All you need to know about Iberian America

“Fuck You, Gringo! We Are Americans Too!”

Years ago….

I was in college and I was walking to a fraternity where a party was going to be held….

I was walking with my roommate, who was Indian and this dude who was Costa Rican…

Anyway, as we are heading to this place, I got talking with the Costa Rican dude about whatever….

It’s been years so forgive me for not remembering the topic that started this…

But anyway, whatever the topic was, it ended up with the Costa Rican dude basically going….

“Oh my god bro, Costa Rica is America too!”

And keep in mind I studied at some liberal arts college so the guy was a little more to the left than a typical college student…

“That’s imperialist!” was an accusation that followed shortly…

In that moment, I didn’t really have much to say because I never spent any time in Latin America if I remember correctly.

And so this claim that “I am imperialist, how dare I use the word American to describe myself?” was new to me.

But I didn’t really care.

I felt the dude was tripping and I was just looking to get drunk and maybe get laid that night.

So an academic topic on the use of the word “American” was not up for the itinerary that night by my plans.

But, many years later, I have about 5 years now as of this writing on July 7, 2020 in living in Latin America.

And, suffice to say, I have seen the occasional moment where this argument gets brought up again.

Granted, it’s always by someone who is either…

  • A non-Latino (American, Canadian, etc).
  • Or a rich as fuck Latino who comes from an upper class family that could afford to send their kid to a liberal arts college in the US.

A bit similar to the Costa Rican dude brought up in this story….

So what’s the scoop on this?

Is using the word “American” such a bad thing?

In my opinion, the answer is a definitive no.

The anger over this is honestly a bit stupid and the people who get angry over it obviously haven’t put much thought into their anger.

So let’s go into some of the reasons for why I think their argument against Americans using the word “American” to describe themselves is idiotic.

And keep in mind, this article was, in part, inspired by this recent article I saw on centralamerica.com here.

Granted, I probably would have written about it at some point given that there’s always the occasional expat on a Facebook group page that wants to be a bit of a cunt about this issue.

But since July 4th has passed only a few days ago…

I suppose it would be the right time to discuss this issue in greater detail.

So let’s begin!

Reason 1: Poor Education?

Given that I currently, as of this writing, live in Mexico City….

I am part of some expat group for foreigners living in Mexico City.

Anyway, some person posted a picture of the map above describing the difference between the US and America.

The same post you can find below here

Anyway, in a few of the comments, people made the claim that they were taught that basically North and South America are the same.

They are not – as you can see here.

But here is a comment one person made to illustrate what I am saying:

“We are thought different. For us Mexicans, America is ONE large continent only. In the USA, they teach there are 2 continents, South America and North America. (Missing the central America part) for most of the world Mexico is South America, why? Because of the culture. Continents are also divided culturally, like Europe-Asia. But we don't seem to agree on a universal concept for this. Some countries will teach there are 9 continents, others say seven, for the Mexicans there are 5. Africa, America, Asia, Europe, Oceania. (We don't count Antarctica, and I don't know why)

Unfortunately, I suppose, the education system in Mexico is a bit biased and doesn’t properly teach geography everywhere.

Now I’m sure they have some good schools that do teach proper geography about continents.

But supposedly the difference between North and South America is a bit difficult to understand.

Fair enough – it is a bit complicated given that we are talking about something as complex as continents on an entire planet.

But I suppose this might be one source for why some people have an issue with the term “America” for the US.

Because maybe they had a poor education in the Geography department!

I can’t blame them.

Back when I was in middle school, I had a real bitch of a teacher who would teach us literature.

And her way of teaching was punishing me for very minor things like taking too long to sharpen my pencil.

What a fucking bitch.

No wonder she got divorced…..(just sayin…)

So I can relate here – not all teachers do their job well and it might be the case that there’s plenty of misinformed people out there as well that don’t understand the geographic difference between North and South America.

In the same way that literature teacher failed to teach me properly “Of Mice and Men.”

Fucking Ms. Hanson….

Reason 2: America vs. Americas

The last issue basically mixes into this issue…

Which is that by the image above…

And I will re-post here as you can see below…

But basically a certain amount of people will go “look the US is the US and America is all of North, Central and South America!”

That’s not true.

Again, you can check this source here for looking into the difference between North and South America.

But also keep in mind that when you put all of those together (North, Central and South), you get “’the Americas.”

Where North and South America are the continents and Central America is a subregion of the Americas between the two.

Where also Central America is the subregion of the North American continent... 

Of course, if someone from Colombia wants to claim to be American in this case…

Well, American may not be the appropriate word.

Maybe “Americas-in”

Or “Americas-ion”

Etc, etc…

But in all seriousness, this is a point that seems to go over the heads of many as they cannot distinguish between America (the US) and the Americas.

Reason 3: So What’s the Alternative?

When people bitch about Americans using the word “American…”

The logical thinkers will ask “Ok, so what do we call ourselves?”

Now looking through this thread on an expat forum for foreigners living in Mexico City…

Some of the responses were…

“Gringos.”

“United Statians.”

“North Americans.”

Those were the only alternatives proposed.

So let’s dig into that.

First, gringo can be an insulting term.

I personally don’t find it insulting but it depends on the context.

If an American were to say to a Mexican, “Que onda, soy un gringo.”

Ok, seems alright to me.

But then if that Mexican were to respond, “Pinche sucio gringo"

Now the way he says “pinche sucio gringo” sounds a bit offensive or maybe xenophobic.

And truthufully, while most people in Mexico and Latin America seem chill with gringos and extranjeros…

There are some who simply have an issue with foreigners in general out of some insecurity or whatever…

Either way, from my experience, I know some gringos are not a fan of the word “gringo.”

I personally don’t mind it but I feel it depends on the context on how it is used.

