Borikuas in Hawai'i

The first “Ricans” arrived in Hawaii in 1900.

Hispanics in Hawaii: 214 Years of meaningful contributions

In August of 1899, San Ciriaco, a huge hurricane, punished Puerto Rico for two days with winds of 110mph – 150mph. It left the island completely devastated, its agrarian society destroyed, and most of its agricultural workers suddenly unemployed.

The Hawaii Sugar Planters Association (HSPA) was looking for experienced workers for their plantations. When they found out about the hurricane, they started recruiting workers in Puerto Rico. Between 1900 and 1901, the HSPA brought 5,000 Puerto Ricans workers to toil on Hawaii’s plantations. We call the descendants of these early residents “Local Ricans” – Puerto Ricans born in Hawaii.

As a result of this migration, some Puerto Rican traditions were adapted to their new environment. The traditional "arroz con gandules" is called "gandule rice" in the Hawaiian Islands. And "pasteles" have become "pateles." You will see many roadside vendors selling "pateles" as you drive around the islands. No matter what you call them, they're good eating!

Hawaiian Borikua Inreview With Tony Castanha - Video
Puerto Ricans In Hawaii - Video
Cuatro Mike Balles
Puerto Rican immigration to Hawaii
Aia Na Ha`ina I Loko o Kakou (The Answers Lie Within Us)
Summer Salsa in Paradise 2009
Guide to the Blase Camacho Souza Papers
Puerto Ricans Arrive in Hawai‘i
Hawaii Hispanic News
Salsa After Dark
Puerto Ricans in Hawaii begin centennial celebration
Hawaiian Roots


Manuel Miranda: Republicano, Racista, Idioto!

Manuel Miranda, a former aide Senator Bill Frist (R-TN) and infamous Senate hacker, hosted a lunch for conservative online propagandists a few weeks ago at the Heritage Foundation. Miranda gathered the wingnuts to strategize on ways how Republicans can attack Supreme Court nominee Sonia Sotomayor without "alienating the 'Hispanic' community".

Yes, these people know nothing about Latinos if they think they can perform such a feat. But that's not the point of this post.

While discussing strategy and tactics, Mr. Miranda suggested that "Hispanics" are just like everyone else, and not but African Americans.

The quote:
Hispanic polls, Hispanic surveys, indicate that Hispanics think just like everyone else. We’re not like African-Americans. We think just like everybody else.
Miranda is clearly one of the 5% of "Hispanics" that still identify as Republican. Second, given the pummelling received at the hands of Republicans and their mouthpieces on hate radio and cable, Latinos definitely are thinking like most others on certain issues -- i.e., NOT like Republicans! Third, there are racist Hispanics (duh!). Fourth, Republicans are in bad enough shape without making matters worse by hiring the racist Miranda to help them reach Latinos.

Manuel Miranda: Republicano, Racista, Idioto!

Related: Disgraced Manuel Miranda's "limp wristed" comments or former crimes didn't make it onto Hardball appearance


Hip Hop & Latino Social Resistance (Why We Are NOT HisPANIC!)

"The characters in the film exemplified to us the true definition of a revolutionary leader. As filmmakers and immigrants from Latin America we were inspired by their commitment to justice and their unwillingness to compromise the truth in the face of poverty, racism and repressive military regimes." -- Vee Bravo & Loira Limbal

Chronicling the emergence of hip hop in Brazil, Chile, and Cuba, Estilo Hip Hop examines the regional politics that underscore the growth of hip hop's global appeal.

Against a backdrop of breathtaking landscapes are three hip hop enthusiasts, Guerrillero Okulto, Eli Efi and Magia., who all believe the music can change the world. As Estilo Hip Hop delves into their lives, the film explores the movements they lead in hip hop and the personal price they must pay because of their political stances.

Estilo Hip Hop will have its broadcast premiere on the PBS WORLD series Global Voices, Sunday, June 28, 2009 at 10 PM (check local listings).

