In the United States, counting for the 2020 census is underway. This includes everyone living in the U.S. and its five territories including Puerto Rico.
The 2020 census form consists of straightforward questions asking for information like name, age, sex and race, but some of these answers are complicated and require more nuance than checking a box can provide. One example is the race question. For some, the answer is simple. For others, like many who identify as Latino on the census, the answer isn’t so black and white.
Aside from the race question, the form also asks if the person is “of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin.” If the answer is “yes,” then sometimes that cultural connection is stronger than how someone identifies racially. In Puerto Rico, the island’s residents can choose “Puerto Rican” on the census to describe their Hispanic origin, but when it comes to race, it’s a different story.
While the island has a rich African history, over 75% of Puerto Ricans identified as white in the 2010 census.
In this segment, journalist Natasha S. Alford joins Latino USA to take us through her reporting of Afro-Puerto Ricans and the census. She explains what factors have lead to the undercount of the island’s black residents, how incorrect data could affect Afro-Puerto Rican communities, and how activists are battling to change that.
Featured photo courtesy of Natasha S. Alford.
3 thoughts on “Reporter’s Notebook: Afro-Puerto Ricans Fighting To Be Visible On The Census”
I AM MIXED BLACK LATINO PUERTORRICAN MEN.BUT THE MEDIA IN PUERTO RICO DON’T SHOW BLACKS IN TV OR THE HIGH LEVEL OF THE GOVERNMENT.
Im afro-latina (from puertorico), my parents are both afro latinos, my moms mom(my grandma)is white-puertorican and her dad (my grandpa) is afro-puertorican but it is very rarely shown that puertoricans can be afro-latinos even though many of our ancestors were and many of our traditions are based off of them! i wish we had more representation on tv and the media. My mom is much more on the afro side than her brother who can be seen as white. i just think that’s interesting and many people wouldnt believe it.
My mother is afro rican my father is German and Italian, to the ignorant eye my mother is just black even though genetically she’s mixed with everything puerto Ricans consist of west african,(yaruban),Spanish,native taino/arawak, but to other Latinos or Hispanics the fact that she appears black that’s all she can be . I often ask how well people know their history,often the response I get is disappointing especially from those of my same culture, people must understand and identify key facts involved with the creation of our people and culture honestly without excluding the parts they don’t like. To this very day the main things used,heard and tasted are a direct contribution of the afro presence in what people identify specifically with puerto rican culture. The music primarily, the drums of the Africans brought there still remain giving theses places a unique blend of integrated audio-historical expressions that tell the story without explanation. The religion that so many “mestizo” Latinos and Hispanics practice to this day and some whom deny the origin because of where it “ENDED UP” they claim it as their own without proper acknowledgement of its origin and the people who brought it.its like taking everything that expresses African and then distancing the afro presence by language and faces of their favor segregating the blackness from everything visually. But ignorance speaks for its self when in the presence of factual evidence explaining its reason for existing in another country’s culture.the music does not lie, its individual parts involed define the truth why is the evidence still there but the direct decedent’s of this evidence aren’t?when you know the truth it all looks pathetic how so many people are mislead and taught false editions of there culture while blindly among the direct evidence connecting the facts they were never taught about or smart enough to identify honestly. This is a subject that needs to be re established amongst our people and factually corrected. To the point that nobody can deny or discredit the afro Latinos who are just as much apart of the culture and ethnic groups as anyone else, “it is what it is”.not what people decide it is or isn’t. Afrolatino slap ofatcs across your ignor- antics !!!! Peace