Racial Construction in Puerto Rico

Racial Construction in Puerto Rico - however societies with...

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Racial Construction in Puerto Rico • The most significant difference between the meaning of race on Puerto Rico and the mainland is that Puerto Rico, like so many other Caribbean societies, has a color gradient. The term color gradient describes distinctions based on skin color made on a continuum rather than by sharp categorical separations. The presence of a color gradient reflects past fusion between different groups. • Rather than being either “black” or “white,” people are judged in such societies as “lighter” or “darker” than others. Puerto Ricans perceive people as ranging from pale white to very black; they are more sensitive to degrees of difference and make less effort to pigeonhole a person in one or two categories. • The presence of a color gradient does not necessarily mean that prejudice is less; generally,
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Unformatted text preview: however, societies with a color gradient permit more flexibility and therefore are less likely to impose specific sanctions against a group of people based on skin color alone. Puerto Rico has not suffered interracial conflict or violence; its people are conscious of the different racial heritages. • Racial identification in Puerto Rico depends a great deal on the attitude of the individual making the judgment. If one thinks highly of a person, he or she may be seen as a member of a more acceptable group. A variety of terms are used in the color gradient to describe people racially, including blanco (white), prieto , Moreno , de color , and negro (black). Factors such as social class and social position determine race....
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