In this work, González dismantles the myth of a dominant Spanish and racially white national culture in Puerto Rican history. He claims that the national identity is primarily Mestizo (mixed race) with a significant contribution from Africa. González calls the African slaves and Mestizo peasantry the first Puerto Ricans because they were the first inhabitants who had to make the island their home. Having witnessed successful uprisings in neighboring Haiti, the Spanish authorities encouraged white immigrants to settle in Puerto Rico in an attempt to "whiten" the population, then thought to be tilting dangerously to the advantage of the Afro-Antilleans. These immigrants became the small but influential class of landowners and, later, urban professionals. According to the author's grand metaphor, Afro-Antilleans and Mestizos constitute the first "storey," or tier, of the "Puerto Rican house" of the title, landowners the second, urban professionals the third, and the managerial class the fourth.