The Culture and Music of Puerto Rico
In the first decade of American rule, Puerto Rican culture was influenced drastically by its status as a US possession. Although the political and economic aspects of American influence were very significant, American rule also had a great impact on Puerto Rican culture. This is expressed through the development of Puerto Rican music both on the island and in the United States. Puerto Rican music not only became an important cultural icon, but also helped to determine the new identity of the Puerto Rican both on the island and the mainland.
Under Spanish rule, Puerto Rican music had been shaped by the prejudices of their oppressors and the divisions between the peasant class and the upper class
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(Glasser 29)" There had always been an argument in Puerto Rico over what was the island’s true culture (Waxer 10/29), and the social gap between the urban and agricultural sections of Puerto Rico furthered the split. Upon the increase of emigration to the United States, Puerto Rican identity met another source of change. There was a good deal of cultural mixing regarding music in the US, and Puerto Ricans were expected to be similar to the black population in terms of music. This resulted in many misconceptions, but also provided another medium for Puerto Rican music to mix with. The partnership of blacks and Puerto Ricans marked a very important part of the transformation of Puerto Rican identity—the concept of skin color as a mark of superiority or inferiority. This forced light-skinned and dark-skinned Puerto Ricans to break apart, and resulted in a change in Puerto Rican social structure. According to Glasser, Mario Bauza said, "I only got one plan. I want to be with the people like me, [to] know what it is to be a black man in a black country. My roots have got to be there. (Glasser 75)." The joining together of Puerto Ricans and other races based on color resulted in not