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This will be a short diary for those who may be confused about which term to use.

I am simply copying a comment I wrote on another diary. If this helps at all, that would be great. And I would appreciate any comments or criticisms.

You might meet some older Latino-Americans who really dislike the term "Hispanic" and may even get furious at you if you use that term. The famous author Sandra Cisneros, for example, became furious in a bookstore because the owner used that word when speaking to her.

That is because during the Civil Rights movement, Lantinos didn't like that the census decided what Latinos would be called without asking Latinos (similar to how we Asians hate the term "Oriental.") Those in the Civil Rights movement were mostly Mexican-Americans in the West, and they called themselves "Chicanos." They stressed their indigenous (Indian) roots and how the Spanish conquistadors took over their countries. So they also didn't like that "Hispanic" stresses their ties to Spain as opposed to their indigenous roots.

Well, in Latin American countries it is just not like that. On the contrary, most love their Spanish roots. They call Spain the "madre patria," the "mother country." Often they denigrate their indigenous roots. So, in the Spanish language, "hispano" is the same as "latino." No difference.

So those who came here after the Civil Rights movement, first, they don't even know what a "Chicano" is (it is an American word), and they certainly don't know that there might be anything wrong about the English word, "Hispanic." Thus, younger people and newer immigrants, when polled, say they prefer the term "Hispanic."

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Comment Preferences

  •  Sometimes ... (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak, gloriasb, Sychotic1, Sue B, bevenro, Timaeus

    and, I guess there's no good way to say this. The stuff gets ridiculous. I mean I wish we didn't define people in these ways at all, but people also define themselves in these ways, not just blacks/African Americans or Hispanics/Latinos/Asians, but many ethnic groups. And I want to respect all of those wishes. But if I use black vs.  African American or Hispanic vs. Latino doesn't mean I'm trying to pick an offensive term.

    There comes a point  where it does seem people are just trying to find offense in the same way right-wing Christians think "Happy Holidays" is an attack on Christmas. It's not. Really.

    There are derogatory terms for pretty much every ethnic group. Can we save the wrath for that?

    I mean, maybe I'm way off being white here, but while if politely asked to change my word I would do so for that person, I'd expect a break now and then if I slip and say Latino despite knowing that person prefers Hispanic, and vice versa.

    Race is a social construct to start, and we're never all going to agree on the terminology.

    www.stacysmusings.wordpress.com

    by Magenta on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:33:25 PM PST

    •  Yes, I totally understand what you are saying. (4+ / 0-)

      But, if we are talking about whites who on their own decided what racial minorities should be called, without asking those minorities for their opinion, it may seem ridiculous. But for thos minorities in question, it may be any thing but ridiculous.

      In other words, something like: "Ok, you've repressed us for so many years, and yet you insist on what to call us? Fuck you!"

      After all, you hear white descendents of Europeans talking about how, I dunno, "my parents learned English without special bilingual classes, so why should Mexican immigrants have such classes?" Well, first it is not true that first generation immigrants from Europe learned English. There were German-speaking communities in the country long after they first arrived. Second, you Europeans didn't have the racist Chinese Exclusion Act fucking preventing you from emmigrating to this country. Ie, many Europeans came to this country due to affirmative action.

      •  My family came here during... (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak, exterris, IM, Timaeus

        the Lincoln administration, spoke German for a few generations.  Uh...WWI was not such a good time for that.

      •  And I entirely agree on that. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak, exterris

        I know that being white immigrants was a bonus. Yes, my German great-grandfather did choose to make himself super-patriot to "fit in" during WWI, but he didn't go to an internment camp. So, definite degrees of difficulty.

        The Irish I know did face discrimination of various degrees, but I can't help but think you could "pass" if you could lose the accent. They'd gone through their own mess, for the most part, in their own country, though. The English weren't so great there. Although by banning Gaelic, they did set up a path for quicker assimilation of the Irish to American culture.

        So, I've covered what's official in my background. I think my paternal great-grandfather was Dutch rather than German as we were always told, but I haven't done the research to be 100 percent certain.

        You are absolutely correct that immigrants absolutely had their own communities. I'm from Pittsburgh originally. We still have "Polish Hill" and the like. We kept those ethnic communities way after it was cool.

        I'm not downplaying the difficulty of being an immigrant. I think these people who think it's a bad thing are crazy. We're all immigrants if you look at it the not so long term. Human society hardly initiated in the 1600's.