Estilo Hip Hop Trailer


The White Supremacist in Us by Rinku Sen

Crossposted at The Huffington Post

Over the past two weeks, Americans struggled to make sense of tragic shootings that seemed disconnected at first glance. Anti-Semite James Von Brunn killed Stephen T. Johns, a black security guard at the Holocaust Museum. George Tiller's murder a few days earlier seemed to be about abortion, yet his shooter, Scott Roeder, also had roots in the racial purity movement. Yesterday, it was reported that the murders of Raul Flores and his daughter in Arizona were charged to three people with white supremacist ambitions.

There's been lots of discussion about why hate crimes are rising and how to prevent future tragedies, yet we've largely missed the relationship between extremist racism and the less obvious version that plays out in our political debates. These shooters all felt that people of color (along with women and Jews) have stolen the birthright of white men. In his book "Kill the Best Gentiles," Von Brunn rails against "the calculated destruction of the White Race." Roeder was a member of the Montana Freemen; commenters on white supremacist websites praised him for ensuring that Tiller would never "kill another White baby." Flores' alleged murderers appear to have been preparing for a white uprising.

Our discussion of these events has boiled down to the idea that racism is an intentional, violent act of a lone crazy white man. Underlying this idea, however, is the unspoken assumption that since we criminalized such hatred through civil rights laws, there's nothing else we can do as a country. Collectively, we bemoan the backwardness of "some" people before we move on, thinking of racism as isolated extremism.

But social psychologists who developed the Implicit Associations Test at Harvard and the Universities of Virginia and Washington in 1998 tell us that notions of the innate goodness of white people and the equally innate badness of people of color are so deeply embedded in our minds that we're totally unaware of making such judgments. Even I, a woman of color and racial justice activist for 25 years, have taken their online test with dismaying results. White supremacists speak their beliefs aloud, but we all have similar ideas and act on them in tiny ways that add up.

The notion that people of color get more than our share plays out again and again in our institutions and policies, expanding the racial divide. If we think that Black people manufactured the foreclosure crisis in order to get a handout, the law limits their ability to get relief. If we think that undocumented immigrants are leeching off the U.S., we will not pass an immigration reform that changes their status. If we think that children of color can't learn, we don't do what's needed to improve public schools.

As a nation, we are about to make critical decisions about all our systems. Unconscious biases already permeate these debates every time we ask who deserves how much of health care, education, jobs. Our discourse is heavily coded. There's no need to say that "illegal" equals Mexican, or that the "irresponsible" homeowner is black, or that "unqualified" means woman of color. Even if we don't rhetorically attach these ideas to particular groups of people, our brains have been conditioned to make the connections anyway.

There's particular danger in characterizing racism as isolated madness during the greatest recession in 60 years. We now have to rebuild our economy - will we continue with a model that includes stark inequality? That seems likely if we can't grapple honestly with the racial gap, since structural inequality will always make our economy more vulnerable to a crash. That inequality is also what keeps us apart, in separate neighborhoods, schools and workplaces. That distance makes it much easier for violent extremists to recruit struggling white people into their ranks.

As white communities, particularly men, face conditions that have been chronic in communities of color, their vulnerability to racist ideas could disrupt the possibility of working together for real solutions. The unemployment of white men has more than doubled over the past year, from 4.2 to 8.5 percent. They are shocked, angry, and ready to direct all that heat somewhere. The most productive place for that energy is in alliance with communities of color, so that together, we can focus on changing the policies that allowed elites to run off with all our assets.

It is possible to craft truly universal social and economic policy that can both generate racial equity and improve life for everyone, including unemployed white men. There were racially-fueled murders before last week, and there's every reason to think there will be more. As we grieve, the Obama Administration and Congress continue the immense task of rebuilding the economy and reforming immigration and healthcare. Something positive can emerge from these tragic events if our efforts to understand them led to policies that actually brought us together - in our lives, as well as in our minds.

Rinku Sen is Executive Director of Applied Research Center and Publisher of ColorLines.


