American or Latino? Both? Puerto Ricans suffer an identity crisis. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States. Puerto Ricans are U.S. citizens and have a U.S. passport. Also, their official languages are Spanish and English. In many ways, Puerto Rico is very Americanized because it provides soldiers, the federal laws apply, and the United States flag is everywhere. But, many of Puerto Rico’s traditions and values are those of Latin America.
Some of these include the type of food, holidays, family values, timing, affection, etc. I included timing because, in Latin America, if the invitation of something says it’s at 7PM, one arrives at 8PM or later. I already wrote about the typical food in another blog post, but it is important to note that Latin American countries share similar plates like beans, rice, soups, and others. The holidays are a mixture of the two cultures because they include aspects from the United States, such as the tree, and from Latin America, such as the religious and festive activities (my next blog post will be about the holidays in PR, so I will save the details for then). Affection is one of the most different components of the two cultures. People in the United States are much more formal than Latinos. Even how to greet people is different, a handshake in the U.S. and a kiss on the cheek in Latin America.
Pop culture plays a big role in the confusion of identity. Most of the movies and television programs are the same that Americans watch. Music is half and half because people listen to music in English just as much as they listen to music in Spanish. I learned English in school, but I believe that engaging in American pop culture is what truly helped me learn the language.
The most controversial factor of the identity crisis is politics. The common question involving Puerto Rican politics is: should it remain a U.S. territory, become a U.S. state, or become an independent country? Puerto Rico is divided into three groups based on those political beliefs. There are people who love the United States, people who hate the United States, and people who are indifferent.
In conclusion, I am not sure how to identify myself. But, I know for sure that: I am proud to be an American; I am proud to be Latin American; I am proud to be Puerto Rican.