The ins and outs of living in Puerto Rico

Is there racism in Puerto Rico?




Is there racism in Puerto Rico? This is a question I get way too often, and one that would have confused me several years ago, but after living in the U.S. for several years, and given the latest news about what is going on over there, it is easy to see why some are concerned. After all, if you come from any other country that is not Puerto Rico, you will be the “minority”. So I will try to explain my experiences as best I can, but I must warn, this is only my perception and possibly the perception of many others who are very close to me and are from other countries.

Keep in mind, like the U.S. we also had slavery and we had the Taíno Indians living here before the Spanish invaded the island. However for some reason they all mingled and made us what we are today, a nice mixture of European, African, and Native Taíno Indian.

So, is there racism in Puerto Rico?

-Yes. But only because I refuse to say no. Have I seen it? Experienced it? Know anyone who have been a victim of racism? NO, NO, and NO. This includes people from many countries and from many races. Including but not limited to, Black, Caucasian, Asian, European, Central and South American.

To put things in perspective, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Visited Puerto Rico in 1962 and 1964, he seemed to like the people here quite a bit and he said:

“In the United States, a man’s color determines what class he belongs to; in Puerto Rico a man’s class determines what color he is.”

So, it seems that he felt that whatever was going on with color and racism in the U.S., he must have felt that Puerto Rico was not experiencing the same problems. Things are just different here.

I have a co-worker who is an African-American woman from Boston. She’s in her 50s and have lived in Puerto Rico for about 8 years. She confessed that as she’s nearing retirement age she’s thinking about moving back to the U.S. in order to live the last few years of her life near her family. But that she may prolong retirement for one main reason, she doesn’t want to experience racism and discrimination again. She told me that in the time she’s been here she’s not experienced racism or discrimination at all, not once! She recently went on a 3-day trip to Florida and she heard people screaming “N this and N that”! It almost made her cry. To think that she couldn’t be in her country for 3 days without experiencing that! She couldn’t wait to come back to Puerto Rico, where people treat her with respect.

While I was growing up here in Puerto Rico, I learned about discrimination and racism. By experience? NO! Only in books and on TV. I never really thought it was a real thing until I moved to the U.S. It was quite an eye-opener when I visited a small town in mid-western U.S. and I told the clerk at a small store that I loved the little town and that I would love to live in a place like that! The clerk replied by saying that I’d never be liked in that town because I’m not white and not from there. I was really taken back, I thought I didn’t hear right he then said that this is no place for outsiders and to have a nice day. I was really confused for several hours after that. A few college friends confirmed that in fact that is the way it is in those small towns.

So, even though the racism in Puerto Rico is low enough to not be very noticeable (again, I refuse to say there is none), what are some things to watch out for or keep in mind?

Well for starters the term “Gringo”. Legend says that the term “Gringo” was born when the Mexicans were telling the U.S. soldiers (which were dressed in green) to go away and to stop invading their land by saying “Green Go”. Then somehow the term “Gringo” started to be used to refer to every person from the U.S. The term “Gringo”, although not politically correct, it is not meant to be an insult. Some people have told me that they feel that Gringo is a racial slur and that they are offended by it. Well, that’s different than racism or racial discrimination. Just the other day I saw an older woman smile and kiss a woman from the U.S. while she said “Que bellas son las Gringa”! (The Gringas are so beautiful!) I don’t know about you, but this doesn’t seem like hate behind those words. I grew up saying “Gringo” because “Estadounidense” (United Statian) is too long to say. I don’t say it anymore really so I don’t offend anyone, but I never meant any disrespect when I used it, and most other people don’t mean disrespect either.

Source: Sorry I couldn;t find one with Alaska and Hawaii.

Source: Sorry I couldn’t find one with Alaska and Hawaii.

The term “American”. Now this is one that bothers many people here. Why? Because it is ambiguous and because of the fact that the United States is NOT America but PART of America, hence The United States of America. In Puerto Rico, as well as many other Hispanic countries, the proper term for someone from the U.S. is “Estadounidense” or what would be “United Statian” (Maybe United Stadian?). So if you refer to the U.S. as America you might get a few people take a deep breath and hold back a few choice words out of respect. After all, Chile, Mexico and Canada are no less “American” as the United States. So just as an F.Y.I., that does bother some people here.

