Exploring the Latino Metropolis: A Brief Urban Cultural History of US Latinos

DR versus PR

The umbrella term Latino has a different composition of nationalities and heritages depending on geographic location. While New York City heralds its diversity, Dominican and Puerto Ricans come to the forefront, comprising the majority of the city’s Latino population. Despite their identification with the Latino community there has been a long standing rivalry between these two groups. The tension between them is known throughout the city as New Yorkers make sure never to conflate the two groups. This conflict has a lot to do with Dominican immigration, both to New York and to Puerto Rico. Juan González, a Puerto Rican journalist, has it date back to the 60s when Dominican immigrants “settled near established Puerto Rican communities.”(Harvest, 124) Dominican movement to New York “strained the traditional close ties between Dominicans and Puerto Ricans” as they have pushed out Puerto Ricans from many of their original industries. (Harvest, 125) Bodegas and cabs once dominated by Puerto Ricans are overwhelmingly Dominican now and “meregues from the Dominican Republic are more likely to be heard” than salsa despite it being born there.(Harvest, 127) The rush in Puerto Rico was even more glaring as so many Dominicans flooded the island. This change in demographic lead Puerto Ricans to “perceive Dominican as taking scarce jobs away from natives” where these rumors “are routinely passed on to Puerto Rican relatives in the United States.”(Harvest, 126) This is echoed in an NPR interview with Bronx native Ed Morales; a journalist and adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race. In the interview, he brings up not only the immigration of Dominicans to Puerto Rico but also the class issue.
“there is a fairly significant migration of Dominicans to the island of Puerto Rico, which is actually a group of people who are from a relatively lower social class than the ones that come to New York and they're treated very poorly” (NPR)
This class divide and economic competition in both places, fuels the increasing tension in New York. There is also the matter of each country’s relationship to the US. While there are many immigrants of both, Puerto Rico has the privilege of being a US territory and of migrating to the states at an earlier time. This allows Puerto Ricans to get by a little easier when it comes to their integration with the American identity. While Puerto Ricans have had citizenship and easier ties to their island “Dominicans have had to go through the kinds of struggle with citizenship and questioning of their presence in the city.” (NPR) These economic and identity conflicts creates the tension between these groups. Though both are New York latino/as Dominicans and Puerto Ricans are vehemently opposed to the other.

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