Then you have “North American.”

Which is just stupid.

Canadians and Mexicans are North Americans.

And if you look at this source here, technically all of Central America is part of the North American continent.

So calling us “North Americans” doesn’t solve much.

Then you have “United Statians.”

Which, ok, is getting us closer to a real alternative…

But there is an issue with it…

Outside of the fact that it sounds stupid and nobody would use it…

There’s one issue we will look into in the next reason…

Reason 4: Taking Official Country Names Very Literally…

OK, so you somehow managed to convince all of Americans that the term “American” is imperialistic and we should all go by the term “United Statians.”

And as you can see by this tweet here

Right away, all Mexicans will get offended as they ALSO are United Statians.

Why?

Because, Mexico is technically the “United Mexican States” as the official name of its country.

So are they not United Statians also?

I guarantee you that if somehow all of America was convinced to use the term “United Statians.”

Some folks of the upper class elite in Mexico would trip over themselves to bitch about this new “imperial US that claims to be United Statians when we are United Statians also!”

GRRRRRR!!!!!!!!! HOW DARE THEY!

And of course, if Americans now have to call themselves by the first half of their country’s official name…

Then I’d expect, if we are being fair here…

For Venezuelans to call themselves the “Bolivarian Republicans.”

And the Bolivians to call themselves the “Plurinational Republicans.”

While the Uruguayans can be the “Oriental Republicans.”

You see how stupid this all sound?

But don’t worry – as I hinted at before a few times, it’s only the privileged who worry most about this.

Which brings us to the next point….

Reason 5: The Angry Elite

One day out of the blue I was walking in Mexico City near the Angel of Independence Statue…

I lived a little bit close to the area at the time and I had a date set up…

But in typical Mexican girl fashion, she shows up late by about 10 minutes.

So I’m walking to Metro Insurgentes where we are supposed to meet up…

When this random dude calls out to me…

“Friend, hOw ArE yOuuuuuuuuu”

Basically he was a dude working on the street trying to make his money by shining shoes for people.

And he noticed my shoes and claimed they were very dirty!

Anyway, he won’t leave me alone  despite I am in a hurry and I am not rude enough to tell him to leave me alone.

I mean, he seemed like a nice guy.

He asked me “de donde eres” when he realized I speak Spanish sufficiently enough.

And then he responds “oh, un Americano!”

Suffice to say, that’s not an unusual experience.

Most Latinos I have met – almost 99% of them in Latin America – do not have a stick up their ass about the term “Americano” or “American” being used for Americans.

It’s literally only the groups I have mentioned above….

  • Self-proclaimed “woke” gringos who want to stand up for Latinos when most Latinos don’t give a shit
  • Or the very few Latinos who are from the upper class of Latin America and are so influenced by identity politics of the US that they feel to somehow get angry about this term of the word “American” for those born in the US.

Either way, most people in Latin America honestly do not care about this issue and it is basically a non-topic…

But what about people in other countries?

Reason 6: The Rest of the World

Going from the last issue…

The only people who get angry about Americans using the term “American” are basically very privileged Latinos or a few folks from “developed” countries in the US, Canada, Western Europe, Australia, New Zeeland, etc…

And when I mean a few…

I mean a few…

Especially when you are not in Latin America or any of those places mentioned above, then literally nobody knows this is an issue.

But even in those areas mentioned above, most people don’t have a stick up in their ass about the use of the term American for Americans.

So here’s the thing…

If most people in the world don’t care about it, why should this be the hill you want to die on?

It is really that important?

Maybe….If you are insecure.

Reason 7: Insecurity

The truth is that when certain folks from Latin America complain about this issue, it makes me feel that they are being insecure.

Which isn’t much of a surprise.

In the same way that I have noticed that some Latinos have a beef with Argentina over Argentinos being “elitist” or “snobby” as I have heard a few say.

And while that might be the case…

Is it also because maybe Argentina does relatively well economically compared to a handful of other Latin countries?

In a way, like a jealousy?

Personally, I feel some Latinos are as insecure about that as the US doing very well economically.

Either way, I’m going to leave this note in the words of James Dyde who summarized well what I was going to say here at his website, centralamerica.com.

Which you can find the original article here but I will include the quote that I think best fits this specific reason to consider:

“Latin America has nothing to be jealous of the United States about, success or no success. In recent years, Latin America has come on leaps and bounds. Sure, we’re on our knees at the moment, but so’s everyone, including the USA. Especially the USA.

But here’s the thing. It’s only a name. Throwing your toys out of your pram over a name makes you look petty. It makes you look insecure. And if you’re an American expat in Central America doing that, it makes you look pathetic.”

Reason 8: Just Short for the USA….

I will keep this reason very simple and brief.

And in this case, it is also another reason that I give credit to centralamerica.com for writing about it here.

Which is that literally “America” is just a short term for “United States of America.”

That seems obvious and shouldn’t need to be said…

But I guess it is ignored by the raging cunts that get offended over the term “America” when referring to the US.

It’s simply people shortening “United States of America” to “America.”

In the same way that Venezuelans are Venezuelans and not Bolivarian Republicans.

In the same way that British people are known as British and not “The Official Kings of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.”

Reason 9: Waste of Time

At the end of the day….

Much of this debate is idiotic…

In fact, the only reason I am spending two hours to write about this is because I am drunk on vodka right now and dishing out my thoughts I’ve had about this for a while.

Plus I need more articles for this website since it is new and I guess this is what people spend their time talking about while living in Latin America.

So I might as well cover my bases and go over the popular topics first before getting deeper into the topics that actually matter for expats.

Like information regarding taxation, residency programs, etc…

You know, not what idiotic SJW’s piss themselves talking about.

Which, by the way, it is only them talking about it.

