News Flash: Puerto Ricans ARE American Citizens (Despite The Stereotype)
Communicating stereotypes is often viewed as a terrible thing to do. Stereotypes are particularly problematic when they are perceived as being communicated in a hurtful and hateful way. Every once in a while there is an opportunity to have a good laugh even at stereotypes that are communicated in a hurtful and hateful way.
One moment like this was when a relative over Thanksgiving dinner commented that “those” immigrants should learn to speak English. Yes, I heard this as hateful and hurtful at the time, but also humorous and ironic. The relative’s mother, who after over fifty years of living in America spoke with a heavy accent, was sitting across from her.
Yesterday another such moment occurred when at an NCAA Tournament game, University of Southern Mississippi students chanted “Where’s your green card?” to a rival team member, who because Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States is an American citizen. Communicating the stereotype that all Latinos are immigrants in the context of a competitive sport at the college level strikes me as hurtful and hateful. Doing so when the stereotype actually does not apply at all strikes me as hysterical.
The article’s author, Chris Chase, comments eloquently, “Ignorant ignorance; It’s the best kind.”