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View Poll Results: Is raced discussed in The Americas 24/7
Yes, Latin Americas think about race all the time 1 33.33%
No, this board has been invaded by race extremists. 2 66.67%
Voters: 3. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-21-2013, 04:32 AM
 
Location: Czech Republic
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Racial integration between the Spaniards and Filipinos during the Spanish Occupation of the Philippines ( Filipinas )


As opposed to the policies of other colonial powers such as the British or the Dutch, the Spanish colonies were devoid of any anti-miscegenation laws. Moreover, the Catholic Church not only never banned interracial marriage, but it even encouraged it. The fluid nature of racial integration in the Philippines during the Spanish colonial period was recorded by many travelers and public figures at the time, who were favorably impressed by the lack of racial discrimination, as compared to the situation in other European colonies.


Among them was Sir John Bowring, Governor General of British Hong Kong and a well-seasoned traveler who had written several books about the different cultures in Asia, who described the situation as "admirable" during a visit to the Philippines in the 1870s.


"The lines separating entire classes and races, appeared to me less marked than in the Oriental colonies. I have seen on the same table, Spaniards, Mestizos (Chinos cristianos) and Indios, priests and military. There is no doubt that having one Religion forms great bonding. And more so to the eyes of one that has been observing the repulsion and differences due to race in many parts of Asia. And from one (like myself) who knows that race is the great divider of society, the admirable contrast and exception to racial discrimination so markedly presented by the people of the Philippines is indeed admirable."[10]


Another foreign witness was English engineer, Frederic H. Sawyer, who had spent most of his life in different parts of Asia and lived in Luzon for fourteen years. His impression was that as far as racial integration and harmony was concerned, the situation in the Philippines was not equaled by any other colonial power:


"... Spaniards and natives lived together in great harmony, and do not know where I could find a colony in which Europeans mixes as much socially with the natives. Not in Java, where a native of position must dismount to salute the humblest Dutchman. Not in British India, where the Englishwoman has now made the gulf between British and native into a bottomless pit."[11]

http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filip...anish_ancestry

Last edited by Hermosaa; 08-21-2013 at 05:18 AM..

 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:06 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowledgeiskey View Post
Cuba was well mixed before the Castro revolution. The mulatto identity was already a firm identity throughout Cuba by 1900. This is well documented.
Um, I know that and I said that already. What does what I stated in this particular comment have to do with whether or not mixing occurred or a mulatto category? Not understanding the point of what you said?

Also Cuba is not (as) mixed in the same sense as some other nations to a degree, but yes there is no disagreement on the fact that Cuba is very mixed.

On that same token USA is also very mixed as well. USA may be more mixed as a matter of fact.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowledgeiskey View Post
Cuba was well mixed before the Castro revolution. The mulatto identity was already a firm identity throughout Cuba by 1900. This is well documented.
What you stated I mentioned that exactly and then some in previous posts and threads throughout here.

Furthermore, what you state is also very much true of the USA as well. I was simply trying to illustrate that Cuba is an example of a Latin American nation that had immense widespread harsh segregation, racism, and white supremacy on par with Jim Crow or Apartheid or even Nazi Germany etc.

The USA has the same exact framework of history. The USA was and is just as mixed as Latin America, and probably even more so. The USA is also very mixed, even before Jim Crow and even before the one drop rule era. This is also very well documented.

I neve stated anything about Cuba being mixed or not. You did. You misinterpreted the whole point of what I was trying to state or make. I know about the mixing in Cuba and it isn't any different than what occurred in the USA. how people perceive race is another story. Ancestry and lineage is another story and most are mixed

The only difference with places like Cuba, and even South Africa is that there was NEVER any one drop rule that was implemented.