Now, after saying this, I have to be fair. There is one group of people from a particular country that may argue that they experience some racism or discrimination. These people are those from the Dominican Republic. For some reason, we have a huge number of people from the Dominican Republic that come to Puerto Rico illegally in search of a better life. So even though there is really no animosity or hate (except when their sports team plays against ours LOL), some people get “ticked” when the subject arises. One example that got some people mad is when the Governor of Puerto Rico allowed all undocumented immigrants from the Dominican Republic to be able to get a legal driver’s license in Puerto Rico. It doesn’t help that many of the immigrants have little education and find jobs in things like gardening, construction, maid services etc.

But even with that, I and so many others refer to the people of the Dominican Republic as our brothers. You will hear many people say that the Dominican Republic is where our brothers and sisters live, and although I have never had the pleasure of visiting them, I hear it is a beautiful place. I work and know many people from the Dominican Republic and none of them have told me that have felt unwelcome or disrespected here. I however like to be as real as I can and I know that if there was a group of people that could say they are being discriminated against it would be the people from the Dominican Republic.

So, Is there racism in Puerto Rico? I honestly think that there is very little. We are however extremely politically incorrect people, so you or someone else may be offended over something we do or say. More than likely though, we mean no disrespect.

So, if you are concerned about being discriminated against and you come from the U.S. let me tell you one more thing.  I was born and raised in Puerto Rico, my conversational English is quite good. I prefer to speak English here because I get treated much better than if I were to speak Spanish. If I were you, I wouldn’t worry much, what you see on TV happen in the U.S. due to racial differences do not happen here. Just be a nice person, and people here will treat you nicely, we don’t like arrogant people or people who feel superior to others. As long as you are nice you’ll be just fine.

Hope this helps.

P.S.  I’m sure I’ll get some comments from people who felt they were discriminated against. If you are one of those please, respectfully, share your experience. Thank you.


Author: Jay-Webmaster

Jay is an Atmospheric Physicist and Massage Therapist who was born and raised in Puerto Rico but went to college in the US before moving back to Puerto Rico. Creator of and the new forum


  1. I believe that you have never experience sort of racism in Puerto Rico because, for what I seen from your profile picture, you have quite light skin. In Puerto Rico exist racism but is not violent as in the United States. The racism that exist in the island is by racist jokes or comments, or by your family not wanting you to date someone from darker skin or any other ethnic races, and sometimes you can notice that there are better treatment for people with light skin than those with darker skin. Also I’ve seen puerto ricans to treat in a hostil manner united statians because they associate them with the colonialism that our island has. Anyway, if you are worried for white hate groups then that doesn’t exist yet in Puerto Rico.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello and thank you for your comment.

      Well, first of all my whole family is dark skinned, my sister is much darker than me and so is my father, I am the lightest one I suppose, and I did not receive any better treatment through my life then anyone else in my family. Racism the way is seen in the US is pretty much nonexistent here, the racist jokes and comments have been around for ever and more often than not are simply just that, jokes. We make fun of ourselves all the time, we make jokes of all races including our own. Although there may be some preferences from family members to date or marry certain types, the incidence of that is so small that I just heard about it once a few weeks ago. Even then Martin Luther King came over in the 60s he commented in a speech how in Puerto Rico the color of the skin does not determine a person’s class as opposed to what he lived in the US. Also, SOME people may feel hostile to people from the US but in 99% of the cases this is because they feel the person from the US is treating them like if they felt they were less-than. I know, I am married to someone from the US, and I live it every day, as in my wife feels much more comfortable with her race here in PR than in her own homeland.

      One thing I am seeing though is that with so many people from the US moving to PR, the sensitivity is becoming more apparent as well. Cultural differences are not allowing for Puerto Ricans to be able to joke around like they used to without offending someone, not because they do it maliciously but because for some reason people are starting to get offended very easily. Our reaction to that is normally “Dude, lighten up, I’m just joking”, which is easy for a Puerto Rican to understand, but someone who did not grow up in this culture can get confused and offended. But just so you know, one of the most popular TV shows of all times had a segment where they made fun of the Catholic church, which is the main religion here, and I even heard the local Priest make the jokes he saw on the show the day prior and we all at Church were laughing. We are VERY good at joking about everything and everyone, particularly ourselves, so unless it is a really cruel “joke”, I assure you, there was no harm meant, at all.

      My post also takes into consideration the African American colleagues and co-workers I have from the US who have told me themselves that the ONE thing they will miss the most about going back to the US is that they will once again be subject to racism while they did not feel that way here, at all.