The reason why this is a waste of time is because literally nobody else is talking about it.

I promise to you…

If I were to ask anyone I know from my hometown in Iowa “what are you?”

And they responded….

“American.”

And then I starting tripping about “omg, that’s imperialistic!! Fascist! Nazi! Hitler! ALFREDO STROESSNER MATIAUDA!!!!11!!!1!!!1!!”

Literally all of them would stare at me like this here below…

Because nobody in the US (let alone 90% of the world) care about this issue.

So it’s a waste of time because you will never convince most Americans to not use the word “American.”

Yet alone everyone else in the world.

Reason 10: “So What Part of America You From?”

This is where the logic of these idiots really comes into play….

Because let’s think about this logically..

Let’s say I ask Vance of MyLatinLife here where he is from…

And the guy goes “omg dude, I’m American!”

Like, ok, so from the US?”

“NO! I’m, like, from the Americas…”

Ok…

So Panama?

Paraguay?

Argentina?

Colombia?

Venezuela?

Guatemala?

Cuba?

Or, shit, like Canada maybe?

Where in the Americas are you from?!?!

Because if someone asks you “Where are you from?”

And you respond “America” as to mean “the Americas.”

That's literally dumb as fuck.

That’d be like if I was Ethiopian

And an American (shit, did I say that word?) asked me where I am from.

And I go “man, I’m African!”

Like, ok, but what part of Africa?

Kenya to South Africa to Egypt to Morocco to where the fuck where?!

In the same way someone says Europe…

And you go “so Poland, France, Ukraine, Latvia, Estonia, Romania, Germany, Italy, or where?!

Same with Asia…

“Yo man, I’m from Asia.”

“Ok….So like South Korea or North Korea?

You get what I am saying.

Let me turn down my smartass levels a bit here…

If someone asks you where you are from, you say either a specific country or a state or city of that country in case you happen to be talking to someone of the same country as you.

Anyway, you get the idea.

To say “I am American” when you are from Colombia is not only useless….

It’s stupid because most people on the planet will assume you mean the US and also most Colombians don’t say that.

Like most Latinos don’t either.

Just the more privileged ones.

Reason 11: Copyright

This reason I will keep very simple.

But unless someone can prove to me that another country in Latin America tried to jump on the title of being “America…”

Then what can you even complain about?

If the US was the first country to jump on that issue, then we got copyright on the name, pendejos. 

Because it’s literally stupid to complain about how America took the name of America when literally nobody else wanted to take it…

If you have evidence otherwise, let me know!

Give me your academic sources.

Most likely it will be some archival research if you do have something.

And if you do have something like that – fucking awesome!

I love academic research and can dig into that shit for hours as I have before!

So bring it to me.

But otherwise, if you don’t have proof of anyone else trying to claim the name of America…

Then it’s a bit stupid to complain about it, no?

If, let’s say, you are a Latino from Uruguay.

And nobody in the history of Uruguay has tried to claim to be American and change the name of Uruguay to something like “los estados unidos de America en Uruguay”

Then you sound a bit stupid, in my honest opinion, because you are literally arguing for something that nobody in the history of your country has ever argued for.

That you are somehow American (meaning from the US) when you are not.

And when nobody in the history of your country has tried to take the name either.

And if that’s the case…

Well, tough shit, loser.

We, the US, got ownership of the name first because we claimed it first.

And as of now, literally no other country in the Americas is trying to take the name.

Reason 12: Issues with the Names of Other Countries. 

So if we are going to critique the name of America so much...

Because it is apparently so imperialistic to claim the name of America..

Then let's look into the history of the names of other Latin countries.

For example, you have some countries that were named in honor of Christopher Columbus or the origin of their names is somehow tied to him.

First, the origin of the name Colombia is derived from Christopher Columbus as you can see here.

Then you have Costa Rica, which apparently got its name from Christopher Columbus when he was sailing by the shores of Costa Rica as you can see here.

Next, you have Honduras, which apparently could have got its name from Christopher Columbus as you can read about here.

Now if we are all going to get angry about the US calling itself "America" because it comes across as imperialistic or something...

Then shouldn't we also get angry about the names of countries above that either honor or come from an actual imperialist who killed a lot of people in the Americas?

And it doesn't stop there....

The name Ecuador apparently came from Spanish colonists and it means "the equator" as you can see here.

Next you have Brazil, which got its name as a reference to Brazilwood. 

A resource often exploited by Portuguese explorers like Fernão de Loronha back when Brazil was a colony (source here).

How imperialistic of a name!

And finally, we have Paraguay...

Now what could be wrong with the name of Paraguay?!?

Well, listen...

If America can't call itself America because there are two continents with the name "America" in them...

Then Paraguay can't call itself Paraguay!

Why?

Because it is named after the Paraguay River!

Now where is the Paraguay River?

It goes through Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and Argentina.

So 3 other countries that are not Paraguay?!

How dare Paraguay commit this injustice!

Are they really claiming ownership of a river that goes into 3 other countries?

How imperialistic. 

Of course, there are other countries as well that we could look into.

But we will leave it at that...

I think you get the idea -- that if people want to express fake outrage over the name America and claiming some terrible injustice from it..

Well, we can do mental gymnastics as well to express fake outrage about the names of Latin countries.

Reason 13: Where the Hell did the Rest of America Go?

In the map that you saw at the very top of this article…

And which I post below here…

You see what they call “the USA.”

But wtf?

These SJWs try to be experts on geography…

But they can’t even include all of the US in their very sophisticated research on what is America vs. the US?

Where the hell is Hawaii?!?!

Puerto Rico?!?

Guam?!

Other imperialistic territories of the US?!?!

I mean, if you are going to include a map of the US to show us how much of a geography expert you are…

At least include a full damn picture of all the territory of the US.