The USA always had mulatto and other legally accepted and promoted mixed race labels and identities. It was only from 1930 to 1967 that mixed race was eliminated from census forms in many USA states, but people still identified as mixed race even during Jim Crow. One drop rule began dismantling in 1960s and by 1967 due to Loving vs Virginia, the one drop rule was declared illegal and thus mulatto and other mixed race identities and labels and categories were restored back to normal as that's how it was for virtually all or at least most of U.S. American history.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:11 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by knowledgeiskey View Post
Cuba was well mixed before the Castro revolution. The mulatto identity was already a firm identity throughout Cuba by 1900. This is well documented.
Also realize that by 1900, the USA was very heavily mixed as well and a large portion of people identified as mulatto, or any other tema denoting mixed race identity
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:25 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_mariner View Post
I wouldn't say the Portuguese system was "more racist" as it was just a different kind of racism. In Brazil, Blacks were considered a legacy of slavery. In Cuba it was the same thing. Although Blacks in Cuba could vote and hold public office, there was still discrimination against Blacks. Cuba wanted to present itself as a Caribbean extension of Europe. It did what it could to squash remnants of African culture. Cuba let in many immigrants from Europe, and Asia too. Gloria Estefan's husband, Emilio Estafan, is a Cuban of Lebanese descent.

In the USA, there is another kind of racism. Planned Parenthood started as a program to basically exterminate the Black population. The USA invited millions of European immigrants over to the USA as well. And even then, there were some issues. Groups such as the Italians and the Irish were not liked. Blacks were definitely hated and some people wanted Blacks to either be sent somewhere else, or exterminated. However, they weren't the only group hated. It extended to ethnicity. There were many who looked at Catholic immigrants as "a threat to American society".

However, there is one difference. European immigrants would eventually be considered "White". Blacks would never be considered "White", and would basically be excluded.
I think the Portuguese, Spanish, and French were equally just as racist and/or harsh as the British. They really are not all that different in how they imposed colonial rule. Also we have to remember that it was the ARABS who were the first to impose a massive slave trade of black Africans first and their trading of black slaves and pillaging the African continent was the root cause or percursor to the Europeans trading and enslaving of Africans later on. It was the Portuguese and Spanish, and even French that got color and racial categorization and gradations terms from the Arabs and their methods of enslavement and later on when British got involved in colonialism and slave trade more in depth, they used the model and method that the Spanish and other European colonies were using to control, colonize and enslave people. People seem to overlook this. Also people need to stop overlooking and excusing the Arabs and their slave trade as well. They are among the biggest culprits of all in much of the history.

Also keep in mind that during different periods in time many European colonial powers took turns being legally contracted to supply slaves to the colonies of other European powers so it was a global system with each colonial power influencing each other.

Also people need to stop saying British never mixed with their African slaves and with Native Americans. That's complete nonsense because there was tons of mixing in British colonies.

Most of traditional USA history was begun with mix racing between the people. In fact for virtually all of USA history slavery was NEVER racial or based on race. You were only allowed to be a slave or forced into slavery based on if your mother or maternal/mother based mother ancestor was a slave. In fact British didn't even consider or regardslaves as blacks or vice versa.

Also one drop rule has nothing to do with slavery. One drop rule only existed legally from 1930 to 1967. Before and after one drop rule era there were always legally promoted and accepted mixed race categories. And tons of race mixing occurred during Jim Crow. Tons of mix racing also occurred before and even after Jim Crow and one drop rule eras.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:30 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by green_mariner View Post
I wouldn't say the Portuguese system was "more racist" as it was just a different kind of racism. In Brazil, Blacks were considered a legacy of slavery. In Cuba it was the same thing. Although Blacks in Cuba could vote and hold public office, there was still discrimination against Blacks. Cuba wanted to present itself as a Caribbean extension of Europe. It did what it could to squash remnants of African culture. Cuba let in many immigrants from Europe, and Asia too. Gloria Estefan's husband, Emilio Estafan, is a Cuban of Lebanese descent.