      So am I saying there is no racism here? No, I’m sure there’s some somewhere, maybe unspoken, but like you said, at this time there are no white hate groups, but there are also no black hate groups or of other religions or anything. The local police is not known for shooting at people like what you see on TV, we don’t have any “Lives Matter” groups simply because we don’t need them, there is no issue here. I have a “mixed” family and I feel much safer here, in fact I have never had any trouble at all, my African American friends at work have never had problems, neither has my wife.

      Hope this helps.

  2. My husband and I are moving to Puerto Rico for three years and we do not speak Spanish. What is the best way to learn Spanish? Are there any braiding shops? Are there any AME Churches?

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello! So glad you’ll be living here for a while!

      Well, the best way to learn Spanish is really to just jump in there and start learning with the locals. If you are looking for classes there are some places in the San Juan metro area that can teach you Spanish via an intensive week-long course. It’s generally not cheap (around $300 a week) but apparently it works. If you want an online, computer based or self paced course, I would recommend the Pimsleur program. It is not as popular as lets say Rosetta Stone and the progress is slow, but I think it’s a good program to learn how to speak.

      Braiding shops? I haven’t seen any but there are salons that do braiding, it’s not very popular here but I do see it around.

      AME Churches? Not that I am aware of. There are Methodist churches and there are Episcopal churches, but AME I have never seen. One thing you will probably have a hard time finding here is a church or organized group that is predominantly of one race or the other. Since we don’t have that separation of races (i.e. we don’t have a designation for black Puerto Rican or White Puerto Rican etc.) then everything is for everyone and any segregation of any kind is very highly frowned upon and not really accepted within the Puerto Rican culture. Even in the “women only” events such as “Women’s Marathons” allow men to compete, there are no “Men only” events. Having said that, you can click here for a map of the registered Methodist Churches, notice there is one that is Methodist Episcopal but it is in Ponce, which is far if you are moving to the San Juan Metro. There will be other churches that are not in this map, I recommend you call them first, there’s a 99% chance that the services are in Spanish. Now I do know of English services but most of them are mainly Christian yet non-denominational, or Catholic which is by far the most popular religion in PR. Another thing to think about is Online Services. I did know an African American family who “Went to Church” via online streaming, I mean they did go to the English non-denominational service but then they went online and streamed the service. Something to think about.

      A word of advice, I recommend you come here with the expectation that this is a different place. Most of the people who end up being miserable here are those who want Puerto Rico to be like the place they came from, and it is not. You will be surprised as to how friendly people are here and you will be treated like a local if you open yourself to the local culture. I worked with an African American woman for about 6 years and for some reason when she came over she was just angry, just an angry woman, I don’t know what they did to her where she came from, she was not only surprised but SHOCKED as to how respectful people were towards her over here, she told me that for the first time in forever she could let her guard down and not be always in the defensive. After 6 years or so I guess she forgot about how she felt in the US, moved back, and now she regrets ever moving back. However, she did open herself to the local culture as much as she felt she could and did not have any single complaint of the way she was treated here. So, I highly recommend you bring your culture and customs and all but be open to the local culture and people as well as keep in mind that this is not the US, things work differently here.

      I wish you the best of luck and I would like to give you an early welcome to Puerto Rico!

    • Hi, the best way would be to watch regular and tv shows in Spanish. That will be the testers way to learn phrases and how to pronounced the translations.

  3. I am a senior citizen and thinking of retiring some place warm, where I can enjoy the beach year round. Several years ago I was in PR (San Juan) and I do not want to live there. As a single female, which parts of the island would be safer? As a US citizen who would have US government health care, SS, etc. are there good medical and dental facilities across the island. I am in good health right now, but I am planning on continue to age.

  4. Good evening and Aloha Jay,

    I am writing to you all the way from Hawai’i.Planning a trip to PR, sometime in 2017 as I have always made it a goal to go to PR.And also looking into moving there.So like a vaca and to see where I would like to and be able to live.And growing up in Hawai’i, as Hawai’i also had the sugarcane plantations like PR, we were brought up as one amongst many of our fellow PR and other ethnic groups in the various “camps”, and I had many PR, part PR, or PR part native Hawai’i as friends!
    My question is, as with others before me on here is-How would they treat me being part native Hawai’i, because we dont consider ourselves to be american, but are the last to become a state hence, 50th state? And how would they treat me, specially because I have a traditional Polynesian tattoo on my face? Also, where would be a good and affordable and safe place to live, not far from everything-but still traditional PR?

