The Daily Tar Heel

Serving the students and the University community since 1893

Thursday October 28th

Letter: The psyche of a Puerto Rican in America


My name is Jesús Armando González-Ventura. 

I was born in Puerto Rico, youngest of five to a working class family. 

I carry the accents over the “u” and “a”, because my name is Spanish. 

My name is “-Ventura” because in my culture, family history is valued. 

In my life, I have only known a few things to be true: 

1) I was poor; 

2) I was black; 

3) and I was Latin American. 

This innate awareness informs my obsession with Puerto Rico and truth.

When I was a kid, my parents correctly predicted that the economic recession in Puerto Rico would worsen and moved to a town in North Carolina. 

We stayed on couches until my older brother joined us. 

Graduating high school and finishing my undergraduate study in North Carolina, I am aware that my experiences differ from many other Diasporicans in that I knew few Puerto Ricans outside of my family.

This makes me unique from most Diasporicans.

I have seen why knowing your history is critical and experienced the ramifications of not knowing it in my own family. 

I observed this as my brother and nieces slowly adopted English as their predominant language.  

I observed that they were not interested in dancing bomba or on returning to work in Puerto Rico. 

I believe if you are not proud of where you are from and who you are — you will never be truly happy. 

Mostly due to the strong relationship I have with my mother, I have largely maintained my Spanish. 

This has been important to me, as my mother did not understand English well, and I want all of my conversations to be full of understanding.

The truth is that the history of conflict between the United States and Puerto Rico is largely unknown and unstudied. 

It is also true that was the intent of the United States government in their Americanization of Puerto Rico efforts. 

Classes were taught in English, and Puerto Rican history was omitted from history classes. 

This means my parents, along with thousands of Puerto Ricans my age, grew up with little understanding of Puerto Rican history. 

I am obsessed with Puerto Rico because my people are suffering and have been since before Hurricane Maria. 

My people have slowly been suffering from an identity crisis. I am obsessed with Puerto Rico because Law 53/Gag Law prohibited the display of the Puerto Rican flag or singing of our national anthem between 1948 and 1957. 

My people have been given this identity crisis.

Welcome to the psyche of a Puerto Rican in America. 

Jesús Armando González-Ventura

Public Policy


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