Including Hawaii and all of our territories.

I’m just as surprised that they included Alaska given their ignorance about the US…

As surprised by the fact that they included Texas, California and other territories we took from Mexico a long time ago…

Because the typical types that would complain about the Americans using the term “America” would probably complain about that too.

But that’s a topic for another day.

To summarize this point here…

If these folks wanted to show how great their geography knowledge was…

You’d think, at the very least, they wouldn’t fuck up the geography of the US.

Or, in other words, the geography of America.

Shit, did I just say that?

Reason 14: Imperialism!

The Real Life Picture of an Imperialist Solider of Bolivia Who is Ready to Conquer Those Damn Paraguayans over the Chaco War..

This is another common argument that some will say about the US using the term “American” for those from the US.

Which basically translates to “the US has been an imperialistic power dominating other countries in Latin America and the use of the term America is imperialistic as Americans assume they are the key representatives of the Americas.”

First, as said before, most Americans are not trying to overshadow the rest of Latin America by calling themselves American.

In large part because there is a notable cultural difference between the US and Latin America in such a way that 99% of Americans don’t think about Latin America when they call themselves American.

Mostly because of the significant cultural difference.

It has nothing to do with trying to put some imperialistic boot on the rest of Latin America.

Get over yourselves.

Most Americans don’t give a fuck about Latin America because they have their own issues in day to day life to worry about.

And because of that cultural difference I mentioned that, in a way, makes the US and Canada bit culturally different from the rest of Latin America.

Though, as a side point, that’s not a very nuanced statement since there are parts of the US that have more Latin influence like Texas, Miami, etc.

But going further into this topic…

It should also be noted that the US isn’t the only country known for imperialism.

This is funny to me because most of these activists who get angry over the term “American” fail to recognize in the heat of this debate that literally every country on this planet has imperialistic ambitions.

It just happens to be that some states have more resources and capability to expand their imperialistic ambitions than others.

Such as Brazil taking up territory from its nearby South American countries.

Or Chile stealing land from Bolivia.

Or Bolivia and Paraguay getting into a conflict in the Chaco War.

Or how Simon Bolivar – the “liberator” of South America – had ambitions to include all of Spanish speaking America of South America into one big country?

The fact is that just about (or all) of Latin American countries have had elites running their countries that have aspired to imperialistic goals to expand the territory, control and power of their respective countries in my opinion…

But some countries were more prepared for that than others.

Like how the US was more equipped to be a more superior power dominating the Americas than say Guatemala or Paraguay.

Granted, if Paraguay wasn’t wrecked in the War of the Triple Alliance as you can read here

Maybe Paraguay would be a nuclear super imperialistic power…

Anything is possible!

But don’t try to speak from a moralistic high chair when just about every country in the world is run by elites who aspire to imperialistic means.

Which brings us to the next point…

Reason 15: The Most Advanced Country

If Europe had to decide on which country would best fit to be labeled “the United States of Europe,” it might end up being Germany.

If Asia had to decide as well on this topic for their own region, it would probably be “the United States of Asia” for China.

In the same way Saudi Arabia could label themselves as “the United States of the Middle East.”

For Africa?

I’m less informed on Africa as a region but I know Egypt is relatively strong as a country in that region.

So “the United States of Africa” for Egypt?”

In the same way that the United States of America is the most powerful country in the Americas in terms of economy, military, cultural influence, diplomacy, etc…

So why shouldn’t it be able to claim the title of “United States of America” where people from that country can call themselves Americans.

Hell, if the US were to become a shithole and Bolivia were to rise to the top and become the next super power of the world…

Then I will eat my hat and be as nuanced and fair here…

And say that the US can give up its title of being “the United States of America” to Bolivia.

And Bolivia can be the “United Bolivian States of America” and Bolivians can call themselves American.

But until that happens…

The US is not only the only country that I know of that has tried to claim official ownership of the name America…

But it is also the most powerful and influential country of the Americas.

So why shouldn’t it claim to be America?

In the same way China is more than free to claim to be the United States of Asia.

If you are the most powerful country in your respective region, you get free dibs on the title of your country and region.

Call it imperialistic – I call it free market competition.

And I’m being fair here – if Bolivia can outcompete the US on a economic, military, cultural and diplomatic matter…

Then sure!

It can be America and we will call ourselves…

Well shit, I’m not sure.

Maybe United Statians is what we would have to go with.

Or the “Superior Canadians of the South.”

I’m working on new names as we speak in case those Bolivians can outcompete the US and have the right to ownership of the name “America.”

Hopefully it won’t happen because the names I am coming up with sound like shit…

Anyway, those are all the reasons I have against those who take issue with Americans using the name “American.”

And if you have a reason of your own that you think should be included in this list..

Or if you are someone who has a good point against my list for why Americans should not use the term American.

Then for either of you, mention it in the comment section below!

And I will try to respond!

Granted, the time it will take for me to respond will depend on how quickly I can put the bottle of Oso Negro down and look down at my keyboard to type out a coherent response.

But I promise it would be within a month!

Probably.

Anyway, hope you liked this article and thanks for reading!

Best regard,

Matt

4 comments

James - July 7, 2020 Reply

Love it man! There’s no-one in this world more butthurt than an upper-class Costa Rican over this shit. Apart from the whining, hand-wringing, trying-to-hard-to-fit in expats, of course.

    Matt - July 7, 2020 Reply

    Thanks! Glad you enjoyed the article. 🙂

Dazza - August 24, 2020 Reply

Note to Readers: This comment was posted by a person named Dazza and my comments are left below. Thanks.

The Americas is one continent, which is how it is taught around the world. See, you even got confused with it all.

My comment: There are different models for how many continents we have on the planet. Under the 4, 5 and 6 continents model, you would be correct. However, in my experience, most common folks I have met around the world use the 7 model continent model. At least they seem to do when talking about, say, North America and South America being different.

