Culture

26 Signs You Grew Up Puerto Rican AF

mjulio777pr / Twitter

Whether you grew up in the home isla, Miami or Alaska, when you grow up Puerto Rican, we might as well be from the same family. TBH, we’re probably cousins.

Have a healthy fear of your mom’s moods? Puerto Rican. Can you dance merengue and eat it, too? Puerto Rican. I could go on.

1. Saying hi to your family at every holiday.

puerto rican
CREDIT: @GenericName76 / Twitter

Be prepared to be greeted with open arms, all the hugs and kisses on each cheek. You have 147 cousins, so the parties go on till the morning.

2. You don’t play dominoes.

CREDIT: @mjulio777pr / Twitter

You compete at longanas, and you expect your mom to cheat or make up a new rule halfway through. You also have a sneaking suspicion that your abuelita is an evil genius who could win every time but is an actual angel so she lets someone else win.

3. You had a janky Barney at your party.

CREDIT: @nicole.allyn_ / Instagram

And your parents swear you had a good time, but the home videos prove otherwise. The only thing I was caught saying on video was, “Barney sucio.”

4. You had this bracelet with your name on it.

CREDIT: @the_notorious_idv / Twitter

It’s how they kept track of all us screaming Latino kids on the playground. This is practical AF and the tradition will live on, IMO.

5. You had your ears pierced when you were 5 seconds old.

CREDIT: @thelacquerhouse / Twitter

I swear there is not a single photo of me without gold studs. Does Miami-Dade hospital have an infant ear piercer on call?

6. You also started drinking café con leche when you were an infant.

CREDIT: “Cuba cafe con leche with crackers” Digital Image. Best Cuba Guide. 29 May 2018.

And it was all about soaking the cracker for as long as you could without it falling to the bottom.

7. You know who el Cuco is but have no idea what they look like.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Wikipedia. 30 May 2018.

Is she an alligator or a boogeyman? IDK, except for that she’s always watching to see if I’m behaving, and if I don’t, she’s going to eat me. Growing up Puerto Rican means growing up scared… like all the time.

8. Chancletas were child’s play.

CREDIT: @Qsportsm / Twitter

The most terrifying phrase, “Do you want the belt?” We all give our mom’s shit for it at Christmas but low key, I don’t own a belt.

9. Marc Anthony and J.Lo were also your parents.

CREDIT: “Image: File photo of Marc Anthony and wife Jennifer Lopez arriving at the Metropolitan Museum of Art Costume Institute Benefit in New York” Digital Image. Today. 30 May 2018.

When they split up, it was a global life event for every Puerto Rican on the Earth. You remember your mom or tia crying and questioning their own marriages if the Puerto Rican Royalty couldn’t make it.

10. You know not to leave a single fork in the sink.

“Nadie me alman.” “If you loved me, you wouldn’t disrespect me like this.” “No, now I know how you really think of me.”

For real, we all started mothering our mothers when we were children. Including my own mom con su mama.

11. The Cuban Mop is universally accepted as the only way to clean a house.

CREDIT: @tinaaxox1 / Twitter

When I moved out and bought a steam mop, my mom flipped her shit. “Nothing works as well as the Cuban mop, Dani, c’mon.” Spoiler: she admitted that she likes the steam mop now. But she’ll never buy one when she has a perfectly good Cuban mop.

12. All your pots and pans were in the oven.

CREDIT: @miastasha / Twitter

And cutting boards, and strainers, and basically anything that could fit. It’s fine though because you pretty much fried all your food.

13. Like bacalítos y croquetas.

CREDIT: @franexla / Instagram

There is nada ni nadie as comforting as a lime-doused codfish fritter with jamón croquetas. Oh, and you know not to ever turn down a second helping of arroz con gandules or any other food or risk deeply offending your mother.

14. You don’t need an oven because you roasted the pig outside.

CREDIT: @latintouchproducts / Instagram

He’s going to have arroz con frijoles stuffed up his culo and you’re going to eat it, entiende?

15. You can’t remember not drinking coqui at the holidays.

CREDIT: @pietri_dish / Instagram

Your earliest memory is when you were 6 years old and the family watched you for your reaction and then exploded with, “ayyyy” when you pretended to like the taste of rum. Puerto Ricans don’t follow silly American laws.

16. You know not to even whisper “mofongo” unless it is immediately available.

CREDIT: @fulanathefoodie / Instagram

Or risk getting slapped upside the head for teasing your mother. Then, you’ll have to comfort them while they throw a tantrum for trying to make fools out of them.

17. Everything tastes like the Pickapeppa brown sauce.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Pickapeppa. 29 May 2018.

It’s her not-so-secret sauce for arroz con habichuelas, pot roast, picadillo, todo y todo. At least, if you’re from Miami and your boricua mom married a Jamaican. 😛 Either way, there was mango in your food.

18. One shelf of your fridge was dedicated to homemade sofrito.

CREDIT: @izzy_money85 / Instagram

Your mom made this in bulk because this was your actual base for all your food. I grew up in Miami, so the ajices dulces and culantro were easy to pick up but since moving, it’s still rico without it.