In the USA, there is another kind of racism. Planned Parenthood started as a program to basically exterminate the Black population. The USA invited millions of European immigrants over to the USA as well. And even then, there were some issues. Groups such as the Italians and the Irish were not liked. Blacks were definitely hated and some people wanted Blacks to either be sent somewhere else, or exterminated. However, they weren't the only group hated. It extended to ethnicity. There were many who looked at Catholic immigrants as "a threat to American society".

However, there is one difference. European immigrants would eventually be considered "White". Blacks would never be considered "White", and would basically be excluded.
Almost all Latin American nation at one point or another had anti black and racist or xenophobic laws banning immigration from blacks, Asians, Middle Easterners etc for much of the 20th century. In Panama, English speaking West Indian blacks and their descendants had their Panamanian citizenships and rights revoked thus leaving them without any rights. In Honduras, and Costa Rica there were restrictions on where English speaking blacks travelled to and many were banned from getting citizenship and other rights.

El Salvador still had anti black immigration laws on their books until recently.

Even Bolivia etc decided to implement anti black immigration laws on it's books.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:34 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Hermosaa View Post
I also wonder why Hongkong and Singapore don't have so many mestizos.
Equatorial Guinea was a Spanish colony.

Next it all depends on how places like Singapore and Hong Kong were ruled by the British. Because remember, what occurred in one place did not occur in another.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:36 AM
 
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Originally Posted by red4ce View Post
Well that would support the general assertion in this thread that the British had a lot more hangups over intermixing with the local population than the Spanish did.
No it doesn't. The British did mix a lot. In fact they even promoted mixing and race mixing with people. They also wanted to spread their religion as a way to promote or proclaim the humanity of it's subjects if they took on the religions that the British followed.

Most people in British colonies are mixed or there was lots of mixing in British colonies
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:43 AM
 
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Originally Posted by AntonioR View Post
This is the only place where I have seen the Spanish and the Portuguese labelled as the most racist when the opposite was true. Maybe it has to do with the large amount of Americans here, since the USA was born from mostly British colonies.

Lets be clear, all European colonialists believed that they were superior to the people they conquered. The evidence was in the conquering results. They thought that superior people were those that effectively conquered others and created company and wealth out of nothing. Since that's what happened and the Europeans were at the positive side of things, it makes sense they erroneously began to take an air of superiority. That's what happens to human in victorious positions since the times of the Egyptian pharoes and maybe even predating that!

That is where the British and Spanish/Portuguese pretty much coincided.

The question they faced was how will they create prosperous, civilized, and long lasting societies with so many inferior pure non-whites?

This is where the British and Spanish/Portuguese part ways. The former were convinced that the inferior blood of the pure non-white would degrade the entire society, because non-whites weren't fully human. Notice that in the US the vote of a black man was only as good as one-sixteenth of the whites, signifying the lesser human status the British and their descendants (and those that thought like them) regarded the non-whites. However, the Portuguese/Spanish were convinced that while the non-whites were inferior to whites, they were still full humans and as such, mixture would produce advantages as the non-white stock receives injections of the superior white blood.

The Anglos were concerned with keeping the white race as pure as possible, free from inferior taint and this explains why it was former British colonies the ones that adopted apartheid (US, South Africa, Zimbabwe, Namibia, etc). The Latins were not bothered with the thought of the whites having some non-white blood since they didn't believed it was damaging to society. A mixed race majority would guarantee not only the advancement of the non-whites, but also reduce the potential for racial tensions and subsequent race based revolutions.

Even today the effect of this is clearly visible. Americans are often suspect of white Latin Americans because so many have some mixture, while Latin Americans accepts even mixed race people that look white enough or majority white as white with no problems. We also see it in how Americans like to keep the rigid racial duality between whites and blacks by insisting that the mixed race should identify as black rather than mixed. However, in Latin America the mixed population is recognized as mixed. You can see the difference in social settings in the US where in restaurants, malls, etc you will see large groups of whites and groups of blacks being quite separate, with a few exceptions. In many Latin countries the social interactions are much more mixed up.

In the US people are VERY race conscious and often treat class issues as if they were purely racial, while in Latin countries race consciousness is much lower with status and class taking precedence.

