Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon

Since 1923 • For a greater Loyola

The Maroon


Sofia Johnson

Americans need to let go of their savior complex. But first some backstory, on Thursday, September 28 I was working. The day was slow and one of the customers started to make conversation with me. After a brief introduction, he asked me where I was from, and with all of the pride in the world I said “Puerto Rico!” With my answer the conversation quickly turned uncomfortable. He said that he has friends who recently moved there but have received backlash from the Puerto Rican community and they do not understand why. With all respect I explained that most Puerto Ricans do not like that because it is gentrifying the island, pushing out native people, creating a lot of uncertainty/ confusion within the community and more. While I was explaining he interrupted me and started trying to convince me that Puerto Ricans should be happy that Americans are moving into the island because it could help us become the 51st state which would make our island better and more secure. I was shocked. He spoke with such confidence about a subject he does not understand. With his microaggressive tone, he was trying to tell me and convince me how Puerto Ricans should feel. I was furious. Sadly, since I was working and I needed to be professional I could not explain to him why his statement was wrong. Why he was horribly offensive and ignorant. So I will do it here…

Americans need to get over this savior complex they have when it comes to Puerto Rico because in reality there is no saving involved. There is just plain colonialism and an imprisoned island that significantly benefits the American economy. Every year Americans get to celebrate their independence whilst taking advantage of Puerto Rico through the Jones Act, tax law 22, Act 60, gentrification, lack of representation in congress, and limited rights even though we are technically citizens. Every year the American government shuts down more and more public schools in Puerto Rico. And every natural disaster we have experienced we receive new excuses for the lack of aid provided by our so called saviors. Everytime I go back home I see less of my community, but more airbnb or hotels. Puerto Ricans can no longer afford to live on their own island, they are being pushed out and no one seems to care.

In other words what I really wanted to tell him was…No, we are not happy that Americans are moving to Puerto Rico to avoid taxes and gentrify the communities which will displace Puertorriqueños. No, we are not happy that generational homes are now airbnb. No, we are not happy that the Jones Act makes everything more expensive in Puerto Rico thus benefiting the American economy. No, we are not happy that we are forced to live under American rule but we cannot vote for the Presidents that make those rules. No, we are not happy that we can not represent ourselves in congress but again we have to live under their rules. No, we are not happy that once again we have to plead and fight for the right to live in our own island, our own community.

Ignorance like this is why Puerto Ricans are so frustrated. We keep screaming at the top of our lungs explaining the issues that we are suffering from but they do not care because they are “saving us.” Puerto Rico does not need saving, it needs respect. We are not your safe haven to avoid taxes and make more money. We are not and will never be the 51st state.
We are la Isla del Encanto, we are Borinquen, we are Puerto Rico.

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  • N

    NateDec 1, 2023 at 4:33 pm

    This isn’t wrong, especially about representation, but it’s missing that Airbnb and gentrification are a problem everywhere and would still be a problem under PR sovereignty. In fact the island would get just as screwed, if not more, under it’s own corrupt government than the US’s corrupt government, as it did in the 2014 debt crisis. It is absolutely colonization but that doesn’t mean the alternative is better. The island would be worse without the US’s backing and contributions, however measly. Look at other Caribbean states for examples.

    You are complaining about PR as a tax haven, but that was done by the PR government. Those are elected Puerto Ricans encouraging the gringos to come, yet you say the gringos are the problem? The US/IRS certainly does not like the rich not paying taxes to them. If you were complaining about BOTH the US colonization AND the corrupt PR government, then I agree 100% and that makes sense. That doesn’t appear to be the case though, given how much you are focused on gringos being the problem, and that if they would go home the island would be better off.

    The island has had many problems, not all self inflicted (eg Maria), and Puerto Ricans with means can and do leave — that’s brain drain. They moved on to better opportunities and had to abandon the island and those remaining to do it. It sounds like you may be one of those, as you said “there” and not “here”. Unless you are on the island and working to improve it, you are effectively a gringo yourself. Worse even, as brain drain is part of the reason the island is the way it is. Doubly worse as you rant about things that would hurt the island further.

  • F

    FreePRDec 1, 2023 at 11:45 am

    Puerto Ricans should grow the backbone they need to declare independence and kick the colonizers out. It’s so simple, literally every country on earth has done it.
    Following this comment will come a stream of estadistas, like loyal pets, to defend their gringo master. Their arguments are always based in fear, inferiority complex and logical fallacy. Let’s see who is first to lay down and roll over.