Connect with us

Culture

The Latinx Wars: Ep. X – A New Hope (An Update)

Published

on

So the two Gilberts who I quoted in that post about the Latinx controversy turned out to be two very funny and gracious college students at Pennsylvania’s Swarthmore College.

(For some stupid reason, I assumed they were professors of said college. Why, I’ll never know. Mea culpa.)

The day after it was posted, they sent me an email, which I’m publishing with their authorization:

From: Gilbert Guerra
Date: Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 12:10 PM
Subject: Re: You Say “Latinx”, I Say Whatx
To: José Simián
Cc: Gilbert Orbea
Dear Mr. Simián,
We recently read your article about Latinx that on rictusco.wpengine.com that critiqued our own article about “Latinx” and found it quite funny. We laughed. Ha. Ha.
In all seriousness, we would appreciate it greatly if you could share a bit more of your thoughts on “Latinx” with us. For example, you put forth that Latinos as an all encompassing term is insufficient and patriarchal, while at the same time acknowledging that adding an X to the term won’t do anything to educate simple peasants such as ourselves. What then is your suggested alternative to include non-binary people within Spanish? And what did you think of the other arguments we made in our article?
Please help us in our quest to become less stupider.
Yours sincerely,
The Gilbertx

My reply:

From: José Manuel Simián
Date: Wed, Dec 2, 2015 at 3:21 PM
Subject: Re: You Say “Latinx”, I Say Whatx
To: Gilbert Guerra
Cc: Gilbert Orbea

Dear Messrs. Guerra and Orbea,

Thanks for writing, and for the good sense of humor in spite of my rather unnecessary use of the S-word (as my 7-year old son calls it). As for your alleged peasant status, I doubt it applies to this situation. After all, you are the ones writing a long, thoughtful article in a respectable publication, while I am writing a short post on the fly on a snarky blog and resorting to playground insults.

Moving on to the your text, I quoted that particular section because affirming that “Latinos” is a “gender-neutral term” makes you sound as if you don’t understand the nature of the problem, i.e: that in Spanish the so-called gender-neutral plural terms happen to be the plural male nouns, or to put it in more conceptual terms (as I learned from Catharine MacKinnon when she writes about the alleged gender-neutrality of legal norms), that the male epistemology has become the ontology. I assume that you understand the nature of the problem and the debate, so I’m still puzzled as to why you would make a linguistic argument for the gender neutrality of “Latinos.”

On a related note, I don’t really understand why you argue from Spanish grammar or speak of “linguistic imperialism” as if this debate impacted the Spanish language. If I have followed correctly (and you acknowledge this in your article), the term “Latinx” is used in the United States, and among people who mostly speak English, not Spanish. I don’t see people in Latin America too concerned about this or who feel that their language is threatened. I don’t even see people who predominantly speak Spanish in the United States too concerned about these conceptual matters, either.

To your question, I don’t have a better alternative. Maybe a better term than “Latinx” will emerge and will catch on (it would be great), but I don’t have the answer. This is, sadly, one of those lose-lose situations, in which the solutions (like “Latinx” right now) are sometimes clumsier than the original alternative. In my country of origin, Chile, the first female president, Michelle Bachelet, made a point of addressing Chileans as “chilenos y chilenas” in every speech, and even though it felt good, it was certainly cumbersome. The language will keep evolving, because and in spite of imperialisms and other cultural forces, and maybe one day we’ll have actual gender-neutral words.

Again, thanks for writing. I need to go back to my stupid work now.

All the best,

José

Even if I disagree with them about this topic, I’m amazed. I wish I could have written something like this while in college. And if you’re not impressed already, you should read this response to their piece, written by two of their fellow students.

A new hope, indeed.

 

 

Follow Rictus on social media and please share our posts you like the content:

Culture

Oh, right. Old-school Mexicans humiliate their children by pretending they don’t exist.

Published

on

By

I’ve been visiting my mother, and all of our immediate family, for the last week. They’re old-school, rural Mexicans. The kind who always offer food, even if they hate you.

I’m in my mid 30s now, and have been living on my own since I was 18, so at our gatherings I get a proper adult seat at the table. They listen to what I have to say, but it wasn’t always like that.

It’s not like that for my younger relatives, either. At family reunions, I see them out of the periphery of my eye. They’re trying to get a word in, but those older Mexicans won’t allow it. Why would they? What have those mocosos (snot-nosed kids) done to deserve anybody’s respect? Did they pay for their food? For the roof over their head? For their car, gas, clothes? No? Then they don’t exist.

Yes, they’re physically there, but unless they can prove their worth through monetary independence, they’re no one. If they try to make their voices heard, they’ll be silenced by a death stare, or an abrupt change in conversation.

If they persist, other humiliations will be flung at them, such as being asked to do something entirely meaningless, just like their opinion. “Vete a ver si ya puso la marrana” (go see if one of the pigs laid an egg) is a classic. My grandma had one of the most bizarre just-get-the-fuck-out-of-here phrases, which I’ve never heard elsewhere: “Vete a descular hormigas” (go chop the asses off ants).

I know these Mexicans sound like assholes, but they’re like that because they believe in resilience, not fragility. Giving encouragement to a mentally and physically healthy person seems redundant to them. Those people already have all they need to succeed, they’ll think.

To gain their respect, at the very least a person will need to become self-sufficient. That’s how you earn the right to sit with them. Either you’re with that, or you’re not there at all.

Follow Rictus on social media and please share our posts you like the content:
Continue Reading

Culture

“Trump Dating” site doesn’t want the gays, but allows the “happily married” to join

Published

on

By

You can even be mad at Trump Dating, a new website for lonely — or not so lonely, but just promiscuous — maganogamous people. It’s a perfect representation of their cherished administration, since it’s also homophobic — it only allows “straight” women or men to sign up — and, just like Trump, it’s all about adulterous relationships:

“When you kick off the process of starting a profile, you get two options for labeling yourself — ‘straight man’ or ‘straight woman.’

Yet according to Trump Dating’s rather strange drop-down menus, married people are welcome. For a relationship status, the site offers options like ‘have a significant other,’ ‘happily married,’ and ‘unhappily married.'”

And since no self-respecting republican-specific dating site should exist unless it takes an issue with race, Trump Dating allows their users to be super specific about their genealogy:

“The ethnicity options also seemed oddly specific. In addition to the typical categories, the site includes choices like ‘Scandinavian,’ ‘Polynesian,’ ‘Eastern European,’ ‘Western European,’ ‘Mediterranean,’ and ‘Eskimo,’ a term used to label the indigenous people of Alaska, Canada, and Greenland that is considered offensive and inaccurate.”

OMG, you guys. There better be a second menu where users can identify which of the five Aryan subtype races — Nordic, Mediterranean, Dinaric, Alpine, and East Baltic — they belong to. Otherwise the server room of this Trump Dating is gonna get tiki torched.

Anyway, where you at, Chispa, the “Tinder for Latinos”? You gonna let Trump Dating walk all over you? You need to re-brand to DACA Dong, Canelo Kennedy Courting, or something.

Follow Rictus on social media and please share our posts you like the content:
Continue Reading

Trending