Jennifer Miranda – LRHS News
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL)- A variety of people make up the LRHS student body. Whether it’s culture or ethnicity, students have their differences. One specific group of people are not really understood by others…Puerto Ricans. Are they American? Are they foreign? The uncertainty may be puzzling to some, but to Puerto Rican Mustangs it’s downright irritating.
Puerto Rican sophomore Alexandra Banks, who moved to the United States at the age of 5, is regularly confronted by that confusion.
“People call me Mexican and they think I’m too white to be Puerto Rican,” she said.
While it’s true that the first language spoken in both Mexico and Puerto Rico is Spanish there are minor differences.
“Although I do get comments from people calling me Mexican, I don’t feel left out or weird,” continued Banks, “I’ve lived in the U.S. for ten years now so I’m used to it.”
Freshman Eduardo Méndez hasn’t had much trouble with the transition from Puerto Rico to the mainland U.S. since he moved at the age of 10.
“I grew up in Guaynabo,” said Méndez. “My whole family still lives there and we go visit them every summer and during the holidays.”
When asked about his adjustment, Méndez replied, “Speaking English every day was kind of weird but not hard since it’s our second language. We start to learn it in pre-school.”
Puerto Ricans do get frustrated when asked about their citizenship.
“I just keep trying to explain that Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory and that makes us American citizens,” declared sophomore Myriam Cintrón, born in Bayamón, Puerto Rico.
Sophomore Alexandra Banks agreed.
“People always joke about saying that they own us and they have control over us,” she said, “but the U.S. and Puerto Rico relationship is more of a partnership.
“Puerto Rico has its own laws and governor just like other states. And people pay more attention and focus there to the governor than President Obama, but we also don’t need a passport or need to get papers in order to fly to the U.S. because we are citizens.”
The United States and Puerto Rico have their differences in culture, but Puerto Rican individuals have the same benefits as people who born in the states and play an important part in creating the Mustang community.