An Unwritten narrative
This thesis focuses on the lived experiences of adolescent Puerto Rican American girls who were born and raised in the United States. In the midst of the social problems and the attention given to these problems, the resilient nature of these young women is often overlooked. The sample consist of 18 young ladies between the ages of 11-15 (M = 12.2 yrs). The data for this research project were collected through two main methods – the Bicultural Involvement Questionnaire (BIQ) and semi-structured interviews. First I utilize social identity theory and the concept of social stigma to detail certain social problems and explain their reactions towards them. I then describe the coping strategies used by these young ladies to survive the social inequality they face on a daily basis. I have used the existing research on the colonialism of Puerto Rico, race/ethnicity, and cultural gender expectations as the foundation for my exploration on the effects of the interconnectedness of all three social processes on the lives of these young girls, and to gain a better understanding on the coping strategies these young women use to deal with these social problems. Although these girls express many ways of dealing with difficult situations, I write on four of the main strategies they utilize. The four coping strategies include: making use of their social capital, distinguishing themselves from others, promoting and preserving cultural pride, and understanding the differences in various social contexts. What has remained virtually unwritten, until now, are the ways young puertorriqueñas have learned to cope with the problems of an oppressive history, race/ethnicity, and gender expectations.