ANTA02 – In Search of Respect; Chapter 2
EL BARRIO STREET HISTORY
- U.S. invaded P.Rico in 1898 – cont’d after the Spanish to put military concerns over econ logic.
- Since 1952 “free associated commonwealth” subject to US rule but can't vote and have no reps in
- “all P.R offers is closeness to Cuba – shorter distance to destroy communism”.
Jibaro: stereotypical images of rugged independent subsidence farmer in straw hat w/machete, who
squats (nangotea) on the batey or packed-earth patio of his home when receiving visitors.
o Jibaro has emerged as symbol of P.Rican cultural integrity, and self respect in face of foreign
o Spanish origin means “wild” thought to have descended from African slaves, who resisted laws
and social conventions of Spanish-dominated society and escaped to the hills outside of societal
o Jibaro been reinvented not only plantation labourers, but factory workers &2nd gen inner-city
o Parallel b/w former jibaro refusing colonial-plantation labour that rejected elitist Spanish
cultural forms out of self-respect VERSUS oppositional content in street culture’s resistance to
exploitation and margnz’n by U.S. society.
- 1/3 of Prican population emigrated to U.S approx 1.5mil people – Prico has the highest corporate
No country produces higher net incomes for the U.S.
- Econ imperatives shaping Pricans’ lives = compounding ideologically by overtly racist “cultural
assault” ex: all English schools in Prico till 1949.
Confronting individual responsibility on the street:
- Via armchair hindsight its easy for large-scale migration to account for why ElBarrio’s brutal/self-
o Especially given history of econ dislocation, political domination, cultural oppression.
o But politic-econ explanations aren't obvious on the streets ie no amount of ‘historic apology’ or
‘structural victimization’ can excuse street people violent/self-destructive/parasitic actions.
- But these ppl attrib their marginal living conditions to their own psychological/moral failings –
individuals are accountable.