Why Aren't Italians Called Latinos?

Why Aren't Italians Called Latinos?

Dear Mexican: One thing I find a little antagonizing is the use of the term "Latino" as a synonym only for "Hispanic." I've noticed that you tend to favor Hispanic quite a bit more than Latino; thank you. The Latins as a people, a culture, a language, a tribe, came from ancient Italy. On employment applications or government forms, the race/ethnicity section doesn't include anyone other than Hispanics as synonymous with Latin(o). Where is the room for us Italians, or French or Portuguese? Livid Latin Lover

Dear Gabacho: If I ever use "Hispanic" in this column, it's usually in disparaging terms, as that's a creation of the Ford administration. I barely even use "Latino," since this is a column about Mexicans. All of this said, I agree with the spirit of your letter, and urge you to direct your ire not toward Mexicans but rather intellectuals. It's 19th-century French intellectuals who promoted the idea of a Latin America in opposition to Anglo-Saxon America. It's the love of anything French that drove intellectuals in Spanish-speaking countries in that era to warm up to that idea of pan-Latino identity. And it's gabacho intellectuals up here who bought into that idea in their eternal quest to categorize Spanish-speaking folks as subhuman. Mexicans will only consider themselves Latinos for welfare, Hollywood roles and affirmative action.

When I watch YouTube videos of 1980s music, whenever I sample Italo songs, a lot of Mexicans comment on the videos. How did Italo Dance/Hi-NRG became so popular with Mexicans? Interested Dance Music Fan


Ask a Mexican

Dear Gabacho: Mexicans love synth-heavy pop dreck — embarrassingly so. Sometimes, great music comes out of this amor — witness grupero groups like Los Barón de Apodaca or Bronco, pop geniuses such as Los Bukis or "96 Tears" by ? and the Mysterians, the greatest song in human history. But most of the time, it's just terrible. Italo dance and 1970s- and 1980s-era Eurodance falls somewhere in between great and grating, which means Mexicans will dance to it. Hell, Mexicans will dance to anything.


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