Ethnic relations related to immigration are often accompanied by some amount of conflict, whether between the ‘native’ citizens and the immigrant population, or among multiple immigrant groups. With this tension, there can be a push to assimilate, or a push to repress. Nevertheless, Nuyoricans have embraced their heritage, maintaining cultural ties, while also gaining political influence and clout.
New York has been largely “tropicalized,” as Nuyorican culture and politics provide “identity possibilities in contradistinction to [the] (Anglo-American) society," according to communications scholar Darrel Enck-Wanzer (361). This ultimately means that Latinos, specifically Nuyoricans, have the opportunity to retain their autonomy, while also becoming part of the mainstream. Tropicalization is a mentality, a way to look at the changing political climate in the City. Nevertheless, one must be wary, as it has the potential to become “hegemonic,” turning individual ethnicities in to commodities (Enck-Wanzer 352). With any ethnic or meta-ethnic category, social scientists run the risk of oversimplification, which has detrimental effects on the individual cultures.
Regardless of the implications of tropicalization, Puerto Ricans have long been a political force in New York politics. There are many forms of political expression, none simpler than pride in one’s identity. An example of this is the flying of the Puerto Rican flag in the City. Aside from speaking entirely on tropicalization, Enck-Wanzer comments on the flag, noting its “presence and deployment […] in El Barrio” to the point of “symbolic rejection of U.S. American identity and reaffirmation of Puerto Rican identity” (356-7). The flag represents more than solidarity among Nuyoricans; the flag is a symbol of autonomy, reminiscent of the robust Latino spirit.