This YouTube video, created by CPGGrey, explains states and territories clearly, and we’ve featured it on this website before. But you can also learn something from the comments left on the video at YouTube.
YouTube videos receive 4 billion views a day, making this one of the most active gathering places on earth. This particular video received a number of appreciative comments, requests to explain other confusing things, and disagreements on the definition of “empire,” but many of the comments focused on Puerto Rico. (Please click on the images below to see them larger. )
At this writing, there have 5,147 comments, so this may be a good place to get a sense of what ordinary people might say if they could gather and talk about the status of Puerto Rico.
First, they’d show some confusion over how a territory becomes a State. One speaker in this extended conversation believes that a territory has to “deserve” to become a state, while the other thinks that it would have to meet “economic goals.” Since the United States has not had a new State within the lifetimes of many Americans, it may not be surprising that many Americans don’t know how a territory becomes a State.
At the end of the discussion, the individual who thought States had to meet economic goals suggests that Puerto Rico would lose its cultural identity. This claim can be found elsewhere, but the visitors to YouTube were scornful of that claim and also of the claim that Puerto Rico’s culture wouldn’t mesh with that of the mainland U.S.:
Many commenters proudly spoke of the U.S. as a melting pot and referenced the special cultures of their own states and how they enriched the United States as a whole.
Another topic that arose often was the 2012 plebiscite, in which 61.2% of the votes cast favored statehood for Puerto Rico.
Discussions about the plebiscite reflected a range of opinions, but one commenter took the opportunity to express a hope that the video would serve the purpose of educating visitors.