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Old 03-09-2014, 04:38 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 844,768 times
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Maybe it is just the English-speaking media, but it seems like many people underestimate or don't realize that the entire western hemisphere is a melting pot of many nations.

I'm surprised at the number of people who don't realize that it ain't just the US (and Canada or Australia) who are descended from a mix of newcomers since Columbus, be they settlers, slaves, immigrations, colonists, indentured workers etc and just think of Argentines or Jamaicans as if they were always there, or see them as nations no different than Old World ones like Swedes, Germans or Japanese.

I also find it surprising when people don't realize how diverse Latin Americans are, either in the mix of original settlers of later immigrants. Brazil has possibly more black or African ancestry than other New World places and also more immigrant Lebanese- and Japanese- descended people too than any other, yet it almost seems like some people talk of Latin Americans too homogenously in a way they wouldn't talk about Americans, Canucks, Aussies and Kiwis, even though arguably Latin Americans can be more racially diverse or ancestrally mixed than many of the Anglo immigrant countries.

I have often heard Latin American and Caribbean countries spoken of in ways that seem to show that people aren't really thinking of them as "New World" countries even though they were some of the originally first New World countries to be settled by Old World people!
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:51 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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No, I don't think I've ever come across anyone who wasn't at the most basic level aware that the Spanish and/or Portuguese colonized South America.
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:52 PM
 
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Yes, and it is very annoying. For example, I have a German last name through marriage to a Brazilian. People are always shocked that he is from Brazil. Also, I have 2 White Mexican coworkers with Lebanese and Italian last names. People get so confused about them.

I think the US only sees and learned about ITSELF being an immigrant receiving nation. They never learned about Latin America receiving immigrants as well, so it confuses them a lot.

It has mostly to do with education. American comedian Louis CK has spoken about this quite a few times. His father is Mexican of Hungarian descent and he lived in Mexico as a child. He has always had to explain this history to people. He has spoken about it publicly.

My favorite is when people meet Asian Latin Americans! They are speaking in Spanish or Portuguse and I have seen people stare at them with a perplexed look on their face. Lol
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Old 03-09-2014, 04:59 PM
 
Location: East coast
613 posts, read 844,768 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosa surf View Post
Yes, and it is very annoying. For example, I have a German last name through marriage to a Brazilian. People are always shocked that he is from Brazil. Also, I have 2 White Mexican coworkers with Lebanese and Italian last names. People get so confused about them.

I think the US only sees and learned about ITSELF being an immigrant receiving nation. They never learned about Latin America receiving immigrants as well, so it confuses them a lot.

It has mostly to do with education. American comedian Louis CK has spoken about this quite a few times. His father is Mexican of Hungarian descent and he lived in Mexico as a child. He has always had to explain this history to people. He has spoken about it publicly.

My favorite is when people meet Asian Latin Americans! They are speaking in Spanish or Portuguse and I have seen people stare at them with a perplexed look on their face. Lol
Yes!

This is exactly what I am talking about.

Why be any more surprised that a Brazilian, Jamaican or Mexican can be of African, Asian, or Middle Eastern in appearance any more than Americans can?

After all, they are ALL New World countries. Do some people not realize what New World means?
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Old 03-09-2014, 05:11 PM
 
Location: Colorado
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The immigration received in Latin America since independence has much less significant than that in the United States, and less likely to come from places outside of the 'mother country'. Yes, Lebanese, Germans, Italians, and so on moved to Latin America, but these waves were not as dramatic as, for example, the German migration to the United States, where the largest ancestry in the country is now German. If you open a ledger of Mexican surnames, the surnames are overwhelmingly Spanish; if you open a ledger of American surnames, English surnames will be in the minority. It has more to do with the actual likelihood of consistently coming across Latin Americans with non-Spanish or Portuguese names than it does with some notion of insular American culture. There are certainly some notable exceptions such as the German presence in southern Brazil and the Italian immigration to Argentina, but for the most part, post-colonial immigration just has not been as massive as that going to the United States, and thus is less recognized.

Quote:
Originally Posted by markovian process View Post
Why be any more surprised that a Brazilian, Jamaican or Mexican can be of African, Asian, or Middle Eastern in appearance any more than Americans can?
Many will be no doubt. Why? Because the minorities listed are very small minorities who usually make no appearance when you are dealing with Latin Americans in person or through the media. I don't think anyone would be surprised to see a black or Caucasian looking Brazilian through, Brazil is widely known for being a racial melting pot.
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Old 03-10-2014, 07:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hobbesdj View Post
The immigration received in Latin America since independence has much less significant than that in the United States, and less likely to come from places outside of the 'mother country'. Yes, Lebanese, Germans, Italians, and so on moved to Latin America, but these waves were not as dramatic as, for example, the German migration to the United States, where the largest ancestry in the country is now German. If you open a ledger of Mexican surnames, the surnames are overwhelmingly Spanish; if you open a ledger of American surnames, English surnames will be in the minority. It has more to do with the actual likelihood of consistently coming across Latin Americans with non-Spanish or Portuguese names than it does with some notion of insular American culture. There are certainly some notable exceptions such as the German presence in southern Brazil and the Italian immigration to Argentina, but for the most part, post-colonial immigration just has not been as massive as that going to the United States, and thus is less recognized.