You see how in American websites and forums race is a very popular topic while in Latin websites race rarely is much of an iss

In the US your identity is closely tied to your race, with each race within the American nationality being perceived as different versions of American culture, but the white version is the one accepted as the more legitimate one. In Latin America, your identity is much more closely tied to your nationality, then to your region, then to your class, and rarely does race even considered. In Brazil, Panama, Venezuela, Dominican Republic, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Mexico, etc there is a sense their nationality bonds their country men despite of race or color differences.

One last example is how Americans accept as Western only the white majority countries, excluding all of Latin America, even white majority Argentina and Uruguay since the thought of many of them being mixed but look white is enough for Americans to put in doubt their whiteness.

All of that is only the tip of the ice berg regarding this topic, but what remains constant is the undeniable fact that among European colonialists, the Portuguese/Spanish were less racist, put in place policies that encourage the mixture of the population rather than divide and/or exterminate to allow for a white only society to flourished, as the abritish did in North America, Australia and elsewhere.
In Spanish, Portuguese, and French colonies, mixed race offspring were often viewed as or considered illegitimate. Many were not even given the surname of their European descent parent, thus illegitimacy.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 06:44 AM
 
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REFERENCE ENTRY

Puerto Rico

in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170559


PREVIEW

Puerto Rico exemplifies the complexities of race relations and the use of terminology to describe them. Considered by some as “the whitest of all the Antilles,” Puerto Ricans are usually described as mostly Hispanic, a homogeneous race of mixed people. This concept of the Puerto Rican underestimates the African component, one that has had a significant impact on the culture and ethnic composition of Puerto Rico. The African traditions brought to Puerto Rico were syncretized with the Spanish, the Taíno, and, later, the Anglo-American traditions to produce a rich cultural and ethnic amalgam.The racial mixture of blacks and whites has shaped the concept of race in Puerto Rico. There has been a growing scholarly interest in the Creole blacks and their importance in the formation of the Puerto Rican society, in contrast to the traditional history that has focused on the actions of the ruling white Creole elite. Traditional U.S. conceptions of blackness (anyone with some African blood) and whiteness are of limited use in assessing Puerto Rican conceptions of race. The population's seemingly genial attitude toward race relations in Puerto Rico gives the impression of a society free from racism and prejudice. Yet this idea is proved wrong by the social, political, and economic status of Afro-Puerto Ricans.Native American PresenceThe recorded history of Puerto Rico begins with the arrival of Columbus on November 19, 1493. Puerto Rico was inhabited by the aboriginal Indians named Taínos, who called their island Boriquén (or Borinquén). Since there is no reliable documentation, estimates regarding the number of Taínos have ranged from the unlikely figure of eight million to the more realistic 30,000. The colonization of San Juan, the name given to the island by the Spanish, began in 1508 when Juan Ponce de León established the first settlement. The Taíno population decreased dramatically during the first period of colonization as a result of the spread of European diseases, various rebellions, and the encomiendas system, the regime of forced labor that distributed Taíno Indians among the settlers. Although the Taínos were legally exempted from slavery by royal decree in 1542, rebel Indians were enslaved and exploited by the colonists. By the end of the sixteenth century the Taínos were virtually extinct.Slavery in Puerto RicoThe first Africans arrived with Columbus in 1493, although the slave trade was not authorized until 1513. Many free blacks, mainly from Seville, emigrated, searching for better opportunities in the New World. They were mainly ladinos, or Christianized blacks, who came to serve as domestic servants. In Puerto Rico there were always larger numbers of free blacks than slaves. These free blacks worked in the mines and helped the militia to subjugate the Taínos. They acted individually and moved frequently in search of better work opportunities.Since the Taíno population was rapidly diminishing, many colonists favored the introduction of black slaves as a substitute for the Indian work force. African slaves were initially used to search for gold. Yet during the first half of