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Kaipoka’eo!

      Well, people won’t treat you any differently or badly because you are from the USA. No need to worry about that. Now, the tattoo on your face will cause some people to do double-takes and maybe to treat you differently or spark curiosity. That’s just something you don’t see here so everyone that sees you will be seeing something they don’t see every day. A friend of mine went to New Zealand for 2 weeks and even though she loved it there, she did tell me that the tattoo on the face was “weird” and felt a little scared or unsafe when she encountered someone that had that. Now I’m sure you are a wonderful person, but just be aware that you will get some looks because you will look rather different, I still don’t think that you will be treated disrespectfully. But, you will notice everyone staring at you.

  5. I am African American and visited Puerto Rico for 2 weeks and because I’m from the United States I know what racism looks like, yes Puerto Rico has a very subtle racism in their culture. I see lots of dark complexion Puerto Ricans in Puerto Rico but I don’t see them working in hotels, law enforcement or other well paid jobs, also if you watch Telemundo you will see that they desire the more whiter looking citizens. It seems the racism is being done economically

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Herman,

      Sorry it took me so long to reply, but I had to perform my own experiment and ask around to make sure I did not have a biased response, I will write here what I found.

      First of all, this comments reminds me of the critics when Barack Obama became president because he wasn’t “Black Enough”, or when Vanessa Williams won the “Miss America” because she was “too light”. Let me put some things into perspective that you may have not known.

      First of all, the vast majority of us Puerto Ricans are not dark dark complexed, also we are what one comedian called an “Ethnic Smoothie”, calling the USA a “melting pot” pales in comparison to the ethnic mixture we have.

      Out of all of my co-workers there is only dark complexed person and he is African-American from the US, the rest of us are not, and the job interviews and everything relating to working where I work is done without face-to-face interviews, so no one knows what the “new guy” will look like because no one has seen him (or her). Also, the janitor that we have is white complexed Puerto Rican, she is appointed by the cleaning company, a third-party contractor.

      Out of all of the people that I see around, most of the dark complexed people I see are actually from the Dominican Republic, and many of them (not all) are here illegally, working under the table and getting paid for a job here or there. Now many of the Dominicans are here legally but just about all of the ones I know, which are many, are here illegally, all of the ones I know I much darker complexed than the Puerto Ricans I know, and the only one Dominican I know personally that is here legally is a taxi driver and catering business owner, he brings food to order to the office building I work at and so many others, we all love him.

      You mentioned Telemundo, but have you seen WAPA? WAPA is the number 1 TV station and the main anchors of the morning and evening news and shows are actually really dark complexed, the evening news anchor even had the eye condition called “Strabismus”, and everyone loves him for his work.

      You see, we don’t have to meet a quota for percentage of people of a particular skin color in the workplace, mainly because we simply don’t see it, we don’t have that nonsense, I wasn’t even aware that there was this separation of light and dark complexed individuals until I went to the US for college.

      As far as cops, I have seen plenty of dark complexed cops, in fact the most famous cop is one really dark complexed, famous because he dances while directing traffic. And think about this, according to the census, over 80% of Puerto Ricans are considered “White” simply because they are not really dark like you mention, so if I have 100 cops and only 20 of them are really dark, chances are you will run into a “white” cop much more often than a dark complexed cop.

      It is hard to argue against such a comment and frankly I don’t want to because that is your opinion, but I need to give everyone the facts; per capita, there are much more dark complexed Dominicans than Puerto Ricans, and many of those Dominicans are here illegally which means it is harder for them to find a professional job even if they have the education and experience.

      Accusing of racism done economically is a bit of a stretch but something that would require a lot more research in order to prove or disprove.

      Yes, there are much more lighter complexed professionals here but there are many more lighter complexed Puerto Ricans, period, and just so everyone knows, college here is very cheap and there are lots of financial aid programs, so higher education should not be a problem, a white person could become a doctor just as easily as a darker person, but you won’t see many if there aren’t as many to begin with.

      I am not saying that there is or there isn’t “subtle racism” but the whole concept was foreign to me because I had only heard of it from people who felt the President wasn’t black enough or critics of the like, which is something we don’t pay attention to here.

