This isn't a trick question or one to make you think I am better than you: someone who's Boricua. But it's a real one: How knowledgeable are you about Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States?
I am often told by Puerto Ricans I know more about Puerto Rico's history than many Puerto Ricans / Puertoriqueños. While this may make other Americans happy, it makes me sad. It tells me there are many breakdowns in getting information into the hands of those who need it: the people. It's not enough that your grandparents knew this stuff or that your politicians know it. The schools aren't able to teach students about the real history that has crippled Puerto Rico and made American investors rich over the last 100+ years.
It's estimated that 43 percent of Americans don't realize that Puerto Rico is a colony of the United Sates. Yes it's true that Puerto Ricans are citizens of the U.S. but Puerto Rico is colony and not its own country. I think this came to light in the last two plebiscites. All have been a joke because the U.S. Congress would never approve Puerto Rico becoming a state, even though 75 percent of 23 percent of registered voters chose to become a state in the most recent plebiscite. I also wrote about it in Spanish.
If given a test right now, could you pass? How knowledgable are you about Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States?
Here are few questions every Puerto Rican should know the answer to. And this is the case whether you live in the U.S. or on Puerto Rico.
- What is a colony?
- What is a commonwealth?
- What is a territory?
- You are Puerto Rican, but what races and/or ethnicities comprise Puerto Ricans / Boricua?
As a colony of the United States since 1898 when the U.S. took it from Spain (who colonized Puerto Rico from 1511 to 1898), do you know about the following Puerto Rico has been subject to? If so, can you explain what they are without Google?
- What is The Jones Act?
- What is The Merchant Marine Act of 1920?
- Do you know about the bank foreclosure conspiracies of the early 20th century that drove local farmers off the land and allowed the sugar syndicates to sweep in and control everything?
- Did you know about Dr. Cornelius Rhoads’ (1931) extermination plan?
- What is Ley (Law) 53?
- What happened on Puerto Rico on October 30, 1950?
- Had you heard about the Rio Piedras Massacre of 1935?
- Or the Ponce Massacre of 1937?
- Most people have heard about the 1941 seizure of the island of Vieques, which was used as a bombing range by the U.S. military for 60 years. Had you?
- What happened in 1978 to Cerro Maravilla?
- Who is Pedro Albizu Campos?
- What is Operation Bootstrap?
- What is the eugenics / depopulation campaign?
- When did the U.S. secretly spray of Naled and BTi over the island? And how much money did Puerto Rico receive for this?
The fact is, it's not appropriate that I, someone who was raised in the United States and who isn't Puerto Rican, should know more about Puerto Rico's relationship with the United States.
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Meme credit of Jennifer Lopez: Multiracial Media