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- Is the term “Iberian America” or “Latin America” Offensive?
Are the terms "Iberian America" or "Latin America" offensive?
Yesterday, I got a reply on Twitter from some random dude claiming that my use of the term "Iberian America" for my Twitter name is offensive.
Here's his reasoning.
Actually, it's not the first time he posted that.
If I remember right, I think he sent the same comment one or two more times.
The first time, I was just confused as to what the issue was.
Though, to be fair, I have heard like maybe 2 other people up there in the US claim that the term "Latin America" is bad for the reasons this dude provided above for "Iberian America."
But it's such a small issue that is almost never brought up except by the most autistic and left-leaning individuals who also, as I referenced here, bitch about people still speaking Spanish and not some indigenous language because "Spanish is of the colonizers."
For those curious, you can check out this other article here that I wrote that kinda touches on the same subject.
But, like I said, I just don't meet these people in Latin America.
I'd have to basically go back to the US to find someone who speaks this way.
Perhaps among those few US Latinos (an extremely small percentage of literally 0.1% out of all of them) that feel insecure about their connection to Latino culture due to not being born in Latin America and who tend to lean very far to the left.
Perhaps there are some actual Latin Americans who bitch about this issue on the use of the term "Latin" or "Iberian" America and there probably are some white, non-Latino liberals in the US who do pandering to this issue.
Though, even in the US among more left-leaning circles like in universities, you have no shortage of departments up there focused on Latin America that call themselves something like "Iberian Studies" as you can see here.
"Latin American and Iberian Studies at the University of California at Santa Barbara examines the people and cultures of Spanish and Portuguese speaking countries throughout the world. Such study encompasses not only Spain, Portugal, and Latin America, but also Angola, Mozambique, the Philippines, Macao, and the Chicano and Puerto Rican populations in the U.S. However, most students center their studies on Latin America."
Even among most US Latinos up there and white liberal folks, it's not really an issue brought up as far as I remember among 99% of people.
On the flip side, while living in Latin America over the years, I've seen lots of buildings, schools and whatever else use the Spanish version of the term "Iberian" down here in Latin America.
Be it Mexico or elsewhere.
So I just ignored the random Twitter dude on every occasion he wrote to me.
In fact, I kinda find it funny that he's written me a few times now and just seems to be screaming to the sky about how it's some social injustice that I use the term "Iberian America."
While he still follows me.
I wonder how long he'll keep it up.
But, to be fair, it did get me thinking about the topic today out of curiosity.
Especially as I have written so much and am always open to a new article topic to put out there.
After all, maybe this is a genuine point of view that some Latin Americans hold?
I've never heard it before expressed by them specifically.
But it wouldn't be the first social justice issue brought into the world by the autists of Twitter.
Reminds me a bit of those who bitch about people not using "Latinx" or "Latine."
While I equally wouldn't argue with someone about how I'm not going to use "Latinx," I did write about it here as I assumed it must be a topic some people actually discuss when discussing life in Iberian America.
.....Ah fuck. Did I just say Iberian America?
So I'll keep this short and just ran through the quick thoughts I've had when it comes to this topic before moving onto something more important.
Like watching a movie.
Bad Santa Drunk at Work
To be fair, I do want to start by saying that I don't have any right to tell someone what they can be offended by or not.
Granted, I can laugh about it and say it's retarded.
But if someone does legitimately find it offensive, then that's just how it is.
Sucks to be them.
But, especially as a non-Latino gringo, it's not really an issue for me to be offended by or not.
And I believe that might be part of the issue.
"As a non-Latino gringo."
I suspect that his anger is more with the fact that a non-Latino gringo managed to take the Twitter handle for Iberian America than an actual Iberian (Latin) American.
Or he's probably just trolling most likely.
Which, to be honest, I find funny as well that I'm the one with the name Iberian America.
Not to mention the website itself that is named after Iberian America.
There have been moments where I thought to myself "how the fuck did I pull that off?"
Not because I am not Latin American but because such a domain name would be fairly difficult to acquire without spending thousands of dollars.
Though, in my defense, I'm fairly good at finding those type of domain names without buying them from someone else for thousands of dollars.
You should honestly see the domain names I have for other websites.
It is pretty impressive what I have been able to get.
Let's move on anyhow.
