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The sociocultural codes for reading the racism in Puerto Rico

Lee Euna 1

1서울대학교 라틴아메리카연구소

Accredited

ABSTRACT

This study examines the sociocultural background of negritude by delving into Caseríos, Reggaeton, and Trigueños, which are interrelated with the racism deeply embedded in Puerto Rican society. These terms have also been discussed in relation to the ideological discourse of racial democracy, which has caused Puerto Rican people to be blind to silenced inequality and hegemonic racial policies. Caseríos, housing projects for the poor urban class, are targeted by the state - sponsored project ‘Mano Dura’. Due to the policing, control and surveillance of this anticrime project, Caseríos became perceived even more as residential communities of violence, poverty, and insecurity generally connected to the stigmatization of blackness. Reggaeton emerged as a mega hit genre of transnational Puerto Rican music in the 2000s, which in turn, drew attention to both the afrodiaspora in New York and the urban musical power in the Island. This musical genre serves to highlight the meaningfulness of black heritage in the national cultural identity of Puerto Rico. Trigueñidad has recently become a common racial cultural term that embraces a broader racial paradigm of mestizaje. This term can function as an alternative concept of blackness, but it has not yet been transformed into enough cultural politics to resist ongoing racial democracy. The three terms intrinsically address both the uprooted racism and potential methods of challenging it. This paper argues the necessity of stronger and more responsive cultural politics to defy the pervasiveness and invisibility of racial discrimination in Puerto Rico.

Citation status

* References for papers published after 2022 are currently being built.

This paper was written with support from the National Research Foundation of Korea.