March 24th, 2013

Does the new pope have the proper credentials…

to be a latino?

That seems to be the burning question of the day. It’s not just a stupid conversation, it’s the sort of identity politics that’s become all-too-prevalent these days and has made race and ethnicity a greater force than ever, as the jockeying for position in the have-not entitlement sweepstakes continues apace.

He is being hailed with pride and wonder as the “first Latino pope,” a native Spanish speaker born and raised in the South American nation of Argentina. But for some Latinos in the United States, there’s a catch: Pope Francis’ parents were born in Italy.

Such recent European heritage is reviving debate in the United States about what makes someone a Latino. Those questioning whether their idea of Latino identity applies to Pope Francis acknowledge that he is Latin American, and that he is a special inspiration to Spanish-speaking Catholics around the world. Yet that, in their eyes, does not mean the pope is “Latino.”

These views seem to be in the minority. But they have become a distinct part of the conversation in the United States as the Latino world contemplates this unique man and moment.

—”Are Italians Latino? No,” says Eric Cortes, who has been debating the issue with his friends.

—”The most European alternative and the closest thing to an Italian,” is how Baylor University professor Philip Jenkins described Pope Francis in the Chronicle of Higher Education.

—”Does a Latino have to have indigenous blood?” asked the LA Weekly newspaper of Los Angeles beneath the headline, “Is The New Pope Latino?”

—”Latinos come in all colors and shades and features,” Ivette Baez said in an emotional debate on the “Being Latino” Facebook page.

That said, I recall that I noted the new pope’s Italian ancestry in the very first article I wrote about him, and the affect it might have on his diversity status:

I note that Bergoglio is an interesting compromise in the diversity sense. He’s from Latin America, but the name “Bergoglio” indicates Italian ancestry, as is true of a huge number of Argentinians. This would make him a semi-throwback to the days when popes tended to be Italian (skimming this list rather quickly indicates that the first non-Italian Pope since medieval times was elected in 1978).

[NOTE: The word "latino" makes me think of "ladino." So, that brings us to the second hugely important question of the day---are Jews who speak ladino latino?]

38 Responses to “Does the new pope have the proper credentials…”

  1. vanderleun Says:

    “Does the new pope have the proper credentials…”

    “Does the new pope wear red shoes?”

    “Does the new pope wear a big white hat?”

    “If a Pope latinos in the woods….”

  2. vanderleun Says:

    “Does the Pope use an aspergillum to sprinkle holy water as a blessing?”

  3. Doom Says:

    Give them a microphone and as large of an audience as possible. This type of banter is shooting them in the foot. They can’t win with most people on it, one way or the other, or the other other. It’s good of you to pipe in though, that is the next step after handing them the mic.


  4. Recovering Bureaucrat Says:

    Hilarious that people focus on such shallow matters as ethnicity when the Church is focusing on people’s souls. Reminds me of a nasty comment in National Lampoon’s Radio Dinner‘s “Deteriorata”: “A walk through the ocean of most men’s souls would barely get your feet wet.”

  5. Charles Says:

    If this Pope, born and raised in South America and a native-Spanish speaker is NOT “Latino,” then I guess it is true that folks from Spain aren’t really “Hispanic.”

    It really shows their ignorance of history if they consider an Italian heritage, you know, with Rome being the birthplace of “Latin” and all, to not be “Latin” enough.

    Lord, just wait until the first black pope comes along and they will be calling him an “Oreo.”

  6. Randy Says:

    “It really shows their ignorance of history if they consider an Italian heritage, you know, with Rome being the birthplace of “Latin” and all, to not be “Latin” enough”

    This was my thought as well. Being Italian disqualifies you from being “latin”.

  7. blert Says:

    Let’s see…

    Roman Catholic,
    Native blood spoke Latin — nay created it.

    Pope Francis would have to be the definitive Latino.

  8. Molly NH Says:

    the Left wants to continue the current situation of ridiculing the Pope & the Christian Church as they were able to do with Benedict XVI but it would be so uncool to belittle & diss a Latino,
    like Pope Francis, but if they can make him Italian…..
    well there we go, business as usual !

  9. Ed Bonderenka Says:

    I’m still trying to figure out how he fulfills the Malachi prophecy.

  10. thomass Says:

    Its not a new thought and I generally agree. Latino really means native + Spanish. There are countries (and sections within other countries) to our south that are mostly European ethnically. I don’t blame ‘Latinos’ for pointing out their cultures have things in common and are different than the majority European countries… in other news; the French are not African… just the way it is.

