New Definitions- The Diaspora
According to the U.S. Census Bureau since 2005 more than half of all the people who call themselves Puerto Ricans live in the mainland United States. This fact raises important questions about culture, cultural dynamics, and how is Puerto Ricanness to be defined. The Puerto Rican Diaspora has been a constant in Puerto Rican historyespecially that of the 20th century.
Cultural transmission has always been two ways. That is, both Island and Diaspora are producers of culture and cultural items (traditions, customs, symbols) move in both directions. What this section presents is a view of the Diaspora as an active agent in the maintenance and production of culture. In other words, important cultural items that define “what it is to be Puerto Rican” have been created by Puerto Ricans in the United States, and have traveled from Puerto Rican communities in the U.S. back to Puerto Rico (i.e., salsa music, the revalorization of the African cultural heritage in Puerto Rican culture).
What the case of the Diaspora presents is that of a more inclusive view on the issue of “who is Puerto Rican and what is Puerto Rican culture?”. The traditional view (Babn etc.) that stipulated that Puerto Rican culture could only survive on the Island is directly challenged by the cultural creations and redefinitions done in Diaspora Puerto Rican communities.
Ultimately what is been discussed here is who has the right to define (thus including and excluding people) what Puerto Ricanness is. Is identity defined by place of birth and residence, or is it something that has to do more with feelings than with place of birth and residence? The so-called challenge of the Diaspora has been to think of culture in more expansive and inclusive terms. To think that there are definitions of what is a Puerto Rican.