U.S. politics, as it relates to Latinos, has always been complicated at best. In 1952, Puerto Rico became a Commonwealth of the United States. In 1954, a small group of Nationalists turned to violence in their fight for Puerto Rico’s independence: “The news of the day described the act as one of “terrorism” and “a criminal outrage almost unique in American history.’”
While the question of Puerto Rico’s status remains a question today—one that will be asked of its citizens as required by the passing of the Puerto Rico Democracy Act of 2010—it is immigration that remains at the forefront of Latino/US political dialogue.
Immigration continues to be a divisive issue in the U.S., pitting even Latino against Latino—friends and family alike—on either side of the issue. What happens when you discover that your Latina friend’s job description includes the deportation of immigrants? Is she betraying her roots or is she simply a U.S. citizen/government worker paid to help enforce the laws? Could you respect her choice? Could you make the same choice?
The answers may depend on the strengths of particular friendships or in the absoluteness of our beliefs. As with most questions in life, there are no easy answers where the prerogative of the human mind is involved.
The right to change our minds is what allows us to evolve as a society. It’s probably what saves those of us who, for whatever reason or state of mind, decide to indulge in what was once considered a taboo. And if our parents haven’t changed their minds on that matter, well, there’s good old fashioned parental discipline—Latino style—to straighten us out.