Saturday, May 30, 2009

"For too long white men have been kept down by powerful Puerto Rican women...."

I have been trying, fruitlessly, to avoid listening to or reading the virulently racist comments being made by fringe and not so fringe GOP members about Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor. I know that I should be inserting one of those "Pronounced..." but my bilingualism makes me unable to distinguish the pronunciation of the languages to do such a thing.

Yet again I am struck by President Obama's strategic operation - he threw his base a bone - Sotomayor - on the same day that he knew that the California Supreme Court ruling was being announced. To take our eye off the ball - his lack of support for gay marriage - he nominated a Nuyorican/Puerto Rican woman from the housing projects, an image of the American Dream. As part of this, he rolled out identity-based discourse that he had for the most part avoided recently. It could be argued that he has always been on the edge with this type of language, employing it for certain audiences only, or at moments when he is in hot water about some issue. Meanwhile, the increase in funding for Afghanistan, and the matter of the censorship of the new batch of photos demonstrating war crimes in Irak, were also matters that were best left undiscussed. The GOP served this purpose well, by walking right into the trap the White House set for them - by being so flagrantly hostile to so-called Hispanics, they will surely continue to alienate part of their former base.

I am also as always amused and of course dismayed by the rare instances when Puerto Rico gets discussed in the press. The last times I recall this happening were:

When former Governor Anibal Acevedo Vila was indited by the FBI for corruption.

When the NY Times wrote a travel section article about primitive natives going deep into the Island in search of pigs roasted on a spit.

When the US Mint issued a quarter featuring the Island, which I hope puts to rest the queries I get about what is the Puerto Rican currency.

When Miss Puerto Rico, representing us in Miss Universe, claimed to be sabotaged by pepper spray in her bikini and gown.

As I have said before, it never ceases to amaze me that the US is the only colonial power that is able to completely ignore the fact that it has colonies and to keep its citizens ignorant of this fact as well. Because in Spain 100 years later they are still mourning the loss of Cuba and less so Puerto Rico (we always get overlooked somehow), and the English are still very keen on India.

I wish he was my son