        I'm just saying that if someone is trying to use a term that is polite and sensitive not picking the favorite of that individual is understandable. And yes, I guess I'm also saying getting angry that they used Latino not realizing you prefer Hispanic or vice versa may not be helpful to discussion.

        This isn't just immigrants. I mean, liberal vs. progressive can start fights.

        Words do mean something, and I am all for trying to respect preferences. On the other hand, if people are trying to be respectful, it seems counterproductive to me to pick on word choice that isn't universal. And I'm struggling with this, because, again, I don't like grouping people this way. There is no "Latino" or "Hispanic" group that is some monolith. People don't agree on the best representation. But sheesh, there are the obvious slurs that I would never type, but these terms we've listed seem to be in debate within the communities we're trying to summarize.

        I mean, in fairness, I suppose the most generic is "white." What the hell does that even mean? Fairly literal in my case, I guess. Sun gives me hives. But really. It's a meaningless term. My very dark-skinned cousins also white. When did that happen?  What does it mean beyond what we define as a community?

        www.stacysmusings.wordpress.com

        by Magenta on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:13:37 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  A helpful diary (9+ / 0-)

    For those of us who are unsure of the correct terms, this is a useful discussion.

    Life's a dance you learn as you go; sometimes you lead, sometimes you follow.

    by gloriasb on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:36:02 PM PST

  •  A couple years ago I attended a meeting of (8+ / 0-)

    our local progressive group. During the meeting, this exact question was broached. Much to my surprise, most people said they preferred Chicano. I had always associated that term with militants. And just the other day I heard someone on TV say that in the east people say one thing, Latino or Hispanic, and in the west they use the other. I can't remember which was which. Around here, most people use Hispanic, which I think was the reverse of what was said on TV. It would really be a lot easier if we just called each other people.

    •  Chicano means Mexican American. (8+ / 0-)

      It was never applied to other Latino groups.

      And, yes, it is sorta associated with militants, haha.

      As for East vs. West, yeah, as I said in my diary, since Mexicans first went to the West, "Chicano" and "Latino" is waht is probably associated with the West.

      But, again, if you go to Mexico and ask them what a "Chicano" is, they won't know.

      •  In California, many Latinos (6+ / 0-)

        don't accept the term "Chicano" which is classed. IF they accept it, it's usually from someone with similar skin color. Not from me. It can come off as not an insult, but a strange term here in California from a non-white to a Latino.

        •  Everyone here is Mexican-American (5+ / 0-)

          although not really everyone because there is a good sized Central American presence here as well. Maybe this is why Chicano is touchy?

          •  I prefer "Latino" over "Hispanic," generally--and (10+ / 0-)

            I do think you've touched on a newer context for Chicano having different "polarities" in various parts of the country, m.o.
             I would discourage you Anak, from suggesting that Hispanic be used generally over the term Latino--despite your reasonable and useful report about many younger Latinos not reacting to the term Hispanic (you would not be offended either way).
            Mexican-Americans generally form (I believe this is still correct) over 60% of all Latinos in the United States. What you may not know, Anak, based on your observations on how "Latin American" countries refer to Spain, is how, generally, Mexicans have deeply internalized a basic distrust for the Spanish that is reflected in the war that led to the 1810 "Grito" for Mexican Independence, and its post-revolutionary efforts to  culturally center indigenous cultures in its self-image to counter elitist narratives about any European countries' influence (in particular Spain and France, of course). Mexicans have a deep tie to Spain, but avoid her admiration instinctively.
            In other words, Mexicans, in general, do NOT have as high a regard for Spain, nor would they call Spain the "mother country."  The original Mexica Empire is the cultural loadstone in Mexico--something that, understandably, would be less pronounced elsewhere in Latin America.

            So it is no surprise that the bulk of the Latino population, much of it formed from Mexican migration (with a strong historical exception in New Mexico, where many prefer to style  themselves of "Spanish" origin), wold resent being called "Hispanic" by the Reagan Administration, and by governments even to this day.
             My own school records from the 70's record me as a "Mexican-American."
            But the times, they are a'changing.
            I'll personally stick to Chicano and Latino--but I would never stand in the way of younger Latinos calling themselves what they desire.
            Latino, then, is a good, current term, safe, solid, popularly used, much more acceptable (still) to Mexican-Americans than Hispanic--con mis disculpas a mis prima/os Boricuas.

             I would definitely not encourage the use of "Hispanic" over "Latino" yet.