the sixteenth century the slave population remained relatively small. Only 1,500 enslaved Africans were legally introduced to Puerto Rico from 1536 to 1553. Throughout the seventeenth century the legal trade remained very limited, although an undetermined number of African slaves were introduced as contraband. This tobacco plantation near Barranquitas was photographed in the winter of 1941. At one time, Puerto Rico relied heavily on its production of tobacco as an export crop, but today such production has nearly vanished. Library of Congress In the eighteenth century Puerto Rico's economy remained underdeveloped because Spain refused to see the island as anything other than a military outpost. It was not until 1815 that the economic development of Puerto Rico received official support, when Ferdinand VII issued the Real Cédula de Gracias, which liberalized trade, offered incentives for immigrants, and opened Puerto Rican ports to legal commerce. It was also an attempt to “whiten” the island because, at the time, the population was mainly black and mulatto (of African and European descent).The Sugar industry became the most important economic activity of Puerto Rico in the nineteenth century. Spain grew more interested in the economic development of the Antilles as a way of regaining control of the mainland. There was a boom in sugar production in Cuba, Spanish Santo Domingo, and Puerto Rico, leading to increased slave importation from West Africa. While information on the slave trade to Puerto Rico is incomplete, the available records indicate that Senegal, Sudan, and Guinea were major sources. The black population was concentrated in the coastal sugar plantations, in places like Mayagüez, Guayama, and Ponce, in the southern region of the island. The number of black slaves and free pardos (mulattos) grew rapidly between 1820 and 1840. For example, from 5,037 slaves in 1765, the number grew to 21,730 in 1821. In the 1830s women constituted almost half of the slave population. They were preferred because they could give birth to more slaves as well as work on the plantations. The forced immigration of Africans reached its peak by the 1840s. The 1845 census shows that there were 216,083 whites, 175,000 free coloreds, and 51,265 slaves in Puerto Rico.Forced immigration rapidly declined, primarily because of the inability of Puerto Rican plantation owners, or hacendados, to compete against the Cuban slave owners in the international slave market. For example, in 1840 the bozales, or African-born slaves, constituted 46 percent of the total slave population in Ponce, the city with the largest number of slaves at the time. By 1872 they represented only 18 percent. The last enslaved Africans who came to the island were relatively young and came from Nigeria, Ghana, and what is now the Democratic Republic of the Congo.Resistance and the Abolition of SlaveryAs in the rest of the Americas, the enslaved population of Puerto Rico resisted the slave system. The first recorded rebellion against European domination in the hemisphere occurred in 1514 and was jointly planned and executed by Taínos and Africans.Numerous revolts, conspiracies, and individual escapes occurred in different municipalities throughout the island from 1775 to 1873. For example, between 1795 and 1848, twenty-two conspiracies were reported. These acts of resistance occurred mostly in the towns of Guayama and Ponce, where in 1821 the slave Marcos Xiorro revolted without success but achieved legendary status among the slaves. For most slaves, to run away was the only solution to escape from a life of oppressive work and inhumane treatment. For example, slaves were labeled with a red-hot iron called a carimbo, used to prevent them from being illegally introduced to the island. They were frequently whipped. Not even pregnant women were exempt; they were forced to lie on the ground with their bellies in a dug-out hole (designed to protect the unborn slave) and were then whipped.The slaves who successfully escaped to the mountains were called cimarrones. In Puerto Rico, there were never enough of them to take over the land or proclaim a war against their oppressors. It was common practice for the cimarrones to set fire to the cane fields as a means of attracting the militia's attention, in order to steal their weapons. Owners controlled and closely watched any slave gatherings. Sometimes the slaves planned conspiracies and revolts when they got together to play and dance bomba. They risked being found out by their master/overseer and exposed by other slaves. Colonial authorities encouraged antagonistic relations between slaves by granting liberty to those cimarrones who turned in another escaped slave. They also gave freedom and 500 pesos to blacks who reported any kind of slave conspiracy. Some slaves bought their liberty by paying their owner; however, not many could afford to do this. One slave annually was awarded freedom because