Some people who oppose equality for Puerto Ricans argue that it would force Puerto Ricans to abandon their traditions.  Other opponents of equality assert that it would change the population of the United States. Are they right?

Would the U.S. change if Puerto Rico became a state?

Puerto Ricans and people of Puerto Rican origin are already part of the population of the country. There are more than five million Puerto Ricans living in states, making up 9% of the national Hispanic population and almost 2% of the population overall. Puerto Rico has been a possession of the United States for more than a century.

The territory and its residents are now treated like a state and the residents of a state in most laws. Many Puerto Ricans have lived in a state for some period before returning to the territory.

In other words, if Puerto Rico were going to change the U.S., it would have done so already.

We do see strong influences from Puerto Rico on U.S. culture, just as we see strong influences from all the other cultures that make up the marvelous melting pot of the United States. Puerto Rico gave us reggaeton just as Germany gave us Christmas trees. When Hawaii became a state, there was a great surge of interest in Hawaiian music, Hawaiian shirts, and recipes using pineapple. Chances are good that statehood would result in an upsurge of interest in Puerto Rican culture across the nation, but there’s no reason to expect any negative effects.

Would Puerto Rico lose cultural identity?

Only a small percentage of the residents of Puerto Rico were not born there.

Puerto Ricans share the values and have absorbed the traditions and cultures of America — a nation of immigrants from around the world as well as pockets of indigenous peoples — but they have not abandoned unique aspects of their culture.

Part of the reason for this may be the ocean that separates Puerto Rico from Americans in the States. Part is the strength and depth of the traditions.

When Puerto Ricans move to the states, they usually speak English. They adjust their lifestyles. They also, however, retain aspects of their culture as they want.

Joining the family

Like other peoples who have become a part of the American political family, Puerto Ricans have helped make American culture what it is today, an amalgam of cultures from around the world bound together by a common belief in freedom, equality, and democracy.

The population of America is constantly evolving. It has changed with territorial acquisitions and waves of immigration from foreign lands and migration within the country. It is constantly developing.

It is widely acknowledged that the success of our nation is due to the vitality and ideas of new members of the American community. It is specifically because the U.S. has such a grand variety of cultures living and working together that U.S. culture is what it is. Puerto Rican culture has already been enriching the culture of the U.S. for more than a century.

Statehood is consistent with that fact.

Like other Americans, people of Puerto Rican origin are individuals who decide how to live their lives in this nation of freedom.

The extent to which Puerto Ricans — in the territory or in the states — have continued to embrace Puerto Rican identity and heritage has not proved to be a problem for 126 years. It would not become one if the Americans of Puerto Rican heritage still resident in Puerto Rico obtained votes in the government that makes their national laws.



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