            The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

            by Ignacio Magaloni on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:50:02 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ignacio, yes, i know Mexico best, but I was (3+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              Ignacio Magaloni, exterris, Timaeus

              talking about all of Latin America, not just Mexico.

              And I did in no way suggest that "Hispanic" is preferable to "Latino"!

              I disagree with your assessent of Mexico's opinion of Spain and of white people: I feel that in Mexico their ties to Spain and to white people are just as strong as in countries like Colombia. Mexicans want to be whiter not darker.

              And as I wrote in another comment, Reagan is a name that basically no Latino in Indiana has ever heard about! Califorinia is my favorite place in this country, but, come one, here in Indiana we don't give a shit about what goes on over there.

              •  Heh. I bet there are a few Latinos over age 50 (5+ / 0-)

                in Indiana. Ask them about Reagan.
                I don't think one should equate racism with the attitudes Mexians have to Spain as a nation.

                 The unconscious (but this is changing now, thankfully) racism that permeates Mexican society (see the social constructions in Mexican telenovelas, or the use of blackface in televised humor for accessible examples of this racist/classist reality--I am now thinking of the general readership, and not just you, Anak--you know what I mean).

                 But I lived and have ties deep enough with central Mexico that I know the two attitudes co-exist (those "expletive Gachupin" can be heard on the lips of those darker-skinned Mexicans when oppressed or offended by their lighter-skinned compatriots)  without awareness of the implications: you turn them into a logical formula, and I don't think that reflects the reality as I know it.
                 But we can differ: things change, and if the young are the way you describe, I would be worried about re-submerging racism in a fetish for Spain!

                The labor of a human being is not a commodity or article of commerce. Clayton Act, Section 6.

                by Ignacio Magaloni on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:20:19 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

      •  I've lived in NM for 40 years and, until that (7+ / 0-)

        meeting, had never heard the term Chicano here. Prior to moving here, I lived in CA. During the '60's, the Mexican-American activists were called Chicanos which is where I got the idea that it meant "activist" or "militant." Since most of the Hispanics in NM have their roots in Mexico or Spain, Hispanics it is.

    •  Latino was more accepted in some area of the (7+ / 0-)

      county, Hispanic in others.
      Remember that Latin America also includes Portuguese speaking Brazil. Brazilians could be considered Latino but not Hispanic.
      Both are acceptable to most but some are offended by either.
      I sometimes say Hispanic/Latino.
      It's confusing.

    •  I'd guess that it's (4+ / 0-)

      the Western US where people call/called themselves Chicano more often than the east US.

      Chicano is another way of saying Mexican American. It doesn't mean Mexican though - it means Mexican-American.

  •  I have several friends who fall into the (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak, exterris, Sychotic1, Oh Mary Oh, Timaeus

    'mislabeling' category.

    One is a member of the Cherokee Tribe.  That's how she defines herself.  She does not call herself "Native American" although she prefers that over "Indian".  

    The other is a native of Haiti, and she does get insulted when considered to be "African-American.  In the most beautiful accent ever- she says, "Don't you be calling me African.  I be from Haiti.  Haiti is my home."

    The most surprising aspect of these friends is that if you did not know their ethnicity, they could be from anywhere.

    I agree with Magenta.  Enough with the demographics and labeling.  That only serves to keep us divided.

    Growing old is inevitable...Growing up is purely optional

    by grannycarol on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:50:41 PM PST

  •  I cannot speak for every country in... (15+ / 0-)

    ...Latin America. But in Guatemala, Ladinos (a complex term but generally people of mixed Spanish/indigenous heritage who speak Spanish) may, in fact, despise their Indian blood. But the Indians I knew there (as well as Guatemalan immigrants to Los Angeles) did not. They would never describe themselves as hispano. Like all discriminated-against people, however, they have internalized some of the perjorative stereotypes the dominant culture has imposed upon indigenes in most parts of the hemisphere.

    Don't tell me what you believe, show me what you do and I will tell you what you believe.

    by Meteor Blades on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 09:55:42 PM PST

  •  The way it's been explained to me (6+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak, exterris, Sychotic1, Avila, Timaeus, bluedust

    ... is that Hispanic is not a race.

    That's why on the US Census, you see terms such as "Non-Hispanic White."

    Contrary to what some in the US might think, there are whites in (for example) Mexico, though a great number of the population are Mestizos, i.e. a mix of white European and Amerindians (Native Americans).

