An Antiblack Puerto Rican Symbol Called El Jíbaro

Negra con N mayúscula


Puerto Ricans of all colors and socioeconomic backgrounds have called themselves “jíbaros” with fervor and a pride so deep that they smile and giggle as they say it. “Yo soy jíbaro de Jayuya!” “Y yo soy jíbara de Orocovis!”. And even if one is not from Puerto Rico’s central mountainous municipalities like Jayuya or Orocovis, there are Puerto Ricans who will still refer to themselves as jíbaros for the tradition and heritage that “el jíbaro” (supposedly) represents. The indigenous taínos of Puerto Rico first used the word “jíbaro” to refer to people of the forest. Like many indigenous words, the word “jíbaro” has survived and is a part of daily Puerto Rican dialect. Besides being, el campesino de las montañas, and a highly recognizable Puerto Rican symbol of heritage and culture, beneath the surface, el jíbaro also represents structural antiblackness so deep within Puerto Rican society that it…

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