You can go by the other models that exist but most people don’t from what I understand. If you simply do an easy Google search as to how many continents we have, the usual answer from most sources is 7. From my understanding, the 7 model is more commonly used in the world because of the fact that it corresponds to the amount of geologic plates that we have. For more information on continents, please check out this resource here by National Geographic.

“Where North and South America are the continents and Central America is a subregion of the Americas between the two.”

Pesky Central America, where does that fit in? That’s right, it is technically North America! Hahaha! Oh dear!

My comment: That’s right. It is technically part of North America. No amount of mental gymnastics will get rid of that fact. Here’s an article here for that statement so you can be more informed on the matter.

Anyway, North America, South America, Central America and the Caribbean are all subcontinents or sub-regions of the Americas.

My comment: Again, if you follow another model on continents (4, 5 or 6), that’s cool. But you probably don’t and your only issue here is with Americans using the term American. Either way, as I cited before and as I can cite many other sources, the most common model used today is the 7 continent model.

Granted, I haven’t polled every human on the planet about this topic, but according to this source for example and another one I cited above, it apparently is the more common model.

Granted, I tried to find out also what the most populated countries in the world use for the continent model.

According to the grand academic source of wikipedia (oh cmon, I already hear you complaining about me citing Wikipedia here but it almost always backs up its claims with real sources)….

That apparently China, India, the US, the UK, Western Europe, Pakistan, Australia and the Philiphines use the 7 continent model.

Now pulling out my calculator, apparently 4.5 billion people (roughly speaking) live in those places according to what I found out online.

So that’s about 59% of the world population apparently.

So by the understanding of most common folk and also from plenty of academics, it seems that most people consider North America and South America to be different.

But if you disagree, well you can follow any of the other models that are out there. Just know that, from what I understand, more people don’t follow those models.

At least in my experience anyway and from what I read.

Before Big Chris came on his sailboat to fuck around with the people there, it one was one big continent with one related peoples – which is why when you do a DNA test between a Mapuche of Chile and a Cree of Canada, they’re related biologically.

My comment: Well, I’m not sure what continent model the different indigenous groups used but I would imagine quite a few may not have had one due to limited to no experience with people from other continents (especially among people who would have been around after the Bering Strait was not as easy or impossible to cross for most). And also given that despite whatever DNA similarities you claim to exist, they were all quite different groups in terms of culture and language.

In case you were not aware, not all indigenous people were the same.

For example, the difference in culture and language between say the Selk’nam in Tierra del Fuego to the Marajoara by the Amazon River to Wayuu in the Guajira Peninsula and much more.

In fact, quite commonly, they killed each other, enslaved each other at other points in time and did other terrible things.

And just because groups of people are biologically related to others doesn’t mean anything in terms of if it is the same continent or not.

In the same way, there are very big cultural, linguistic and probably DNA differences between folks from a small indigenous village in Bolivia compared to folks in a small town in BC, Canada as of today.

So if that meant anything to help your argument that it was all one big continent, well then I guess North America and South America are not one big continent!

And if DNA meant anything when talking about indigenous people, well, according to this study here, apparently many of the Native Americans descended in three different waves from East Asia.

Should East Asia be considered part of the Americas?

The biological difference, as you put it, really doesn’t have any importance here when talking about if the Americas were just one big continent before Columbus showed up.

It’s one continent like Asia or Africa – none of this is hard. I think you need a geography lesson before telling others to read an atlas.

My comment: Thanks! I hope you learned a bit with actual sources provided. Maybe that will help you overcome your preconceived biases that, for whatever reason, make you feel so strongly about people in Latin America getting to call themselves American.

Which, they can, but it would look silly unless the specific individual actually had citizenship in the US.

For reasons such as….

The fact that most Latinos in Latin America never call themselves “Americano” when asked “De donde eres?”

Or the fact that in anywhere in the world outside Latin America, if you say you are American, nobody gets upset and everybody nods.

To the fact that if you, as say a Paraguayan or a Colombian (with no American citizenship), were to respond “Americano” to “de donde eres” then people would look at you quite strange when they realized that you were not born in the US and never lived in the US.

Especially as 99% of people outside of Latin America (or at least in Europe and the Middle East where I have been) view it that way.

And also how, in my experience, most Latinos don’t have a stick up their ass either about this topic. Even to the point some have called me “Americano” when living down here for 5 years now.

It really only seems to be a special few who take this issue to heart — but if you are a subscriber to any of the less commonly used continent models — then I get your confusion.

Either way, I would understand your perspective if that happens to be the case and hopefully you can understand the perspective of most people who were taught the 7 continent model.

PS: I did see your other comment. I don’t check these comments often enough to respond quickly so don’t get your panties in a bunch if I don’t respond right away. You wrote the first comment that I responded to here on August 24th according to my email. And it is August 27th. So take it easy if I don’t respond in the first 5 minutes of you sending a comment. My response time is somewhere between a day to a year depending on how quickly I feel to write back and if I am busy or not lol.

Have a good day!

Note to Readers: The conversation continues below. Check it out if you want.

Dazza - August 29, 2020 Reply

Note to Readers: This comment is an extension of a conversation from the comment right above this comment. If you want, read that one first and then read this one. And contribute to the conversation if you want.

Thank you for your published reply, Matt. Very interesting to read your take on it, still wrong though.

‘There are different models for how many continents we have on the planet. Under the 4, 5 and 6 continents model, you would be correct. However, in my experience, most common folks I have met around the world use the 7 model continent model. At least they seem to do when talking about, say, North America and South America being different. ‘

Up until very recently, it was five continents, hence the Olympic flag, most people you hang around are probably from the United States though so when you get to talking about this subject (which I doubt you do very much) they will agree with you but actually, most people see the Americas as one continent, I live in China and the Chinese do, check out their TV channel CGTN Americas – to them, the Americas is a single continent and I am British and it is the same there, I was never taught there were seven continents because there aren’t though I accept this isn’t the same everywhere.