  •  I, like most white people in America, am not (7+ / 0-)

    Caucasian.

    I don't really trip if someone calls me that.  It's just not accurate.

    I recognize that 90% of the time, when people of color decide to use that term (or, just as bad, "Anglo") they're trying to avoid using the loaded term "White", and are actually making an effort to be polite.

    It can be worth educating people about - but it makes no sense to get pissed off at people who are specifically making an effort to avoid giving offense.

    "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

    by JesseCW on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:42:43 PM PST

    •  But see my comment above. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mahakali overdrive, Timaeus

      Since whites have always been in charge here, denying my Chinese ancestors from emmigrating here, while at the same time acting like they got no special privileges (Hello! You fuckers came here due to affiirmative action and now you are crying out against affirmative action?! The fuck?!), it does indeed seem like an great offense when whites, even progressive ones, insist that they have the right (why?) giving names to minority groups as they wish.

      So I've heard whites argue vehemently with me about the use of "Oriental." They say, "It only means from the East. What is wrong with it?" Uh, yeah, and "nigger" only means "black," derived from Spanish or Portuguese "negro." You gonna use that do defend your use of nigger?

      So, yeah, because of this power differencial, I do think that some people do have the right to get pissed off if the white folk are clueless about histrory.

      Not talking about you, of course.  

      •  Vehemently arguing with you about how you ought (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        2thanks

        to define your ethnicity is stupid and rude.

        You don't have a "power differential" when you have a conversation with some individual (assuming they're not a cop or your employer ect).  You're just two adults having a discussion.

        If someone says "Oriental" out of ignorance, and you correct them and say "I really prefer to be called Chinese", whether or not they respect that is what shows for certain whether or not they intended offense in the first place.

        When a person willfully refuses to respect how another individual wants their nationality or ethnicity defined.....that person is a fucking jackass.

        Most Mexicans don't mean anything offensive when they call Vietnamese people "Chino's".  If they don't correct themselves when asked to, they're being just as dickish as an individual white person who keeps calling a Chinese person "Oriental".

        Of course, some people will use any opportunity to display their own ignorant and bigoted assumptions about every person with pink skin possessing some immense measure of power.  Some of them come from comfortable middle class homes and are generations removed from an honest days sweat, but rant without prompting about the "institutional power" of homeless white guys.

        Not saying you would do that, of course.

        "the Agency continues to verify the non-diversion of declared material at these facilities and LOFs."

        by JesseCW on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 11:43:46 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Geez, Dude. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          When I spoke about a "power differencial" I wasn't talking about you in specific.

          ¿O k no puedes leer inlgés, idiota?

          •  What's with the snarky comment. (0+ / 0-)

            en español?  Calling people names, especially in your own diary, is very uncool. Doing so in another language? Well, dang. I think that's a first here.

            And for whatever it's worth, I think you misread much of Jessie's comment.

            © grover


            So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

            by grover on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:14:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  Ok, I'll stay up a few minutes to reply (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive
          Vehemently arguing with you about how you ought to define your ethnicity is stupid and rude.
          What on earth are you talking about?! Who is "vehemently arguing" with whom? Are you saying now that you will vehemently argue with me? Ok. But why?
          You don't have a "power differential" when you have a conversation with some individual (assuming they're not a cop or your employer ect).  You're just two adults having a discussion.
          Lol. That is what you white folk think. I've recced countless comments of yours; I can't believe you just said such a stupid thing. If you are drunk, ok.
          Of course, some people will use any opportunity to display their own ignorant and bigoted assumptions about every person with pink skin possessing some immense measure of power.
          Ah, so your whole point was defending you "pink-skinned" people. What you said after that, I'm not sure what you mean. Otra vez: "¿Sabes inglés?" In any case, dude, sounds kinda ugly what you just said.
        •  Ok, I get your last bit. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          mahakali overdrive

          Oh...you poor, poor white people.... So innocent are you.

          So, yeah, my insincts were right that what you wrote was very ugly...

  •  Thanks. (7+ / 0-)

    I've wondered at the seemingly interchangeable terms. I grew up in L.A. and Chicano/a was all I knew. Cubans and Puerto Ricans I met as I traveled weren't impressed with the label or my street Spanish.