The Various Examples of Iberian in Iberian America
There are countless examples of universities and other institutions having the Spanish version of the word "Iberian" in their name.
Here are a few universities I found in literally 10 minutes (among so many others I saw recommended in Google in that time that I could've spent time writing about and linking to):
1st Example: The Universidad Iberoamericana Ciudad de México in Mexico City as you can see here.
2nd Example: The Corporación Universitaria Iberoamericana in Bogota of Colombia as you can see here.
3rd Example: The FUNIBER - Fundación Universitaria Iberoamericana | Guatemala in Guatemala City as you can see here (to be fair, looks to be the same institution as the one in Mexico City if I'm reading it right).
4th Example: The Universidad Internacional Iberoamericana in Puerto Rico as you can see here.
5th Example: The Universidad Iberoamericana de Ciencias y Tecnología in Santiago of Chile as you can see here (doesn't look to be the best university in Chile or a very good one actually but technically counts.
6th Example: The Universidad Iberoamericana del Paraguay in a few points of Paraguay as you can see here.
7th Example: The Universidad Iberoamericana del Deporte in San Carlos, Venezuela as you can see here.
Similarly, some of the previous universities mentioned have campuses in seemingly almost every Latin American country but don't seem to be different institutions so I'll just include their campuses for a few, including Argentina, Costa Rica, Panama, Peru and Bolivia.
And, keep in mind, I didn't know any of those places.
I just did a quick Google search for examples in various Latin American countries.
The search started at 9:34 AM and it is now 9:44 AM.
It took just 10 minutes to find all that.
Unfortunately, I couldn't find an example for Brazil but I gave up after a minute because I don't speak Portuguese and was just using Google Translate.
Beyond universities, we have more examples!
When it comes to governmental bodies, we have the following:
The Organization of Ibero-American States as you can see here.
The Ibero-American Summit as you can see here.
The Organización de Telecomunicaciones de Iberoamérica as you can see here.
Next, let's look at some parks, businesses, etc that Google is bringing up whenever I type in "iberica whatever" for any random country in Iberian America.
First, we have Ibérica Cimi Cemus Park in Merida in Mexico as you can see here.
Second, we have some random place called "Fabrica de Chocolates La Iberica" in Arequipa, Peru as you can see here.
Third, we have Parque Iberia in San Jose, Costa Rica as you can see here.
Fourth, we have some random business called Iberica in Paraguay as you can see here.
Fifth, we have another business in Argentina called Iberica that makes sandwiches as you can see here.
Anyway, you get the idea.
I could go on and on and literally list over a 100 companies if I wanted to spend more than 20 minutes now linking to random parks, businesses, universities, governmental organizations, etc.
I also could've brought up how the term is wildly used in the media, academic literature, etc.
Above all though, this goes to an argument we'll cover next in this article when he tells me to "go ask a Mexican" about how they feel regarding the term "Iberian America."
Given that so many Latin Americans of so many countries go to universities named after the term, participate in governmental bodies named after the term, make businesses named after the term, attend parks that they named after the term and so on seems to suggest that they are OK with the term.
Do Mexicans Hate the Term?
Well, clearly the guy from Twitter does!
Though I have no idea who he is.
At first, I thought he wasn't actually a Mexican but just a Mexican-American who wants to get offended for Mexicans because my experience with Mexican-Americans is that a few of them are more likely to get angry about weird issues like this.
Their way of trying to stay connected to a culture that they were not born to but their ancestors were.
But I have no idea if he is Mexican or not. His profiles says he is so I'll take his word for it.
At any rate, I figured I'd ask a Mexican if she finds the term offensive.
A chick I know named Angie.
As you can see here, she doesn't.
As you can see, Angie gave so few fucks about the question that it took her 12 hours to respond.
As of right now though, the official score is 1-1.
One Mexican hates it and one Mexican doesn't give a fuck.
Of course, I could go outside into the streets of Iztapalapa to ask random barrio types and religious grandmothers going to church if they find it offensive.
Though I'd imagine such a scene of a gringo running around with his gringo accent in a neighborhood where they don't see gringos asking a random ass question like that would be odd.
And, quite frankly, I doubt they give a shit.
Especially as most people are like Americans back home in that they have shit to do and don't spend their days trying to argue with people on Twitter or write articles about it.
Yes. I have a shit ton of free time.
