension and cooperation among them.









CHAPTER NOTES


1 Data compiled by researchers at the Lewis Mumford Center for Comparative Urban and
Regional Research at the State University of New York at Albany, based on pooled estimates
from the U.S. Census Bureau's Current Population Survey (March 1998, March 2000); (cf.
Logan, 2002).

2 Except Dominicans, whose unemployment rates and poverty levels surpass the Puerto Ricans'.

3 History Task Force 1979; Sanchez-Korrol 1994 (cf. Gina M. Perez, 2004:10).

4 Melendez 1993, 15-17 (cf. Gina M. Perez, 2004: 10).

SAlicea (1990) writes that many Puerto Rican migrants create dual home bases on the island and
the mainland, a process that allows them to 'maintain social and psychological anchors in both
the United States and Puerto Rico' and belong simultaneously to several dwellings (14). See
also C. Rodrigues 1993; Melendez 1993b; and Ortiz 1993.

6 Duany, 2002:235 (cf. Perez, 2004:12).

STienda and Diaz 1986; Chavez 1991 (cf. Perez, 2004:12)










CHAPTER 3
DEFINING AND NEGOTIATING PUERTO RICAN IDENTITY

This chapter does not attempt to define Puerto Rican identity in absolute terms, but it

seeks to achieve a better understanding of how Puerto Ricans develop such an identity on both

the island and the mainland and how this identity is renegotiated as Puerto Ricans interact with

other minorities and are incorporated into the American mainstream. Furthermore, this research

is limited for it cannot extensively explore racial dynamics among this population; yet, it will

engage in an effort to understand how these racial dynamics play a role in how Puerto Ricans

ultimately define themselves.

According to Puerto Rican national discourse, Puerto Rican culture has three historical

roots: the Taino Indian, the African, and the Spanish (Duany, 1998 and 2002; Ramos-Zayas,

2003). These three roots and the product of their mestizaje have contributed to the formation of a

national identity. Nonetheless, the degree in which Puerto Ricans choose to what root their

mestizaje comes from depends highly in the way they are racialized on the island and on the

United States mainland, as well as how they prefer to identify themselves. As a result, it is

observed that some Puerto Ricans will claim to be more Spanish than Taino or black and vice

versa. Furthermore, as it will be observed, Puerto Rican national discourse has exalted its

Spanish heritage and simultaneously glorified their Taino ancestry at the expense of their African

legacy as part of a political and racial discourse that helps them differentiate themselves from

African-Americans as well as other Latino groups.

The racial component of Puerto-Ricanness thus emphasizes those elements from the

Taino Indian, African, and Spanish heritage that are "most closely associated with anti-colonial

resistance." This anti-colonial resistance discourse is thus articulated in different ways. During

the Puerto Rican struggles against the Spanish rule, they emphasized their Taino heritage and









while in Chicago, popular education programs and nationalist activists persisted on stressing

those characteristics of "the triad" which were considered to represent resistance (Ramos-Zayas,

2003:197). These practices can be observed in the ways in which Puerto Ricans have

acknowledge their African ancestry during the Civil Rights movement as well as embracing their

Spanish heritage in contrast to the white American "other."

Whereas on the island whiteness implies having "more Spanish Blood," in the diaspora it

is used to portray members of the dominant American society, los blan2cos (Ramos-Zayas,

2003:200). What is observed therefore is that on the island coalitions between popular and elite

sectors "required that a large mulatto popular class evoke a racial discourse that valorized

whiteness and thus reinforced dominant racial hierarchies" (Guerra, 1998:213; cf. Ramos-Zayas,

2003:200). As a result, Puerto Ricans in the United States "perceived valorizing whiteness as

evidence of acceptance of the U. S. classification scheme," while they simultaneously

acknowledge their inability to break into the power granted to whiteness from the "standpoint of

racialized subj ects" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200).

The United States popular constructions of class differ from those present in Puerto Rico

for it is race, not class, which is the "key component of popular consciousness." Consequently,

Arlene Torres (1998) argues that even as people are categorized by phenotype, ancestry, class,

and status, the acceptance of blacks is shaped by "cultural lightning" (296). This cultural

lightning is not necessarily determined by the color of an individual's skin, but by their success

in leaving behind social and cultural markers, which are related to blackness and are thus thought

to be negative. The assumption therefore is that upward mobility cannot be attained if

individuals retain a black identity for there exist "negative cultural ascriptions associated with

blackness" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:.201).










The process in which this cultural identity is formed is historical as seen by the division

of classes in colonial Puerto Rico, in which the creole class was oppressed by the Imperial power

exerted by Spain, and in turn was "oppressing one other social class in Puerto Rico, the class

made up of slaves, until their emancipation in 1873, of landless laborers, and of small craftsmen"

(Gonzalez, 1993: 8). In Puerto Rico, as for much of Latin America, the construction of race is

closely related to class and as such, class tends to "whiten" individuals as they rise up the class

hierarchy.

Grosfoguel and Georas (2002) also argue that Puerto Ricans need to be seen as a

"category colonial/racial subj ects of empire rather than simply racial subj ects [for] racial

categories are built in relation to colonial histories and they need to be looked at together" (155).

What they argue is that focusing on the person's color does not "address the fact that, although

diverse colonized groups may be phenotypically undistinguishable from dominant colonizer

groups they can nevertheless be racialized as inferior to others in a colonial situation." This

situation is exemplified by the relationship between the Irish within the British Empire as well as

white Puerto Ricans in the U.S. mainland (155). This condition is furthered illustrated by Jose

Luis Grosfoguel (2003) in which "no matter how 'blond and blue eyed' a person may be, or

whether she or he can 'pass,' the moment that person identifies herself or himself as Puerto

Rican, she or he enters the labyrinth of racial Otherness." As a result, Puerto Ricans of all colors

have become a "racialized group in the social imaginary of Euro-Americans, marked by racist

stereotypes such as laziness, violence, criminal behavior, stupidity and dirtiness" (165). In order

to understand how Puerto Ricans navigate the "labyrinth of racial otherness," the following

section of this chapter will discuss how some Puerto Ricans have chosen to exalt their Taino









ancestry as a way to create an identity of their own and further differentiate themselves from

African-Americans in the American white/black social imaginary.

The Taino Revival and Displacement of the African Ancestry

The Taino were "the pre-Columbian indigenous population that once inhabited the

Caribbean, but are now largely presumed to be extinct since the 18th century" (Davila, 1997-

1998: 33). Historically, during and after Puerto Rico's struggle for separation from Spanish rule,

the Taino were "the only non-transplanted population on the island" and as such it became a

channel of "patriotic devotion and a tool to affirm a legitimate and continuous connection to the

soil by the Creole 'Puerto Rican' elite visad vis the Spanish colonial authorities" (37). Moreover,

this preference of exalting the Taino past of the island was also due to how this population was

"viewed as a noble and generous legacy" (3 8) in contrast to how African heritage was seen as

backwards and less gracious though they have contributed greatly to Puerto Rican culture.

Jorge Duany (1998) argues that until the mid-twentieth century, anthropologist often

characterized the "Tainos as an 'inferior race,' compared to Europeans, but superior to Africans"

(65). Furthermore, anthropologists, archaeologists, and historians "explicitly compared Tainos

and Africans," consistently coming to the conclusion that the "Indians were physically more

attractive, intellectually more capable, and culturally more developed than blacks" (65).

