Welcome to one of my rants. I’ve been away from the blog for a while and have been back in the states. I figured I might as well write a rant about the US since Chile is usually the topic of discussion…and there are far too many rants to write about Chile in the future. 😉
I really have a problem with how the word “Spanish” is used by a lot of people on the East Coast of the US. Sorry, but that happens to be the only place where I have heard the word used in such a way, and not just by non-Latinos, but by Latinos themselves. Even a quick Google search will give you the impression that it is primarily an East Coast thing. Here are the kind of things that irk me:1. Spanish refers to a LANGUAGE and describes cultural aspects of SPAIN, including their nationality. My post should really end here, but unfortunately it doesn’t.
If you are thinking, “Duh! A Spanish person is from Spain”, remember a person from Spain is a SPANIARD and their nationality is Spanish.
If someone tells you they’re Peruvian-American, you shouldn’t respond with, “Oh, I thought you were Spanish”.3.
If we’re talking about a person who is obviously from the Caribbean, don’t say that that person is “Spanish” either. It would be like me saying I’m English because I’m from an English speaking country.
4. If you love arroz con habichuelas, empanadas, tacos, etc. Don’t tell me you “love Spanish food!” What you really mean is that you love Puerto Rican, South American, Mexican, Latino food etc.
5. If you are a descendant of or from a Latin American country, YOU ARE NOT SPANISH! Stop calling yourself that, stop calling your friends that and please stop referring to your cultural aspects as such.
I know that when Latinos call themselves/others Spanish that they are not trying to claim that they are from Spain or deny their heritage or their “native” roots
. I also understand that language is always evolving and I am in no way a linguistic purist. I just simply think it sounds ignorant and it’s poor English.
Half (51%) say that most often they use their family’s country of origin to describe their identity. That includes such terms as “Mexican” or “Cuban” or “Dominican,” for example. Just one-quarter (24%) say they use the terms “Hispanic” or “Latino” to most often to describe their identity. – Pew Research Center
I don’t want this to be a debate about labels, because even the more commonly accepted labels (Latino or Hispanic) have their defects despite being in use for decades. If I were to choose a pan-ethnic label, I personally
prefer Latin@ because at least in Spanish it wouldn’t sound out of bounds to call myself so (although I would most likely just refer to myself as Mexican-American or Chicana
), but to call myself espanola
just sounds wrong in my bilingual brain, so I usually avoid using those terms.
|Hispanosphere readers split on use of “Latina,” “Latino” and “Hispanic” to identify their ethnicity….and Spanish made it on the list. Really?? (Graphic and poll by Victor Manuel Ramos/Orlando Sentinel)
On the other hand, the word Hispanic has evolved and grown to carry a different meaning in English than it does in Spanish, so I have less of a problem with it. “Spanish” is being used, and it even made it onto this survey by the Orlando Sentinel (over 5% identify themselves as Spanish). Maybe the word “Spanish” will one day be a commonly accepted term to describe Latinos/Hispanics in the US, but until then, my ranting will go on.