Belonging to Puerto Rico and America: New York Puerto Rican by Abigal Stahl McNamee

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By Abigal Stahl McNamee

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253). Three additional race awareness studies reported findings not discordant with Goodman's. Porter (1971) indicates that awareness of color differences is apparent by three years of age, incipient racial attitudes by four years, and strong social preferences with reasons by five years. Katz (1988) reports early observation of cues apparent between 0-3 years, formation of rudimentary concepts between 1-4 years, conceptual differentiation and recognition of the irrevocability of cues by four years, consolidation of group concepts between 5-7 years.

65). They are, more or less, positioned between the values and experiences of two worlds: there may be an expected high level of conformity to traditional values combined with the compromises necessary to “making it in America” (p. 81). The outcomes of adaptation may depend on how well these children fit into their own ethnic community and how their ethnic community fits into the larger American society. Family ties can function as an important source of support and control, but family ties may deteriorate with longer duration of US residence.

Social class is important in most Hispanic societies. The contrast between the possibility for class mobility in the native country (pretty much prescribed by birth into the right family) and in the United States has been a tremendous motivating factor for young Hispanics, most of whom were from lower socio-economic classes (Harry, 1992, p. 31). After World War II the Puerto Ricans who arrived in New York City typically carried cardboard suitcases that held everything they owned. The middle class of Puerto Rico did not migrate; migrants were generally young and unskilled with little education or experience.

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