Hispanic? Latino? Or What?

Hispanic? Latino? Or What?

That's the question Philip B. Corbett, the deputy news editor who is also in charge of The Times’s style manual, set out to answer. The reason? Reporters at the NYTimes -- and at every other media outlet in the United States -- are routinely tripped up when it comes to categorizing those of us who trace our roots to peoples and points South of the 13 British American colonies.

So it's Mr Corbett's job to set some editorial rules -- a thankless task.

To be fair, Corbett does offer some helpful guidance such as respecting the preferences of the people you're labeling (e.g., use Sonia Sotomayor's preferred "Latina"). But then he confuses matters with this piece of advice: I think we have to say she would be the first Hispanic justice, despite her own use of Latina.

Latinos, of course, have our own views on what constitutes proper usage. Regretably, opinions are as varied and diverse as are the Americas--and tainted by class, race, national heritage, gender and, of course, migration history.

My preference is "Americano". Yup! Americano...both as a show of solidarity with my brothers and sisters of Latin American heritage, and as an acknowledgement of our geographic and Indigenous roots. For me, it's a political statement--a la Ruben Blades--about who are the Americans (Americanos) and who are the interlopers.

Unfortunately, Americano is often associated with Gringos. For example, I recently heard a Spanish language talk show host repeatedly refer to U.S. Latinos at "Hispanos" and nonLatinos as "Americanos". Of course, the host was simply mimicking what many Whites in the U.S. -- led by White nationalists -- promote: that there are AMERICANS (people of European heritage) and others (Latinos, Blacks, Asians, Indians, Arabs, etc.)

With all due respect to those who prefer its use, but I despise the term Hispanic. Why? For three reasons:
1) It's a relic of a colonial period and its residue: the colonial mentality.
2) While there are Hispanics in the US and across the Americas, people genetically and culturally linked wholly to Spain, most Latin Americans have as much in common with Spain as South Africans have with Britain. While South Africa was a British colony, and some South Africans are of full or mixed British heritage, no one advocates tagging all South Africans as Anglos.
3) And as comedian Bill Santiago says, Hispanic includes the word PANIC and it sounds too much like Titanic, Satanic, Mechanic -- your're sinking, you're damned, you're getting ripped off.
Instead, I use LATINO generally to mean those of us of Latin American heritage in the USA. For me, Latino is not a language-based classification, but one defined by a shared political, economic and social experience. Therefore, Puerto Ricans in the Bronx, Mexicans in Chicago, Dominicans in Manhattan, Colombians in Providence, Ecuadorians in Queens, etc., are Latino. So are migrants from Brazil, Haiti, the English-speaking Caribbean area nations; and the peoples of the annexed Mexican territories.

BTW: I'm also Borikua, Puerto Rican, Americano and American.

Y tu? What are you?

Link: Hispanic? Latino? Or What?


New Muslim Cool: The Hip Hop Life of Hamza Pérez

New Muslim Cool is a film that follows three years in the lives of a Boricua Muslim hip-hop artist Hamza Pérez, his family, and community.

Taking viewers on a ride through the streets, projects, and jail cells of urban America, the film follows Hamza's spiritual journey as he finds new discoveries and friends in some surprising places -- where we can all see ourselves reflected in a world that never stops changing.

The award-winning film kicks off the 22nd season of the PBS series POV (Tuesday, June 23, at 10 p.m.).

New Muslim Cool Trailer

Other New Muslim Cool videos

Film of Growing Acclaim Follows Muslim Hip Hop Artist from Brooklyn
New Muslim Cool Bridges Islam, Hip Hop, Culture and Identity


Sonia Sotomayor: A Justice Like No Other

Barack Obama said he wanted: a Supreme Court nominee with a "common touch." With Sonia Sotomayor, he got somebody with a common touch and an uncommon story. Nobody expects you to be chosen someday for the Supreme Court when your father was a welder with a third-grade education. Nobody expects you to make it to Princeton when you come from a public-housing project.