The flag on the can means it’s super racist

If you thought Puerto Ricans got really upset by being stereotyped on screen or stop-and-frisked in the Bronx, you should see how furious they get when you mess with their flag.

Beer company Coors learned firsthand the wrath of a boricua scorned when Latino Rebels, known for its melodramatic leftism, published a letter to Coors written by the group Boricuas for a Positive Image. In the letter, BFPI demands that Coors discontinue the sale of its beer cans commemorating the Puerto Rican Day Parade (which is not only in New York) and displaying the Puerto Rican flag.

As benign as the company’s move seems to be, the main issues lie in the company’s dark history and the rate of alcoholism in Puerto Rican communities.

Yet, as my friend Jose Cruz over at Our Tiempo rightly points out, if you “take two seconds to Google ‘Puerto Rican Flag Bikini,'” you’ll discover that Puerto Ricans need no help in engendering a bad image of themselves.

We shouldn’t condemn a person or company indefinitely for the things they’ve done in the past. The Mercedes-Benz 770 was the car of choice for the Führer and other high-ranking Nazi officials, and Ford was notoriously anti-Semitic, but I see no one boycotting those brands (except old Jews).

America was built on the backs of slaves, and its first black president was once a pothead, yet we shouldn’t write the two off forever.

What Coors tried to do is no more sinister than what any other company exists to do: sell a product or service. The Puerto Rican Day Parade was approaching and a beer company saw an opportunity to get in on the action.

What’s so bizarre about that?

In a country as money-minded as ours — where America’s birthday, Lincoln’s birthday and Jesus’ birthday (even his death) have been made into cash cows — I was just as shocked to learn that the Puerto Rican Day Parade didn’t have a beer company whoring it out.

Plus, if a beer company sponsors a Puerto Rican festival, and the first thing you think is, “the company should know better than to advertise to Puerto Ricans, because a lot of them are drunks,” isn’t that racist?

Better PR

In a bit of related but better news, Puerto Rico Gov. Alejandro García Padilla signed two bills into law this week that criminalize anti-LGBT discrimination and add LGBTs to the island’s domestic violence laws.

Now if only there were a law protecting battered colonies.

Infant supremacists

And finally, on Wednesday, the Salvadorean Supreme Court ruled against allowing 22-year-old women to abort a life-threatening pregnancy.

The case of ‘Beatriz’ has received international attention in recent months (see The New York TimesSalon and Al Jazeera English), prompting several UN human rights rapporteurs and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights to call for the government to authorize her abortion.

Beatriz has been diagnosed with lupus and kidney failure, and ultrasound scans reveal that the fetus is developing without significant portions of the brain, meaning it will not survive infancy. In March, the National Maternity Hospital asked for permission from the government to perform an abortion because of the ‘high risk of maternal death.’

The trouble is that El Salvador’s laws prohibit abortions, with no exceptions. If Beatriz were to seek an abortion, she could be sentenced with up to 50 years in prison, and the doctor performing the procedure would lose his license and receive up to a 12 year sentence.

The case brings to mind a recent case in Ireland, another Catholic country, where 31-year-old Savita Halappanavar died after she was denied an abortion that might’ve saved her life.

I’m perpetually perplexed by the Catholic Church’s unwavering concern for the rights of the unborn, even though it seems to have little concern for the rights of people already here.

Thank God I’m an atheist — even if that means I have a piping hot seat waiting for me in the afterlife.

[Photo: Oscar Rohena via Wikimedia Commons]

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