Things That Matter

Puerto Rican IDs And Driver’s Licenses Are Legal And It’s Time For People To Stop Saying They Are Invalid

Since Hurricane Maria, Puerto Ricans have moved to the mainland U.S. The move is possible because Puerto Ricans are American citizens after the passage of the Jones Act of 1917. While the Jones Act made them U.S. citizens, they are not full Americans lacking the right to vote in elections and their representatives do not have voting power. Yet, despite the law making Puerto Ricans U.S. citizens, some people on the mainland are still in the dark when it comes to Puerto Rican identification cards.

An NYU journalism student was recently turned away at a bar because a bouncer decided that her Puerto Rican ID was invalid.

Credit: all.around.the.town / Instagram

According to Washington Square News, NYU’s independent student newspaper, Rebecca Gelpí was with a group of friends when they decided to head to Los Feliz, a Mexican bar and restaurant. According to Washington Square News, the bouncer for Los Feliz said that he was “uncomfortable” with their form of ID and asked why they didn’t have a passport.

“They asked us why we did not have our passports with us,” Gelpí told Washington Square News. “So I said, ‘Because we’re American citizens, we don’t need to carry [them] around.’”

According to the Washington Square News, this is one of many instances of the bar refusing to acknowledge legal IDs from Puerto Ricans who want to get in. The report shows two other instances of people leaving feedback about the bar’s blatant refusal to accept their Puerto Rican identification and legitimate. This isn’t the only instance of a U.S. business claiming Puerto Rican IDs are foreign.

An Indiana Purdue University engineering student says CVS employees would not sell him over-the-counter cold medicine after demanding immigration papers. Jose Guzman Payano, who is Puerto Rican and therefore an American citizen, said that he presented his driver’s license issued from Puerto Rico but the workers rejected it. The employees insisted he needed a “valid” U.S. ID and began to interrogate Guzman Payano about his immigration status. 

The student formally filed a complaint with CVS, but because of the debacle, he wasn’t able to purchase the cold medicine he needed. His mother Arlene Payano Burgos shared his story on Facebook, where it went viral and began to receive attention from reporters. CVS says it is investigating the situation. 

CVS employee allegedly claims Puerto Rican driver’s license is not valid U.S. ID. 

“She said she needed a U.S.-issued ID, Canada or Mexico license. That’s when I tell her that was a U.S. issued license, and I didn’t need anything else but that license,” said Guzman Payano explained to WUSA. 

He claimes the cashier of the store refused to accept his driver’s license from Puerto Rico, but would have accepted one from Canada or Mexico, when he went to purchase Mucinex. Guzman Payano was all the more stunned when she asked him for a visa— the presumption being he must not be a citizen. 

“And then when she asked me for a visa, I was in shock at that time. And we went back and forth, and I said this is a U.S.-issued license,” said Guzman Payano. Sadly this isn’t the first time something like this has happened to the student. 

He showed the cashier his United States-issued passport and he says she still refused to sell him the medicine. 

“I carry around my passport on my bookbag because of things like this,” he said.

Guzman Payan files a formal complaint with CVS. 

Update in my comments:My family and I are Puerto Rican. For those of you who don’t know, we are a United States…

Posted by Arlene Payano Burgos on Friday, October 25, 2019

Guzman Payano left the store without his cold medicine and called his mother, Arlene Payano Burgos in Puerto Rico. Payano Burgos took the incident to Facebook where her story was shared over 10,000 times. 

“A Puerto Rican driver’s license is a valid form of US identification, and is even accepted by the Transportation Security Administration for travel within the United States. In an effort to wrap up the transaction and get back to school, he then proceeded to show her his United States Passport which she also refused to accept,” the mother wrote.

Adding that the employees refused to give Guzman Payano their information for the complaint. 

“She then subsequently refused to sell him the medication. The shift manager then came out and gave him the same explanation. My son then asked them for their names to file a complaint. Both employees refused to give him their information and he was forced to leave the store without the medication.”

Payano Burgos thought it was outrageous that any customer would be forced to disclose their immigration status to CVS whether they were a citizen or not. 

“Needless to say my son, or any other consumer, is not obligated to disclose his immigration status to any CVS employee! What caused this employee to ask him for his visa? Was it his accent? Was it his skin color? Was it the Puerto Rican flag on the license? Whatever triggered her to discriminate against my son embodies exactly what is wrong in the United States of America today,” she wrote. 

CVS releases a statement about the incident. 

Guzman Payano said it took nine days for CVS to contact him about the complaint, according to WUSA

“I felt ignored basically like something did happen, but they didn’t want to take care of it,” he said.

A CBS spokesperson released a statement to WUSA Eyewitness News that included an apology to Guzman Payano saying that Puerto Rican driver license’s are a valid form of U.S. identification. 

“CVS Pharmacy is committed to ensuring that every customer receives courteous, outstanding service in our stores. We sincerely apologize to our customer in West Lafayette for his recent experience in one of our stores. We do, in fact, recognize Puerto Rican driver’s licenses to be a valid form of U.S. identification. We are reinforcing with employees the correct procedures to follow when requesting identification that is required by law for the purchase of certain over-the-counter medications.”

According to the New York Times, a 2017 Morning Consult poll found that 46 percent of Americans don’t know people born in Puerto Rico are United States citizens by birthright. 

“There’s a lack of education — especially here in the states — of how Puerto Rico came to be part of the U.S. Some people don’t even know where Puerto Rico is located,” Guzman Payano said.

