Black Puerto Rican Identity and Religious Experience by Samiri Hernández Hiraldo

By Samiri Hernández Hiraldo

Loiza is a Puerto Rican city identified for most sensible representing the African traditions, a neighborhood of a generally black inhabitants stricken by profound racial discrimination and poverty. yet many Loiza citizens strongly establish themselves in spiritual phrases, strategically handling their person, familial, gender, generational, neighborhood, nationwide, and racial identities via a religious prism that successfully is helping them deal with and remodel their tricky reality.

Based on 365 days of fieldwork, this research exhibits how believers event their faith in its a number of dimensions. Writing as a local ethnographer, the writer bargains the non-public non secular histories of lots of Loiza’s citizens, a few of whom she follows northward to the U.S. as they re-create neighborhood and political obstacles. Hernández Hiraldo performs the function of player observer, a social scientist with affection for her topics, who shared an important features in their religious lives together with her. Her narratives show an strangely nuanced knowing of the position of religion within the lives of Loiza’s people.
Arguing that figuring out and respecting the ability of faith during this neighborhood is vital to addressing and remedying its social difficulties, Hernández Hiraldo contests the characterization of Puerto Rico as a culturally homogenous kingdom with a monolithic church. She analyzes the altering nature of Catholicism at the island and the demanding situations it faces from the community’s different denominations, particularly the Pentecostal church buildings, lots of that are suffering to maintain their congregations. 

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This town is also known for its long pro-independence history. I had done some work in Adjuntas as a research assistant and as a teaching assistant of Carlos Buitrago, professor of anthropology at the UPR. Much of the collaborative research work was on the origins of capitalism and slavery in this town. My decision to return to my former interest in religion was prompted by classroom discussions of otherness and of religion per se and by intellectual discussions about religion in special events sponsored by the Graduate Christian Fellowship at the University of Michigan.

I insist, though, that this happens precisely to give legitimacy to Loízan identity and its religion. In contrast, in the chapter 6, I examine the church’s tactic of directly addressing Loíza’s black identity, socioeconomic “backwardness,” and conformist attitude in order to validate the need for a “new” Christian message of selfesteem, prosperity, and self-determinism. Since the Church of the Fountain of the Living Water insists this message is urgently needed in Loíza, I also draw attention to other verbal and nonverbal mechanisms employed by the CFLW’s preacher to validate his church’s message.

Imports and that a majority of the country’s exports are to the mainland United States. The new status encouraged a massive migration of Puerto Ricans to work in the country’s urban areas and also on the mainland, especially after World War II. 8 million were estimated to live on the island. Puerto Ricans are involved in a back-and-forth migration pattern. S. S. lifestyle. I agree with Duany’s (2002: 281) argument that inventing national culture was the response of Puerto Ricans to the American rationale for occupying the island (officially, since 1898), which was based on the Puerto Ricans’ incapacity for self-government and a lack of a well-defined cultural identity.

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