Puerto Rico, Island Of Racial Harmony?

A black woman looks in the mirror and sees a lighter-skinned woman reflected back.
Guanina Cotto for NPR
A black woman looks in the mirror and sees a lighter-skinned woman reflected back.

Guanina Cotto for NPR

What is your race?

It’s a query the federal authorities asks us each 10 years at census time. But within the yr 2000, that was a brand new query for the residents of Puerto Rico. For half a century earlier than then, the U.S. territory’s authorities had used its personal, native census questionnaire – which didn’t ask about race.

And so this new query took lots of people on the island without warning. The means they answered it shocked many Puerto Ricans, and revealed lots about Puerto Rico’s relationship with race, colonialism and the United States.

In this episode of the Code Switch podcast, we’ll dive in to attempt to perceive why, on an island formed by its African heritage and a protracted historical past of racial combination, a overwhelming majority of individuals inform the Census Bureau that they’re white alone. We’ll additionally hear what being largely invisible within the information has meant for black Puerto Ricans, and why a few of them are mobilizing across the 2020 Census to attempt to change that.

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