Captain America has taken to the big screen, and people across America (or at least on social media) are thinking… he’s actually Captain Puerto Rico, wearing the Puerto Rican territorial flag.
When George Takei posted the popular meme on his popular Facebook page, an impressive number of people pointed out that Puerto Rico is in America and belongs to the United States. Some readers thought that was an overly thoughtful response to the joke, but Angie Rivera summed it up:
As a Puerto Rican born and raised in the island and living in the United States and an Air Force veteran, I beam with happiness and pride that a lot of people commenting here are fully aware of the fact that Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and that we are citizens. There are still people who ask me and my friends if we had to get green cards and if they need passports to go to Puerto Rico.
Joe Southam followed up:
That moment you realize Puerto Rico is an unincorporated territory of the U.S.A
It’s cheering that people are beginning to realize that Puerto Rico is in fact a territory of the U.S., and that seems to be a fairly recent change. Google has tracked the number of times people have searched for “commonwealth of Puerto Rico” and how many times they’ve searched for “territory of Puerto Rico.” Since Puerto Rico is a territory and its formal name is “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” just as Kentucky’s formal name is “the Commonwealth of Kentucky,” neither is wrong. But it is very easy to see the change over time.
In 2010, after years of being used essentially 0% of the time in searches for Puerto Rico, “the territory of Puerto Rico” jumped up in Google searches. Since that time, it has continued to creep up as “Commonwealth of Puerto Rico” has fallen.
We’re not just being geeky over flags and search terms. This — and the Facebook response to Captain America/Puerto Rico — show that people are becoming more aware that Puerto Rico is a territory. The U.S. citizens on the mainland are ready to pay attention to Puerto Rico’s difficult position. We are nearer to statehood than ever before.