Commentary Magazine


The Puerto Rican Mind

To the Editor:

I should like to comment on the Kazin “Controversy” on Puerto Rico that appeared in the May COMMENTARY.

I am sure that there is some truth in what Mr. Kazin said. I, a Puerto Rican, also react negatively to noises, whether caused by the North American-made vehicle that sells ice cream or by the many other apparatuses which technology brings. I, too, dislike the garbage-strewn lots of any underprivileged area whether the city is Rio Piedras, New York, Philadelphia, or Austin. . . . But what I resent most in Mr. Kazin’s comments are their truculent air and their ignorance of the whole of Puerto Rican society. . . . The many subcultural groups which constitute modern Puerto Rican society cannot be dismissed with generalized observations which have been limited to a narrow segment of the academic world and have been couched in terms of North American middle-class values.

It must have been hard for Mr. Kazin, innocent as he is of the language of the Puerto Ricans, to elicit any worthwhile comment in matters, ideological and spiritual. A people, any people, best express the intimate and affective areas of their ethos through the language in which they were raised.

The deep sense of dignidad that Margaret Mead so well understood in her studies of Latin American cultures seems to Mr. Kazin to be “sensitiveness without pride” or bovine passivity. The fact escapes him that his position as teacher and lecturer at the University of Puerto Rico gave him a respected place in Puerto Rican society and that students do not openly disagree with their professors unless they have had training in North American universities or spoken with North American friends. . . . If Mr. Kazin had aired his views in the discussion groups which are part and parcel of certain segments of the Puerto Rican society, he would have found another modality of the Puerto Rican mind and psychological structure. . . .

Sylvia Viera De Jeffrey
Austin, Texas

_____________

 

About the Author




Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor to our site, you are allowed 8 free articles this month.
This is your first of 8 free articles.

If you are already a digital subscriber, log in here »

Print subscriber? For free access to the website and iPad, register here »

To subscribe, click here to see our subscription offers »

Please note this is an advertisement skip this ad
Clearly, you have a passion for ideas.
Subscribe today for unlimited digital access to the publication that shapes the minds of the people who shape our world.
Get for just
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
YOU HAVE READ OF 8 FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
FOR JUST
Welcome to Commentary Magazine.
We hope you enjoy your visit.
As a visitor, you are allowed 8 free articles.
This is your first article.
You have read of 8 free articles this month.
YOU HAVE READ 8 OF 8
FREE ARTICLES THIS MONTH.
for full access to
CommentaryMagazine.com
INCLUDES FULL ACCESS TO:
Digital subscriber?
Print subscriber? Get free access »
Call to subscribe: 1-800-829-6270
You can also subscribe
on your computer at
CommentaryMagazine.com.
LOG IN WITH YOUR
COMMENTARY MAGAZINE ID
Don't have a CommentaryMagazine.com log in?
CREATE A COMMENTARY
LOG IN ID
Enter you email address and password below. A confirmation email will be sent to the email address that you provide.