Due to the surplus of holiday spirit and of course the massive amounts of media coverage (cough cough) that Hispanic Heritage Month receives, I’ve decided to educate you on a major distinction within the Hispanic community, you know, ’tis the season…
Pet Peeve: /pet, pēv/. noun. – A minor annoyance that an individual identifies as particularly annoying to them, to a greater degree than others.
We all have that rather mild annoyance that just isn’t so mild to us. In fact, it makes us cringe every time we hear/see it. It might be bad grammar, loud gum-smacking, someone chewing with his/her mouth open, or someone wearing socks with sandals. The possibilities are endless. You can tell when you’ve struck someone’s pet peeve because you can see it in their face. It contorts uncontrollably into varying degrees of disgust. I bring this topic up because I recently found myself guilty of committing one of my very own pet peeves (Ain’t that a bitch?). My face almost collapsed into itself once I realized it. I guess it’s because I have grown accustomed to hearing it said so much that I’ve accepted it as normal. But it isn’t. And I vow to never commit such a heinous crime ever again. I hope that by clearing it up here others will be deterred as well.
Here’s the Pet Peeve: People referencing to anything Hispanic/Latino as “Spanish” when they don’t actually mean Spaniard.
Whether it’s the dreaded, “Are you Spanish?” or the “I’m craving Spanish food.” and even “I love Spanish music.” It all makes me cringe. ESPECIALLY when a person of Hispanic/Latino heritage does it. Here’s why it should make you cringe as well. Change the word “Spanish” in all of the above sentences to “English”. Does it make any sense now? It does only if you are asking the person if they are from England, if you are craving a typical dish from England, or if you are stating that you love aaaallll music that is in the English language ranging from fairy tale Disney Musicals to hardcore triple X Gangster Rap. Otherwise….No. No, it does NOT make any sense.
Here’s your lesson: To avoid this mistake, just follow these simple rules:
- Ask someone if they are Spanish ONLY if you actually want to know if they are Spaniard. You know asking if they are from Spain
- You are craving Spanish food ONLY if you are craving a typical dish from Spain (Paella, Gazpacho, Tapas, etc) and not Puerto Rican, Mexican, Cuban, etc.
- You love Spanish music ONLY if you like every single genre as long as it is sung in the Spanish language.
Here’s your bonus lesson: There’s no general consensus for the terms Hispanic vs Latino, however, most would agree with the following
- Hispanic – Someone/something of Spanish-Speaking origin/ancestry. In my personal opinion, this includes ALL Spanish-Speaking countries and excludes non-Spanish-speaking countries (Spain, Mexico, Puerto Rico, etc but NOT Brazil, Belize, Guyana, etc).
- Latino/a – Someone/something with origins in Latin America (or descendent thereof). Whether they speak Spanish or not is irrelevant. (includes Brazil, French Guyana, etc but NOT Spain, Portugal, etc). So, by this general rule, Spaniards are Hispanic but not Latino. Brazilians are Latino but not Hispanic. Confused? Good.
Hopefully this clears things up. If not, then oh well. Just don’t be surprised when I hit you with a contorted WTF face next time you say it. If it did clear things up, then I’m glad that we are all on the same page and well-educated. What are your pet peeves? Let’s end the pet peeves one at a time. I DONE SAID IT.
-This Guest Post was written by ERockPerez, you can follow him on twitter @ERockPerez. I love it when Spanish people…err I mean Hispanic…or maybe I mean Latino people contribute to the blog….