But, unless someone wants to pay me, the amount of energy I'm going to dedicate to this topic ends at running around outside asking strangers in the barrio what they think about the term.
Only autistic enough to write an article about it.
One other thing I will add though to this idea of the locals being offended by "Iberian America" is that I have heard no shortage of Latin Americans use the term "America Latina."
Be it protesters yelling the phrase out like I wrote here.
Or random artists making a song titled "Latin America" like you can see here.
Calle 13 -- Latinoamerica
Or whatever really.
Like we will cover later in this article, if you get angry about the term Iberian America, there's no reason why "Latin America" or even "America" or "the Americas" shouldn't offend you either.
Only an Insult to the Spanish?
Going back to that Tweet as you can see here, one has to wonder if he cares for the good people of Brazil?
He sure seems to speak for everybody in Spanish America!
.....Fuck! Did I just say Spanish America? Is that offensive too?
But what about Portuguese America?
Or, more specifically, Brazil.
Is the term "Iberian America" not offensive to those colonized by the Portuguese?
Or is this just an example of how this guy doesn't know what the term actually refers to and thinks "Iberian America" only applies to Spanish speaking countries of the Americas?
Let's hit at that next.
Are Not Colonized by Spain or Portugal Anymore
This is another argument I remember from before from some other Tweet from the same guy above.
That, because Latin America is no longer colonized by Spain or Portugal, then it shouldn't be ever called Iberian America.
I assume that someone with this logic would also find it offensive that the region is called Latin America too.
Because, as I said before, I have met those who use the same logic to bitch about the term "Latin America."
And also because the terms for both are mostly referring to the languages that the people speak in the specified region.
For Iberian America, it simply refers to all the countries within the Americas that speak a language that came from the Iberian Peninsula as you can see here.
"Ibero-America (Spanish: Iberoamérica, Portuguese: Ibero-América) or Iberian America is a region in the Americas comprising countries or territories where Spanish or Portuguese are predominant languages (usually former territories of Portugal or Spain). Portugal and Spain are themselves included in some definitions, such as that of the Ibero-American Summit and the Organization of Ibero-American States. The Organization of Ibero-American States also includes Spanish-speaking Equatorial Guinea, in Central Africa, but not the Portuguese-speaking African countries. The Latin Recording Academy, the organization responsible for the Latin Grammy Awards, also includes Spain and Portugal as well as the Latino population of Canada and the United States in their definition of Ibero-America."
Then we have the term for Latin America and the distinction it has from Iberian America here.
"Latin America is the portion of the Americas comprising regions where Romance languages—languages that derived from Latin, e.g. Spanish, Portuguese, and French–are predominantly spoken. The term was coined in the nineteenth century, to refer to regions in the Americas that were ruled by the Spanish, Portuguese and French empires. The term does not have a precise definition, but it is "commonly used to describe South America, Central America, and Mexico, and the islands of the Caribbean." A short definition of the region is Spanish America and Brazil, that is, Portuguese America. The term "Latin America" is broader than categories such as Hispanic America, which specifically refers to Spanish-speaking countries; and Ibero-America, which specifically refers to both Spanish and Portuguese-speaking countries."
So, as you can see, both terms are more in reference to the languages commonly spoken in parts of the Americas.
For more information on the terms Iberian and Latin America, check out this article here.
And, quite frankly, even the term "Americas" I guess could be considered offensive by the same individual above if the offense is taken from the connection it has to colonizing European powers as you can see here.
"The naming of the Americas, or America, occurred shortly after Christopher Columbus's first voyage to the Americas in 1492. It is generally accepted that the name derives from Amerigo Vespucci, the Italian explorer, who explored the new continents in the following years on behalf of Spain and Portugal. However, some have suggested other explanations, including being named after a mountain range in Nicaragua, or after Richard Amerike of Bristol."
Above all though, much of the above really just shows how it's not uncommon to find someone from Latin America who is ignorant about his own region.
As I wrote here, it's not uncommon actually for a gringo to be more knowledgeable in some details of Latin America (though not all) than an actual Latin American.
In the same way you have foreigners who become more knowledgeable about any other country they immigrated to.
Like a Mexican who immigrates to the US and becomes more familiar with certain details that plenty of Americans back home are ignorant of.
Still, given how one could easily argue that the other terms are offensive too, then one has to ask: what's the alternative?
