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Old 12-08-2008, 10:29 PM
 
Location: Middle Tennessee
166 posts, read 536,528 times
Reputation: 182

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Before anyone says anything like I'm trying to start crap, I am not.

Let me start off by saying that I currenty live in Tennessee but originally from New Jersey (specifically Trenton) and my fam is Puerto Rican and proud to be. Unfortunately, one thing I notice when I go back to Jersey and visit NYC and read all the statistics is how poor off all the Puerto Ricans tend to be (specifically Nuyoricans if we wanna specifiy). Not just in New York but also in places like New Jersey, Philly, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

I understand that when we came to the Northeast back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, most of the factories Ricans worked in closed shortly after a lot of us got hired, causing a lot of unemployment. However, if you look at Cuban Americans (who tend to be more blue collar and slightly less educated than in NJ than in South Florida), they worked in a lot of manufactoring jobs and the majority tend to be much better off the average Puerto Ricans in NYC's metro area. Even African Americans, who face a lot of social issues in their community, still tend to do better than Puerto Ricans and have higher rates of education, income and health.

The reason why I am bringing all of this up is because when I go back to New Jersey every summer and see all the dilapilated rowhouses in South Trenton (where a lot of the PRicans in Trenton live) or can't go eat at a Puerto Rican restaurant in Spanish Harlem at night cuz its too dangerous (my cousin is one of the few in our community with a master's degree and lives in Tribeca and refused to take us to 'El Barrio' at night due to the reasons stated), it depresses me to know how little we have progressed in the past fifty years.

I get the discrimination, language barriers (back when the first wave occured), and lack of attention from the gov't when Puerto Ricans arrived in NYC and surrounding cities/areas contributed to their plight. But like I said, African Americans have made strides if you look at the numbers over the years. Dominicans, who despite being poorer than Puerto Ricans for the moment, seem to be having a siginificant percentage of their young people going to college (I think it's 20% of second-generation Domincans who attend college compared to like 10% of Puerto Ricans), so their status is likely to improve in the future. But why do so many Puerto Ricans seem just stuck in this cycle of poverty?

I would like any serious response to this, please.

 
Old 12-08-2008, 10:48 PM
 
6,544 posts, read 9,040,091 times
Reputation: 2822
I guess it starts with asking what's missing economiclly from Puerto Rican areas that's common among better off groups?

You mentioned Cubans. If you look at Cubans especially in Miami you'll find them having a high rate of entreprenurship and having their dollars circulating among themselves often. This helps them as far as expanding businesses and employment opportunities for themselves. I'd also recommend familiarizing more Puerto Ricans with financial management/investment options(CDs,mutual funds,investment clubs,buying real estate etc).

You'll find that most successful groups in America have the above things in common financially.
 
Old 12-08-2008, 11:10 PM
 
Location: Baltimore, MD
91 posts, read 388,100 times
Reputation: 48
Also, a lot of it just has to do with what you choose to do in life. Everyone has to play the hand they are dealt but I guess it is up to everyone to play it as well as they can. I wasn't born into money and any education I have was paid for by debt. My girlfriend is similar. She came from a trailer in western PA and took out loans for undergrad and grad and then while working at a law school, decided to go to law school on the job's dime. Now she is graduating from Georgetown in the Spring and also has a master's in higher ed/financial aid with experience working in that field.

This is all only semi-related but I would imagine most Americans by birth or by choice have the same choices. Some of us leave the regions and communities we are born into in order to seek our fortunes and others seek their fortunes closer to home. One thing I have always been thankful for is that despite my modest upbringing I had the option to take out loans at a relatively low rate to pay for education.

I count myself lucky every day that I had the opportunity to do that and have the opportunity to seek out a life that is better than my parents'. It's not been long (historically) that such upward mobility has been possible. It's a real testament to the so-called American dream and (dare I say) the progressive ideal of giving people a chance to better themselves as an investment in the citizenry at large. I'll likely never be a millionaire but as long as I have a chance to work for the things I want and need I will always count myself lucky.