Nevertheless, as Puerto Rico changed "colonial masters" in 1898, from being Spanish territory to

becoming a commonwealth of the United States, the "nationalist first turned to Spanish, not

indigenous culture, as a form of resistance and affirmation against Americanization" (56).

The term Taino came into widespread use during the early decades of the twentieth

century, when academics such as Antonio Bachiller y Morales, Jesse Walter Fewkes, and M.R.

Harrington used this phrase to refer to the whole indigenous population of the Western

Caribbean (Haslip-Viera, 2001:2). Later during the 1960s and early 1970s years of political









tumult and cultural change, many alienated Puerto Ricans and other Caribbean Latinos in the

Northeast and Middle West sought to reaffirm their identities in different ways. As a result, they

"changed their dietary habits, revitalized Latin music, invented new art forms, and studied

Caribbean history and culture" (Haslip-Viera, 2001:3). By the end of the 1980s, this movement

resulted in the creation of a number of Taino "tribes," "councils," and "associations" that

emerged at the grassroots level in different parts of the United States (3). These groups thus

became ways in which the de-franchised Puerto Ricans ad other Caribbean Latinos could

develop their own sense of identity within the United States.

Even though the Taino has also been utilized as a symbol of national identity in New

York and the Diaspora, this "role has been most of all directed at enhancing the status of a

minority group through the assertions of cultural distinctiveness" (Davila, 1997-1998: 40). In

particular, the Taino has been more directly associated to social movements and grassroots

activism in the United States than on the island, where the "Taino has had a long history of

appropriation by nationalist elites and cultural institutions" (40).

Though Arlene Davila (1997-1998) argues that "whereas on the island, the nationalist

discourse promotes that 'we are all Puerto Rican,' veiling the subordinate status of sectors of the

population according to race and limiting the recognition of distinct groups among Puerto

Ricans" in the Unites States, the discourse of multiculturalism has provided larger opportunities

to see the Taino culture as a distinct unit (41). In addition, I argue that the revival of Taino

identity in the mainland is another effort from the Puerto Rican community to differentiate itself

from African-Americans and assert an identity of its own to avoid bearing similar negative

stigmas.









This Taino revival is matched by an Afrocentrist movement found among Puerto Ricans

and other Latinos from the Caribbean who "tend[ed] to be persons of darker skin color who are

defined as 'mulatto,' 'black' or 'African' in appearance" (Haslip-Viera, 2001: 5). Nonetheless,

those Puerto Ricans who were aware of the contempt for African-Americans by American

society, were also aware of the African-Americans who not only sought to improve their lives

but also shared "the belief in the inferiority of Black people" (5). Puerto Ricans thus responded

to the discrimination against them by emphasizing "a cultural uniqueness that presumably

transcended racial concerns." For instance, as Puerto Ricans were subj ected to the

institutionalized racism of the United States, they "could -and often did- hold themselves apart

as being neither white nor black, neither oppressor nor oppressed" (Jimenez Roman, 1998:116).

However, this attitude became more problematic to maintain during the tumultuous 1960s and

early 1970s, "when calls to take a stance against the status quo were invariably phrased in racial

terms." Hence, considering that Puerto Ricans were seen as "people of color" in the black-white

imagery of American society, and as such, Puerto Ricans shared similar experiences of racial

discrimination; for those who were of noticeable African descent, encountering the Black Power

movement upheld a significant meaning (116) for it gave them an opportunity to break away

from the discrimination they were subj ected to and be entitled to civil rights and equal

opportunities.

In the debate about who were the first Puerto Ricans, Jose Luis Gonzalez (1993) argues

that by 1534 the island was so depopulated that there were hardly any people of Spanish descent,

there were only blacks, and it should be concluded that the first Puerto Ricans were actually

black (10). Gonzalez further argues that the Spanish ingredient to the formation of a popular

Puerto Rican culture "must have taken the form of agricultural laborers, mostly from the Canary









Islands, imported to the island when the descendants of the first African slaves had already

become black Puerto Ricans" (Gonzalez, 1993:10). For this reason, Gonzalez claims that the first

Puerto Ricans were in fact black (10). What he is claiming is that "it was the blacks, the people

bound most closely to the territory which they inhabited... who had the greatest difficulty in

imagining any other place to live" (10). He also explains that the black population was the "first

to feel Puerto Rico as their true home and because they had no roots in or loyalty to Spain,

Corsica, the Balearic Islands, or indeed anywhere else" (39).

Gonzalez' assertions that the first Puerto Ricans were indeed black bring into the

academia two important arguments. First, that it is plausible to consider that the first Puerto

Ricans were black as they constituted the maj ority of the population during the early colonial

period and their allegiance belonged to Puerto Rico as opposed to anywhere else. Secondly,

though the African contributions to Puerto Rican culture are extensive, this "black ingredient" to

Puerto Rican national identity is often omitted in favor for an exaltation of the Spanish heritage

and an, almost mythological, emphasis on the Taino ancestry.

Nonetheless, because Puerto Rican migrants constituted a large numbers of mulattos,

black, and mestizos, they were initially mistaken in the "white social imaginary" for African-

Americans due to the "social construction of racial categories in the United States, where having

'one drop of black blood' is enough to be classified as 'black'" (Grosfoguel, 2003:164).

Ironically, accepting their African historical heritage, they found common ground in the United

States to participate in the civil rights movements along African-American leaders in an attempt

to improve their socio-economic status by challenging the status quo.









Puerto Rican Identity formation in Chicago

Puerto Ricans in Chicago challenged their racialization as black in the U.S. black-white

dichotomy as well as their identity as Latino by "creating an alternative nationalist identity that

emphasized cultural and political distinctiveness while securing social autonomy and citizenship

rights." In order to achieve this, "they utilized historical narratives and nationalist symbols to

rej ect dominant racialization practices while alternately obliterating and exacerbating internal

racial divisions on behalf of Puerto-Ricanness" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:36).

Similarly, in Chicago "cultural authenticity" entailed exhibits of "ethnic and natural

solidarity" such as participating in festivals and grassroots politics as well as living in the zones

marked as Puerto Rican. Their participation in "community-based proj ects and being

knowledgeable of Puerto Rican history and politics in the United States relied on being marked

as Puerto Rican and deploying this markedness for navigating the social margins" (Ramos-

Zayas, 2003:143). Nevertheless, defining Puerto Ricanness is often contradictory and ironical

among islanders and mainlanders for while mainland Puerto Ricans would "organize salsa

parties to promote unity between islanders and mainlanders along national lines, Puerto Ricans

from the island generally avoided those events in favor of parties with rock or Motown music"

(145). Furthermore, Puerto Rican writers and poets in the U.S. criticized the irony of

assimilation among Puerto Ricans; for while Puerto Ricans on the island maintained that Puerto

Ricans from the U. S. were assimilated, the islanders were the ones who "[ate] McDonald' s in the

American discotheques" (Laviera 1981; author's translation)

In some of the interviews carried by Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003), it is observed how

island Puerto Ricans questioned the authenticity of Chicago Puerto Ricans. For instance one of

her interviewees, Francisco Ruiz, an electrical engineer who worked for General Electric and

lived in the Chicago suburbs observed: "Some Puerto Ricans from here do not even speak










Spanish, or if they do, they speak a dialect, Spanglish. They don't even speak English well

either. They speak Black English, not the English we learn in high school in Puerto Rico or in

college" (Ramos-Zayas 2003:148). His comment clearly outlines the tensions often present

between Puerto Ricans from the island and the mainland when trying to define and Eind an

authentic Puerto Rican identity.