  11. thomass Says:

    oh and the counter point. African French speakers in French colonies are still African.. although the French speaking African cultures have merged with the French to create something new (ah la similar to Latino in the Americas with their relationship with Spain).

  12. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: no, that’s not what “latino” really means. Latino is not a racial category. You are confusing the term with this one.

    And the whole thing is garbage, IMHO. The racial classifications will be broken down further and further and further, until there are hundreds of them with a hierarchy of who is most oppressed to who is less oppressed to who is an oppressor to who is the biggest oppressor of all. I am heartily sick of it.

  13. thomass Says:

    I am not. ‘Latinos’ have argued for decades that the word and tie in with “Iberian Peninsula” is too wide. Italian shouldn’t be included and/or the Italian (and Portuguese) inclusion is too wide and/or those cultures had little influence on theirs. If you keep pushing on the word; they’ll point out they didn’t pick the word for themselves.

    I’ll give them all of that. Re: Uruguay is not Mexico. Neither is Brazil. There is not a pan south American culture. There are several major groups who don’t perceive a strong cultural bond between themselves (even if they do speak Spanish… which they don’t all do).

    “And the whole thing is garbage, IMHO. The racial classifications will be broken down further and further and further”

    So you have an ideological attachment to not wanting to look at it from other views… Also; its not really racial. The Spanish and the Italians are different cultures. Ergo; their influence in the Americas created distinct cultures in the Americas.

  14. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: I repeat that you are wrong.

    You are certainly correct that some people who call themselves “latino” would like to narrow the definition of the word to their definition. But that’s not the general and traditional definition of the word (did you read the links I gave?). And it would have the effect I described in my most recent comment above this one.

  15. Gary Rosen Says:

    I can’t believe I’m the first poster to say, “He’s a white Hispanic”.

  16. neo-neocon Says:

    Gary Rosen: now, why didn’t I think of that?


  17. Francesca Says:

    Can’t we ever get beyond thinking in racial/ethnic/skin-color terms? I really am sick of it. The Pope is a native Spanish-speaker from South America. So his parents came from Italy. Who cares? What if his parents were born in Argentina, but his grandparents were born in Italy? What if both his parents and his grandparents were born in Argentina, but his great grandparents were born in Italy? Where does it stop? It is ridiculous.

  18. Occam's Beard Says:

    Can anyone really decide the answer to this burning question without knowing his politics? Or at least whether he mows lawns for a living?

  19. Gringo Says:

    As would be said in the Pope’s native Argentina,¡Que boludez! [what nonsense]

    I would concur with those commenters who have pointed out that Italy is the homeland of the Latin language, which would strongly imply that the Pope could be called Latino. Spain was ruled by Italy for ~500 years. Parts of Italy were later ruled by Spain. The two languages are very close. If one speaks Spanish, one can get by in Italian.

    I might add that there has been a long-standing sentiment among many Argentines, especially from the Buenos Aires area, that Argentines are distinct – and superior- to the rest of South America.

    Consider two sayings from Argentina. “South America begins north of Córdoba [about 450 miles northwest of Buenos Aires].” Or: “An Argentine is an Italian speaking Spanish who thinks he is an Englishman whose largest city is the Paris of South America.”

    If one says that South American= Latino, then the above sayings indicate that a lot of Argentines do not consider themselves Latino. But with a caveat.

    With the economic and political disasters of the last 40 years, I would infer that this “we are not of South America” sentiment in Argentina was a lot stronger in years past than it is today. Argentines have learned the hard way that the old phrase, “Dios arregla de noche la macana que los Argentinos hacen de dia” [At night time God fixes up the mess that Argentines make during the day] is no longer operative. That will make one a bit more humble.

  20. G Joubert Says:

    Hey, if it’s good enough for the great period piece movie Scarface (with Italian actors in the key Cuban roles, starting with Al Pacino as Tony Montana), then it ought to be good enough now.

    But maybe they don’t see Cubans as Latino either.

  21. SteveH Says:

    Identity politics can be greatly simplified. There’s white men and victims of white men. Any questions?

  22. Skookumchuk Says:

    American liberals are as obsessed with “race” as were 19th century phrenologists measuring people’s heads with a pair of calipers.

  23. thomass Says:

    neo-neocon Says:

    “thomass: I repeat that you are wrong.”

    I’ll leave it to you to tell them they don’t know who they are….

