Roberto Santiago Black And Latino Essay

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@Text: As students review these matters, they will find that other groups face similar struggles. This will allow students to make comparisons with African Americans and Mexican Americans, some ethnic groups to which they may belong. This unit involves terminology which can sometimes be subject to several interpretations. That is why when we refer to groups of people as an ethnic group and we discuss their race and culture, students should have an understanding about these terms also. To accomplish that, students will explore different perspectives on the concept of culture from a historical, anthropological and sociological standpoint. They will also be exposed to some of the elements that constitute ethnicity.

Spanish-speaking Cultures

Lesson I

-to promote understanding of the diverse Spanish-speaking cultures in the United States
-to identify Spanish-speaking countries on a map

I will begin with a brief discussion about Spanish-speaking Americans in the United States. Provide students with the following facts about the Spanish-speaking world:

a) More than 360 million people around the world speak Spanish.
b) Spanish is the third most widely spoken language after Chinese and English
c) Spanish is the most commonly spoken language in the United States, where more than 22 million people speak it
Main Activity:

Pose the following questions to the class:

1. What do you know about Spanish-speaking people? Do you know where they come from and why they are here?
2. Where is Spanish spoken in the world?
3. What are some of the ways of referring to Spanish-speaking peoples in the U.S.?
4. Have you had any interactions with Hispanics or Latinos? Elaborate.
Teachers will have students answer these questions as part of a whole-class activity. Chances are that their responses will touch upon the various aspects of this unit. As their answers are acknowledged, I will make connections with one of the upcoming lessons, which is a look at the different labels used to refer Spanish Americans.

Reading/Map skills:

Students study the globe and identify on an activity sheet with a blank map of the world, the 20 Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America, Europe and Africa (Equatorial Guinea).


Lesson II


-to understand the term ethnicity and how it applies to different groups in the U.S.

Before talking about ethnic labels with students, I will study the term ethnicity with them. I begin by posing the following questions:

1) Do you come from an ethnic or racial group?
2) How did you come to be part of that group?
3) Can people identify you in a different way?
To get into what ethnicity is, I will introduce the following elements of ethnicity:
1. Generally, the members of such a group think of themselves as being somehow different from other groups and in turn are so regarded.
2. An ethnic group is often usually a numerically smaller group, that is smaller than the �majority,� whom we tend not to consider as an ethnic group. At least this is the situation in the United States, although not necessarily worldwide.
3. The group has either migrated, voluntarily or involuntarily, to an area away from its homeland or has been overrun in its own land.

Make a list of ethnic groups known in the United States. Research two of them as homework assignment.

Lesson III


Objective: -to understand the meaning of ethnic labels used in the U.S.
society today to refer to Spanish-speaking people


Teachers begin this section by discussing the volatile nature of ethnic labels when used to refer to people indiscriminately (as described in the narrative of this unit)

Reading Activity:

Students read the article, �The Label Trap� which appeared on the Albuquerque Journal (bibliography is included in teachers and students� readings).

Discuss the controversy: which names do people prefer? Why? Students comment on whether these labels affect the lives of the people involved, based on what it is expressed in the article. I will keep the discussion oral until students begin to study each term individually.

Provide students with a list of terms used to refer to members of the Spanish-speaking community in the United States.


Pre-writing: After discussing the terms with the class, I will solicit students� comments. Questions will include:

1) How do you feel about the different terminology?
2) In your opinion, which labels are more appropriate?
3) Should people have the right to choose, or should the government impose a term?
4) Are Puerto Ricans Hispanic or Latinos?
Proceed by explaining that Puerto Ricans arguably fall under many of the terms described in this section, but that as members of other groups do �such as Cubans and Mexicans--they identify themselves with their country of origin.


I will have students research information about the terminology used to refer to other ethnic groups in the United States such as Blacks and Native Americans. Students will write about the diversity of cultures within these groups and compares their predicament to that Spanish-speaking groups in the U.S. in terms of how they are perceived. Students� essays will contain their personal opinions about the matter.

Puerto Rican Identity

Lesson IV

Objective: -tounderstand the complexity of Puerto Rican identity

To set the tone for this lesson, I will have two students read out loud the poem �Ending Poem� as found in Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA..


