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Old 01-11-2013, 04:59 AM
Location: western East Roman Empire
6,112 posts, read 10,150,825 times
Reputation: 4850


Originally Posted by Avondrood View Post
To be honest, when I hear the word 'Latino', the first thing that comes to my mind also is a Spanish speaking person originating from Latin-America. So no people from Brazil, Suriname, Guyana, Jamaica, let alone people from Italy, Spain, Portugal, France, Romania,...

I'm well aware that the origin of the word "Latino" is derived from the Latin people of Italy and that, objectively, all persons speaking a Romance language could be called Latino. But a language is a living thing, meanings of words shift - and most people here will simply share the American view in this case.
Exactly. Even the word "Spanish" in certain parts of the US nowadays, the New York area for example, simply refers to a person who speaks Spanish, though 99.7% chance that the person is from or has origins in Spanish-speaking Latin America, not Spain.

Again, the origin of "Latin" is somewhere on a hill around Rome. By this definition, Italians are among the original Latins.

"Latin America" is a geographical expression coined during the European discoveries/colonization period. At one time, Italian was the third most widely spoken language in the Americas during the first mass European immigration period.

"Hispanic/Latino" is a technical term in US institutionalized racism. By this definition, Italians or Italian Americans are not considered Latino, having been for the most part assimilated in the US by the 1940s/1950s.
In fact, most Italians came to the US before WWI - around the time when the US was fighting a war against Spain, in the event conquering Puerto Rico (as well as Guam and the Philippines), and establishing significant influence in Cuba, kicking out the Spanish -, and certainly by 1925, and they were fighting in the US army against Italy in WWII (US internment of Italians in WWII regarded Italian citizens on US soil, not US citizens of Italian origin).

On the other hand, Britain/US fought wars for territory against Spain and their heirs in the Americas (and elsewhere) for centuries, right up until 1898, as mentioned, and tensions still flare up from time to time, but overall the trend now is integration (e.g. NAFTA, inter-marriage among anglos and hispanics, including the Bush family).

Good Luck!

Last edited by bale002; 01-11-2013 at 05:42 AM..

Old 01-11-2013, 10:41 AM
Location: Near Tours, France about 4710'N 025'E
2,872 posts, read 3,785,705 times
Reputation: 1863
the problem is to know in what language we use the word "latino".

In English the original word should be "latin": Italians, like french, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanian people are traditionally describe as "latin" for the roots of their languages. The original latin people was from Latium region in ITALY, where Rome is situated. From there the latin cultural has spread in all of Italian peninsula, and then to the areas that are now Spain, Portugal, France, etc.... with the constitution of the Roman empire.

In Spanish, the translation of "latin" is "latino". So then the word "latino" is just the Spanish version of "latin". In that case there is no reason at all to exclude Italy from Latin countries since it is the original one, from where all "latin/latino" stuff went out from.

The problem that many people have is with the "modern" use of the word "latino" that has been made in US medias since a few decades now. In that view, the word "latino" used as a shortened term, and not as a translation of Spanish word "latino" (in the meaning of "latin"). So, the word "latino" has been used as a quick shortened term for "latino-americano"/"latino-American". The problem is when the officials in the US started to used the shortened form instead of the whole "latino-Americano". This changed the official definition of that word, which meant only 'latin-American" from then in the US, despite the fact that latin culture originated in Europe, especially in Italy. In reality, we could also have shortened "latino-Europeo" to "latino", but since the world is US-centred, the US definition took over in many areas, thanks to the movies, music and publicity around the "latino" label, that the US have spread in the world ("Jenifer Lopez called Bomba latina, etc.)

But the confusion is put once step further when in English the word "latino" (in the meaning of the shortened form of latino-Americano) is translated to "latin". This lead many people to think that "latin" is a word that has always meant and refered exclusively to the cultures of the south of the US. Then, we should add the fact that in the US, the ethnic labels are always associated with a racialist idea, even when it doesn't have any at the origin. This made the word "latin" or "latino" wrongly becoming a synonym of "mestizo" (mixed European/indigenous), only because most of the latinoAmerican immigrants in the US used to be mestizo. This wrongly led some people to think that Argentineans, Spanish or Italians are not latin because they are not "mestizo looking".

I was surprised to realise that many people in the US ignore that "latin" used to refer to the romance speaking cultures and seem to think that it is a word that describe the race of the people who live in latin-America.

Education of geography, history, ethnology and linguistics about others cultures is the key to help to reduce the misusing of ethnic/cultural labels.
Old 01-11-2013, 02:57 PM
94 posts, read 177,462 times
Reputation: 93
I'm an American of French ancestry, so I always check the "Latino" box when asked to choose an ethnic background. Because I have blonde hair/green eyes and have no hispanic features, most other Americans think I'm joking or just stupid.
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