Many will be no doubt. Why? Because the minorities listed are very small minorities who usually make no appearance when you are dealing with Latin Americans in person or through the media. I don't think anyone would be surprised to see a black or Caucasian looking Brazilian through, Brazil is widely known for being a racial melting pot.
I understand your point, but these populations are also not THAT small. These are not homogenous populations like say Japan where a sprinkle of non-natives have appeared. The OP is correct in pointing out that from Canada to Argentina, these are all 'new world' melting pot territories and it should not be THAT surprising that there are more mixed people than assumed. Of course, some countries had significantly more than others, like Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

I would say at least 20% of the Mexicans I have met in my life have had non-Spanish last names, including cousins. These are people who have both maternal and paternal families from Mexico. These last names have been German, Arab, Polish, English. My high school boyfriend's last name was Richardson. I have 2 cousins (unrelated) who have German last names. One of them just married a full Mexican girl with an Arab last name. Linda Rondstadt has German heritage and last name from her Mexican father.
Friday Kahlo, Vicente Fox, Salma Hayek, Emmanuel Lubieski, Pati Jinich (PBS Mexican chef of Polish descent. I can go on....heck, one of Mexico's most famous journalists is Jacobo Zabludovsky.
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Old 03-10-2014, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Melbourne, Australia
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I was surprised to learn there are 1 million Chinese Peruvians in Peru, more than Australia...plus Jamaica has not just African and some white descended people, but Indian, Chinese.etc.
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Old 03-11-2014, 08:47 AM
 
Location: Colorado
1,524 posts, read 2,148,732 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rosa surf View Post
I understand your point, but these populations are also not THAT small. These are not homogenous populations like say Japan where a sprinkle of non-natives have appeared. The OP is correct in pointing out that from Canada to Argentina, these are all 'new world' melting pot territories and it should not be THAT surprising that there are more mixed people than assumed. Of course, some countries had significantly more than others, like Argentina, Chile and Brazil.

I would say at least 20% of the Mexicans I have met in my life have had non-Spanish last names, including cousins. These are people who have both maternal and paternal families from Mexico. These last names have been German, Arab, Polish, English. My high school boyfriend's last name was Richardson. I have 2 cousins (unrelated) who have German last names. One of them just married a full Mexican girl with an Arab last name. Linda Rondstadt has German heritage and last name from her Mexican father.
Friday Kahlo, Vicente Fox, Salma Hayek, Emmanuel Lubieski, Pati Jinich (PBS Mexican chef of Polish descent. I can go on....heck, one of Mexico's most famous journalists is Jacobo Zabludovsky.
Sure but you get the full picture so to speak, because you are a Latina. Americans speak English, not Spanish, and aren't watching Mexican TV, or listening to Colombian music. We aren't hanging out with Mexicans, and outside of the southwest we usually know very few Mexicans unless we work in a particular trade. We are culturally and linguistically linked with Britain, Canada, Ireland and Australia, the "Anglosphere", and as a result are far more likely to be aware of the cultural history of these places. Similarly, a Mexican will have a better idea of Colombia than an American, because they are culturally similar, and are part of the "Hispanosphere".

Of equal importance is the fact that our main contact with Latin America comes through massive immigration. When we meet Mexicans, they are overwhelmingly unskilled low-wage workers carrying typical Spanish last names. Ramirez, Gomez, Gonzales, Torres, Sanchez, Martinez, Velasquez. Since Mexico was not a 'land of opportunity', at least not since the days of Cortez, a disproportionate percentage of the immigrants to Mexico have been landed immigrants rather than unskilled workers seeking the 'Mexican Dream'. Because of this, those in position of wealth, power, and influence in Mexico disproportionately carry non-Spanish last names, while the common Mexican people are far more likely to have only Spanish names. French names, for example, are well represented due to the influence carried over Mexico during the 19th century; this influence even led to France's attempt to install a Mexican puppet. These upper class Mexicans are not the Mexicans Americans tend to come into contact with. When we travel to Mexico these are for the most part not the Mexicans we see.

These facts are reinforced by statistics. The top ten surnames from Mexico are all typically Spanish surnames. Because of this, we do not see a Mexico where 20% of people have non-Spanish surnames. Instead we see masses of Spanish names like Sandovals, Herrera, Reyes, and Diaz. Additionally, the Latinos in America have Spanish surnames with only a handful of exceptions. It takes reading until about number 120 to find a name that is clearly non-Spanish (Rangel, a German name). Even still, out of 1000 names finding more non-Spanish names is like picking needles out of a haystack. There is little doubt that within particular social settings among Mexicans, non-Spanish names are common, but within the overall Mexican context this is statistically not the norm. Because of all of this, it becomes clear and understandable why Americans are generally unaware of the existence of diverse names with Mexico and Latin America.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:08 AM
 
Location: Viña del Mar, Chile
16,416 posts, read 25,200,334 times
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I don't really find Latin America to be all that diverse. Sure, a different last name here and there.. but big deal. It's hard for an American to see most South American countries as a melting pot when they are not even close to as diverse as us. While they might have some levels of diversity, it's almost nothing compared to the United States.

Go to Bogotá, what do you hear in the streets? Spanish. Only Spanish, unless you see a couple tourists walking around. Ethnic restaurants? Nah, just Colombians working there. You aren't going to find the same type of Ethnic food around Latin America like you do in the United States.

Sure, some Americans are dense and think that everyone who speaks Spanish is a poor Mexican.. but at the end of the day it really isn't like that. People just like to exaggerate the ignorant people and forget the well informed.

I do think Brasil could be more diverse than most people would guess.
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Old 03-11-2014, 09:29 AM
 
Location: IL
2,992 posts, read 4,255,854 times
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I was thinking about this yesterday in a meeting. There was an HR person talking about her goals to hire more women and minorities. I was thinking about my kids that are half latino and two of them are dirty blonde with white skin. I think they would be considered minority, but it wouldn't look like it.
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