What's the Alternative, Jack?
Like I said, you can't argue that Iberian America is offensive but Latin America or even the Americas isn't.
If you try to argue otherwise, I'd assume your alternative term would be Latin America.
Though, like I said, you're full of shit if you do that and your real reason for being angry isn't because of the term itself but instead you are just looking to be angry with your inferiority complex.
Or perhaps you're too ignorant to know what the actual definitions are.
So, having said that, if you agree that both terms are offensive, then give us an alternative!
You can't bitch about this without an alternative.
If we are trying to stick it to those European colonizers, then I guess a term from some indigenous language would work.
If that's how you're going to do it, try picking a word from some language that is very hard for everyone else to pronounce.
At least have fun with it!
That way, whenever a foreigner wishes to pronounce the name of the region you are from, you are guaranteed they will fuck it up and you can feel superior with countless opportunities to lecture them on how they fucked up "ka'arupytũvo" from Guarani as you can see here.
Though, to be fair, while that would be hard to pronounce for gringos, it wouldn't make sense as it means "at dusk."
I couldn't find any words that make sense for Latin America as a whole in a few indigenous languages but, according to that same list, "titi" means breast or nipple.
After all, so many gringos think of BIG LATINA (iberian) TITTIES when they think of the region and it's why so many come down here.
TO STEAL YOUR BITCHES
TO FUCK BIG LATINA (iberian) TITTIES WITH OUR ANGLO COCKS.
Exotic Latina video
.....FUCK. Did I just say Latina?
In all likelihood, such a name for the region would be awesome for tourism purposes too, no?
OK, you're not getting as many retired couples with the wife coming along for a trip to Cancun.
But, with a name for the region such as TITI, it'd surely attract lots of men!
Well, it's not for me to decide ultimately what the replacement term should be.
You can decide that one. I'm just throwing suggestions out there!
Still, let's go onto the next argument.
Would I Be Offended?
This was another thing said in the Tweet above.
I don't give a shit that the country I was born in has a name that has a connection to European colonizing powers.
In fact, most people don't really give a shit.
Actually, it's quite common for Americans to proudly claim that "THEY ARE AMERICAN! USA! USA! USA!"
All that happened hundreds of years ago anyway and none of us give a fuck that Europeans came up with the name.
I'm sure there are some people who would take offense to the term "America" though for, as I wrote here, some Latin Americans do get bitchy when we Americans use the term "America" or "American" for us.
Though that has less to do with its connections to European influence hundreds of years ago and more to do with other issues discussed in that last article cited (an inferiority complex mostly and ignorance on their end that other countries teach things differently).
Similarly, if the US was called the "Commonwealth America," I wouldn't find that offensive either.
Just replace "United States" with Commonwealth and we'd continue to ignore the "Commonwealth" part like we do with "United States" and just say we are from "America" and are "American."
Nothing would change.
And, for me personally, it definitely wouldn't matter.
For those who don't know, my heritage is literally something like 98% Anglo.
And the "Commonwealth" actually refers to former territories of the British Empire.
So I definitely wouldn't give a fuck.
However, similar to those who try to take down Christopher Columbus statues, I could see some liberal leaning people or non-white people taking offense to the term "Commonwealth."
As you can see here, some Canadians supposedly want to leave the monarchy due to racism and colonialism issues.
Similarly, you do have some folks think the name "America" is racist and the country shouldn't be titled that as you can see with the title here: "Don’t Call This Country “America” How the name was hijacked and why it matters today"
Either way, I wouldn't give a shit one way or the other if we added the word "Commonwealth" to America or if we just kept calling ourselves United States of America.
Most of these debates about the exact names of these regions (Latin or Iberian America) or countries (USA) don't seem too important but I guess some people seem to have enough time to think about them (including me as I'm homeless in the roughest hoods of Mexico City).
The Birth of the National Identity
Even if a Latin American did get offended by these terms, one thing I would also point out is that, for a lot of Latin American countries, the birth of their national identity is largely tied to the colonial or European history.
Not that it defines their national identity all by itself with no other influences but that it's definitely connected to it in a significant way.
In Mexico, it's not uncommon to hear Mexicans say that "en Mexico, somos mestizos" as I wrote about here.
Where they will insist on that mixing of two cultures as part of their national identity of what it means to be a Mexican.