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

A Golf Course Called The Police On Two Black Women For Alleging Playing Too Slow

Things That Matter

A Golf Course Called The Police On Two Black Women For Alleging Playing Too Slow

Myneca Ojo / Via facebook.com

It doesn’t take a lot of research to know that there’s a very long and torrid history of people using the threat of police brutality to scare Black people. It also doesn’t take much to know that many have abused our national emergency lines and resources to be petty.

Two African American women say they’re over this type of behavior and have decided to sue management at a Pennsylvania golf course after they called police because they were playing too slow.

In 2018, five African American women were on a golf course in Pennsylvania when the cops were called because they were golfing too slowly.

At the time, one of the golfers, Myneca Ojo, told CNN that she “felt we were discriminated against both as women and minorities. It was a horrific experience.”

For the five women involved in the incident, it was their first game as members at the Grandview Golf course in York County, Pennsylvania. One of the woman involved in the incident said that they had been slow at playing the game because they were “rusty.” According to CNN, one man by the name of Jerry Higgens was with a group of golfers behind the women’s group. He told police that the women “did not slow his group down in any way.”

Now, Myneca Ojo and Karen Crosby, two of the five women involved in the 2018 incident, have filed a lawsuit.

According to CNN, the lawsuit alleges that an owner of the golf course treated the women differently than other players on the course. The lawsuit also claims that all of the other players were Caucasian and male. 

The lawsuit is pushing for a jury trial and requests “compensatory and punitive damages but does not list a specific amount.” According to the lawsuit “an investigation by the Pennsylvania Human Relations Commission found that the women had probable cause that they were ‘profiled, harassed, evicted and subjected to different terms and conditions of service because of their protected classes’ and granted them the right to sue.”

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com

I Didn’t Think It Was Possible, But Yes, In 2019 ‘Educated’ People Are Still Calling Black People ‘Gorillas’

Entertainment

I Didn’t Think It Was Possible, But Yes, In 2019 ‘Educated’ People Are Still Calling Black People ‘Gorillas’

In another episode of “How Many Times Do I Have To Say Ouch?” an Oklahoma TV anchor Alex Housden said a gorilla at the Oklahoma City Zoo “kind of looks like you” to her Black cohost Jason Hackett. Now the morning TV anchor is getting a, clearly, extremely overdue lesson on the ignorance and severe consequences of such comparisons.

Housden made an apology the next morning on her show.

https://youtu.be/lGqklWq3ubk “I said something yesterday that was inconsiderate, it was inappropriate, and I hurt people,” Housden said crying. She really ramps up the white fragility real quick.  

But while her co-anchor Hackett is the victim, she has bee the one crying since.

https://twitter.com/CocoTheLeo/status/1166507091428892676 “I understand how much I hurt you out there and how much I’ve hurt you. I love you so much, and you have been one of my best friends for the past year and a half. And I would never do anything on purpose to hurt you. And I love our community and I want you all to know, from the bottom of my heart, I apologize for what I said. I know it was wrong and I am so sorry.”

We have to do better than this.

https://twitter.com/hotchef9/status/1166457033513689088  Housden did not acknowledge that what she said was racist. She did not even acknowledge what she said. Her apology is basically, “Sorry, I hurt you.” I mean, it could be an apology for missing lunch. In this climate, to be this vague is very harmful and hurtful. 

This lady works for the news. She is supposed to know some stuff about some stuff that definitely had happened and still happens on U.S. soil. Ringing any bells? Nobody is born “woke” but comparing Black people to monkeys and apes seems like pretty basic racism. If Housden is feigning innocence, if she is suggesting that she didn’t know any better, than wouldn’t she assume there are other white people who don’t know better too? Wouldn’t she want to educate them on this? Or maybe she doesn’t actually know why what she said was racist. Maybe she doesn’t know why she’s apologizing. Maybe she just wants the conflict to go away rather than addressing it head-on. This is so typical of white fragility. 

Jason Hackett is a poised king.

Hackett accepted her apology. I take no issue because the apology is his to accept, and he knows Housden better than I do. Hackett said he hoped the episode might help educate people.

“It cut deep for me and it cut deep for a lot of you in the community,” he said. “We have to understand the stereotypes. We have to understand each other’s backgrounds and the words that hurt, the words that cut deep.”

I don’t know any person of color that hasn’t had to maintain a happy face, that hasn’t had to swallow racist indignities, that hasn’t had to take the higher ground when so deeply insulted, just to keep a job. I hope this isn’t the case for Hackett. I hope he and Housden really are genuine friends. I hope it was an ignorant mistake rather than a wilfully ignorant mistake, I really do. I want to believe the best in white Americans. That’s so hard when I turn on the news. That’s so hard when people like Housden, with little grasp of the country’s history, are the arbiters of the news.

Comparing Black people to monkeys has a long history.

Wulf D. Hund and Charles W. Mills penned an extensive article on the origins and history of this horrible racist stereotype for the Huffington Post. In “Comparing Black People to Monkeys has a Long, Dark Simian History,” the authors note that scientists once categorized Black people as being related to chimpanzees, gorillas, and orangutans rather than human beings. This was “science” and this was in 1854 — not that long ago.

No more apologies.

You know what I say: the best apology is reparations and restorative justice. I am really sick of white people, whether they mean it or not, apologizing for doing racist things. Apologies do not dismantle anti-Blackness and bigotry in the United States. Apologies do not release migrant children from cages. Apologies do not equate to better opportunities for people of color. Apologies just make the apologizer feel better. 

The best apology a white person can give is actionable change. You’re sorry about racism? So I guess I’ll be seeing you at the next Black Lives Matter protest, right? Some white people do show up. Some white people do care. Those white people typically don’t compare Black people to gorillas. 

Notice any needed corrections? Please email us at corrections@wearemitu.com