My comment: Thanks for your experiences on the matter. I guess we simply have met different folks. In my experience, I don’t normally hang around other Americans actually. Living in Latin America, I’ve come across a few but most of the people I hang out with are locals in Latin America. On the occasion I meet someone who isn’t Latino, I’d say most of the time they are usually from Europe, Australia or Asia.

I do know a few Americans though down here but most are in the US. And of those I know regardless of location, everybody I can think of assumes North and South America to be different.

Regarding your experience in China, I will respect that. Though you being British, I am not sure if you ever had any experience in the actual education system in China, which is what one of my sources was looking at. From the sources I have read, it shows that the 7 continent model is more taught there.

But you know China better than I do so I will leave it at that.

The other point to mention here also — which I think is more important — is how a Chinese person or really how most people around the world view the term “American” and what it means.

Which is really getting to more at the point here regarding the use of the term “American.”

In all honesty, you probably don’t care as much about if North and South America are one physical continent or not and which model is better. I don’t either really. Unless you are an academic geographer anyway or someone with a passion in this subject.

I view them as two separate continents but there’s also that cultural element to it which I believe is more appropriate to consider (though still difficult to address as culture crosses borders — you could argue the US and Canada as being separate from Latin America and they are by borders but what about the strong Latino influence in places like Cali, Texas, Arizona, Florida, etc).

But that’s an argument for another day.

Either way, going back to what I was getting at — most people I feel don’t really care so much about the continent models that exist. Those specifics are never really brought up in these discussions.

So if you were to take a random person from China, Ukraine, Lebanon, South Africa, Italy and Guatemala….

And have a random dude say to them “I am American.”

The question becomes — what country do these people assume that this dude is from?

Maybe the Guatemalan dude will take offense and goes “he is American — so he is from the Americas!”

But not likely — most Latinos I have met (and I hang out more with Latinos than most other folks) don’t get angry about this and would know what country.

Everyone else would not at all likely get angry about it — very unlikely — and assume the US.

And that’s how language works — we use words with definitions that everyone or most everyone agrees on the meaning.

And either way, if said random dude were to reply “No, I’m not from the US, I am from Paraguay!”

Well, most people would get confused obviously as that is not using the word by how it is commonly used around the world.

So in a “which continent model theory” is correct sense to return to that quickly…

From what I have researched briefly, it seems at least a majority (over 50%) of the world uses the 7 continent model.

But going back to the point of the article that inspired this conversation, I see it as silly for someone in Latin America to get angry about the use of the word.

But if said person — whatever nationality they may be — wants to use, as you said I believe in another comment, they are perfectly free to use it!

It just might sound a little silly to some but that’s fine.

‘You can go by the other models that exist but most people don’t from what I understand. If you simply do an easy Google search as to how many continents we have, the usual answer from most sources is 7. From my understanding, the 7 model is more commonly used in the world because of the fact that it corresponds to the amount of geologic plates that we have. For more information on continents, please check out this resource here by National Geographic. ‘

If we go on geologic plates then there are only two or three continents, obviously the continents divvied up are political continents – such as Australia not being part of Asia but Indonesia being an Asian country even though it is a short flight away from Darwin. North America is definitely a political continent, check out National Geographic that is a United States publication who believe in this shite? Yeah, right! Hahaha.

My comment: According to this source, there are 7 (or 8) geologic plates. If you have a source for any of your claims, please provide. Here is another source here that gives the names of these 7 plates: African Plate, Antarctic Plate, Eurasian Plate, Indo-Australian Plate, North American Plate, Pacfic Plate and South American Plate.

However, these are considered the “major plates.” Of course, there are other minor plates but not considered as important as the ones provided above.

So it does seem, again, there are geologic differences between North America and South America.

And the source used here was The Geological Society from the UK.

And just because you can fly from one location to the next in a short flight doesn’t mean you didn’t travel from where one geologic plate was to the next. In the same way you can fly over many other boundaries and borders (both made by nature and by humans).

“That’s right. It is technically part of North America. No amount of mental gymnastics will get rid of that fact. Here’s an article here for that statement so you can be more informed on the matter.”

Central America has that name for a reason, it is the epicentre (geographically) of the American continent, therefore it isn’t ‘North America’ in any technical sense, in the same was Hungary isn’t Northern Europe. The article is written by some nobody so who cares?

My comment: Central America is, technically speaking, just a “tapering isthmus that separates the Pacific Ocean, to the west, from the Caribbean Sea.” However, as that source notes above (and literally most sources you can find online), technically it also falls within the North American continent.

And though I found the original article I cited to be credible — I see you disagree.

So if you care to know the opinion of an expert on this subject, I included various articles below that were written by people that I briefly looked into to see what their qualifications were and provided that below. If you disagree with all of them, well come up with your own sources because you haven’t brought any yet and have been making up facts (like there being only 2 geologic plates).

The source cited above here — written by a man named Ralpha Lee Woodward who is a Emeritus Professor of Latin American History at Tulane University with academic work done about Guatemala.

Here you have the United Nations Statistics Division that considers North America to include the US, Canada, Central America and the Caribbean.

The quote for that from the UN is “The continent of North America (numerical code 003) comprises Northern America (numerical code 021), Caribbean (numerical code 029), and Central America (numerical code 013).”

A source for McGill University here on which countries make up North America.

Of course, this all goes back to how the world as a whole sees it.

You could probably find a source or two that says Central America is part of some grand American continent (North and South combined), assuming that source was influenced by a writer who was taught another continent model.