Similarly, "Chicago islander professionals tended to use islander and mainlander

distinctions to point differences in attitudes, behaviors, and lifestyles between themselves and

their U. S. coethnics" for they are aware of the discriminatory attitude toward Puerto Ricans in

the U.S (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:149). As a result, they have also "created alternative Puerto Rican

identities that continued to reproduce their dominant status, the one they experienced on the

island on the basis of their social privilege" (149). What it is observed then, is how this Chicago

islander elite has used what they see as their class status in the island to avoid bearing the same

discrimination that mainland Puerto Ricans face as they are socio-economically marginalized

along with African-Americans.

Puerto Ricans in Chicago have also reacted negatively to the term Nuyorican. For

example, they first declared that the term did not apply to them, and secondly, they defined their

status in contrast to the Nuyorican "Other" specifically by focusing on "class identity and

racialization process that saturate the term on the island." As Edna Acosta-Belen (1992)

explains, Nuyorican, or Neorican --a hybrid of "New York" and "Puerto Rican," or "new Puerto

Rican" initially had negative connotations, especially as it was used on the island. When the

term was first starting to be used, it suggested a "cultural impurity that the island elite attributed

to uneducated younger generations of Puerto Ricans from 'El Bronx,' a racialized space" (980).









Moreover, Nuyurican was the first terms to articulate the distinctions between Puerto Ricans

from the island and the mainland.

The term or word Nuyorican entails a "double marginality" founded on both class and

blackness. As a result Nuyoricans are often described as "dark, young, and displaying

mannerisms and dress styles that some Puerto Ricans on the island associate with black youth in

the United States" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:33). Being Nuyorican in many ways exemplifies the

ways in which second and third generations renegotiate their Puerto Ricanness visad vis the

islanders, for they identify themselves as Puerto Ricans in every sense of the word; even though,

their interactions with the African American community has shaped other cultural markers such

as language, dress, and the way they carry themselves.

With respect to Chicago's Puerto Rican barrio, the "public perception of physical

encroachment, displacement, and gentrification reshaped national identities by inducing a

popular nationalism that conflated cultural and political modalities." Hence, this conflationn" led

to the portrayal of a Puerto Rican citizenship identity that was not incompatible with separatist

nationalism, but in fact contributed to the "negotiations of boundaries in relation to other Latinos,

African-Americans, and whites" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:36)

Interestingly, this nationalist discourse employed by Puerto Rican activists, while

differentiating itself from African-Americans, also "selectively" incorporated and emphasized

blackness in order to achieve three main goals. First, blackness was related to the struggle of

African-American civil rights leaders, "many of whom held nationalist views, rather than solely

with an ahistorical African heritage root or folklore."l Secondly, the activists explicitly

acknowledge that Puerto Ricans were "racialized as black or similar to black by dominant

society and other Latinos alike" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 199). Finally, Puerto Rican blackness









"could be negotiated as different from African-American blackness." Emphasizing this

distinction between how Puerto Ricans see themselves and how a "dominant other" sees them

further fueled the growth of a Puerto Rican nationalism in Chicago. The racialization of most

Puerto Ricans as "proxies for blacks in the bipolar racial system of the United States, the

nationalist claimed, is another attempt by dominant society to oppress Puerto Ricans as it

oppresses African-Americans" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 199).

For Chicago Puerto Ricans, "resistance entails not only a reconfiguration of the racial

ideology of mestizaje, but also a recognition that the embodiment of Puerto Rican Creole culture,

the jibaro, is a militant black, rather than the passive white peasant of Puerto Rican national

imaginary" (Torres, 1998; cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003:200). The fusion of jibaro and negro in

Puerto Rico modifies how race has been "essentialized in racial categories in the Puerto Rican

cultural imaginary;" thus, this union corresponds to a movement towards blackness (Torres,

1998:295-95). Consequently, the jibaro is no longer constituted a white-skinned peasant, but

rather he is a jibaro negro. In Chicago, as this movement became nationalized; "Puerto Rican

blackness was not to be conflated with A~frican American blackness" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:201)

Despite these common grounds found with the African-American community, Puerto

Ricans in Chicago have the highest segregation rates in relation to both white and African-

Americans of all Puerto Ricans in the United States (Massey and Bitterman 1985; Massey and

Denton 1989). The predominantly Latino neighborhoods throughout the city occupy the

"interstitial zones" between African-American neighborhoods and diminishing white working

class communities (De Genova 1998). The Puerto Rican community has traditionally been

located in the area encompassed by the three adj acent Northwest Side neighborhoods of

Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan Square, and the heart of the Mexican community,










especially Pilsen and La Villita [Little Village], which is on the Southwest side of Chicago. On

the other hand, the African American community is largely concentrated in the West and South

parts of the city (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 209).

Puerto Ricans are the only racialized group that has resisted a hyphenated identity

(Grosfoguel, 2003). In some ways this resistance is partly associated to their "resistance against

being fully assimilated in a society that marginalizes and racializes" them. The discrimination

they face "reinforces a feeling of belonging to, and an idealization of, the imagined place of

origin" (Grosfoguel, 2003: 141). Furthermore, this feeling becomes more "pronounced" with the

continuous circulation of Puerto Ricans from and to the island thanks to the lack of border

restrictions. As a result, many second-, third-, and even fourth-generation Puerto Ricans in the

United States preserve a "feeling of belonging to the Puerto Rican 'imagined community,' even

if they have never visited the island (141).

However, though Puerto Ricans in the mainland continue to construct their identity as

Puerto Rican, they face challenges of becoming a "cultural hybridity" in the United States which

is "not tolerated not only by nationalist intellectuals on the island but also by Puerto Rican

middle classes" (Grosfoguel, 2003:142). This intolerance is shown by the prejudice against

"nuyoricans" and, how this population in return, "questions some of the racist and elitist

representations of Puerto Rican identity on the island" (142). The cultural hybridity of the

Puerto Ricans in the United States represents a form of identity that includes elements of

African-American culture which "threatens island elite's efforts to conceal their African heritage

while privileging the Spanish culture" (142).









Conclusion

As it was observed Puerto Rican identity and national discourse is founded around three

historical roots: the Taino Indian, the African, and the Spanish and the subsequent mestizaje

process undergone among these populations. Moreover, we learn that Puerto Ricans at different

times choose what root to emphasize to navigate the racial discourse in both the U.S. and the

island, and that those roots have also served as a form of resistance. Hence, they have exalted

their Taino past against the Spanish colonial rule, then exalted their Spanish blood to resist

American imperialism; and later would recognize their African ingredient to find allegiance

during the civil rights movement.

