This article analyzes the varying representations of Puerto Ricans that circulated in the US popular press during and immediately after World War II. I historicize these discourses to show how in different contexts, even in the same historical moment, US understandings of Puerto Ricans could shift dramatically. Throughout, US discussions of Puerto Ricans fell back on well-worn tropes of gender, the family, and domesticity (or lack thereof). Such portrayals could engender distrust of Puerto Ricans or could express sympathetic political solidarity with them. The article explores media treatments of Puerto Ricans in New York City and rural Michigan. It also shows how postwar discussions of Puerto Ricans differed from denunciations of earlier European immigrants, who by now had consolidated their position as socially white. Finally, it demonstrates how gendered notions of respectability could privilege Puerto Ricans vis-à-vis Mexican American agricultural migrants in rural Michigan.

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