Similarly, you have Argentina and their "we came from the boats" as you can see here where their immigrant influence from Europe is tied directly to their idea of what it means to be Argentine.
So on and so on.
In short, Latin America or Iberian America is definitely not still colonized by Spain or Portugal but the arrival of the Europeans was like a bomb that drastically altered the history, culture, the DNA of most of the locals and every aspect of society in the region to this day.
So, when also factoring in what the technical definitions are of these terms, I don't see it as entirely inappropriate to connect them to their European heritage with the terms Iberian or Latin (America).
Though, like I said, if you wish to change the term Iberian America, you'd have to change Latin America too to be consistent.
And, if we're being honest, nobody gives enough a shit to do that.
And most people, as I mentioned, truly don't give a fuck about the use of these terms.
Only on Twitter.
Though, having said that, there is one last point to make.
The Future of Iberian & Latin America
Having said all that, there will probably come a day where these terms are obsolete.
One could argue that maybe they are right now given the fact that this region has taken on so many immigrants from all over the world that don't have Iberian roots and whose ancestors did not speak a Latin language (even if they and their descendants do now).
I would argue the terms are not obsolete though because the definitions, while being rooted in their colonial history, are as of right now in reference to the languages most commonly spoken in specific parts of the Americas.
Unless you change the most common language of the people living in the region, I don't see anyone trying to change the terms.
Of course, you do have select parts of Latin America where a lot of people do not speak an Iberian language.
Be it the areas like in rural parts of Chiapas of Mexico within Zapatista territory where folks more commonly speak various indigenous languages.
Or how entire countries like Bolivia or Paraguay have official languages that are not Iberian or Latin in nature (Quechua, Guarani and others).
Similarly, you have specific communities of Latin America where a lot of the people supposedly speak other non-Iberian languages due to their immigration history like you can see here.
Finally, we all know about the obsession of some Latin Americans to show the world how well they speak English (even as a non-native language).
I doubt though that we'll see a world where entire countries in the region (outside of Belize) speak English as the main language.
Though there are select neighborhoods in certain cities of Latin America where you also have locals bitching about hearing English all the time.
Mostly in heavily touristy areas though popular with foreigners.
Still, over a long enough time line, we could see a future where these terms do become obsolete.
Even if the language never changes, maybe we'll see a world where enough people think like the random dude on Twitter and want to adopt a new term for the region.
Similar to those who wish to smash down Christopher Columbus statues.
Or whatever else that could happen -- perhaps another historical event of great importance like the Spanish or Portuguese colonizing the region -- that changes everything about society down here.
If we are talking about a time line of over 1,000 years, then it could happen for sure.
But it's impossible to predict the future of the region over such long periods and it becomes pointless to contemplate that far into the future.
Anything to Add?
But, like I said, it's not really my place to tell someone what they can be offended by.
Though I can laugh about it.
Above all though, it's not really an issue.
Similar to how the use of the term "Latinx" is not an issue but I imagine the same type of person who bitches about Iberian America due to its "colonizer influence" would also bitch in favor of using the term "Latinx."
It's just an issue for people who come across as social justice types with an inferiority complex to complain about.
Or just trying to troll like the random anon.
But, having said that, it is a very rare topic that once in a while comes up about every 5 to 10 years in my experience.
If you got anything to add -- agree or disagree -- leave a comment below.
If you get offended by the term also, shout until you turn blue!
You aren't going to change the fact that literally everyone else (including yourself) use the terms Latin America or Iberian America in daily conversation.
But your valiant effort will not be in vain.
If you take the time now to come up with an alternative term for the region, you too just might be credited for doing so on a Wikipedia page in 500 years when historians look through Twitter to find out about the origin of the term you invented to stick it to those colonizing Iberians.
Fuck, maybe they'll even make statues in your honor at random, small parks in irrelevant cities of Iberian America.
.....FUCK! I SAID IT AGAIN!
Because, if you are going to bitch about the term, at least come up with a new one for us to use in the comment section or elsewhere!
Put in the work.
Go outside with your pamphlets to educate your fellow Iber -- FUCK!
To educate your neighbors about the new term you want them to use to describe the region.
And don't forget to provide those pamphlets either to all those universities and other institutions using the term "Iberian" or "Latin" America.
Anyway, as I said, that's all there is to say.
Follow my Twitter here.
Thanks for reading.