19. Vienna sausages were life.

CREDIT: @14mangualv / Twitter

If your mom could open a can and make it into a pot before me or my brothers could eat them straight from the can, it was a win. Weekend mornings were the best because you knew you were getting some sautéed sausages and leftover crispy rice for breakfast.

20. Another favorite breakfast food was arroz con huevo frito.

CREDIT: @foodyatheart1

As kids, this was the No. 1 ultimate comfort food. The yolk would run through all the white rice and then we felt fancy for having arroz amarillo. 💅

21. We cannot forget the “Egg in the Hole” brekkie.

CREDIT: @fredsabbag / Instagram

A buttered crispy toast and egg all in one?! I honestly don’t know which one is more satisfying because they were equally as exciting as kids.

22. You probably had at least two of these in your house.

CREDIT: @miss__imperfectly_perfect / Instagram

Don’t call it a mortar and pestle, because it’s just not. It’s a pilón and the plantain-based food that must not be named is served in it. I’m upsetting myself just thinking about it.

23. These merengue cookies were everywhere.

CREDIT: @kevinqcarmona / Twitter

You had to buy a box of merengue every day for a family of five, but this giant tin of cookies felt bottomless, y gracias a Dios por eso. Oh, and nobody speaks Spanish or English. It’s Spanglish, mami.

24. You also had an emergency stock of banana peppers.

CREDIT: Untitled. Digital Image. Seasons. 29 May 2018.

Your pantry was ready for the next hurricane at all times. Twelve jars of vienna sausages and at least six jars of banana peppers. Isn’t the rule for emergencies to have a week’s supply? 👅

25. You were shocked to find masa in tamales after growing up with pasteles puertoriqueño.

CREDIT: @katycorn87 / Instagram

Made from yucca, olives and, of course, sofrito, and wrapped in a boiled banana leaf, these have a totally different flavor than Mexican tamales. When you brought them to your white school and friends asked if you were Mexican, you were also afraid your face would freeze in an eye roll. It’s what your mamma taught you.

26. Your abuelita slayed at making flan.

CREDIT: @el_chalet_express / Instagram

Every time we went over, she had flan for us and even though we were stuffed from being forced to eat two full plates of picadillo, a jar of banana peppers, and arroz con habichuelas, we eagerly ate up the flan. When you’re Puerto Rican, there’s always room for dessert. 🇵🇷

A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

Culture

A Homeowners Association Tried To Keep A Boricua Who Fought For Our Country From Flying Her PR Flag

screenshot taken from Orlando Sentinel

When hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans came together to demand former Gov. Ricardo Rosselló to resign following leaked chats that revealed political corruption and a series of sexist and homophobic messages, Frances Santiago wanted to stand in solidarity with her people. Living in Kissimmee, Florida, she wasn’t able to protest with her country folk on the archipelago but she demonstrated symbolically by placing her red, white and blue Puerto Rican flag outside of her home. 

Now, the Central Florida Boricua is facing a battle against her own community leaders. Three weeks after putting up the flag, the homeowner received a letter from the Rolling Hills Estates Homeowners Association requesting her to take it down. 

Santiago, an Army veteran who served 14 years as a medic, including two tours in Iraq, says she refuses to remove the flag.

“I fought for this, to be able to do this. So, I don’t see a problem with flying my flag here,” the woman told Orlando-area news station WFTV.

According to HOA bylaws, all flags are outlawed. However, the board made an exception for US flags, sports flags and flags used to honor first responders and fallen officers. Considering these edicts, Santiago is unsure why the group is asking her to remove the flag, as Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States.

“Puerto Rico is part of America. What’s the big issue with us having our flag there,” she said.

HOA president Norma McNerney told  WFTV that she’s not asking the Santiago family to remove the flag because it’s from Puerto Rico; however, she did not comment on the island being the colonial property of the US and, thus, meeting the association’s criterion. 

“We treat all owners the same. If you travel through our community, you will see the only flags are those regulated by the state,” McNerney said.

Puerto Ricans have historically been banned from displaying their flag. 

While many tease that Boricuas exhibit their bandera on anything and everything, from their cars and house goods to their clothes and accessories, owning a Puerto Rican flag wasn’t legal until 1957. Nine years prior, on June 10, 1948, la Ley de La Mordaza, better known as the gag law, made it a crime to own or display a Puerto Rican flag, sing a patriotic song or speak or write of independence. The legislation, signed into law by Jesús T. Piñero, the United States-appointed governor, aimed at suppressing the growing movement to liberate Puerto Rico from its colonial ties to the United States. Anyone accused and found guilty of disobeying the law could be sentenced to ten years in prison, be fined $10,000 or both.