      Having said all this, I can assure that you will not be shot at by the police because you are Black or darker complexed, you will not see a “Black lives matter” movement here, simply because it is not necessary, we do not see difference between us, we are all Puerto Rican, and just so you (and everyone else) knows, some people have “Negro” as their nickname and that is actually a term or endearment, or “Mi prieta”, “Mi trigueña”, both terms of endearment for the ones we love.

      Hope this helps.

  6. I have lived in PR for 8 years of my life. Of course there is racism. Racism is global. And then there’s the fact that I was black and American. A lot of it came from Dominicans there. My hair is nappy so I would get stares and people would point and laugh. You gotta ask yourself who are the people pointing and laughing because PR has always been diverse especially with the bases. Now I have friends who are PRICAN and have heard comments made about black people. Like… My Dad would kill me if I married a black man. Colorism is real down there just like the USA. But will the cops murder me because of my skin. NOPE

    • And also, I have seen White Americans come arrogant disrespecting the people on the island. I hate that superior arrogant attitude Americans can have even PRICANS born in the states. Stay in the states if you are gonna come looking down on the people.

  7. I grew up in PR mostly in Vieques, My mother is Asian and my father is Puerto Rican(African Ancestry). I am mulatto in color and was raised in a very well to do family. My siblings and I spoke of this once,(12 of us) We get more racism from other mulatto’s more than the (Spanish/European Puerto Ricans). One of my friends told me that he has heard others tell him that they feel that WE hold our noses up to high and tend to look down on others because of our success. Which is simply not true. So with this said, yes I experience racism but not with the lighter skinned Puerto Ricans but with the Puerto Ricans of darker tones who look just like me.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Javi:

      First of all, racism is a very strong word, and from what you say, it seems like it is more of a jealousy of social class thing and not racism.

  8. I’m white and work in a place where it is literally 80% Spanish speaking people. Mostly Puerto Rican. I don’t hate anyone and I am friendly with some of the Puerto Ricans and don’t have any problems with them. How ever I do occasionally get a weird vibe from some of them.

    I’ll say something simple as hello and just get stared at, Like who’s this ass&$* talking to. It makes me think that they don’t care for whites.

    But in the end who really cares I’m there to get my paycheck every week. So I brush it off, even though it bothers me.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      That’s really odd. I’m sorry you have to deal with that. I actually find it hard to believe that so many people would react that way to anyone, especially because of the ethnicity, that’s just something that doesn’t really happen here. I mean one or two ignorant people then I suppose, but so many reacting that way, that’s just odd. I actually wouldn’t really want to work there, I don’t think I have ever been surrounded by so many people like that in this island. If anything I am more inclined to think that they look at you weird if they don’t know you but not because of your skin color, kind of “who is this guy, I don’t know him” sort of thing, which has happened to me and I’m from here, but you never know I guess.

      I’m sorry you have to deal with that.

  9. I am an Estadounidense-Asian/Chinese. Specifically, my parents and grandparents were born in China and Taiwan, and I was born in the U.S., in New York City, where I have been for 30+ years.

    I very recently visited Puerto Rico for the first time (as an adult, that is; I found out weeks ago my mother brought me to San Juan when I was a toddler… of course I don’t remember LOL) and fell in love instantly with Old San Juan. I have been blessed to have been able to travel many parts of the world, but nothing pulled me in the way your island did. For many reasons both inexplicable and personally obvious, I decided to move to Puerto Rico, start a new life and settle there in a few years.

    More and more, I am dying to do this move sooner than later. I would love it if I could do it in two years.

    I have countless Puerto Rican (and “Nuyorican”) friends I’ve made growing up in New York City. I’ve also made quite a few local friends when I visited PR recently, and I experience, hear and keep reading that Puerto Ricans are most attracted to someone’s spirit and personality and heart, which trumps what color they are.

    In your experience, what have you seen in terms of treatment towards Asians who are on the island? I noticed there aren’t many of us, but I was told that I’d be just fine based on my personality alone. Do you find this to be generally true?

    I’m currently trying to learn Spanish so that I don’t struggle too much when I get there, but my main concern is also money, which I suppose I’ll contact you guys on separately.

    Thank you for this amazing website and all of your efforts in responding to all of us.

    Warm Regards,

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Candace!

      I am so glad you loved it here!

