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Latino Daily News

Saturday March 5, 2011

A Blow to the Diaspora- (it’s All in the DNA)

A Blow to the Diaspora- (it’s All in the DNA)

Photo: Puerto Rico US Flags

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Each time you read a headline that a Puerto Rican born in the United States makes his living in Puerto Rico, there are people who are offended when that person is considered a boricua.

For Congressman Luis Gutierrez, born in Chicago and of Puerto Rican parents, the recent criticisms of New Progressive Party (PNP) legislative leadership and other statehooders are nothing new.

While in the neighborhoods of Chicago he was the “Puerto Rican” guy, in his high school in San Sebastian, Puerto Rico he was considered by some as the “gringo.”

But do not think that prejudice is limited to the statehooders who do not forgive Gutierrez for helping to stop status bills driven by the PNP in the U.S. Congress.

When Joseph Acabá - born to Puerto Rican parents in California - was selected as the first Puerto Rican astronaut in the NASA program, I heard voices from the island that questioned whether he should be considered Puerto Rican.

There are also some who have challenged the Puerto Ricanness of Sonia Sotomayor - the first Hispanic to hold a seat in the United States Supreme Court -  having been born in the Bronx, New York.

The political uncertainty of Puerto Rico is also seen in debates on the cultural identity of a people whose natives are also U.S. citizens.

In the latest political status bill being pushed by the PNP in the U.S. Congress, the idea of allowing the vote on the island’s future political status to those born on the island but living outside Puerto Rico has been incorporated. This plan, however, has given no role to the children of those born in Puerto Rico, although they may have spent much of their lives in Puerto Rico and have returned to the United States.

Somewhere, considered the promoters of the latest status legislation (2499), you had to draw the line.

It is clear that there are Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico who urgently need to be given a tour of major Puerto Rican communities in the United States.

They know that those who claim Puerto Rican cultural identity in America, especially without being born in Puerto Rico, do not do so to make a profit.

They do it because they feel it deep in their DNA and unashamedly proclaim it with pride, even though a few - there and here - insist on looking at them over their shoulders.