of good behavior; some bought their children's freedom when they were baptized. Others escaped bondage by committing suicide. Many of them believed their spirit would return to Africa after they died. Other fugitive slaves escaped to Haiti and Santo Domingo. Given the large free black labor force on the island, some slaves tried to escape their bondage by passing as free workers, moving from town to town until they were discovered.In 1826 Miguel de la Torre, the governor of Puerto Rico, enacted the first regulation for slave treatment, which was inspired by the increasing number of conspiracies. It required the slave owner to feed slaves properly and provide medical aid in the case of acute illness. Domestic slaves had to convert to Catholicism and remain obedient to authorities and respectful of whites. The regulation imposed harsh penalties for rebellious slaves, including slashing and imprisonment. In May 1848 Governor Juan Prim adopted the infamous Bando contra la Raza Africana (Proclamation Against the African Race). It was an oppressive ordinance directed against all people of African descent, including free blacks. All blacks were subject to court-martial for any offense. The proclamation also imposed the penalty of “hand cutting” to those free persons of African descent who raised a weapon against whites, even if the aggression was justified. Those slaves found guilty were executed. Harsh prison sentences were imposed on any black who insulted or threatened a white man. The succeeding governor, Juan de la Pezuela, abolished Prim's measures in November of the same year, but rebellions and conspiracies continued.The system of slavery started to erode in Puerto Rico after the 1850s, with the beginning of Puerto Rico's independence movement. At that time, independence and abolition went hand in hand with political radicalism. Thus the first goal of the independence movement was to end forced labor. The Sociedad Abolicionista Española (Spanish Abolitionist Society) was founded in 1855 by Ramón Emeterio Betances and a group of white Creoles who secretly worked against the institution of slavery. They promised freedom to their slaves if they participated in the revolution. After being exiled in 1867, Betances helped foment the Grito de Lares in 1868, which was the first independence revolt against Spain. Although the Lares revolt failed, it catalyzed the abolition process. Spain was not willing to grant independence to Puerto Rico after Grito de Lares, but it realized that slavery could no longer be maintained in the island. In 1870 the Spanish government passed the Moret Law, which provided for the liberation of children born between 1868 and 1870 and those slaves over 60 years of age. Under this partial abolition statute, about 10,000 slaves were set free in Puerto Rico. More than 90 percent of the slaves at this time were criollos (Creoles).On March 22, 1873 slavery was completely abolished, hastened by the economic situation of the plantation owners. The plantation economy in Puerto Rico had declined after 1850. The slave-owning class had neither the infrastructure nor the cash flow of their Cuban counterparts, and most of them were in debt by the 1860s. Therefore, they were not in an economically viable position to oppose abolition effectively. These factors marked the end of the old plantation system of haciendas, characterized by small and midsize plantations owned by white Creoles, and marked the beginning of one of Puerto Rico's worst economic crises. For the former slaves, this period meant the continuation of harsh conditions under an obligatory contract system in which they were paid but had to rely on their owners to survive.Importance of Free Coloreds on the IslandPeople of African descent, predominantly free, constituted the majority of the island's inhabitants. The great majority lived restricted lives, with no control over where they lived or worked, no freedom to decide whom to marry, and no access to social institutions. Nevertheless, some managed to secure a rudimentary education; rented or owned land, stores, and houses; and attained important positions. For example, in 1845, reports mentioned Manuel Elías, a free colored silversmith who owned three houses and had three slaves. María Francisca Ferrer owned a house and two male slaves, and saved an impressive amount of money. Also, Micaela Pizarro apparently was in the real estate business and owned slaves. Free people of color used their legal position to acquire some wealth even when they had to deal with racial prejudice. Some inherited property from their masters.As in the rest of the Spanish America, the free colored men had to serve in the segregated militia. In Puerto Rico, however, they had by royal decree the right to bear arms, even in times of peace, and to protect the island in the event of a slave revolt, an insurrection, or any kind of attack or invasion. These men played a vital role in the defense