Pepe Billete: I'm Not a Latino, I'm Not a Hispanic, I'm a Cuban American! (Part Dos)
Last week I managed to upset a pretty big segment of Miami's non-Cuban Spanish speaking population when I asserted that referring to all Spanish-speaking people as "Hispanic" or "Latino" is xenophobic and just plain wrong. You don't have to look much further than the comments section of that article to see que las mandadas pa la pinga llovieron. It seems like I touched on a pretty sensitive nerve.
The article received thousands of views within hours, and even managed to get the attention of a couple national media outlets. I still stand by that article 100 percent, and this week I want conclude my end of the discussion with a few points I intentionally left out for the sake of brevity.
Que coño es "Hispanic" o "Latino"?
In the first two paragraphs of last week's article, I gave you the dictionary definition of "Hispanic" and "Latino," according to the Oxford English Dictionary, the authority on the English Language. I also showed you how those terms are completely misused in the media.
What I didn't tell you is that colloquially, the terms are used in the United States to specifically refer to people that derive from 20 specific countries, and while many people have grown accustomed to them, using those two monikers to represent such a large population perpetuates stereotypes and dilutes culture. Here's why.
According to National Geographic, we live in a country where 47 percent of Americans ages 18 to 24 cannot identify India on a world map. Mi gente, when I tell you que el comemierda esta a la orden del dia, I'm not kidding! It's that same brand of ignorance that leads people to assume that all Spanish speaking people are Mexican. Sabes porque? Because no one tells them otherwise. Referring to yourself by your cultural descent and nationality reminds people that there is more than one country in the world that speaks Spanish.
Still don't think its a big deal? Read some news reports outside of Miami and notice how common it is for the media to use the term "Hispanic" and "Latino" as a race. Even by the skewed colloquial definition (people from 20 specific countries in South, Central America and the Caribbean) that these words have come to represent, the term is still misused. People are now becoming comfortable with using them as a racial identifier. Ask someone outside of Miami what a Hispanic person looks like and you'll realize exactly what I'm talking about. Let's be clear, there is no such thing as a "Hispanic" or "Latino" race. Period.