      As far as treatment towards you, people will treat you with the same respect (or lack there of) as anyone else. I actually had a Chinese friend in high school, his name was Tao. He was as Puerto Rican as they come, except that he looked way different and he knew the Chinese language, which of course made him super cool! Well, I suppose we called him “Chino” as a nickname. Not as an insult at all, in fact “Chino” is a popular nickname for Hispanics who “look a little Asian”, and actually one of my friend’s favorite restaurants in the US is called “Chino Latino”.

      People will treat you nicely if you are a nice person. People may be curious of your culture, food, etc. You have to realize that even when we make fun of or imitate others, we do just for fun without the intention of insulting or offending. We are not the most politically correct group of people, and if others get offended we tend to think that something is wrong with them and they need to lighten up.

      But truthfully, you should be more than fine. People here are very nice and all they ask is for others to be nice to them. If you are respectful and nice, you will receive than in return. Where you come from matters very little here unless you start being arrogant or insulting of our culture.

      The language might be an issue though, not because people hate to speak English, but because you may find yourself not being able to communicate as well outside of the more touristy areas.

      I really hope you follow your dream and move here if that is what you want. Don’t be afraid of being targeted because of your race, because you won’t.

      Let me know if you need anything!

      Take Care!

  10. Racism definitely exists in Puerto Rico. Ask the Dominicans who come here. Have you never heard of the jokes about Dominicans being dumb? I brought my Panamanian friend to PR and my aunt referred to her as “triguena.” I asked her why she would call her triguena when she was obviously black. She said “no la queria ofender.” I didnt want to offend her). How is it an offense for someone to be black? That is how deep it is engrained in some people. The racism is not as profound as in the USA but here would be no songs like Y tu Abuela donde Esta if it didn’t exist. There is also racism towards Americans. Maybe the better term would be prejudice. They constantly tell my husband that he is in Puerto Rico and should speak spanish. I am from the states and if someone told a latino those same words theyd have a discrmination lawsuit in their hands. All in all Puerto Ricans are good hearted people and usually make you feel welcome but these are issues we need to work on

    • Jay-Webmaster


      Sorry for the late reply. I had actually written a very long response to this comment just for me to get the “blue screen of death” and lost everything I wrote. It took me hours to write that response and I don’t feel like writing it again. I’ll give you a quick response.

      -¿Y tu abuela a donde está? (Where’s your grandma?) Yes I have heard of it. Has it ever been in a serious tone? Nope, never. I’ve only heard of it in comedy shows or jokes. It may have been a thing at some point in time, but at least not a thing where I was born and raised.

      -“Trigueña”, I too use that word. I have African-American friends who do not like other people calling them “Black”. Why? Because somehow it comes across as offensive even if the intention is not there, so I’ve been told simply to not use the term, so I don’t. It is not that I feel calling someone “black” is offensive, the problem is that I don’t know if they will get offended by me saying they are black.

      -“Speak Spanish, you are in PR!” Yes, I’ve heard that, my wife does not speak Spanish. Again, have they ever been serious when they say that? Somewhat. Not really serious but when they find out that we have been here for so many years and she still doesn’t speak Spanish then people act like “Come on, you’ve had time to learn” sort of thing. She’s never felt offended by it and I have never felt that people were being rude by saying that, because the reason that they say it is true, we’ve been here for so long and we plan on staying, it is about time we learn the language. And yes, I have been told “Speak English” in the US. Many Many times, and where’s that discrimination lawsuit you talk about? Nowhere! I hear it all the time, people in the US complain of those who don’t speak English. I have yet to see a public debate with government officials talking about the fact that so many people from the US come here and don’t speak Spanish, instead they tell us to learn English.

      -Did you read my post? I did say that if there was a group of people that could feel offended at times it was the Dominicans. The whole thing about being dumb is also dying out, it was a constant joke when I was a kid. Not that any of us actually believed it, we actually had several kids from the Dominican Republic and they just joined in the fun and made jokes of us Puerto Ricans. I admit that was wrong, I didn’t know any better as a kid, but it has been years and years since I’ve actually heard someone say something like that.

      Bottom line. I can’t say there is no racism at all. But there truly is virtually no racism here compared to other places. Unlike the US, there is no disproportionate conviction of criminals based on their skin color, there is no disproportionate police shooting unarmed people based on their skin color, there is no need for a “black lives matter” movement here in PR because we are all Puerto Ricans regardless of skin color.

      I’ll leave you with a quote from martin Luther King Jr. Back in 1962 he visited Puerto Rico and he gave a speech, in his speech he said:

      “In the United States, a man’s color determines what class he belongs to; in Puerto Rico a man’s class determines what color he is.” -Martin Luther King Jr.