    "The human eye is a wonderful device. With a little effort, it can fail to see even the most glaring injustice." Richard K. Morgan

    by sceptical observer on Wed Nov 14, 2012 at 10:45:53 PM PST

  •  hispanic is ethnicity, latino is a geo-political (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak

    term. americans mix those 2 up. latino refers to a person who comes from south america the same way european refers to a person who comes from europe. but the original ethnicity of latinos is hispanic the same way original ethnicity of europeans is white...

    •  But the term Latino arose with or at least (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Oh Mary Oh

      was propagated with the French in the mid 19th cent.

      Simón Bolívar, in his cries for independence in the early part of the 19th cent, never used the word "Latino" to describe the South American countries he wished to liberatate.

      And, again, in Spanish, there is no real difference between the words "hispano" and "latino."

  •  But to be safe, it changes throughout the Country (5+ / 0-)

    I have never once called anyone "Hispanic" here in California, in Cesar Chavez' land where the UFW reigned and still does. Here, it is "Latino." That is the term. I feel shocked when I hear "Hispanic" on the news or here, every time, because it is a census thing. About 8 years ago, I took a Sociology Class about Chicano/a's and the Professor made it clear that if you used the term "Hispanic," he would consider it hate speech and ask you to leave the class.

    That's how loaded this term is for some, at least here in California, for whatever reason. I think one is that many are tied to their indigenous roots with the Aztlan movement, and so Hispanic is offensive because it mistates their ethnic heritage entirely. They usually will say they are Latino. I've known many folks from this group, many of whom are aztec dancers in the local civil rights marches.

    My son is Latino. I've never, never said Hispanic. To me, that's a census term still.

    •  Yes! But here in Indiana, I'll bet that (3+ / 0-)

      not a single Latino would even know what they heck you are talking about! "Hispanic or Latino, who cares?"

      And, yes, I've asked Latinos here in Indiana this question.

      •  It's definitely good to ask someone (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Free Jazz at High Noon, Anak

        if you don't actually know. The class was around the same time I was doing tons of work with immigration reform and advocacy for Latino rights. I was surprised to hear that "Hispanic" was so charged here, and then in the '08 election Primaries, I remember that some pundit noted that Obama switched from one term to the other (from "Latino" to "Hispanic") depending on where he was campaigning. I think Hispanic is safe in most of the Country, but in Northern California, you would not say that to someone; it could sound slightly demeaning. Chicano could as well if you were white and didn't know the person. So here, Latino, even though it's a contrived term from the 18th C.

        Ultimately though, it's always about what local people respond to best. The really sad thing is that so many white people won't talk to any Latino or Hispanic people in depth anytime soon to even ask, "What do you prefer?" or to catch any negative cues about the whole thing. Cultural sensitivity is important because it reflects our cognizance of ways in which oppressor classes of people have subordinated oppressed classes of people. Through that expression of cognizance, we show whether or not we are willing to change.

    •  Interesting. I grew up in a family (3+ / 0-)

      where my uncles were Mexican American.  Back then, we said "Mexican."  Now when I mean they are from Mexico, I tend to say Hispanic, but if they are from some other part of the Americas I tend to say "Latino."  Now, Mexican-Americans are also Latino, but I had always considered them interchangeable and strangely, even here in Northern California, no one has ever corrected me.

      Although once I was corrected for calling someone (correctly and not as a slur) illiterate.  I was told that it was offensive (by a third person) and that they should be referred to as a "non-reader."

      Anyway, my meandering point is that I think that it depends on community, history, geography and a lot of other factors as to if someone thinks Hispanic is a negative term.  

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:59:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  thank you, Anak. (4+ / 0-)

    Great diary, great discussion. I was just wondering about the difference between Hispanic and Latino earlier today.

    Many commenters have shed light on the subject too. Thanks, everyone!

  •  how'bout this: (8+ / 0-)

    Call your friends what they want to be called.

    Call your enemies whatever you want to call them.

    So far we have three words: (alphabetically) Chicano, Hispanic, and Latino.

    OK, so let's say you have three friends whose ancestries are Basque, German, and Scots.  Generally you wouldn't lump them all together and say "European," you'd keep their individual self-definitions in mind.  

    So you have three friends whose ancestries are Puerto Rican, Mexican, and Chilean.  They choose to use the words Spanish, Chicano, and Latino respectively (I knew an engineer from Puerto Rico who used the term "Spanish" which is where I got that from for this example).

    As with your Basque, German, and Scots friends, the same case applies:  Use the words they choose to use to describe themselves.  Don't lump them all together.   It's as easy as remembering "Alice is omnivorous, Bob is vegetarian, and Carlos is vegan" when you invite any of them out to eat.  

    One more thing:  Azorean is definitely not "Portugese."  A friend of mine who is Azorean told me about the cultural tensions between the Azores and Portugal, so that's a no-no.  

    On the other hand, if Mitt tries to call himself a "conservative," you're welcome to call him a "fraudulent lying nitwit" or whatever you like.  But please let's not making up a nastyword based on "Mormon," that just plays into the rightie meme that bigotry is OK.  

    We got the future back.

    by G2geek on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:04:07 AM PST

  •  Dumb Question department, and how to ask... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Oh Mary Oh, bluedust, Anak

    Some guys in a rap group I worked with years ago, used the term "Cholos" (plural).  A couple of them were Mexican and at least one was Central American.  

    I got the impression (though I didn't ask) that it was like "Nigga" among black rap artists I worked with during the same period:  self-empowerment by reclaiming a word that had been used against them.  

    Anyone here know anything about "Cholo"?

    And while we're at it, it is definitely a no-no for people outside a group to use an inside-group word casually.  White guy who meets up with his black friends does not say "What'up, my niggas?" (common Oakland CA greeting among young black guys).  On the other hand, if your black friends call you "nigga" that's saying "you're one of us."  Generally, "Yo, dudes!" ("dudes" is considered non-gendered) or just "Yo!" is OK as a greeting in most social situations in the Bay Area.  

    And/or, very casually, if you want to ask, "is it OK for me to say that?"

    We got the future back.

    by G2geek on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:15:07 AM PST

    •  "Cholo" is one of those terms that the (5+ / 0-)

      oppressed have re-appropriated. Its roots are lie in a slur, and while its (perhaps) not as strong as "n--ger" or "f--got," its not to be used lightly.

      Just my anecdotal experience.

      •  that's what i figured: (3+ / 0-)

        The word was reclaimed from an oppressive use, to become a word for self-empowerment.  

        And no, I would never use any of that language lightly.  I never made that mistake because from my perspective it would have seemed presumptuous and generally rude, like inviting oneself into someone else's home.  

        We got the future back.

        by G2geek on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:21:08 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  Yup. That's my SoCal experience too. (3+ / 0-)

        It's a racist term historically meaning something like "dirty Mexican" that Latinos (usually guys) have reappropriated and use with each other.

        Look at this: wiki has full linguistic history and stuff. http://en.m.wikipedia.org/...

        Like the other two words you reference, you couldn't pay me enough money to use that word. Nuh-uh. It has an ugly history.

        I'd stick to "Dude. " as my greeting (not even hey or hi dude. Just "Dude." But that might be a San Diego thing...)  Of course, " 'Sup? " is always a good greeting too.
         

        © grover


        So if you get hit by a bus tonight, would you be satisfied with how you spent today, your last day on earth? Live like tomorrow is never guaranteed, because it's not. -- Me.

        by grover on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:29:15 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I did some research, (3+ / 0-)

        and "cholo" has been around since the 16th century as pejorative term for mixed race people in Peru:

        The term's use is first recorded in a Peruvian book published in 1609 and 1616, the Comentarios Reales de los Incas by Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. He writes (in Spanish) "The child of a Black male and an Indian female, or of an Indian male and Black female, they call mulato and mulata. The children of these they call cholo. Cholo is a word from the Windward Islands; it means dog, not of the purebred variety, but of very disreputable origin; and the Spaniards use it for insult and vituperation".[2]
        And, our usage derives from:
        In Colonial Mexico, the terms cholo and coyote co-existed, indicating mixed Mestizo and Amerindian ancestry. Under the casta system of colonial Latin America, cholo originally applied to the children resulting from the union of a Mestizo and an Amerindian; that is, someone of three quarters Amerindian and one quarter Spanish ancestry. Other terms (mestizo, castizo, etc.) were used to denote other ratios of smaller or greater Spanish-to-Amerindian ancestry.

        The word "xolotl" (pronounced "cholotl") is an Aztec word which refers to a humanoid creature with dog features. It is from this meaning that the word "cholo" developed its negative connotation, taking on a meaning similar to "mongrel" as applied to humans.

        First literary use referring back to the Spanish term:
        Cholo as an English-language term dates at least to 1851 when it was used by Herman Melville in Moby Dick referring to a Spanish speaking sailor, possibly derived from the Windward Islands reference mentioned above. Isela Alexsandra Garcia of the University of California at Berkeley writes that the term can be traced to Mexico, where in the early part of the last century it referred to "culturally marginal" mestizos and Native American origin.[3]
        source: http://en.wikipedia.org/...

        "My case is alter'd, I must work for my living." Moll Cut-Purse, The Roaring Girl - 1612, England's First Actress

        by theRoaringGirl on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 07:37:51 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  When I was growing up in Gilroy (4+ / 0-)

      the high school was 70 percent Mexican-American.  They used to refer to the guys in the hair nets with the white wife beaters, chinos, and hair nets as either the "wall leaners" or the "cholos."

      I honestly have no idea where the word comes from, I only know the context in which it was used.  I don't think it was meant as a complement. This was in the very early 80s.

      "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

      by Sychotic1 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:03:55 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  that's one I've never heard, as in, not once: (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Anak

        "Wall leaners" as a name for a subculture or peer group.  Never heard anything about "hair nets" as a clothing style either, what's up with that?  

        Now that you're "older," so do you think of the music kids listen to today as "noise"?  (As in, every generation tends to think of the next generation's music as "noise.")

        We got the future back.

        by G2geek on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 01:26:38 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  '60s High School (4+ / 0-)

          The only person who used it in class was the mid-west born, white, WWII teacher who said we were as a group (low-class) slackers, or buying into the stereotype others had of our school by our behavior. I think he wanted us to march from Spanish II to Algebra sometimes. His variation was "wall flowers". As a euro-mutt, I never heard the discussions between the different social layers we had: families from Alta California or New Mexico, who knew they had been around back to 1600's, 1400's, or longer, versus families who had moved north from around Jalisco two months ago.

        •  Nope, in fact my favorite bands atm (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          G2geek, Anak

          are Modest Mouse, Pink, Bowling for Soup and Future Island.

          Hint: I have a 23 year old who plays the drums ;)

          "I watch Fox News for my comedy, and Comedy Central for my news." - Facebook Group

          by Sychotic1 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 06:33:31 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  I'm Puerto Rican and prefer Hispanic (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    grover, mahakali overdrive, Anak

    Just because.

    "In Japan, American occupation forces quickly became 50,000 friends. In Iraq, they would quickly become 50,000 terrorist targets. " James Webb, Sep 02

    by ParaHammer on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 12:44:41 AM PST

  •  Some thoughts: (6+ / 0-)

    This is where geography- and perhaps age and class- plays a role. There are sizable groups of citizens of Mexican-American descent living all over the country now. The terms Chicano/a, Latino/a or even Hispanic may or may not be used, depending on how an individual self-identifies.

    MO notes the resonance that the term Chicano/a holds for citizens of Mexican-American descent in the SW, but even here, it is complicated. Chicano/a culture has its roots in those Mexican citizens who found themselves to be Americans after the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo which ceded vast swaths of what was then Northern Mexico to the US. It is also claimed by Mexican emigrants to the US- but not by Salvadoreans, Cubans, Dominican Republicans, etc who are not of Mexican descent.

    It wouldn't cover those of direct Spanish descent in California or New Mexico who held the original Spanish-Mexican land grants- even if they were of "mixed-blood." They self-identified as Spanish, Mexican, Californio, etc.

    My father is a Peruvian mestizo (a first gen, at that). Mom is Irish/Italian. Growing up in L.A., I remember once mentioning La Raza to him when I was young. Most of the Spanish surnamed people I knew were Mexican-American or Chicano/a- but he was quick to distance himself (and I suppose our family) from the term. I was (I think) eight yo, but it was an important lesson insofar as how we take our ethnicity seriously.

    I have presented papers at a terrific biennial conference organized by primarily Chicano/a academics dating from the 80s that focuses on what I would term pan-Latino culture in the USA.

    Trans-nationalism, Maria Ruiz de Burton, and Jose Marti have been particularly commented on over the last few years. I have presented papers on Ruiz de Burton and Fernando Ortiz. The official title of the conference is Recovering the U.S. Hispanic Literary Heritage . Using "Hispanic" was intended to give the conference an academic credence when it first commenced, but it is not a term I would necessarily use.

    I have found Chicano/a is generally acceptable to those who identify themselves as Mexican-American. Chicano/a emphasizes the former more so than the latter. Latino/a and Hispanic bears a similar gradation depending on where the person is from.

