Cultural Analysis : The Puerto Rican Community

1865 Words8 Pages
One of the most striking observations I examined was the way in which culture was used to beautify and extol ethnic heritage during my first visit to downtown Holyoke. I witnessed culture functioning as an emblematic tool that was memorializing the Puerto Rican community through art murals, blaring salsa music [which dominated the air-resonance] and other manifestations that showcased Boricua ethos. Those same cultural cues remained during my second trip, but as I engaged more intimately with the residents and the commercial industries and governmental offices, these emblems revealed another meaningful purpose. These symbols of reconstructed nationalism were used to assert ownership over geographical space while challenging socioeconomic place. Similar to the Zabbaleen in Cairo whose social and economic position remains endangered, the Puerto Rican community in Holyoke is experiencing an immediate threat to their geographic space due to their socioeconomic place and threats of gentrification. Both cultures, which are distinctly unique and ethnically regionalized as a result, are thousands of miles apart spatially, but closely bounded due to the ability to use their culture as an instrument to combat the usage of socioeconomic place as an ideological weapon to regulate geographic space. In the movie ‘Garbage Dreams,’ the Zabbaleen, which literally translates to the ‘garbage people’, experience a variety of spatial challenges that are abstract in thought, but very real in
Open Document