Day 23: Hispanic or Latino? Which do you prefer?
I prefer neither. I’m Puerto Rican. I think many folks when we are asked our preference may prefer our country of origin or where our ethnic and cultural background connects. I did not grow up in a Hispanic or in a Latin@ home. I grew up in a Puerto Rican one.
If you want to lump me with folks of a particular group it would be Caribbean folks. I have realized I have so much more in common with folks from the Caribbean, and not just Cuba and Dominican Republic, but also the islands such as St. Martin/Marteen, Jamaica, Barbados, St. Kitts, Haiti, Monserrat, Dominca, etc. Our histories def connect in certain ways, but our traditions, rituals and cultural belief systems are ones I find home in as well.
I have more in common and (and sometimes in solidarity) with those in the Caribbean than I find I do with countries such as Argentina, Uruguay, Peru, and other South and Central American Countries. I find more “home” with those that share the coast with us i.e. Panama, Belize, Guyana, Suriname, Yucatan, etc.
So if I had to pick from a group and ethnic identifier for me it would be Caribbean, but since we are lumped together in the US by our history of exploration and conquest I would opt for Latin@ which recognizes the complexities of gender, is open to wordplay hence LatiNegr@ (a term I also adore for numerous reasons which I’ll prob discuss later this week).
Hispanic is a term I find a bit too static. I don’t like the term or how it sounds. The “his” at the beginning and it not being open to wordplay (i.e. “herpanic” is more like herpes than anything else to me, and yes this may just be my own creativity getting in my own way, but that’s where it is). and the “panic” part, really? We area already isolated, feared, violated, why put more “panic” into our self identifiers (and remember this is more on the wordplay tip than anything else). what can i say? I like the idea that language evolves, that I”m part of that evolution and that I get to witness that evolution and transformation. I also want words to work for me and me not have to do too much work for the words.
not sure any of this is making sense but that’s where i’m at now.