Though Puerto Ricans in the mainland continue to construct their identity as Puerto

Rican, they face challenges of becoming a "cultural hybridity" in the United States which is "not

tolerated not only by nationalist intellectuals on the island but also by Puerto Rican middle

classes" (Grosfoguel, 2003:142). This intolerance is shown by the prejudice against

"nuyoricans" and how this population in return "questions some of the racist and elitist

representations of Puerto Rican identity on the island" (142). The cultural hybridity of the

Puerto Ricans in the United States represents a form of identity that includes elements of

African-American culture which while maintaining an identity of its own.

In addition, Ram6n Grosfoguel (2003) argues that there exists "heterogeneous ways" of

being Puerto Rican that are not limited by the use of a common language, or a "common

anything for that matter" (142). His study shows that many middle-class Spanish-Speaking

Puerto Ricans on the island are more assimilated to American "white middle-class cultural

practices with their suburban houses, cable TV, racist representations of Puerto Rican identity

and mass consumption of fancy shopping centers than many non-Spanish-speaking Puerto

Ricans in the United States living segregated in urban ghettos" (142).2 His findings are










important for it reminds scholars that we cannot possibly define Puerto Rican identity in absolute

terms and even though the core culture of what it means to be Puerto Rican remains and it is

transmitted from one generation to another, this identity is always evolving and being negotiated

in their daily lives. Interestingly for mainlanders to be Puerto Rican is not only about choosing a

color in the black-white racial dichotomy in the U.S., but it has become a race in itself.

Furthermore, as it was discussed throughout the chapter, by asserting their Puerto Rican

identity, Puerto Ricans on the mainland attempt to first, differentiate themselves from African-

Americans to avoid carrying similar stigmas of oppression and prejudice; and secondly, it

provides a sense of belonging as they are viewed as "the other" in the American social imaginary

and as such they are rej ected even though they are fellow American citizens.









CHAPTER NOTES


SInterestingly, in Puerto Rico, blackness is displaced onto specific marginal populations, like
Dominicans or Puerto Rican return migrants, rather than deployed as inherent to Puerto
Ricanness (cf. (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:.261).

2 See Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003) study pages 147-152.









CHAPTER 4
PUERTO RICAN CHICAGO

Puerto Rican migration to the city of Chicago during the 1930s and 1940s was

encouraged by the de-industrialization of manufacturing in cities such as New York as well as by

the United State's Operation Bootstrap in the 1950s, an effort to industrialize Puerto Rico by

giving American companies incentives (such as generous tax breaks, free land, and low interest

loans) to move their operations to the island (Cruz, 2004: 9). However, this operation failed to

create enough jobs for the growing Puerto Rican population; therefore, promoting immigration to

Chicago and other cities in the search for employment opportunities in the steel mills, factories,

and other manufacturing companies (9).

This migration wave had been facilitated by the Jones Act of 1917 which gave U.S.

citizenship to all island-born and U.S. mainland-born Puerto Ricans. In addition, in the

beginning of 1946 a private Chicago-based employment agency, Castle, Barton and Associates,

recruited Puerto Rican men to work as unskilled foundry laborers and Puerto Rican women to be

employed as domestic workers in Chicago and surrounding suburbs such as Waukegan (Edwin

1979; Padilla 1947; Padilla 1987). These early migrants moved into different neighborhoods

such as Woodlawn, the Near North Side, Lake View, Lincoln Park, Uptown, West Garfield Park,

East Garfield Park, and the Near West Side. However, by the 1960s most Chicago Puerto Ricans

were concentrated in Lincoln Park, West Town, and Humboldt Park and shared these

neighborhoods with Mexican and Polish immigrants as well as African Americans (Padilla

1987). Map 4-1 illustrates the primary and secondary Puerto Rican communities in the 1960s

before undergoing gentrification.

Even though Puerto Ricans were recruited to work in manufacturing industries, most of

their immigration took place during the "historical period when the traditional unskilled and









semiskilled jobs, which had represented the initial step of integration to the American

institutional life for a large numbers of European immigrants, were in steady decline as maj or

economic activities in many cities and were being replaced with white-collar and professional

jobs" (Padilla, 1985:43). As a consequence, for Puerto Ricans in Chicago the decrease of

employment opportunities in these kinds of factories led to their "concentration in non-industrial,

poorly paid, menial, dead-end jobs" (43). For instance, Elena Padilla' s (1947) study "Puerto

Rican Immigrants in New York and Chicago: A Study in Comparative Assimilation" of the first

group of Puerto Rican immigrants to Chicago in the 1940s, shows how many of the newcomers

found employment in the restaurant business as busboys, sweepers, kitchen help, waiters, as

messenger and delivery men in stockrooms and packaging areas of many stores, and as j anitors

(cf. Padilla, 1985: 43).

The U.S. Census of Population corroborates that during the 1960s and 1970s, most

Puerto Ricans worked in the industrial sector of the city (Toro-Morn, 2001:27). Changes in the

global economy during the 1980s, however, caused many factories to close their businesses and

move overseas to more profitable places in the Caribbean and Central America. Ironically, Toro-

Morn (2001) argues, these "industries closed their operations in Chicago to open plants in Puerto

Rico, thus further cementing the links between Chicago and Puerto Rico" (21). Many Puerto

Rican families were laid-off and many of them "were not able to recover economically and

slipped into poverty, a problem that hit the Puerto Rican community hard in the 1980s" (Toro-

Morn, 2001:27).

The effects that the relocation of manufacturing factories had on the Puerto Rican

community are further discussed in Martha Tienda' s article "Puerto Ricans and the Underclass

Debate" (1989). In this article, she argues that "structural factors, namely, rapidly falling










employment opportunities in jobs where Puerto Ricans traditionally have worked and the

concentration of Puerto Ricans in areas experiencing severe economic dislocation, are largely

responsible for their disproportionate impoverishment" in comparison to Cubans and Mexicans

(Tienda, 1989:107). Furthermore, her case study shows that the "weakened labor market

position of Puerto Ricans and their consequent impoverishment have roots in their placement at

the bottom of an ethnic hiring queue coupled with residential concentration in a region that

experienced severe economic decline and industrial restructuring after 1970" (Tienda, 1989:107).

Martha Tienda uses Stanley Lieberson's claims that a "discriminatory hiring queue

results when employers activate their prejudices and preferentially hire workers on the basis of

ethnic traits rather than market skills" as a way for explaining the growing inequality among

Hispanic workers. For example, she states that Mexicans have been "preferred workers in

agricultural jobs at least since the mid-1800s" (as opposed to Puerto Ricans who have been

actively recruited in manufacturing companies) (108). For Tienda, though the "incomes of

agricultural workers are low compared with those in other low-skilled jobs, when evaluated

against the alternative of unemployment or nonparticipation in the labor force, agricultural work

is preferable because it at least ensures some earnings" (108). As a result, the "massive

industrial restructuring of the Northeast" led to the disappearance of many unskilled and

unionized jobs, which in return has "dimmed the employment prospects of all Puerto Ricans"

(108). This analysis is interesting and helpful in understanding why Puerto Ricans economic

performance lags behind other minority groups for it draws a contrast between the jobs they have

traditionally performed, the lack of those j ob opportunities due to de-industrialization of

manufacturers, their subsequent unemployment, and the situation experienced by other

minorities groups such as the Mexicans. For instance, her study shows how Mexicans, whom are










employed in other sectors of the economy which have proven to be more stable (i.e. agriculture),

have been able to achieve economic security despite the low-wages earned in such industries, but

that are in return preferable than no wages at all.

