While the majority of the Hispanic population identifies themselves as Mexican-Americans, one of the fastest rising groups is the Puerto Rican population counting in at just fewer than ten percent (Current). Luckily, I have had the honor of becoming friends with members of this uprising group. I interviewed these students, some of which are native born Puerto Ricans and some which are second or third generation Puerto Ricans. I wanted to gather and document their thoughts on assimilation and how they identify themselves. The variation of their answers was surprising and informative. Hopefully, this paper will give insight into a Puerto Rican's point of view on the matter. I will first provide the perspective of an American born Puerto Rican then compare (or contrast) their thoughts with the native born students.
Over the years, I have had the privilege of working at a summer camp tutoring young females on the Southside of Milwaukee in subjects such as reading and mathematics, and mentoring them in different characteristics such as respect, work ethic, or honesty in order to make them honorable members of society. My first interviewee is a thirty-five year old mother of one of my students. She is a third generation Puerto Rican American. When her Grandparents arrived in Milwaukee, they suffered many hardships such as unemployment due to the language difference or lack of desirable job skills. They had been completely immersed in the American culture immediately without much time to settle. Once they had their first child, they desperately tried to keep the Puerto Rican culture alive in their home; however, being the poor immigrants that they were, the only way they could afford to survive was by renting out a room from a Polish American family. As you can see, other than speaking Spanish to one another or attending a Catholic mass at the cathedral down the street, there was not much room for other cultural differences.