Countering the popular misconception that racial discrimination has largely not existed in Puerto Rico, Jay Kinsbruner’s Not of Pure Blood
shows that racial prejudice has long had an insidious effect on Puerto Rican society. Kinsbruner’s study focuses on the free people of color—those of African descent who were considered nonwhite but were legally free during slavery—in order to explore the nature of racial prejudice in nineteenth-century Puerto Rico. In considering the consequences of these nineteenth-century attitudes on twentieth-century Puerto Rico, Kinsbruner suggests that racial discrimination continues to limit opportunities for people of color.
Following a discussion of Puerto Rican racial prejudice in historical perspective, Kinsbruner describes residential patterns, marriages, births, deaths, occupations, and family and household matters to demonstrate that free people of color were a disadvantaged community whose political, social, and economic status was diminished by racism. He analyzes the complexities and contradictions of Puerto Rican racial prejudice and discrimination, explains the subtleties of “shade discrimination,” and examines the profoundly negative impact on race relations of the U.S. occupation of the island following the Spanish American War.
Looking behind the myth of Puerto Rican racial equity, Not of Pure Blood
will be of interest to specialists in Caribbean studies, Puerto Rican history, and Latin America studies, and to scholars in a variety of fields investigating questions of racism and discrimination.