Tuesday, January 26, 2021
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LET’S BREAK DOWN LATINDAD: IT’S NOT AS SIMPLE AS WE’D LIKE IT TO BE

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The term ‘Latinidad’ is now often used to reference the attributes that are shared by people from Latin America. It is a controversial concept that was born in the academia institutions of the United States, similar to the newly created term Latinx.

Our respondent – Camilo Carranza Callejas, who has a Colombian origin, expressed his attitude towards the concept of Latinidad:

“As a person who migrated from Colombia to the United States in 2001, the concept of Latinidad is rather foreign for me. I believe it is rather used as an academic term or approach to the Latin American experience of migration. We, Latin migrants, have shared experiences of assimilation, challenges, and discrimination among other things that creates a sense of common identity.

However, it is very unlikely that the word Latinidad is used by the average person to express our similarities. The word Latino is widely used to encapsulate us into a homogenous group and the concept of Latinidad tends to align to that sentiment. But I think that Latinos see themselves first as people from their original country (i.e. Colombia, Argentina, Mexico) rather than from the broader region of Latin America.”

Ulises Noe, who originally comes from Mexico, also thinks that the term Latinidad is not used in South America. Each country or region identifies themselves as that country or region. 

So, Latinidad is a concept used outside of South America which assimilates its population. This might threaten the perception of cultural identities of different regions.

Another problem of Latinidad is that people of colour are usually not considered to be a part of this concept.

“I think this problem exists but it’s even beyond the term of Latinidad. This is a problem that is deeply rooted (from the colonization era) in the sense of identity of Latinos (especially white or mestizo latinos). Black and Indigenous communities have historically been abandoned and forgotten by our societies in Latin America. They tend to live in secluded areas of the region and are often neglected by the state. 

This separation creates a lack of inclusion that is visible in the way we view ourselves and how the world also views us. Thus, it is easy to see how black and indigenous communities play a small role in the formation of the concept of Latinidad. However, I think that in this current climate of inclusion, more scholars are beginning to be more outspoken about this lack of representation of our brothers and sisters” – says Callejas. 

The whole concept of Latinidad does not meet the requirements of today’s society. Furthermore, it creates misunderstanding or even hostility.

“Latinx is the current hot, progressive, neoliberal concept that is taking over the academic world in the United States and mainstream media. However, no one in Latin America can even pronounce it because it does not match our dialect. So, creating more concepts isn’t the answer nor the problem. It just generates more discussions about the complexity of identity, culture, language, race, and sexual orientation.”