of the island, especially resisting the English attack of 1797. Apparently, whites were not threatened by the fact that colored men were in charge of defense.The number of free blacks and pardos increased more rapidly than the number of whites between 1820 and 1840. They suffered more than whites from the consequences of the cholera epidemic that claimed thousands of lives in the second half of the century. They also had to cope, more than whites, with the deterioration of the public health system at the same time. For these reasons, and the fact that the racial classifications changed, the white population in the second half of the century appeared to grow more rapidly. The increasing numbers of those classified as “white” also reflected the fluidity of racial definitions. In a context in which few could claim “purity of blood” and whiteness was the preferred designation, many simply elected to emphasize European ancestry. Under Spanish law, “whiteness” could be purchased, and those who accumulated sufficient wealth paid for an official change in their records.Free colored people lived in an elaborate caste system, where the degree of whiteness determined their position and possibilities in the colonial society. The stratification of the Puerto Rican society resulting from this system granted superiority to the whites over the pardos and blacks. Mixture between races was associated with illegitimacy and provided whites with another reason for rejecting blacks. Still, limpieza de sangre, or purity (Whitening) of blood, through marrying a lighter-skinned person, was the way to ascend in the social class structure. Light-skinned people had better economic and social possibilities.The government always wanted to maintain control over the laboring population, white and black, slave and free. The cholera epidemic also had a great impact on the labor force, and the number of enslaved people declined. Between 1838 and 1868 the government improved the mechanisms of control by implementing mandatory labor laws that affected all laboring sectors, whites as well as blacks and pardos. All men between sixteen and sixty years old who did not own or rent land were called jornaleros, or workers who earn a salary. In 1849 Juan de la Pezuela instituted what is known as la libreta (the notebook), which stated that every jornalero had to carry a notebook in which the owner made notes on the worker's behavior. Authorities revised la libreta and labeled as “lazy” anyone who was not earning a salary, in which case the worker had to move to another town. This practice often tied the workers to their owner's land and promoted complete dependency.By the end of the nineteenth century, the majority of blacks in Puerto Rico were “Creole blacks,” born and raised on the Island. Creole blacks were better characterized as black Puerto Ricans rather than Africans living in a foreign Caribbean island. While preserving many of the African traditions, blacks adopted much of the Spanish culture and were instrumental in maintaining aspects of the Taíno culture as well. Although Roman Catholicism was the only recognized religion, the vast majority of the population practiced syncretic forms, combining Christian images and traditions with African beliefs. There was a paucity of Roman Catholic clergy and other resources (doctors, etc.), a reflection of Spain's general neglect of Puerto Rico. Thus, lay forms of religion were often the only option for the populace.Puerto Rico in the Twentieth CenturyIn 1898, just as Puerto Rico was making progress toward autonomy, it was ceded to the United States under the Treaty of Paris, after the Spanish-American War. The military governed the island for a short time, followed by a civil government outlined in the Foraker Act, which was approved in 1900. U.S. racial attitudes and race issues then began to affect Puerto Rican life, aggravating the already existing racism on the island, in which the definition of a national identity favored the Hispanic heritage over the African. For example, in 1917, with the imminent participation of the United States in World War I, the Jones Act granted American citizenship to Puerto Ricans, many of whom then had to fight in the U.S. military. Since that time, Puerto Ricans have participated in every military conflict in which the United States has been involved. At first, Puerto Rican males were placed in segregated Negro units. Those Puerto Ricans who considered themselves white were offended by this grouping.Puerto Ricans who migrated to the mainland at the end of the nineteenth century, and especially after World War I and until the 1940s, underwent a similar experience regarding racial classifications. They were confronted with the fact that the way in which they defined themselves differed from the way in which they were perceived on the mainland. The racial prejudice that came from the years of slavery developed into a concept that equated