Sunday, November 14, 2010

On Check Engine Light and Colonial Status...

Your cars check engine light comes on. What do you do? As long as you can drive, you can grab a marker and cover it up, better yet, if you can easily get to the bulb you can just remove it. While your at it, go buy some new tires, rims and a few other accessories. Give the car a complete wash, wax and deep interior clean. Pretty? Now everyone is happy and the car looks absolutely fabulous. The underlying truth is that you still have a check engine light, you have a problem, which if it continues to be ignored, will lead to greater problems. The good thing here is that you can have a diagnostics check done and hopefully the problem can be easily corrected.

Like the check engine light, Puerto Rico's colonial dilemma  has been ignored. At times it may seem like attempts to really check on that problem have been made. A times even a temporary fix is made in the form of accessories but the real problem is never corrected. What you can't see  doesn't really affect or bother you but what you really have is an engine that is close to failure. There are serious problems which may require an engine change.

Now, my analogy here may seem awkward or way off but, you see, I know about check engine lights. Puerto Rico's colonial dilemma is that check engine light. The marker is the cloak that covers the problem and the removal of the light is equivalent to the removal of those ideas that may lead to a resolution. Everything else is merely an attempt to satisfy mentally. If it looks good then everything else is good, it must be good.

This has lead to a chain reaction, not to be an excuse for pity, from one generation to the next. We speak about generation gaps but somewhere within, there continues to be a stymie. Puerto Ricans, the first Latino group to settle in New York in great numbers and their children are still faring worse than other Latino groups. That check engine light has remained on and the engine is headed for failure due to it. The colonial dilemma has gone on from one generation to the next and nothing can mask it. All the accessories and money put into it can not cover the real underlying problems that continue.

The cry that Puerto Ricans should have been better off by now because of U.S. citizenship and their knowledge of the english language goes without mentioning the obstacles earlier generations had to face. Through it all, today's young Puerto Ricans finds themselves asking, where do we fit in this society? Where does our Puerto Ricanese fit in this society? Are we Puerto Rican? American? And where does our history come into play in all this? That colonial dilemma, while it may seem a long distance to the island, is actually a lot closer than you think.

...the colonial status of PUERTO RICANS...


  1. An awesome analogy... i have another one that i use... "It's a Hollywood job." "A Hollywood job is a beautiful facade on the same old shit... i use it a lot when i get into an elevator that has been refurbished... it looks new but you can still hear the chain pulling you up...

    It would also work with Puerto Rico... as you so aptly demonstrated here... Well put Efrain... really well put... BRAVO!!!