  11. I am an Black Estadounidense (raised to say black american but also raised to be respectful of other cultures way of doing things, so i will adjust to using Estadounidense) I am considering moving to Puerto Rico and truly interested in the racial atmosphere on the Island. I am well education previous blogs I have read and YouTube videos say San Juan is very racist not a place for people of color to go. if you could give you opinion on this please.

    • Jay-Webmaster

      Hello Tinamarie!

      First of all, let me address the elephant in the room. I don’t know which YouTube videos or blogs are saying that San Juan is a very racist place but I assure you that is NOT TRUE AT ALL! In fact, I have had several co-workers over the years that are Black or African-American and the biggest surprise they feel is how accepted they feel in this culture and how they feel they are treated as equals! One of my co-workers planned to stay here for 2 years and she is going on 11 years now! She is leaving in a few months, back to the states and they BIGGEST issue she is truly worried about (and sad) is going back to live in a place where there is so much racial hate. We just don’t have that here. I could go on and on about this subject but I’ll end with this one fact, in the U.S. you have all these racial divisions such as Caucasian, African-American, American Indian, White Non-Latino, Black-Non Latino, Asian-American, etc. In Puerto Rico we have ONE, Puerto Rican, regardless of color or ethnic background, we are ONE, we are all Puerto Rican.

      Having said that, I cannot say there is absolutely no racism because I’m sure there’s some idiot out there who is racist.

      What people here don’t like is attitude. A lot of people come in from other countries, particularly the U.S., with a “I’m better than you” attitude, “you should serve me” bla bla bla, or sometimes with a “gangster from the movies” attitude, or “I’m white and wealthy”, all those things do not sit well with people here, and we are not required to smile, we are not required to treat people with respect if we are not treated with respect. I remember when I lived in the U.S. there was a “smiling” policy, we were required to smile and treat people a particular way, well, that’s not so here, so if you come with an attitude expect an attitude back, and it’s not because of where you come from or the color of your skin, it is because you came in with a bad attitude. If you are nice you will be treated nice in return. I can see that you are a respectful person and you WILL be treated with respect.

      Another thing to note, people here for the most part are not politically correct and they mean no harm or offense, so if you are offended by something most people here think that you are being too sensitive. I did see a YouTube video of some people who went to Japan and they felt offended by the way the Japanese were looking at them. I was super confused, because the video showed nothing that I wouldn’t expect. Here you have a couple of people who are just standing there with a camera recording other’s walk by and you are getting offended because people look your way? So odd to me.

      So to ease your concern, I have not met a single Black or African-American person who have told me they felt anything other than happy about the lack of racism here and how much more at ease they feel here in that regard.

      Ok Estadounidense, is basically saying “United Statian”, the main issue is that “American” is rather ambiguous and it is not specific to one country, so the proper term is Estadounidense. The person from Argentina is no less “American” than the person from Canada, because both countries are in America. Does that make sense? When Estadounidenses call themselves American as if the U.S. (and the U.S. alone) was “America” then it falls in the “Illusion of Superiority” category and people here really don’t like that. There is no one person that is better or superior than the other, and that goes for all countries and races.

      Hope this helps!

      • Good Afternoon Jay, I hope all is well. I really appreciate your response. It does ease my worries. In the end I knew I would have to come and see for myself. I am not very politically correct myself, personally I feel that is one of the reasons for the racial tensions in the U.S. But I look for to my journey to your beautiful island. Also, I am really interested in the city Farjado. Is it safe, are there really good internet providers there. I work from home, and it is very important that I have stable and a reliable internet. If you don’t mind I would like to continue messaging you if I have any further questions.

        • Jay-Webmaster

          Hello Tinamarie!

          Fajardo is great! It has some nice nearby beaches and it is a bit far (but not too far) from the very crowded San Juan.

          There is reliable internet there, you can either go with the phone company (Claro) or Cable (Liberty). Either is good and bad in their own way, you can see everything I have said about it in some of my other posts about internet in Puerto Rico. There’s one that I wrote called “Why I Renewed with Claro Internet“. You might find that post useful.

          Take Care!

  12. Papa,I agree to some of your narrative, but ask that question to dark skinned boricuas from Loiza,Santurce,Carolina,Ceramica,Barrio Obrero and others,is there!

  13. What about mexican people in PR?

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