Just a month ago, in a U.S. airport, a U.S. citizen insulted a young man for speaking Spanish. A great offense, according to the aggressor. These acts of violence aren’t new. There are plenty of explanations but none make any sense. The intolerant bully here, who, if he had not been in a wheelchair would likely have shown physical aggression, felt he had a right to act on his aversion to hearing Spanish spoken instead of English. Painfully, daily life in the U.S. is now plagued by these acts, which overshadow the country’s solidarity and commitment to work. The victim was – is – Hispanic, Latin American. Hispanic and Latino are two terms whose origins connote political territory. Oh yes, we must always mark our power and territory!
Through racism, xenophobia and discrimination, many people have come to justify insulting, offending, attacking and killing those who don’t speak English or aren’t white. The terms Hispanic and Latino are etymologically linked and include some Europeans coming from Italy, France, Portugal and Spain.
This young Hispanic, this Latino, happened to be a nice, educated, Christian of high moral character who didn’t respond with the same tone. Nothing about him (being Hispanic or Latino, having brown skin and speaking Spanish) represents anything inferior or shameful. There is not and has never been any reason to show aggression to anyone with these characteristics. Clearly, it’s only sick people who do this – sick if not crazy – people who believe they alone are the keepers of reason and are kings of the world. Those who act this way are mistaken. Those who say, “America for Americans” or “Hispanics go home,” – Ha! – display a complete ignorance of geography, history and culture in general. They don’t even understand where they’re standing and how they are a shame to their own country. The term America has been misappropriated, usurped from all of us Americans. In America there are 35 Latino, Hispanic and Anglophile countries. America is also Hispanic America and Latin America, having been colonized by either Latin races or Hispania (Roman Spain). America is also the entire continent, from north to south, from Alaska (U.S. territory) to Argentina and Chile, including each and every island country, which speaks not only Spanish and Portuguese but also English and French, not to mention the places where they speak Aymara, Quechua, Guarani, Mapuche, Azteca and other dialects. That’s clear to see. The initials USA in English stand for United States of America.
All of us born into this rich diversity of languages, races and cultures are Americans. Some of us need to look at the map, study it and learn to treat everyone with dignity, regardless of where they come from or how much money they have. We can’t allow or encourage the inappropriate use of the concept of being American.
We must eradicate the xenophobia, racism and hatred spreading among those citizens who believe themselves to be “natives,” keepers of America. The United States is just one country in America. The United States is not America. Enough with the violence and murders. Enough with the mass shootings, attacks and slaughters throughout the U.S. and the world as a whole. It cannot be that the genes for violence, weapons and hatred are in the DNA of a nation, once the most powerful in the world. “The most, the most, the most …” Our world is now a global village. We’re all one. And I’m American.