Additionally, in Kissimmee, which locals nicknamed “Little Puerto Rico” because of its vast Puerto Rican population, there has been pushback from community members who are not pleased with the demographic changes. City-Data forums warn people interested in moving to Central Florida to beware of Puerto Ricans, who commenters refer to as “roaches,” “criminals,” and the N-word, while news of attacks against Boricuas has become more common. Florida is home to more Puerto Ricans in the contiguous US than any other state. Most of the population resides in the Orlando-Kissimmee area. The region has been the top destination for Puerto Ricans escaping the financial crisis since 2008 and displacement following Hurricanes Irma and Maria in 2017. But it is also the prime journey stop for diasporic Puerto Ricans from New York, Chicago, New Jersey, Philadelphia, and Massachusetts. The area is among the largest and fastest-growing Puerto Rican communities in the country.

As such, Central Florida Boricuas have rallied around Santiago. An online petition created by the Florida Puerto Rican group Alianza for Progress is asking the HOA to cease their discriminatory practices against Santiago and is already close to meeting its goal of 1,600 signatures. At the time of writing, it is short just 51 names.

Santiago and her husband Efrain have insisted that they have no intention of bringing the flag down.

“[The flag] will stay there and we’ll deal with it; we’ll exhaust every avenue possible,” Efrain said. “We have our house, you see, up to standards. We’re not doing anything wrong. We’re not doing anything to our neighbors by flying our flag.”

While the Santiagos haven’t presently been issued any fines for the violation, they said they do have a lawyer and are prepared to take this fight to protect their freedom further. “I’m proud of my roots, who I am, [where] I come from. We’re not offending anyone. None of the neighbors were offended with us putting the flag there,” Efrain said.

Read: The Governor Of Puerto Rico Was Caught In A Chat Using Grotesque Homophobic And Sexist Language And The Entire Island Is Calling Him To Resign In Massive Protests

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Culture

A Puerto Rican Woman Serving In The Air Force Was Told To Stop Speaking Spanish While At Starbucks

Xiara Mercado / Facebook

We’ve seen time and time again, people in the U.S., minding their own business, continuously get disrespected for speaking Spanish. The audacity of someone telling you that you cannot do something like speaking your native language as if it’s illegal. Typically these verbal assaults by complete strangers happen in restaurants, on the street, at stores, but this latest occurrence happened to someone we’d never expect. 

On July 17, 27-year-old Xiara Mercado, a member of the Air Force who is stationed in Hawaii, was wearing her uniform when a woman told her she shouldn’t speak Spanish.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado shared the appalling ordeal in a Facebook post and described that she was waiting for a drink at Starbucks during her lunch break and began speaking on her cell phone in Spanish. She said she got off the phone once her drink was ready and walked outside.

Mercado writes, “I get tapped on the shoulder by this lady,” and the lady said to her, “you shouldn’t be speaking Spanish, that’s not what that uniform represents… It’s distasteful.”

The Puerto Rican native said that she was confused at first by the lady and her comment about being “distasteful.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

“I’m sorry ma’am, what’s distasteful?” Mercado asked the lady. “You speaking another language that does not represent America and that uniform you are wearing, that’s distasteful.”

Mercado said she collected her thoughts for a moment and responded to her by saying, “I’m sorry ma’am the only distasteful thing here is that you are clueless to your discrimination, please educate your self. Have a nice day.”

But the ordeal didn’t end there. Mercado writes that the lady spoke to her again, this time loudly and said: “I don’t know how you are allowed to wear that uniform.”

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

You would think Mercado would have lost her cool. We know we would have, but rather than lose her temper, Mercado responded to this racist woman by saying, “I wear it proudly.” She then walked away. 

Mercado finished her Facebook post by writing, “I was more sad than mad but above all I am disgusted. Even though I wanted to say a lot more I have respect for people and the uniform I wear… That’s the best I could do in that situation. Someone told me I could have smiled and apologized, Ummm I’m sorry what!? If you don’t see what is wrong with my story you are part of the problem. #thisisamerica.”

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves. 

Her post has since been shared almost 50,000 times on Facebook.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

People from all over the world have been sending her lots of support via social media. They tell her she handled the situation amazingly and that she should never apologize for speaking Spanish. 

Vanessa Facio‎ wrote to Mercado on Facebook, “You remind me of a woman who holds a very special place in my heart. When I saw your post, not only did I feel your disappointment and disrespect, but I also felt the warrior in you. Thank you for serving this country and raising an awareness for not only women but for all the warriors and giving those the courage to stand up for themselves.”

A couple of days after her initial post, Mercado was clearly surprised by the overwhelming amount of comments and response to her words.

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

She said that she didn’t write that to get praise. She also said not all of the comments were positive, she said some of them were also bad. Mercado also said that just like us, she too has seen in the headlines how people say offensive things to others but never thought it would happen to her. She said at the end of the day, it’s not about the Spanish language but more directly about discrimination. 

Mercado added that people who live in a bubble and believe the armed forces are run by “straight, white, males” are very wrong. 

Credit: Xiara Mercado / Facebook

Mercado wanted her followers to know that her post was more than about speaking Spanish but also about gender equality, the LGBTQ community, and identity. “That’s what I fight for,” she said. 

Thank you for your service, Xiara!

READ: Two Racist Florida Women Are Caught On Video Telling A Puerto Rican Man To ‘Go Back To Mexico’ If He Wants To Speak Spanish

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