As far as cycles of poverty, I would imagine that it is easy to assume you are bound by the standards of living around you. I spent a lot of my youth as an angry and frustrated guy who didn't think I had a chance at anything. Everything seemed predetermined and limited but I've been pleasantly surprised that as I've been willing to compromise and attempt to play my limited hand well, things have improved and I've come into a pretty good life. I still work for a paycheck and pay my rent out of one check and bills out of another. I don't have a penthouse or a yacht and I probably never will. What I do have is a lot more than I expected to have and I think I've got more coming to me as long as I don't screw around and get too stuck in a comfort zone.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 12:46 AM
 
3,368 posts, read 10,484,966 times
Reputation: 1678
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeboy25 View Post
Before anyone says anything like I'm trying to start crap, I am not.

Let me start off by saying that I currenty live in Tennessee but originally from New Jersey (specifically Trenton) and my fam is Puerto Rican and proud to be. Unfortunately, one thing I notice when I go back to Jersey and visit NYC and read all the statistics is how poor off all the Puerto Ricans tend to be (specifically Nuyoricans if we wanna specifiy). Not just in New York but also in places like New Jersey, Philly, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

I understand that when we came to the Northeast back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, most of the factories Ricans worked in closed shortly after a lot of us got hired, causing a lot of unemployment. However, if you look at Cuban Americans (who tend to be more blue collar and slightly less educated than in NJ than in South Florida), they worked in a lot of manufactoring jobs and the majority tend to be much better off the average Puerto Ricans in NYC's metro area. Even African Americans, who face a lot of social issues in their community, still tend to do better than Puerto Ricans and have higher rates of education, income and health.

The reason why I am bringing all of this up is because when I go back to New Jersey every summer and see all the dilapilated rowhouses in South Trenton (where a lot of the PRicans in Trenton live) or can't go eat at a Puerto Rican restaurant in Spanish Harlem at night cuz its too dangerous (my cousin is one of the few in our community with a master's degree and lives in Tribeca and refused to take us to 'El Barrio' at night due to the reasons stated), it depresses me to know how little we have progressed in the past fifty years.

I get the discrimination, language barriers (back when the first wave occured), and lack of attention from the gov't when Puerto Ricans arrived in NYC and surrounding cities/areas contributed to their plight. But like I said, African Americans have made strides if you look at the numbers over the years. Dominicans, who despite being poorer than Puerto Ricans for the moment, seem to be having a siginificant percentage of their young people going to college (I think it's 20% of second-generation Domincans who attend college compared to like 10% of Puerto Ricans), so their status is likely to improve in the future. But why do so many Puerto Ricans seem just stuck in this cycle of poverty?

I would like any serious response to this, please.
Thanks for posing such a thoughtful question. Don't get your hopes up for thoughtful responses, however - whenever Puerto Ricans are discussed on this forum, the thread explodes into a discussion about color, race, Dominicans, Cubans, "Anglos," "Hispanics," illegal immigration, all kinds of tangential topics.

However, I would be glad to give my perspective. I grew up in South Florida in an area where the average "Hispanic" person was middle class, educated, and of non-mixed or fairly non-mixed European origin. There was excellent integration between non-Hispanic whites and "Hispanics," and I would honestly estimate that one-fifth to one-fourth of the white kids I knew growing up were half "Hispanic."

I attended Boston University - which has a quite large "Hispanic" student population and met lots of Puerto Ricans there. Every single one of them that I met was from an educated family that was middle class or above. There were very few "Nuyoricans" there and in fact, I didn't even know what a "Nuyorican" was until I heard some of my Puerto Rican friends from the island talking about how lots of Nuyoricans love to flaunt that they are "boricua" yet can hardly string together a sentence in Spanish and have taken on more of an African-American, urban street culture than a Latin one.

When I moved here a year and a half ago, I asked a few people where established Latin American areas in this city were. I honestly expected to find Nuyorican areas like some of the Italian areas in Brooklyn and Queens: solidly middle class, fairly blue collar, safe neighborhoods. I was very disappointed to find that the "established" Latin American areas of this city (read: Nuyorican neighborhoods, many with lots of Dominicans and African-Americans) are poor and plagued with crime. Ironically, the nicest neighborhoods with Latin American flair by far are South American or Mexican ones with populations that are fairly newly-arrived - within the last 5-20 years.

I too asked myself, "Why?" First, it should be pointed out that besides the steady flow of young Puerto Ricans coming to the mainland to attend university and work at professional jobs, many of the Puerto Ricans who move here and have moved here in the past are of fairly low socioeconomic status back on the island. Generally, children who grow up in lower-income households have lower rates of academic achievement, and lower rates of academic achievement usually translates to earning less money and living in poorer neighborhoods.

