Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity

Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity

Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity

Divided Borders: Essays on Puerto Rican Identity


A collection of the essays on history, literature and culture by the most celebrated commentator on Puerto Rican and Caribbean culture in the United States and the winner of the Casa de las Americas award for his monograph on Puerto Rican identity.


First appeared as a Working Paper, Centro de Estudios Puertorriqueños, 1980. The Spanish translation, Insularismo e ideología burguesa, was published in Havana: Casa de las Américas, 1980, and Río Piedras: Ediciones Huracán, 1980.

The Insular Vision: Pedreira and the Puerto Rican Misère

New Contexts, New Readings

The wholesale exportation of working-class families from Puerto Rico to the United States carries a social and cultural impact of significant proportions. The massive presence of Puerto Ricans in New York and other urban centers and rural pockets, serving on ready reserve at all levels of the labor process, has introduced a new dimension to class and national contention both in the United States and in Puerto Rico. The cliché of Puerto Ricans as a "bridge between two cultures" was coined in a reactionary, assimilationist spirit, to suggest the convenient marriage of that age-old mythical pair, Anglo-Saxon materialism and Latin spirituality; or in its more pertinent, "commonwealth" version, the neighborly co-existence of the benevolent, self-sufficient colossus and that helpless speck of tropical subculture. Such "bridges," of course, are no more than colonialist wish-dreams, invidious constructs intended to conceal and legitimize the real relations between North American and Puerto Rican societies.

Yet in the deeper historical sense, Puerto Ricans in the United States do indeed generate new linkages. Cultural interactions and exchanges with Black people in the United States are clearly the most prominent, but only one in a growing array. Contact with peoples from other Caribbean and Latin American countries--in New York and San Francisco--and with Mexicans and Mexican-Americans--in Detroit, Chicago and Los Angeles--is becoming increasingly significant, as is the long-standing association with . . .

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