Which, again, from what I cited before, seems to be the case that a majority of the world (over 50%) was taught the 7 continent model in school.

Which seems to be true unless you have a source to disprove that since neither you nor I have polled every person on the planet about this.

But either way, that still leaves, from what I remember, about 41% of the planet who believes in other continent models.

So it all goes back to what you were taught and doesn’t make anyone wrong since it really depends on how you define a continent and which model you go with.

“Again, if you follow another model on continents (4, 5 or 6), that’s cool. But you probably don’t and your only issue here is with Americans using the term American. Either way, as I cited before and as I can cite many other sources, the most common model used today is the 7 continent model.”

Nooooooooooooooooo, my septic friend, you have EVERY right to call yourself an ‘American’ and tell the upper class fresa/pituco to go and fuck off! I know those people, they switch to their shite English when you speak to them in Spanish because they automatically think their English is better than your Spanish – they’re arseholes, we agree with this particular worldview even if it might not look like it.

I have no problem with you using the term American to describe yourself but your seven continents in the world is hocus pocus political bullshite!

My comment: I agree. Everyone has every right to call themselves whatever they want. Like I said, I find it silly that someone would call themselves American if they were not born in the US or have citizenship there but it is what it is.

The term ‘American’ in the United States is obviously the nationality and I would say most people accept this. The one thing I would argue is that it isn’t exclusive, the term ‘American’ can be used as a nationality of someone from the United States or someone from the American continent. You can’t withold this term as exclusive to your nationality because that would be wrong in a wider context, a Chilean is an American too – they would probably describe themselves as Chilean first but see themselves as Americans as well.

My comment: I get what you are saying. However, I wouldn’t call a Chilean an “American.” But this goes back to how you view the number of continents.

Since I see South America and North America as different, I would say it would be more appropriate for him to call himself a “South American” if he prefers to identify by what continent he was born in.

But if you see the two American continents as one continent, then by that logic, he would be American under that viewpoint.

And your opinion on how many continents we have is fine. You believe whatever you were taught and we will leave it at that.

“Well, I’m not sure what continent model the different indigenous groups used but I would imagine quite a few may not have had one due to limited to no experience with people from other continents (especially among people who would have been around after the Bering Strait was not as easy or impossible to cross for most). And also given that despite whatever DNA similarities you claim to exist, they were all quite different groups in terms of culture and language.

In case you were not aware, not all indigenous people were the same.”

Of course not! Europeans don’t all share the same cultures and languages and spent many a century trying to kill each other off but they are still one related peoples that share a continent. They don’t have to share cultures and languages to be seen as such. It is proven by DNA testing that the native peoples of America are related. Innuits to Caribe to Mapuche. I think – personally – that is a good measure of what a continent is.

My comment: If we were to define continents by DNA testing, then I’d think that the Americas wouldn’t be just one big continent in modern day.

Because what percentage of DNA similarity do we need among a group of people over a territory for that territory to be considered one continent?

Take Latin America as it is right now.

In countries like Bolivia or Guatemala, you have a higher concentration of people with more indigenous ancestry.

If you go to the Northern Coast of Brazil, from what I understand, you have a higher concentration of African ancestry.

Same with the Caribbean and Pacific Coast of Colombia from what I remember.

In Argentina or Uruguay, you would have more European ancestry there.

I’m not familiar with the ancestry makeup of people from Bogota, Colombia, but from what I remember seeing there, quite a few people looked very white.

In other very specific parts of Latin America, you will find more people with Japanese ancestry and others with Middle Eastern Ancestry.

And I could go on and on….

Latin America, as of today, definitely has a wide variety of different ancestral influences.

And if I had to guess, there are probably other areas of the world that don’t have a population that have similar ancestry.

But then your claim “they don’t have to share cultures and languages to be seen as such (one related peoples).”

I would say that shared cultures and languages really makes a difference — especially as there were moments when different indigenous groups were literally committing genocide against each other.

I’m not quite sure that the indigenous victims of the Crow Creek Massacre around 1325 would have agreed with you that the group who killed them were a “related people” to them.

Or if those who were enslaved by the Triple Alliance of the Aztec Empire would have said the same either.

By DNA — sure.

And, I suppose technically speaking, since we are all human here, we all have DNA similarities no matter what country, region or ethnic group you are from.

But there is more to it than that — culture does play a role as humans do divide themselves into groups consistently.

“Should East Asia be considered part of the Americas?”

The East Asia argument suits my argument more than yours, should that be seen as a separate continent and if not, why not? Central Asia? West Asia? The Middle East? Russia owned Alaska once, was that part of Europe then or was it still in the Americas? Greenland, is that part of the Americas or is it part of Europe or was it once part of Europe and now part of the Americas? Political realities complicate a lot of it. Which is why though the Caribbean is part of the Americas, are they part of North America or South America? Or neither, if it is neither, it goes to show the falsity of the two system model for the Americas.

My comment: If you are going by the 7 continent model, then no, East Asia would not be its own continent.

And if we were to go by your previous comment about how you find DNA similarities to be a better tool to use to define continents….

Then Asia, I would suspect, would actually be broken up into different continents but it is not.

From what I understand, the Asian continent includes countries such as China, Saudi Arabia, Iran, India, Palestine, Turkmenistan, Coco Islands, Israel, etc….

Source for that is here.

I’m by far not an expert on the DNA similarities of people in those countries (and other ones I could have listed)…

But, if I had to guess, I would assume there is a bit of diversity there that doesn’t show one related peoples from the same ancestry.

And politically, culturally and linguistically — there’s huge differences as well.

From Israel to Palestine….

To China and Saudi Arabia….

And much more….