Second, you could make the argument that the for some Puerto Ricans here (black and mulatto), race is a factor, However, this seems pretty easily rebuttable in 2008, in a day and age when Dominicans (a much higher percentage of which are black and mulatto than Nuyoricans, by the way) have higher rates of educational attainment and upward mobility.

With all of that said, I must comment that there are plenty of "Nuyoricans" living in middle class neighborhoods in the outer boroughs and in suburban NJ towns. Many Nuyoricans do go to college and become upwardly mobile, but I too think that not nearly enough seem to succeed. I have two Nuyorican friends - one is in law school and one has an MBA. One of them is a City-Data member and it would be great if he could comment on this topic!
 
Old 12-09-2008, 08:57 AM
 
2,541 posts, read 10,368,735 times
Reputation: 967
a lot of the dominicans and Central American/mexicans that arrived recently, have a monopoly on the lower-paying wage jobs like bussing tables, landscaping, hotel room attendants, houseman, cleaning, fast foods

I do not notice many nuyoricans in those positions, now I could be wrong since PR, and DR peeps look alike

I think that is the reason why SA, CA, and DR peeps "seem" more successful than PR peeps

They are willing to work the "crummy" jobs and are happy with it
 
Old 12-09-2008, 09:28 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
9,847 posts, read 22,124,333 times
Reputation: 3543
Quote:
Originally Posted by spikeboy25 View Post
Before anyone says anything like I'm trying to start crap, I am not.

Let me start off by saying that I currenty live in Tennessee but originally from New Jersey (specifically Trenton) and my fam is Puerto Rican and proud to be. Unfortunately, one thing I notice when I go back to Jersey and visit NYC and read all the statistics is how poor off all the Puerto Ricans tend to be (specifically Nuyoricans if we wanna specifiy). Not just in New York but also in places like New Jersey, Philly, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

I understand that when we came to the Northeast back in the 40s, 50s and 60s, most of the factories Ricans worked in closed shortly after a lot of us got hired, causing a lot of unemployment. However, if you look at Cuban Americans (who tend to be more blue collar and slightly less educated than in NJ than in South Florida), they worked in a lot of manufactoring jobs and the majority tend to be much better off the average Puerto Ricans in NYC's metro area. Even African Americans, who face a lot of social issues in their community, still tend to do better than Puerto Ricans and have higher rates of education, income and health.

The reason why I am bringing all of this up is because when I go back to New Jersey every summer and see all the dilapilated rowhouses in South Trenton (where a lot of the PRicans in Trenton live) or can't go eat at a Puerto Rican restaurant in Spanish Harlem at night cuz its too dangerous (my cousin is one of the few in our community with a master's degree and lives in Tribeca and refused to take us to 'El Barrio' at night due to the reasons stated), it depresses me to know how little we have progressed in the past fifty years.

I get the discrimination, language barriers (back when the first wave occured), and lack of attention from the gov't when Puerto Ricans arrived in NYC and surrounding cities/areas contributed to their plight. But like I said, African Americans have made strides if you look at the numbers over the years. Dominicans, who despite being poorer than Puerto Ricans for the moment, seem to be having a siginificant percentage of their young people going to college (I think it's 20% of second-generation Domincans who attend college compared to like 10% of Puerto Ricans), so their status is likely to improve in the future. But why do so many Puerto Ricans seem just stuck in this cycle of poverty?

I would like any serious response to this, please.
Dominican stats are always a little off. A lot of people don't report. Well mainly the immigrants. The 2nd and 3rd generations do report. Also when you consider the high number of Dominicans that work jobs where you don't have to report your full income (i.e. cab drivers), stats can be skewed. If you notice in a Dominican neighborhood, Dominicans own many of the businesses, and that's not always the case with Puerto-Ricans.

