Citation

Tasting Identities: Food Practices, Music and Identity Choices of Puerto Rican U.S. Colonials in Hawai‘i

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Abstract:

Danny Ongais was a Puerto Rican born at the Ola‘a plantation on the island of Hawai‘i in 1914. Even though he only spoke a little bit of Spanish and never visited Puerto Rico, he expressed fierce Puerto Rican pride. This presentation examines how Puerto Rican identity developed in the U.S. Territory of Hawai‘i among individuals who never visited the Caribbean. I will start by explaining how after the Jones Act of 1917, all Puerto Ricans automatically became U.S. citizens. While an initial campaign for voter registration rights occurred that same year, most Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i showed little interest in or knowledge about their U.S. citizenship or the evolving political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Instead, these U.S. colonials generally identified as Puerto Ricans, not U.S. citizens.
Using a mix of oral history collections and original interviews, this presentation focuses on the everyday use and function of identity and citizenship in the individual lives of Puerto Rican U.S. colonials, or people under U.S. federal government authority. While unable to return to Puerto Rico due to financial constraints and geographical distance, Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i chose to hold on to their regional or ethnic identities. The inability of the U.S. colonials to return to the Caribbean led them to idealize their ethnic identity.
Since Puerto Rican labor recruits came to the islands as permanent settlers, they had no U.S. government or sugar planter support to return home. It became difficult for most Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i to keep contact with loved ones almost 5,900 miles away. Under these circumstances, I analyze how strong ethnic identities and specific cultural practices became major ways these U.S. colonial maintained a link with Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican food, manners and music symbolized important cultural aspects for these U.S. colonials in Hawai‘i. But these practices often occurred in private. Most of these U.S. colonials chose to shield their heritage from the public to avoid dealing with the criticism and harassment that typically faced Puerto Ricans in the Territory of Hawai‘i during the first half of the twentieth century.
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Association:
Name: American Studies Association Annual Meeting
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http://www.theasa.net


Citation:
URL: http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509695_index.html
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MLA Citation:

Poblete-Cross, JoAnna. "Tasting Identities: Food Practices, Music and Identity Choices of Puerto Rican U.S. Colonials in Hawai‘i" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD, <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 <http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509695_index.html>

APA Citation:

Poblete-Cross, J. U. "Tasting Identities: Food Practices, Music and Identity Choices of Puerto Rican U.S. Colonials in Hawai‘i" Paper presented at the annual meeting of the American Studies Association Annual Meeting, Hilton Baltimore, Baltimore, MD <Not Available>. 2014-11-25 from http://citation.allacademic.com/meta/p509695_index.html

Publication Type: Internal Paper
Abstract: Danny Ongais was a Puerto Rican born at the Ola‘a plantation on the island of Hawai‘i in 1914. Even though he only spoke a little bit of Spanish and never visited Puerto Rico, he expressed fierce Puerto Rican pride. This presentation examines how Puerto Rican identity developed in the U.S. Territory of Hawai‘i among individuals who never visited the Caribbean. I will start by explaining how after the Jones Act of 1917, all Puerto Ricans automatically became U.S. citizens. While an initial campaign for voter registration rights occurred that same year, most Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i showed little interest in or knowledge about their U.S. citizenship or the evolving political relationship between Puerto Rico and the United States. Instead, these U.S. colonials generally identified as Puerto Ricans, not U.S. citizens.
Using a mix of oral history collections and original interviews, this presentation focuses on the everyday use and function of identity and citizenship in the individual lives of Puerto Rican U.S. colonials, or people under U.S. federal government authority. While unable to return to Puerto Rico due to financial constraints and geographical distance, Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i chose to hold on to their regional or ethnic identities. The inability of the U.S. colonials to return to the Caribbean led them to idealize their ethnic identity.
Since Puerto Rican labor recruits came to the islands as permanent settlers, they had no U.S. government or sugar planter support to return home. It became difficult for most Puerto Ricans in Hawai‘i to keep contact with loved ones almost 5,900 miles away. Under these circumstances, I analyze how strong ethnic identities and specific cultural practices became major ways these U.S. colonial maintained a link with Puerto Rico. Puerto Rican food, manners and music symbolized important cultural aspects for these U.S. colonials in Hawai‘i. But these practices often occurred in private. Most of these U.S. colonials chose to shield their heritage from the public to avoid dealing with the criticism and harassment that typically faced Puerto Ricans in the Territory of Hawai‘i during the first half of the twentieth century.


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Puerto Rican Identity in the United States: How US Puerto Ricans View Their Identity Through Out-group Marriages

Cosmopolitan Puerto Rico: The Influences of Corsicans in Puerto Rican Identity and of Puerto Rican Women in Search of the American Dream


 
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