Gentrification and its Effect on the Puerto Rican Population of Chicago

By the late 1960s, gentrification in Lincoln Park, an attractive neighborhood near

Chicago's North Side lakefront "became desirable to developers and young, white middle-class

professionals" (Cruz, 2004:9). This displacement was furthered encouraged as De Paul

University, McCormick Seminary, and large hospitals began to develop in this area during the

1960s (Aspira 1996; Padilla 1987). The subsequent rise in property taxes and the creation of

"expensive new homes [then] forced thousands of Puerto Ricans to move from the up-scale

Lincoln Park to more affordable, working-class neighborhoods" (Cruz, 2004:9).

In addition, the renewal proj ects undertaken during the 1960s and 1970s through the

Chicago 21 Plan in order to transform the downtown area into "a regional, national and global

business district" further contributed to the dislocation of Puerto Ricans (Betancur et al, 1991;

Perez 2000). These renewal proj ects seeking to rehabilitate this area through the development of

more profitable businesses and encouraging white-middle class professionals to move into this

neighborhood, thus created "buffer zones" to protect the downtown area from the low income

communities around it, causing the displacement of low-income Latino, African-American, and

white residents (Betancur et al, 1991; Perez 2000). These buffer zones became areas

economically developed in which Puerto Ricans and other low income groups had no access to

because they could no longer afford the increasing property values. Puerto Ricans were also

forced to move out of the Near West Side neighborhood along Harrison Street to make way for

the University of Illinois at Chicago Campus (Suttles, 1968). As a result, Puerto Ricans moved

into West Town and Humboldt Park, creating Chicago's first Puerto Rican barrio.









In the late 1990s, a new wave of redevelopment hit the city encouraged by Mayor

Richard M. Daley's initiative to attract affluent whites back into the city (Flores-Gonzalez,

2001). Nonetheless, this program and the subsequent arrival of middle- and upper-class whites

preoccupied community residents "who remembered how the rapid influx of affluent whites to

Lincoln Park and Wicker Park preceded and precipitated the displacement of Puerto Ricans from

these areas" (Flores-Gonzalez, 2001: 10). For Puerto Ricans, whose income is considerably

lower than that of white-middle class professionals, the movement of this white population into

their neighborhoods is preoccupying. For instance, the influx of affluent whites does not only

threatens the Puerto Ricans sense of community, cultural values and lifestyle, but it also

translates into higher property values that they will not be able to afford.

Census data from the 1990s supports the rapid pace in which gentrification of the Puerto

Rican community in Chicago took place during this time. According, to Nilda Flores-Gonzalez

(2001), West Town experienced a loss of 24.7% of its Latino population while the white rate

increased by 7%in the last decade. In 1990, there were 54,361 Latinos in West Town,

constituting 62% of the residents. By 2000, their numbers decreased to 40,920 or 46.8% of the

population. This constituted a loss of 13,441 Latino residents in West Town. The number of

white residents increased from 44,728 to 50,887 for a total gain of 6,159 white residents from

51% to 58.8 % while the black population remained stable with a 0.1% decrease (Flores-

Gonzalez, 2001: 12). These statistics do not only illustrate the rapid increase of the white

population in Puerto Rican neighborhoods, but also shows prove that the fears of this community

are well founded for the moving of professional middle-class whites into traditionally Puerto

Rican areas have historically led to the displacement of the latter group.









On the other hand, Humboldt Park "experienced a very small increase in Latino

population (6.3%, probably in part absorbing those leaving West Town)" (Flores-Gonzalez,

2001: 13). Nevertheless, the communities to the north and northwest of Humboldt Park radically

gained a large number of Latinos. For instance, the percentage of Latino residents in Hermosa,

Avondale, and Belmont Cragin increased by 41.6%, 99.6%, and 198.1%, respectively (13). For

Flores-Gonzalez (2001), although the statistics presented above do not specify that all Latinos

moving to this area are Puerto Ricans, "this trend supported] community residents assessment

that Puerto Ricans [were] moving west" into other neighborhoods such as Hermosa, Avondale,

and Belmont Cragin (Flores-Gonzalez: 2001, 13).

Statistics taken in 2000 by the U. S. Bureau of the Census for the City of Chicago

illustrate the displacement suffered by the Puerto Rican population from Lincoln Park and Near

West Side between the 1960s, where the population was highly concentrated in this area, to the

1990s, where new renewal programs further diminished their presence in these neighborhoods.

In Lincoln Park the white population in 2000 was estimated to be 84.47% while African-

Americans constituted 5.31% and Hispanic 5.00%.2 Similarly, the population of Hispanics in

Near West Side in this same year was 9.73%, the white population constituted 24.83% and,

interestingly, 52.95% of the population of this neighborhood was African-American. Facing

displacement, Puerto Rican residents then relocated to West Town and Humboldt Park. The

Census statistics from the year 2000, show the population of West Town to be 39.9 % white,

46.76% Hispanic and 9.32% African-Americans, while in Humboldt Park 3.15% are white,

48.01% are Hispanic and 46.6% are African-American. The statistics for both West Town and

Humboldt Park further show evidence of how whites are moving to these areas by how the

percent of the white population is close to that of Hispanics.









Map 4-1 presents the location of Logan Square, Humboldt Park, and West Town. These

areas have been traditionally considered Puerto Rican Chicago although Puerto Ricans have

continuously moved to other northwestern urban and suburban areas in and around Chicago

because of gentrification.3

While the Puerto Rican community have traditionally settled in Humboldt Park, West

Town, and Logan Square, the Mexican community originally settled in maj or areas where they

newcomers found employment: (1) South Chicago (steel), (2) Back of the Yards (packing

houses), and (3) Near West Side (railroad) (Padilla, 1987). Today, the Mexican community is

generally concentrated in the Pilsen area, which initially developed as a "seasonal stop-over for

migrating Mexican families working in the Michigan Beet fields" (Walton and Salces, 1977: 17)

and La Villita [Little Village] on the Southwest Side. Map 4-2 shows the distribution of these

Mexican community settlements in the 1960s. Nonetheless, what were traditional Mexican

communities in the 1960s; i.e. the Near West Side and South of Chicago, statistics of the 2000

U.S. Census show that these areas have larger African-American communities, representing

52.95% and 67.63% respectively of the total population in these neighborhoods.

The concentration of Mexicans in the neighborhoods of Pilsen and La Villita has been

noticed by Puerto Rican residents in Humboldt Park, who have recognized "folkloric markers" in

these neighborhoods that they associate with the Mexican culture and thus have been able to

identify and define these areas as Mexican (Ramos-Zaya, 2003:212). Even though these

"folkloric markers" seem to provide a way to enclose the Mexican population's presence into

certain neighborhoods; however, De Genova (1998) argues, that Mexican migrants in Chicago

cannot be "enclosed within a homogenous space of cultural isolation" for they also share living

spaces with Puerto Ricans, African-Americans and whites in other neighborhoods despite the









fact that Pilsen or La Villita appear to be populated almost exclusively by Mexicans. This

observation is important for it illustrates in other ways the effects of gentrification. For instance,

it is observed that those neighborhoods, which could be in the past defined in terms of the

minority group living in them, can no longer be exclusively identified as entirely Mexican or

Puerto Rican. Hence, we cannot only acknowledge the movement of people across the border

(i.e. from Mexico or Puerto Rico), but there is also a movement across neighborhood limits as

families are displaced in search for better employment opportunities or more affordable housing.