I will divide the class into groups of about four and have them answer the following questions:

What geographical regions can be identified in this poem?
Describe the message within the following verses:
�History made me� and �I was born at the crossroads.�
Define Caribe�a and Ta�no.
How would you characterize the speaker�s racial and ethnic background?
At this point I will emphasize the history of Puerto Rico as it is found inPuerto Rico: Island Between Two Worlds.
Homework activity: Prior to this lesson, students will be asked to research the history of Puerto Rico. Recommend the following Website to students: LANIC (Latin American Network Information Center) at HYPERLINK

I will use �Ending Poem� to introduce some of the issues that characterize the Puerto Rican identity, making the following points about Puerto Ricans in the U.S.

a) Puerto Ricans consider themselves a cultural group
b) They struggle to find a place (in terms of social class) within the dominant culture in the United States.
c) Puerto Rican literature in the U.S. reveals a mixture of North American and Puerto Rican cultures, all of which at times comes to a clash.
d) Some struggle to preserve aspects of the Puerto Rican culture while trying to accept their new roles in the United States at the same time
Students then analyze the following poems by Sandra Maria Esteves: �My Name is Maria Cristina,� �For Lolita Lebr�n,� �From Fanon� and �Here,� the last three of which can be found in Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA. �My Name is Maria Cristina� can be found in Herejes y Mitificadores.

Divide the class in four groups and assign a poem to each and provide the following questions:

�My Name is Maria Cristina�:

1. What do you understand by the following sentence: �I am a Puerto Rican Woman born in el barrio�?
2. What is el barrio? Why is there a change in language?
3. There are some verses that reflect the writer�s attachment to some elements of Hispanic culture. Provide some examples.
4. What is the meaning of the word negra (black woman) in this poem? Explain that negra should be read not in racial terms, but in its context of love and affection as it is used in the Caribbean.
I will allow students to discuss the remaining three poems in their respective groups and have a reporter from each share their interpretation of the poem with the rest of the class. The following are some guiding questions for some of these poems.

For �Lolita Lebron�

1. What do you think the speaker of this poem is asking for?
�From Fanon�
1. Describe the historical events that the speaker is talking about in the fourth and fifth stanzas.
2. Whom is she referring to in the last stanza?
3. What does the speaker mean in the last line of the first stanza?
4. What is this speaker�s mood?

What two parts is the speaker referring to?

Lesson V

Objective: -to understand how Puerto Ricans view race

Reading/Writing Activity:

Discuss Roberto Santiago�s Essay �Latino and Black� found in Boricuas by talking the discrimination he experienced. Ask students if they have been in a similar situation or whether they know somebody who has.

They proceed by writing brief reactions to the reading based on the previous discussion.

Ask students to define the terms mulatto, mestizo and trige�o.

Lesson VI

Objective: -to study the life of Puerto Rican-born Arturo Alfonso Schomburg and his contributions to the black community in the U.S.


Here�s a brief summary of his life:

Arturo Alfonso Schomburg was a black Puerto Rican who conducted extensive research on the black community of New York City.

While still living in Puerto Rico, Schomburg was told by one of his teachers that blacks had accomplished nothing in the past and probably would not accomplish anything in the future. Schomburg reacted by researching and collecting significant works by black Puerto Ricans. When he relocated to the U.S., he continued his work in highlighting the black and African American communities in New York City. The black community regards him as a strong activist against discrimination. He was subject to more racism when he moved to the United States. On a trip to the Deep South, he was denied accommodations. He sued and won.


One activity that teachers might want to consider for this unit is a trip to the Schomburg Center for Research in New York City. This can be done by raising funds or applying for a grant to pay for the costs of the trip.

This museum contains more than 75,000 volumes on black culture as well as magnificent pictures of the black community in New York City. There is a rendering of the way African slaves were transported through the Middle Passage, and portraits of prominent personalities in American history.


Students reflect on the documents and renderings. Choose one that made an impact.

Lesson VII

Objective: -to further explore Puerto Ricans connections to their African roots.

Reading Activity:

Students analyze the following poems. �Ay Ay Ay for the Kinky Black Woman,� by Julia de Burgos, which can be found in Boricuas; �African Things,� by Victor Hernandez Cruz, found in Puerto Rican Writers at Home in the USA.

Here are some possible questions students can answer when analyzing the poem:

1. What elements of the Puerto Rican ancestry does this poem reveal? Give examples from the poem.
2. Can you see any similarities to your own history?
3. Do you come from racially mixed parents, or do you live in a multicultural neighborhood?

Culture and Race

Lesson VIII

Objectives: -to study how culture and race affect people�s identity

Previewing Activity:

Solicit students� understanding of the term culture. Based on their responses, ask them how that definition affects the way they describe themselves to others.

Provide the following definition to the class: according to the Encarta Encyclopedia (which is available through the Internet), culture, in anthropology, includes the patterns of behavior and thinking that people living in social groups learn, create and share. Culture distinguishes groups from each other.

Based on this definition students answer the following questions:

1) Is it possible to have no culture? Why?
2) Are we solely defined by the culture we live in?
3) Why do you think Puerto Ricans are so attached to their culture?
4) Describe the Puerto Rican culture and give an example of a North American tradition.
5) How is Puerto Rican culture different from the North American culture?