African heritage with a supposed deficiency of performance, both socially and intellectually. This, in turn, clearly affected the development of a national identity on and off the island.In 1943 Luis Muñoz Marín, who later became the first elected Puerto Rican governor for the Popular Democratic Party when the Commonwealth was established in 1952, passed the first Civil Rights Act of Puerto Rico. Before this legislation, it was common practice to turn away people of color at places that were open to the rest of the public, such as casinos and restaurants. The new act imposed criminal penalties on anyone who denied services to people on the basis of race or color in public places, in businesses, or on public transportation, but the law was not enforced.The Bill of Rights of Puerto Rico's Constitution was approved in 1952 and included a specific provision prohibiting discrimination on the basis of race, color, or social condition. In 1965 a civil rights commission was created for the purpose of investigating and educating the public and proposing legal reforms on issues of civil rights, including racial discrimination. Under the commonwealth status, the United States Constitution and civil rights laws are fully applicable to Puerto Rico, reinforcing the local laws that existed before federal protections became effective.Despite these legislative changes, Racism continued to exist in various forms in the island. For example, in the 1950s the Commission for Civil Rights gathered evidence to prove that Afro–Puerto Rican professors and students were victims of discrimination in the private schools. A correlation exists between race and social class in Puerto Rico. The economic elite in Puerto Rico remains predominantly white, while the Afro–Puerto Rican and mulatto communities are generally associated with substandard conditions and crime. Racial prejudice varies from class to class yet tends to be more evident among members of the upper classes. Such prejudice is also directed against the Dominican undocumented immigrants who come to the island through the Mona Passage, looking for better economic opportunities.Although the problems of racism are far from being resolved, there is a growing awareness and discussion of the Afro–Puerto Rican situation on both the island and the mainland that have brought many Puerto Ricans of African descent together for the purpose of confronting the issues of discrimination. Scholarly works, such as Isabelo Zenón Cruz's Narciso descubre su trasero and José Luis González's El país de cuatro pisos, have been essential in rousing awareness. Other important contributions come from Puerto Rican immigrants in the United States who have been deeply influenced by the African American Civil Rights Movement. Organizations, such as the Young Lords, who resemble the Black Panthers of the 1960s; the Unión de mujeres negras puertorriqueñas (Union of Afro-Puerto Rican Women); and the Concilio puertorriqueño contra el racismo (Puerto Rican Council against Racism), have come forward to take up the cause of Afro–Puerto Ricans.The 2000 U.S. Census was the first in fifty years to classify Puerto Ricans by race. According to that census, over 80 percent of Puerto Ricans define themselves as white, while about 8 percent identify themselves as black. Although many Puerto Ricans are of mixed ancestry, only 4 percent describe themselves as “mixed-race,” and while Puerto Rico is making progress in eliminating racial discrimination, there is still a stigma attached to blackness. For example, one government clerk remarked that when people come to his office to register, “Unless they are really, really black, I put everyone down as white because that helps them later in life.”African heritage is an essential and undeniable part of Puerto Rican culture. It is evident in musical expressions, such as Salsa and the vernacular rhythms of Plena and Bomba, which are also dances; in the language; in the cuisine; and in popular traditions of the island. Afro–Puerto Ricans, such as Roberto Clemente, have distinguished themselves in sports. Many political leaders of African descent, such as Pedro Albizu Campos, Ernesto Ramos Antonini, and José Celso Barbosa, have played important roles in history. In the arts, such musicians as Rafael Cortijo, Ismael Rivera, Rafael Hernández, and Willie Colón; painters José Campeche; and writers Julia De Burgos, Luis Palés Matos, and Luis Rafel Sánchez provide examples of the richness of Afro–Puerto Rican culture.See also Catholic Church in Latin America and the Caribbean; Colonial Latin America and the Caribbean; Colonial Rule; Racism in Latin America and the Caribbean; Slave Laws in Colonial Spanish America; Slave Rebellions in Colonial Spanish America; Slavery in Latin America and the Caribbean; Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Reference Entry. *4151 words. *Illustrated.

Subjects: history

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