As a result, through the statistical evidence provided early in this chapter we can observe how

the demographics have changed in neighborhoods that were traditionally considered Puerto

Rican or Mexican communities of settlement.

Chicago's Mexican population has also increased by nearly 40% in the 1980s alone, and

it is the second-largest concentration of Mexican/Chicano settlement in the United States

numbering well over half a million in the metropolitan area and over 15% population within the

city limits (De Genova 1998, 100). This large population's visibility and the Puerto Rican

community's need to both define the geographical limits of their own communities as well as the

spaces in which other minorities groups live, is achieved by locating cultural markers in specific

urban locations. Consequently, they are limiting what they considered to be areas of strong

Mexican heritage to areas like La Villita and Pilsen while emphasizing Humboldt Park' s Puerto-

Ricanness (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:212). The use of cultural markers by Puerto Ricans to identify

other non-Puerto Rican communities, thus seems as an attempt to define their own

neighborhoods visad vis the other in order to safeguard their own sense of community and

identity as well as maintaining cultural values which seem to be threatened by the presence of

other minority groups who may not understand or accept their cultural pride.









African-Americans, on the other hand, are largely concentrated in the West and South

Sides of the city and share common living spaces with Puerto Ricans and Mexicans alike

(Ramos-Zayas, 2003:209). According to the 2000 Census of the City of Chicago, African-

Americans constitute 67.63% of the South of Chicago, Hispanics 27.20% and whites 2.64%; and

in the Near West Side, African-Americans comprise 52.95% of the population, Hispanics 9.73%

and whites 24.83%3. Similarly, in the community of Uptown, African-Americans constitute

21.07% of the population, Hispanics 20.05% and whites 42.05%; and in the community of

Garfield Park, African-Americans comprise 97.75%, Hispanics 0.96% and whites 0.59% 4

In addition, in the Near North Side neighborhood, African-Americans are 18.90% of the

population while Hispanics are only 3.91% and 69.30% are whites, and in Woodland, African-

Americans are 94.07% of the population, Hispanics 1.14%, and whites 2.78%. These statistics

are significant for they illustrate the large number of African-Americans who reside in the same

communities with Hispanics in areas that were traditionally considered Puerto Rican or Mexican

in the 1960s. These communities include Garfield Park, Near West Side, South Chicago and

Near North side. Furthermore, these population figures and changes illustrate how white middle-

class professionals displaced Puerto Ricans and Mexicans, as well as African- Americans who

sought affordable housing and employment opportunities. The statistics presented thus illustrate

that the historical arrival of middle-class white professionals into these neighborhood between

the 1960s and 1990s have changed the demographical composition of these neighborhoods and

thus represent the displacement suffered by the Puerto Rican population.

Division Street/ Paseo Boricua

Following the gentrification, community organizations and business leaders founded the

Humboldt Park Empowerment Partnership (HPEP) "out of concern for the impending

displacement of the Puerto Rican community and previous attacks on service-oriented










organizations" (Lyndersen 2000). In addition, Puerto Rican leaders developed the Humboldt

Park Empowerment Zone Strategic Plan in 1996 as an "economic initiative to develop various

commercial strips around the community, increase affordable housing, maintain the Puerto Rican

flavor of the community through the development of cultural landmarks" (Flores-Gonzalez,

2001: 13). This initiative from the Puerto Rican community resulted in the creation of Paseo

Boricua along Division Street as part of the redevelopment plan.

According to Ana Y. Ramos-Zayas (2003), nationalist activists and some barrio residents

explained gentrification in terms of the "invasion" of Puerto Rican space (211). The subsequent

development of a community building proj ect was referred to as la Islita [the little Island],

"suggesting that the barrio was a surrogate Puerto Rico" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:211). The issue at

hand for barrio activists meant that the "disappearance of the community" threatened theirs and

others jobs. For instance, Ramos-Zayas explains, it "was possible that workers at community-

based institutions, vendors who sold their wares from rolling carts, and owners of ethnic specific

businesses would not find a place in the institutions newly located in the barrio- fancy hospitals

and proliferating coffee shops that were not created for Puerto Ricans" (211-212). The potential

displacement of these types of ethnic-based employment generators, coupled with the

elimination of job opportunities in the industrial sector, limited the Puerto Rican community's

access to alternative forms of employment and further diminished their economic success.

Puerto Ricans were also aware that Chicago Mexican migrant workers satisfied the need

for cheap labor which was more easily exploited due to the workers "predicament of legal

vulnerability" (De Genova 1999). This legal vulnerability was represented by the undocumented

status of most Mexican workers in the United States. This is in contrast to Puerto Ricans'










citizenship status, providing them with legal rights to minimum wage and other government

benefits.

While the tension with Mexicans was centered towards the latter' s group ability to

provide cheaper labor due to their undocumented status; with respect to African-Americans, the

hostility manifested by Puerto Ricans towards this group was articulated in other terms. Puerto

Rican residents "explained the growing hostility toward incoming African-American residents by

focusing on the tightening housing market and the diminishing commercial opportunities in the

barrio, for which they blamed blacks competition over rehabilitated neighborhood housing"

(Ramos-Zaya, 2003 229). These conditions further exacerbated racial tensions for Puerto Ricans

not only felt as if they had to differentiate themselves from the African-American population to

not bear the same type of negative stereotypes and stigmas, but they also had to compete with

them for the few available resources. Furthermore, by revisiting Chapter 3 of this research, it

can be better understood that these racial tensions are also founded in the Puerto Ricans own

prejudice against African-Americans and their belief in the inferiority of these people (Haslip-

Viera 2001). This condition is also observed by the Puerto Ricans exaltation of their Taino and

Spanish heritage while devaluating the African contribution to their culture in the process of

defining an authentic Puerto Rican identity. The previous statements are not meant to claim that

Puerto Ricans are racist, but that in the white social imaginary of the U. S. and the confinement of

Puerto Ricans to certain stereotypes associated with the African-American population, Puerto

Ricans have made an effort to differentiate themselves from this minority group by asserting a

cultural identity that is different from that of African-Americans in order to avoid the same

discrimination.









Some Puerto Rican activists' belief was that "blacks won't take as good care of the

Puerto Rican area as [they] would because they don't understand the symbols, struggles, and

they don't experience the cultural pride [that Puerto Ricans have]" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003:230).

Thus, part of the antagonism towards African-Americans came from the belief that because they

are not Puerto Rican, they will not protect and be considerate towards the neighborhood as

Puerto Ricans would and that their influx to their communities will be followed by a decrease in

the neighborhood's safety and sense of community. In addition, Puerto Ricans believed the

increasing presence of African-Americans would intensify the competition for low-paying j obs

and affordable housing (Ramos-Zayas 2003).