I think one thing that needs to be mentioned here (and I touched on it briefly with the culture crosses borders comments way back)…

Is that I feel you have to look at it from different lenses.

Which, in the real world, work with each other to be fair…

But your comment “political realities complicate a lot of it.”

Not just political — but linguistic and cultural.

That’s why, for example, there are people in academia who specialize in different areas of Geography….

Be it Physical Geography, Human Geography, Cultural Geography, Economic Geography, etc…

There are different ways you can look at the world.

For example…

When it comes to looking at physical geography…

You have different models for defining how many continents we have.

I go by 7, you go by whatever you were taught and agree with.

But then you have cultural and human geography.

By my belief, we have the North American and South American continent.

However, there are very obvious differences between the US and say Nicaragua.

Though, to be fair, it doesn’t end at borders as, from what I said before, culture crosses borders.

Similar to how you have more Latino culture in certain areas of the US where you have more Latino people.

And how that Latino culture is more heavily influenced by Mexican and some Central American cultures in some parts and Cuban culture in some other parts.

But not so much Paraguayan culture…

You can see the same thing anywhere else.

Like how you might notice more Bolivian culture perhaps, if I had to guess, in Jujuy or Salta of Argentina.

Or how you might have similar influence in the northern part of Chile close to the border of Bolivia.

Or how you have more European influence in certain parts of those two same countries elsewhere because of history and migration patterns in the past.

And so on and so on….

So to summarize all of this — I feel it would make more sense to separate the different lenses of how you view geography in terms of the physical, cultural, human and economic characteristics.

There is a time and place to put those lenses together to get a broader picture of things and a time and place to separate them when trying to consider how many continents we have versus considering the variety of cultures, languages, economies and ancestries of different areas.

“For example, the difference in culture and language between say the Selk’nam in Tierra del Fuego to the Marajoara by the Amazon River to Wayuu in the Guajira Peninsula and much more.

In fact, quite commonly, they killed each other, enslaved each other at other points in time and did other terrible things.”

Europeans killed and declared war on each other for centuries, still doesn’t mean they’re not one continent and one related people.

My comment: Well, I am not European and have limited time there….

But, from the perspective of an outsider, I always viewed European peoples to be different from each other.

Because you do, from my basic understanding, have different types of ethnicity in Europe (though DNA similarities to be fair)…

Such as the Slavic people….

Or Germanic people….

To Armenians….

And so much more….

Yes, the majority of Europe probably have DNA similarities….

But, despite considering the degree of DNA similarity between those different ethnic groups, you still have considerable political, cultural, linguistic, economic, and ethnic differences.

So, from my understanding, you are strictly looking at it from a DNA similarity perspective.

Which just seems like such a wrong way to go about it because it ignores the real world differences mentioned that divide people into different groups — which then has real impacts on the formation of different human societies and the interaction between them and how they view each other.

But if that’s how you want to go about it — then cool.

“Thanks! I hope you learned a bit with actual sources provided. Maybe that will help you overcome your preconceived biases that, for whatever reason, make you feel so strongly about people in Latin America getting to call themselves American.”

They’re mostly very heavily biased North American sources, so not really.

My comment: Well, I included a UK source above for you so that should make you feel right at home since you are from the UK. And also one from the UN, which, despite getting heavy American funding, is still supposed to represent every nation. I mean, it’s in the name — United Nations!.

And again, most sources indicate to me that most people on the planet use the 7 continent model. So if you don’t like North American perspectives, then there’s people in other parts of the world that share the same perspective that you can listen to as well.

Or don’t and stick to whatever model you want to believe. It doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things.

The thing is, the main point was that you trying to reason why you should be able to call yourself American and I agree with you, to a point. It just isn’t an exclusive term and nor should it be seen that way, OK, to you, is a Chilean NOT an American, even in a wider sense? If not, then the problem surely lies with you, if, in your own country you want to apply the term of ‘American’ as a distinct nationality and enforce this on Latin Americans living there then that is your prerogative, but this is why this conversation still has wheels because many other people don’t see it that way. Especially living outside the United States.

My comment: I can’t really enforce anything on Latin Americas. I can share my opinion but I don’t have an enforcement mechanism to punish Latin Americans into only using the term American for people from the US nor would I want to.

But nor would I need to — I don’t know how much time you have spent in Latin America — maybe more than me even. But just over my experience in 5 years so far down here in about half the countries, I have called myself American and nobody has taken issue with it. Most people I hang out with are Latinos (by far over 95% easily) and plenty have called me American as well.

But none of them have ever called themselves American. Because they know it would sound silly in a practical sense (something I went at before) in that it doesn’t make much sense in normal conversation to use that term for someone who doesn’t have citizenship in the US.

In a wider sense anyway, I would say the Chilean is a South American because of the difference in how I see North and South America. But that’s all that is.

But if that hypothetical Chilean were to one day say to me “soy un americano,” then that’s cool. I personally won’t find it offensive, just silly. But that’s up to that Chilean to identify how he wants — he can identify as a tree for all I care. Doesn’t make him a tree but that’s cool.

My argument is with your ‘Seven Continents’ claim, and I don’t think most people see seven continents. That there are is just a bad education system and politics. Is Australia ‘Oceania’ or is it ‘Asia’? when Asia is just a matter of a few hundred miles.

My comment: Again, if we were to define it by geologic plates (which is what I think the 7 model uses), then sure. A few hundred miles later and your plane has crossed over from one geologic plate to another. In the same way it crosses other boundaries and borders (both natural and human made).

You can call it a bad education system but I just see it as different ways of defining a continent and that’s why there are different models for it. I will say this — none of the current models I don’t think is wrong necessarily. Just a different perspective.

“I did see your other comment. ”

Pardon me, Matt, my apologies!

“Have a good day!”

You too!

Leave a Reply: