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Thread: What are Latin Americans?

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    Default What are Latin Americans?

    I know the US census says "Hispanics or Latinos" are an ethnicity which includes people of many races, but that doesn't make much sense to me. I don't buy that Spanish and Portuguese speaking whites, blacks, mestizos, mulattoes, triracials, Amerindians and even East Asians are one ethnicity. The common and popular North American misconception that they are a race is just ridiculous.
    So what kind of group or category are Latin Americans? Of what nature? Linguistic only? Geographic? Cultural?


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    Veteran Member Blondie's Avatar
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    The U.S. census is bullshit, according to that dark yemenis, half mongol kazakhs are whites, no comment...

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    Linguistic. Americans who speak a Latin-derived language. In turn, of course, much of the culture of these countries traces its roots back to Spain, Portugal or France.

    Latin American is not a race by any means, but Latin European ancestry is heavily present in the continent to varying degrees.

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    Quote Originally Posted by samario View Post
    Linguistic. Americans who speak a Latin-derived language. In turn, of course, much of the culture of these countries traces its roots back to Spain, Portugal or France.
    Is Amerindian cultural influence strong or does it exist outside the Amerindian communities themselves? Does the culture of Spanish and Portuguese speaking, Christian Latin Americans owe anything to Amerindian customs and traditions or is it all Latin European? Btw, I don't think of Haiti and France's overseas territories in the Americas or Quebec even as part of Latin America, because they are not usually included in popular definitions of the region.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheForeigner View Post
    Is Amerindian cultural influence strong or does it exist outside the Amerindian communities themselves? Does the culture of Spanish and Portuguese speaking, Christian Latin Americans owe anything to Amerindian customs and traditions or is it all Latin European? Btw, I don't think of Haiti and France's overseas territories in the Americas or Quebec even as part of Latin America, because they are not usually included in popular definitions of the region.
    I can't think of any major Native American cultural influence in my country that affects my way of living but maybe in some other countries it's more noticeable (Bolivia, maybe parts of Peru, Guatemala, etc.). The vast majority of Latin Americans speak Spanish, Portuguese and French (Qubec) and the predominant religion is Catholicism.

    Here in Colombia, biggest influence is from Spain, but you can spot Native American elements in some of the dishes (arepa), handicrafts or some city names (a common trait in New World countries), etc.
    Some music genres might have also received influence from Native American or African peoples.

    Regarding language, religion, traditional architecture, etc. the country is just Spanish. It's a Spanish leaning country in terms of ancestry, too.

    As for Qubecois, they speak French and the term Latin America was coined by the French so they are as Latin American as they come. The fact that they are encroached within an Anglo America and that they are developed doesn't change a thing. Some people like to treat Latin America as an ethnicity or a single cultural unit but I don't agree with those. For me, it's just a linguistic term. Qubecois are also predominantly Catholic. Haitians, on the other hand, don't speak French but a creole language with a lot of African loanwords and they practise voodoo.

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    This is also Latin America, German settlements in Brazil and Venezuela. They've got one thing in common, they speak a Latin-derived language.












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    Do Latin Americans call themselves, in their own countries, Latinos or Hispanics? Do they feel a strong kinship with other Latin Americans and what do they think being Latin American is? Ethnic or just linguistic and cultural?

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheForeigner View Post
    I know the US census says "Hispanics or Latinos" are an ethnicity which includes people of many races, but that doesn't make much sense to me. I don't buy that Spanish and Portuguese speaking whites, blacks, mestizos, mulattoes, triracials, Amerindians and even East Asians are one ethnicity.
    Latim American they are generally people of mixed race and mixed culture (euro is predominant with Amerindian or SSA influence). There are exceptions such as Argentina and Uruguay, the majority of which are southern euro descent. In Brazil, part of the population has a predominant euro descent.

    For the USA it is another nationality and another language. Many Latin Americans who immigrated are from the poorest sections of the population and would be similar to Afro- Americans .

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    Quote Originally Posted by TheForeigner View Post
    Do Latin Americans call themselves, in their own countries, Latinos or Hispanics? Do they feel a strong kinship with other Latin Americans and what do they think being Latin American is? Ethnic or just linguistic and cultural?
    Hispanic is what Americans call them. It was originally one of the English words used for Spaniards (based off the Latin name for Spain/Iberia). But now it means "Latin American" and not "Spanish" anymore.

    The word they themselves use is latino (or latina) which is a shortening of latinoamericano.

    The term "Latin American" is slightly inaccurate though. It should really be "Ibero-American" since Haiti and Quebec aren't really as embedded in their cultural zone.

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    It's an ethnolinguistic term similar to "Arab".

    Even if Hispanic/Latino isn't an actual ethnicity, they often congregate together and are for valid reasons grouped together by outsiders. Since they're a significant minority (around 15% or so), they are treated as a separate entity. They also have their own organizations in various colleges and communities across the country.

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