The increasing African-American population in the "westernmost section of the Puerto

Rican barrio" encouraged those residents and activists who were preoccupied by the growing

African-American population in their neighborhoods to develop new grassroots efforts to protect

the Puerto Rican community from imagined or tangible threats to their security and their sense of

community by establishing cultural markers that would identify the neighborhood as Puerto

Rican. Thus, as a response to these concerns, the unveiling of the flags on Division Street

"suggests most efforts evoked nationalist symbols and rhetoric" (Ramos-Zaya, 2003:230). The

establishment of the Puerto Rican flag arches, one of the proposed proj ects by area activists and

popular education centers, was thus significant for it served as a cultural marker of the area as

mainly Puerto Rican. Furthermore, other Puerto Rican symbols, -like Old San Juan garita~s

[Spanish fortress], Taino Indian hieroglyphics, and Afro-Caribbean vejigan2tes [festival masks

and costumes] "were inscribed on steel boards that hang from Spanish-style faroles [light

poles] along the sidewalks of Paseo Boricua" (Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 212) .










Ramon L6pez (1995), a Chicago-based artisan and anthropologist (cf. Ramos-Zayas,

2003:14), described what the two steel flags on Division Street meant for the "culturally

intimate:"

The flag is a monument with multiple meanings... It commemorates the 100th
anniversary of the Puerto Rican patriots who fought Spanish colonialism and declared
it the national flag... It also commemorates the nostalgia, the visible symbol of our
belonging to a territory that we always remember, always with the hope to return or
visit... It commemorates the tradition of images -the Three Kings day celebration,
coquis, vejigantes... -that accompanies us in a city that belongs to another climate and
whose rented walls we want to paint and ornament with our own footprint... It
commemorates the many times when Puerto Ricans filled the streets with the flag
during parades and protests... It commemorates all the times that we hung the flag
from our necks... It commemorates the blood shed in the history of that Island and in
the pavement of this street" (L6pez, 1995:20)


L6pez (1995) concluded, "here in Chicago the flag is panted in the most total sense: to

reclaim space, to mark a point, to announce that our presence is much more than a transitory

passage, that we have made history in Chicago and that we are going to continue making it" (21).

The flag monument thus represented "the oppositional resistance discourse that emerged when

the validity of dominant norms was questioned from the perspective of an everyday practice that

challenged belief in the depoliticized nature of the steering mechanisms of law, bureaucracy, and

consumerism" (Franco, Yutdice, and Flores 1992; cf. Ramos-Zayas, 2003: 216). For Puerto

Ricans this flag monument articulates a discourse of historical and political resistance in which

they have defied both cultural norms which have bounded them to a second-class citizen status

due to their ethnicity and the prejudice they have suffered as such, and it also serves as a

statement that makes their presence in the city Chicago tangible and which needs to be

considered.









The location of these steel flags on Division Street, and the marking of this area as Puerto

Rican, was historic for the creation of the Chicago Puerto Rican community because it is in this

area that Puerto Ricans have historically settled and where their resistance movements have been

born. Furthermore, Division Street has been the location for several cultural activities and

celebrations of national pride for Puerto Ricans. As one example, the annual Puerto Rican

Parade is celebrated every June, ending with a procession down Division Street. It was

originally celebrated as El Dia de San Juan (St. John's Day), an event organized by Los

Caballeros de San Juan (the Knights of St. John), one of the first Puerto Rican religious and

social organizations in Chicago (Padilla 1987).

Conclusion

This chapter discussed how the Puerto Rican migration to Chicago took place extensively

during the 1930s and 1940s, largely as a consequence of the de-industrialization of

manufacturing cities like New York. Further, the migration was encouraged by the United

State's Operation Bootstrap in the 1950s, when the U.S. sought to industrialize Puerto Rico by

giving American companies incentives to transfer their factories to the island. The Proj ect,

however, failed to provide enough jobs for the growing Puerto Rican population. In addition,

Puerto Rican migration wave was facilitated by the Jones Act of 1917 and the citizen status

granted to all island and mainland-born Puerto Ricans, and the active recruitment by private

Chicago-based employment agency such as Castle, Barton and Associates.

This chapter also addressed the issue of how Puerto Ricans migrated during a time in

which employment opportunities in the sectors of the economy where most of the population had

traditionally worked were decreasing. As discussed, many manufacturing companies chose to

move their operations overseas in search for cheaper labor. These changes, coupled with the

gentrification in neighborhoods where Puerto Ricans lived, created conditions which threatened









their livelihoods, as many Puerto Ricans were displaced in search of more affordable housing.

Furthermore, the displacement caused by gentrification hurt ethnic-based Puerto Rican shops,

because as African-Americans, whites, and other minorities moved into their neighborhoods, not

only did the demographics change, but so did the needs, therefore diminishing some of the

demand for these shops.

The effects of gentrification are corroborated by statistical evidence. Early Puerto Ricans

migrants had moved into different neighborhoods such as Woodlawn, the Near North Side, Lake

View, Lincoln Park, Uptown, West Garfield Park, East Garfield Park, and the Near West Side.

However, by the 1960s most Chicago Puerto Ricans were concentrated in Lincoln Park, West

Town, and Humboldt Park, and later in the 1990s, most Puerto Ricans were displaced from

Lincoln Park and are now mainly concentrated in Humboldt Park, West Town, and Logan

Square (Ramos-Zayas 2003). The effects of gentrification were also felt by Mexicans, who, in

the 1960s were concentrated in both Near West Side and South Chicago, but, by the 1990s had

left, as the population of these neighborhoods had become maj ority African-American.

In addition, it was observed how gentrification, the tightening housing market and the

decrease of job opportunities for Puerto Ricans exacerbated racial tensions between Puerto

Ricans and African Americans. Puerto Ricans became concerned with the influx of African-

Americans, fearing it would have a negative impact on the neighborhood's safety, and that it

would also diminish the Puerto Ricans sense of community. In response to these changes Puerto

Ricans worked in creating a physical space, what Ramos-Zayas (2003) has called a "surrogate

Puerto Rico" along Division Street, which in return serves as an identifiable cultural marker of

where the Puerto Rican community is present. The steel flags monument also articulates a

discourse of resistance in a city where Puerto Ricans have had a historical presence and where










they continue to struggle to both preserve their community and provide better lives for their

families.










MAP 4-1
PUERTO RICAN COMMUNITIES OF SETTLEMENT IN THE 1960s2


Humboldt Park


Primary Puerto Rican
Commmuities 1960

1. UTptown
2. Lakeview
3. Lincoln Park
4. Near North Side
5. Woodland


F;ecoandmyll Puerto Rican
C~olmmmuities 1%ftl

6. Logan Square
7. West Gar~eld Park
8. East Garfield Park
9. Near West Side


Hnmboldt~ Par~k: W5est Town
*Division Street Area










2 Adapted from: Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino Ethnic Comsciousness: The Case ofi~exican Americans and Puerto
Ricans in (00 I,;..~ Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 41.