    •  Yes, exactly my experience too (3+ / 0-)

      Chicano/a can be used in general here (in California) if you know you are with Mexican-Americans although it can make you sound tone-deaf if you are standing with Chileans or something. That sort of thing definitely happens.

      I have otherwise never seen "Latino" used with any controversy, and it's used by those who trend toward cultural issues and concerns. It's used as a self-marker for many people here.

      Hispanic can be a bad one. It's okay on a form. You sometimes will see it on a checkbox for "race." That's okay because everyone knows it's impersonal. The only other conceivable use is sometimes like "Hispanic Business Owners Association" or other things. I've heard it used that way. I think it's meant then to add a bit of formality? Like the title you mention. But used by the wrong person, it sounds weird, like they are not your friend. It's too unfriendly and staid. Like randomly calling a white person an "Anglo-Saxon" or something odd.  

      But then, I hear in other parts of the country people use it firsthand. Popular in Texas, for example.

      My son is a mestizo like you. His father is like a Heinz 57 of the Latino world.

      Pan-Latino culture indeed. I love it. We are richer as a Nation for it. Thanks for the conference work.

    •  My experience is that Latino or Latino Americano (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Free Jazz at High Noon, Anak

      refers to someone from Latin America (so first generation) and "hispanic" refers to an American with Latin American ancestry, although there is some overlap in the way those two terms are used. Chicano is a term specific to Mexican-Americans with indigenous roots.

      I think the objection with the term"hispanic" is that it has the connotation of being a minority or an ethnic minority, where a Latino would NOT have an internalized sense of being a minority with the attendant connotations of being a minority.  Latinos are not minorities in their country of origin.  

      That is not to say that there aren't many different sub-groups within peoples that live South of the Rio Grande.  You have many different indigenous groups, mestizos with indigenous identification, mestizos with Western identification, white(r) groups that identify with their European ancestry (in sub-groups of country and ethnicity of origin), peoples of African or Asian ancestry in various shades and groups comprised of all of the above. Each geo-political country deals with these groups differently, with varying degrees of inclusion, not all of which are analogous to American experiences.  

      The problem with lumping all of these groups under one or two umbrella terms is that those terms are oblivious to the differences of what can be disparate groups with little in common.  Cuban Americans are so very different from Chicanos, for example. The terms do not fit the reality as experienced by different people and are limited in usefulness.  

      •  Thanks, amiga! (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        bluedust
      •  Ok, now that I have more time to reply... (0+ / 0-)

        Thanks again for your comments.

        In your second paragraph, that sounds a lot like us Asians disliking the term "Oriental," even though that word just means "from the East." Just like how blacks first disliked the term "negro," which just means "black," and later the term "black," instead preferring "African-American." As you say, such terms make us seem foreign. That's a good point.

        And, yes, there is a lot of diversity that these labels leave out, such as people of African ancestry in Latin America. Each country in Latin America seems to deal with such issues in their own way, as that PBS series by Louis Gates, Black in Latin America, clearly showed.

        K tengas un muy buen finde!!

        http://www.pbs.org/...

    •  Thanks for the interesting contribution! (0+ / 0-)
  •  Had a professor who stated pref for Latino. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak

    Said he didn't want to be described by a word that contained 'panic.'

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 05:49:51 AM PST

  •  Interesting diary. I find that I tend to say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Anak

    Hispanic, but I've often wondered whether that was best.

    One related thing that bugs me is the current conventional distinction between "whites" and "Hispanics," as in almost all the polls we see.  I realize, of course, that most U.S. Hispanics have some Indian heritage.  But I wish we could entirely discard the notions of race and skin color and speak in more neutral terms.

    But I'm not sure what would be the appropriate terms.  You couldn't use "European American" for whites but not for Hispanics, of course.

    •  The best would be to say "Latino." (0+ / 0-)

      Those who prefer "Hispanic" won't be bothered at all if you say "Latino."

      What more neutral terms might we speak in? I mean, if I continue to be singled out for my race, including racial slurs, neutral terms amounts to denying my race, no?

  •  I'm Clueless and I am a Latina/Hispanic (3+ / 0-)

    I use Latina more often.

    But when I lived in Miami, my Cuban friends hated the word Latino and called themselves Hispanics. Technically, I am Hispanic because my grandparents are from Spain.

    Either way, I don't mind either term but use Latino more often.

    Starting to feel lost again in America

    by lostinamerica2711 on Thu Nov 15, 2012 at 08:20:00 AM PST

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