11 Things You Should Never Say To A Puerto Rican
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Politics and Activism

11 Things You Should Never Say To A Puerto Rican

Don't Be That Person

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11 Things You Should Never Say To A Puerto Rican
Jessica Pinero

Puerto Ricans. They are very proud people and whether they were born on the island or born in the United States by Puerto Rican parent(s). It gets even better when they meet another fellow Puerto Rican or Latino in general. You’ll know quickly if they are Puerto Rican whether the flag is printed somewhere on their person or whether they tell you or whether the famous phrase “wepa!” is said.

As a Puerto Rican born in Ohio who has a very Puerto Rican family, I can tell you that there are also things that you shouldn’t say to us. Here are the most common no-no’s that have been said to Puerto Ricans.

1. “Oh, so you/your family are immigrants!”

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Puerto Rico is not an independent country. It is one of a few United States territories that have their own local government but abide by U.S. law and U.S. leaders. Everyone on that island is a U.S. citizen so no, my family members are not immigrants.

2. “Is Puerto Rico near Mexico?”

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Okay, Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island in, you guessed it, the Caribbean Sea along with a bunch of other islands. Each of those islands has a unique culture and history so why do you always assume all Latin nations/territories are near or associated with Mexico?

3. “Do you speak Puerto Rican?”

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Even though Puerto Rico has its own slang, there is no such thing as a language called “Puerto Rican.” Puerto Ricans speak Spanish. Period.

4. “You look too light/dark to be Puerto Rican.”

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This comment irritates me to no end. Puerto Ricans- and Latinos, for that matter- are extremely diverse. Our descendant range from the Spanish conquistadors to the indigenous groups who lived before colonization to the African slaves who were brought to the region. Not all of us fit the stereotypical mold of appearance.

5. “Do I need my passport to go to Puerto Rico?”

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Again, Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory not a country, therefore, you don’t need a passport to go there.

6. “Geez, you are obsessed with your flag. We get it, you’re Puerto Rican.”

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Since when was it a bad thing to show pride towards one’s heritage? Last time I checked, no one was making fun of patriotic folks who waves the stars and stripes of the U.S. flag.

7. “Why are you so loud?”

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We are just loud people. If you don’t like it, don’t talk to us.

8. “So does your family know English?”

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Puerto Ricans are taught Spanish and English. Both are the official languages. Technically, Spanish is the first language of many Puerto Ricans on the island, but they understand and speak English. In fact, there are schools on the island that teach in English.

9. “Oh my god, Puerto Ricans are so spicy.”

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This is an annoying stereotype that also plagues much of the Latino community. We can be sassy, but that’s just an individual personality trait that doesn’t apply to everyone.

10. “So did you eat a lot of tacos?”

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Let’s see… did I grow up eating food from Mexico? No, because my family is Puerto Rican, not Mexican. Puerto Rico has its own cuisines. I grew up eating Puerto Rican food. Stop merging cultures.

11. “Are you Mexican?”

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No. Stop. Not every Latino is Mexican. Mexicans are Mexicans, Puerto Ricans are Puerto Rican, and so on. Do not be that person.

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