MAP 4-2
MEXICAN COMMUNITIES OF SETTLEMENT IN THE 1960s3


Town


Humb oldt


MIexican Colninunities
of Settlement

1. Pilsen
2. Back of the Yards
3. Near West Side
4. South Chicago


3 Adapted from: Padilla, Felix M. 1985. Latino Ethnic Consciousness: The Case ofi~exican 4mericans and Puerto
Ricans in C 00,I~ ,;. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press. p. 21









CHAPTER NOTES


SSee Stanley Lieberson. 1980. A Piece of the Pie. Berkeley: University of California Press. (cf.
Tienda, Martha, 1989:108).

2 Though these statistic do not specify the percentage of Puerto Ricans within the Hispanic
population in this area, and considering that Lincoln Park was traditionally an area in which
Puerto Ricans were concentrated prior to 1960s, the effects of gentrification are observed by the
high percentage of the white population in this neighborhood in comparison to African
Americans and Hispanics.

3 Source: Ramos-Zayas, Ana Y. 2003. National Performa~nce: The Politics of Class, Race, and'
Space in Puerto Rican Chicago. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. 45.
* The Map is Courtesy of the Department of Planning and Development, City of Chicago.

4 COnsider, in the 1960s, both Near West Side and South Chicago were Mexican community
settlements.

5 Interestingly, in 1960s East and West Garfield Park were considered traditional Puerto Rican
community settlements and in the 2000 Census, the percentage of African Americans constitutes
almost the entire population of this are, while Hispanics and whites' population is minimal.









CHAPTER 5
CONCLUSION

The purpose of this research was to address broadly the question of why Puerto Ricans

have been less successful to advance than other Latino groups or other minority groups in the

United States by understanding social and cultural characteristics of this group, as well the nature

of their migration and how certain structural and social factors (such as the employment market,

gentrification, their racialization in the U. S. white/black dichotomy, etc) have limited, if not

inhibited, their ability to advance in the American society.

It was thus observed how the first large wave of Puerto Rican migrants were

skilled/urban laborers arriving between 1900 and 1945 and during this period, they were actively

recruited as cheap labor for the manufacturing industries in New York City following the first

and second world wars. The second large wave of Puerto Rican migrants came during the 1950s

and 1960s and was mostly unskilled/rural workers, displaced by the decline of U. S. export-

oriented agriculture on the Island (Grosfoguel, 2003:140). Puerto Ricans upon migration to the

mainland were "subj ected to extremely negative discriminatory public opinion [as well as]

overcrowded and dilapidated housing, a lack of institutional support for education, and poor

medical services" (140).

In addition, Puerto Ricans migrating to the U. S. had to take the j obs available to them

regardless of their skills, and were considered a cheap labor force until the 1960s' civil and labor

rights movement made them "unaffordable" to manufacturing companies, namely because of

their citizenship status and the rights entitled to them because of citizenship. It was also

discussed how Puerto Ricans migrated during a time in which employment opportunities in jobs

where this population had traditionally worked were decreasing, as manufacturing companies

began to move their operations overseas in search for cheaper labor. These changes, coupled









with the gentrification process undertaken in neighborhoods in Chicago where Puerto Ricans

lived, created conditions which threatened their livelihoods as they were displaced in search of

more affordable housing. Furthermore, gentrification and the displacement of Puerto Ricans

threatened ethnic-based Puerto Rican shops that addressed community needs. As more African-

Americans, whites, and other minorities moved into traditional Puerto Rican neighborhoods, they

changed the nature of these shops and diminished the need for them.

It was also observed how gentrification, the tightening housing market and the decrease

of job opportunities for Puerto Ricans exacerbated racial tensions as Puerto Ricans increasingly

felt competition with African-Americans for the few resources available to them. Further, Puerto

Ricans became concerned that the influx of African-Americans would have a negative impact on

their neighborhood's safety and would affect their sense of community.

This research also discussed briefly how Puerto Rican migration to the mainland can be

argued to be circular in nature. Some scholars have claimed that "circular" practices allow for

the creation of "dual home bases" and "mobile livelihoods practices," providing a "flexible

survival strategy" for Puerto Ricans in response to their declining livelihoods and their poor

living conditions (Perez, 2004, Duany, 2002). On the other hand, scholars believe that these

processes hinder their participation in labor market, as well as inhibit employment advancement;

these processes also disrupt families, as children and women have to adapt and learn "traditional

Puerto Rican cultural values" in order to be accepted in the community (Perez, 2004).

Similarly, the lack of U. S. government-funded programs tailored to help those Puerto Ricans

who first migrated to successfully incorporate into the American economy, and the subsequent

racial segregation and limited affordable housing for Puerto Ricans, has perpetuated their

marginalization in this society.









As it was also observed, Puerto Rican identity and national discourse is founded around

three historical roots: the Taino Indian, the African, and the Spanish, and the subsequent

mestizaj e between these groups. Moreover, it was discussed how Puerto Ricans at different

times choose what root to emphasize to navigate the racial discourse in both the U.S. and on the

island, and that those roots have also served as a form of resistance. Hence, they have exalted

their Taino past against the Spanish colonial rule, then exalted their Spanish blood to resist

American imperialism, and later would recognize their African ancestry to find allegiance with

African-Americans during the Civil Rights Movement. In addition, it was discussed that by

asserting their Puerto Rican identity, Puerto Ricans on the mainland attempt to first, differentiate

themselves from the African-Americans to avoid carrying similar stigmas of oppression and

prejudice; and secondly, asserting Puerto Rican identity provides a sense of belonging, as Puerto

Ricans are viewed as "the other" in the American social imaginary and as such they are rej ected

even though they are fellow American citizens.

Though the conclusions of this research are primarily based on qualitative data, by using

some statistical evidence it has been observed that Puerto Ricans are indeed trailing behind other

groups in certain areas such as employment, earnings, education, etc. Furthermore, the statistics

used on this research have also illustrated the displacement of Puerto Rican communities by

gentrification in the city of Chicago. In addition, these chapters utilize socio-cultural factors in

order to explain how structural and institutional restraints have affected the ability of Puerto

Ricans to achieve upward mobility. Thus, we can draw parallels between the characteristics of

the population which first migrated, their subsequent marginalization and discrimination as a

result of the prejudice present in a white/black dichotomous society, as well as economic










changes in the global economy which caused de-industrialization of maj or cities such as New

York and Chicago and caused unemployment among this population group.

The factors discussed earlier can thus be closely linked to their impoverishment, which in

return, causes Puerto Ricans to move to urban ghettos where opportunities for second and third

generations to have access to proper education are less than ideal. What is then observed is what

some anthropologists have called the cycle of poverty; in this context the marginalization

suffered by first migrants has been reproduced by later generations of Puerto Ricans and few

have been able to break away from such cycle.

In general, finding an answer to the question of why Puerto Ricans have been less successful

to advance than other Latino groups or other minority groups in the United States is not an easy

task and there are no absolute answers. As it was discussed there exists a variety of variables

that have contributed to the marginalization of this minority group in the U. S. and this research

has thus presented a link between social and institutional factors that can help explain the issue at

hand. Nonetheless, further quantitative research of this population specific to the area of

Chicago needs to be performed so that we can adequately and accurately compare Puerto Ricans

to other minority groups in this city and shed light on how statistical data, coupled with the

qualitative findings discussed in this research, can provide a better understanding of this

population, and their struggles, and perhaps identify what can be done in order to help them

achieve better livelihoods and succeed in American society.










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