Places as active creators of identity: Case of Puerto Rico and their impacts on Racial Identification

Authors: Ana Sanchez-Rivera*, University of Maryland-College Park
Topics: Ethnic Geography, Cultural Geography, Ethnicity and Race
Keywords: Race, Ethnic, Places, Identity
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:40 AM
Room: Proteus, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Identity, race, and place are interrelated dynamic social constructions that are central to culture and ethnicity. In Puerto Rico, race is linked to ethnicity because the government decided to highlight three groups involved in the colonization as the main representatives of the culture, Tainos (Native-Indians), Spaniards (colonizers) and Africans (slaves). Even though Puerto Rico is understood as a racially diverse place, more than 75% of the population selects White as their race in the U.S. Census. This research tries to understand if places can influence how people select their “race.” The researcher selected two administratively-created counties using racial makeup where their populations are phenotypically similar, but select different racial categories on the U.S. Census. The study challenges existing theories of identity using a mixed methodology from an interpretative and social constructivist approach.

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