Lesson IX

Objective: -to understand the role of race in people�s identity.

Define Race:

Applied to an individual, race refers to membership in a group, and not to aspects of the person�s appearance, such as skin color, according to the Encarta Online Deluxe encyclopedia. In anthropology, the term was created to identify biological properties of human populations by regions. Thus, we have race categories known as Caucasians, Mongoloids, Negroes, etc.

But in the U.S. race is now used by people and some ethnic groups to identify themselves. In the case of Puerto Ricans, people like Roberto Santiago align themselves to the �black� race in this country based on his ancestry and physical appearance. This aspect of his life has served as point of reference for him to formulate his identity.

Questions for the class:

1) Is race an important aspect of one�s identity? Why?
2) Can you be a member of more than one race?
3) Are Puerto Ricans members of the black or white races as recognized in the United States? Would it depend on their physical or biological traits?
4) What role, if any, does our ancestry play in our race?
5) How important is it to be recognized as a member of a race?

Annotated Bibliography for Teachers

@SH:Annotated Student Readings .
  •  Assaracus (Issue 16)
    • Paris: Broken Leg And Latex
    • Coup De Foudre
    • Brooklyn Gin & Other Hallucinations
    • Rooftop Kingdom
    • Contemplating Three
    • The Voyeur
    • Some Birds Are Exotic
    • The Ways Of Men

Issue 16 of Assaracus: A Journal of Gay Poetry (ISSN: 2159-0478) features work by Glenn Phillips, Dustin Brookshire, Michael Walsh, Philip F. Clark, Guillermo Filice Castro, Robert Siek, Carl Miller Daniels, Joseph Ross, Eric Norris, Jeremy Brunger, Rob Jacques, Raymond Luczak, Russell Bungé, George Klawitter, D. Gilson, Christopher Hennessy, Collin Kelley, John Brooks, Adam McGee, Jean-Marie de la Trinité, Sam Sax, David Bergman, Korey Williams, Matthew Hittinger, Stephen S. Mills, Brent Calderwood, Roberto F. Santiago, Chuck Willman, Eric Nguyen, Ross Robbins, Walter Beck, Carlton Fisher, Vytautas Pliura, Danez Smith, Walt Whitman, and Joseph Harker. Edited by Bryan Borland and Seth Pennington of Sibling Rivalry Press.

Nepantla: A Journal Dedicated to Queer Poets of Coloris an intentional community space. Our mission is to nurture, celebrate, and preserve diversity within the queer poetry community. Through this journal, we are attempting to center the lives and experiences of QPOC in contemporary America. Thus, we view the journal (and our reading series) as part of a whole artistic project and not individual fragments of work. We believe that (here) the high lyric must encounter colloquial narrative. Here, we must provide space to celebrate both our similarities and our differences. We are one community with an array of experiences; we write in different formats, in different tones, of different circumstances. Nepantla is not the sort of journal that can project a singular voice (not if we want to reflect the various realities of our community). Nepantla is a journal of multiplicity, of continual reinvention.

is a literary magazine of art and action.

The Acentos Review is A quarterly literary and arts journal that promotes and publishes Latin@ work.

Gingerbread House Literary Magazine is an online literary magazine that specializes in fantasy, fabulism, and fairy tales. Bewitch Us. Bother Us. Bewilder Us. The Gingerbread House staff is dedicated to publishing quality poetry & fiction with a magical element.  Take your fairy tale and twist it.  Bend your fantasy to suit your needs.  Be original and fresh, loose and lovely.

October 2013 – January 2014

selfies in ink is an online journal of text selfies. self-portraiture in writing. the “selfie” is a mode by which the author becomes the subject of their “own” work. selfies in ink is an online space where those works are performed, framed and published, a place for self-centered verse and micro nonfiction lyric essay. selfie poems and prose.

  • English Kills Review (Contributing Staff Writer)
    • The Problem with HIV Prevention
    • Sawdust & Raw Meat: An Interview with Scott Alexander Hess
    • On Your RADAR: An Interview with Juliana Delgado Lopera
    • Living like a KWEEN: A Conversation with Loma

December 2013 – Present

English Kills Review focuses on contemporary writing with a heavy emphasis on author readings in New York City. Founded in 2012, English Kills Review intends to engage the writing, publishing and reading communities with a heavy emphasis on the present and new voices.

Hypothetical Review is full of narratives of what is yet to be achieved move us. We believe that our imaginations give us the capacity to empathize with experiences we have not had, and to create the solutions to many challenges facing our world. For this reason we publish literary nonfiction, fiction and poetry that is both timeless and urgent, embracing all aesthetics.


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