Wednesday, May 24, 2017

By Alberto O. Cappas


"I'm not Hispanic, because I'm not from Spain. I'm not Spanish,
but I do speak Spanish.
I'm Puerto Rican or Boricua, from the island of Borinquen,
the place you call Puerto Rico in the United States.”

If I had to choose between Hispanic and Latino, Latino is the choice. Latin American, South America, and Puerto Rico is the family tree -- all part of the diaspora."
I've noticed that Puerto Ricans in Buffalo, NY identify themselves as Hispanic, especially the leading Puerto Rican leaders and community organizations, which helps to perpetuate ignorance of our people and culture among our children, youth, and the outside community, and unfortunately, it’s the same in other parts of the state and country. Its not isolated to Buffalo alone.

If we keep this up, while the time you and I are gone, our people and culture will be erased from the minds of our next generation. Instead of saying, "I'm a proud Puerto Rican or Boricua, or a proud Puerto Rican American", they will say, "I'm a proud "Hispanic" with no clue to their culture or origin.

HISPANIC relates to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, especially those of Latin and South America.
LATINO is a person who was born or lives in South America, Central America, or Mexico, or a person in the U.S. whose family is originally from South America, Central America, or Mexico.

BORICUA comes from the Taíno name for Puerto Rico, Borikén. Boricuas were the natives who lived in what is known today as Puerto Rico (Borinquen). Boricua (Puerto Rican) means "Brave and noble lord". Borinquen means "Land of the brave and noble lords".

PUERTO RICANS often call the island Borinquen, a derivation of Borikén, its indigenous Taíno name, which means "Land of the Valiant Lord." The terms Boricua and Borincano derive from Borikén and Borinquen respectively, and are commonly used to identify someone of Puerto Rican heritage.

Finally, over 80% of the "Hispanic” population in Buffalo & Erie County are PUERTO RICANS. What good are you doing to our Puerto Rican children and youth when you neglect this fact.

Yes, we are Puerto Ricans, part of the Latino totem pole. When all together, we should celebrate as LATINOS, but not as HISPANICS.

If you want to give notice and pay respect to our Spanish-speaking brothers and sisters, let us use the term, "Puerto Rican & Latino (instead of Puerto Rican & Hispanic), which is more accurate, more factual, found in our Puerto Rican and Latino historical roots.

The year 1505 marked the year of Spanish colonization in Puerto Rico, claimed for Spain in 1493. The colonization continues today, but not by Spain, but by the USA, responsible for pushing “Hispanic Heritage Month”, and we felt into it, conditioned by American colonialization.

Yo soy Boricua, soy un Puertorriqueno, no soy hispano.

Feel free to submit your opinion or contribution to this subject matter. This is an issue we need to ignite and create general interest, especially among our young kids and children in the public-school system.
So, there you have it!  "Ay Bendito."

Note: Alberto O. Cappas, poet/writer, and Co-Chair, Puerto Rican Committee for Community Justice, and author of “To Think is to Grow, Quotes to provoke the Mind”, available this June 2017. 

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