Puerto Ricans?
May 19, 2013 | 818 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print

Dear Editor:

Al Sullivan’s column of May 12 contained a thoughtful analysis of the now-decided mayoral race in Jersey City that highlighted the inexplicably revisionist version of Mayor Healy to a scandalous event ten years prior that had his inebriated and naked body in plain view at his home porch. Sullivan rightfully speculated about the effects this new account would have on the election decided this week. The column was proceeding swimmingly until I read that Sullivan said the mayor blamed three “Puerto Rican” girls with entrapping him in some way. The mayor’s quoted reference to three “Hispanic” girls had garnered the attention of reporters of the state’s largest newspaper and had been the object of scorn by Latinos in Jersey City who denounced the not-so-subtle, stereotypical reference to the promiscuity of Latina women in the mayor’s latest account of the night in question.

So were they “Hispanic” or, more specifically, were they “Puerto Rican?”

Whether we care to admit it or not, we’ve all seen and internalized the stereotype of the hot Latina who is able to seduce men of all races to their wiles. Hollywood was, and still is, capable of pigeon-holing Latina talent into certain pre-determined roles. It sells, so why should they change? This would partially explain the ire of the Latinos and Latinas who denounced the mayor’s newest take on that fateful night of long ago.

But how does it explain Sullivan’s opinion that the mayor was actually referring to Puerto Rican women? And I say opinion since Sullivan is a columnist, not a reporter, who is well regarded by the Hudson Reporter for ably trudging the chum of the local county political scene for that occasional gem of insight, vengeance or vindicated speculation. I read his column faithfully.

After checking with him directly, apparently there’s no explanation, unless he decides to take the revisionist cue from Healy and offer one now. I asked him to explain how he could conflate two different concepts like a generic term for multiple nationalities and one specific national origin reference. I asserted that either he was privy to a fact the rest of New Jersey was unaware of, or he simply didn’t understand the difference.

He wrote back defensively to ask me if I knew the difference (duh!) and then told me to stop insulting him.

Jersey City’s Latino population is composed is about 38 percent Puerto Rican, 20 percent Dominican, and 9 percent Ecuadorian – the rest of the groups are much less.

So Mr. Sullivan this Puerto Rican wants to know, on what basis did you form your opinion that the mayor must have been referring to Puerto Ricans specifically? Or did you just add to the insult by assuming it?

Juan Cartagena

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