I think many Puerto-Ricans, or should I say more accurately Nuyoricans just got caught up in a bad cycle unfortunately. Drugs, the Vietnam war, loss of culture and identity, etc. All these have been a bad, bad mix.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 09:31 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
9,847 posts, read 22,124,333 times
Reputation: 3543
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJ Chutzpah View Post
a lot of the dominicans and Central American/mexicans that arrived recently, have a monopoly on the lower-paying wage jobs like bussing tables, landscaping, hotel room attendants, houseman, cleaning, fast foods

I do not notice many nuyoricans in those positions, now I could be wrong since PR, and DR peeps look alike

I think that is the reason why SA, CA, and DR peeps "seem" more successful than PR peeps

They are willing to work the "crummy" jobs and are happy with it
You forget to mention that Puerto-Ricans have been here longer and they come into the country as U.S. citizens. They should hypothetically not be competing for the same jobs as Dominicans and Central Americans with those advantages. Granted Puerto-Ricans being here longer has also been a huge disadvantage, as they were exposed to some much rougher plights.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 09:40 AM
 
3,225 posts, read 7,658,890 times
Reputation: 876
I believe that one and only one of several reasons for the existence of such a large underclass of people of Puerto Rican origin in the USA as opposed to that of other immigrant groups is tied in to the process of immigrating into the USA.

Somehow, it seems to me, that when say, East Europeans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Jamaicans, etc., need to go through a process of securing a green card, that in itself makes a powerful difference in their psychology when they arrive to work and live in America.

For the Puerto Rican, their homeland is a territory of the USA - not a state, not independent, somewhat in between. All that is needed to obtain citizenship is that plane ticket, destination America. This easier process of becoming an American as vs. the lengthier, more uncertain and dubious, less guaranteed one for other immigrant groups, perhaps cultivates a momentum for the latter, unlike the fomer, that carries forward upon arrival. The immigrant who has to attain a green card takes nothing for granted; he/she accepts that he or she may need to start at the absolute bottom and usually would be willing to do very low paying and low esteem jobs in order to attain the American Dream - restaurant deliveryperson, janitor, bus boy, etc., that we see many Mexicans and East Europeans doing.

The culture of being not fully American back on the island but at the same time being distinguishable from other immigrants like Dominicans, I believe, creates a different mindset, and many migrate here and remain at the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

This analysis is of a general nature pertaining only to those in the underclass communities and one must absolutely recognize that the island has provided many lawyers, doctors, and successful immigrants to the USA - and these have fully assimilated into the mainstream in cities and towns across America and live in integrated communities - not in areas that one can label a "Puerto Rican" neighborhood.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 09:42 AM
 
Location: Bronx, NY
9,847 posts, read 22,124,333 times
Reputation: 3543
Quote:
Originally Posted by Miles View Post
I believe that one and only one of several reasons for the existence of such a large underclass of people of Puerto Rican origin in the USA as opposed to that of other immigrant groups is tied in to the process of immigrating into the USA.

Somehow, it seems to me, that when say, East Europeans, Dominicans, Mexicans, Jamaicans, etc., need to go through a process of securing a green card, that in itself makes a powerful difference in their psychology when they arrive to work and live in America.

For the Puerto Rican, their homeland is a territory of the USA - not a state, not independent, somewhat in between. All that is needed to obtain citizenship is that plane ticket, destination America. This easier process of becoming an American as vs. the lengthier, more uncertain and dubious, less guaranteed one for other immigrant groups, perhaps cultivates a momentum for the latter, unlike the fomer, that carries forward upon arrival. The immigrant who has to attain a green card takes nothing for granted; he/she accepts that he or she may need to start at the absolute bottom and usually would be willing to do very low paying and low esteem jobs in order to attain the American Dream - restaurant deliveryperson, janitor, bus boy, etc., that we see many Mexicans and East Europeans doing.

The culture of being not fully American back on the island but at the same time being distinguishable from other immigrants like Dominicans, I believe, creates a different mindset, and many migrate here and remain at the lower rungs of the economic ladder.

This analysis is of a general nature pertaining only to those in the underclass communities and one must absolutely recognize that the island has provided many lawyers, doctors, and successful immigrants to the USA - and these have fully assimilated into the mainstream in cities and towns across America and live in integrated communities - not in areas that one can label a "Puerto Rican" neighborhood.
Excellent point Miles. Would give you rep points, but I can't give you anymore.
 
Old 12-09-2008, 09:44 AM
 
3,225 posts, read 7,658,890 times
Reputation: 876
Quote:
Originally Posted by NooYowkur81 View Post
Excellent point Miles. Would give you rep points, but I can't give you anymore.
Thanks NooYowkur. Your posts also on the topic are excellent!
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