  24. thomass Says:

    Oh; and for perspective… about it not being about blood but culture. How many of you readers are English? Of course its been 200+ years of melty potness but even at the time of the revolution English people were a minority (and not as in 40%; much less). Then free association:
    If you could pick a country to have a closer / special relationship with who would it be out of these choices:

    I’m guessing most would say India (due to the existence of some shared cultural elements). Even though this country has a bunch more Germans (more than a mile than the number of English)…

  25. thomass Says:

    and about using words correctly I’d suggest picking up a world map that is not in English.

    I don’t know what the deal with the English is but they call just about everyone by the wrong name / not what they call themselves…. You can’t do that to groups (foist the wrong term on them) and blame them for the term being wrong.

    Its a proud tradition we continue with them… calling them England when the name of their country is the UK.

  26. expat Says:

    Why don’t we get Sotomajor to rule on this, and then tell everyone else to STFU.

  27. expat Says:

    Sorry, I mistyped–Sotomayor.

  28. artfldgr Says:

    The racial policy of United States in the modern era was a set of policies and laws implemented by Feminists and Neo liberals, asserting the superiority of the “Latina Race” the “female gender”, and based on a specific racist/gender doctrine which claimed scientific legitimacy regardless of contradictions.

    It was combined with a passive eugenics program that aimed for racial homogeneity by using redistribution (and harmful education) to affect life choices, and create the will to voluntary self extermination of the Untermensch (or “sub-humans”) as babies voluntarily, and which eventually culminated in ??? [its not over yet].

    These policies targeted peoples, in particular White males (of which 99% of Jewish males fall under) as oppressors, while holding up women, homosexuals, and selected race groups as superior, and protected (and more than equal) .

    Overt racism was hidden by putting all ethnic groups under one white label, rather as ethnic Poles, ethnic Russians, ethnic Latvians, ethnic French, ethnic Spanish, ethnic Italians who were secretly labeled as “inferior”, responsible for all ills, and rather than be the ones to end slavery, is blamed for slavery.

    These groups were placed in a hierarchy that placed the “protected classes” as Herrenvolk (or “master race/gender”) of the liberal folk society (Volksgemeinschaft or “national community”) at the top, and ranked White males, capitalists, right wingers, and others (including Jews indirectly) at the bottom.

    these whites were ordered to wear armbands to signify their permanent positions as racists to be exterminated (as the ideology says but does not let them know), and they were ordered to self flagellate in the presence of their Herrenvolk. this precedent first started with Obama’s America volunteers.

    if you want to read the rest of it. just go here and translate it yourself.

    Racial policy of Nazi Germany

  29. JuliB Says:

    Gary Rosen needs to get a gold star or something. Neo – you need a way to indicate a ‘post of the day’ or something timeframe. I just about fell down laughing when I read his comment!

  30. neo-neocon Says:

    thomass: “them” as you describe it is a small subset of people called “latinos,” not the majority of the group. You are defining “latino” as that subset defines it and I am defining it as the larger group defines it—as well as pointing out what the result of the more restrictive definition is.

  31. Ymarsakar Says:

    Does the Left qualify as loyal Americans?

  32. artfldgr Says:

    Why blacks and other races, including women, can NEVER be racist no matter how it may appear to the real racists… also, the oppressors can never be oppressed as that condition is social justice.

    Why Black People Can’t Be Racist

    The principle, which race racketeers sometimes explicitly state, that “only white people can be racist” has been attacked more than once in the race realist blogosphere, but I haven’t ever seen anything about the source of the idea, until today. Turns out it’s not just one of those idiot things such people randomly say to defend indefensible positions, it has a full concept behind it.
    Which was explicated in a socialist blog.

    yeah… and the people who are against suc things, are way way way too lazy to read and then participate in the arguments meaningfully. they would rather seem ignorant to those they are talking to, by not being able to reference what THEY find important and believe ina way they find cogent based on that information lacking.

    it would be like a person knowing the earth is round talking to a falt earther who doesnt know and has no idea the other is looking at them that way!

    oh. and if you tell them to get on board, so they don’t look that way, its better to attack the messenger… while then spending years musing why its all falling apart and they are ineffective.

    imagine trying to participate in science and you dont even know who newton is!!!!!!!!!!!! and yet you want to have your arguments heard and accepted and wonder why they arent…

    if you dont convince the academics who advice the politicos, your just rubes and masses. the same people regarded so highly by socialists they managed to extermate 100 million of them
    [edited for length]

  33. artfldgr Says:

    As near as I can tell, the formulation “Racism = Prejudice + Power” originated in a book by Pat Bidol in 1970. Titled “Developing New Perspectives on Race,” in it Bidol explicitly makes the formulation as stated and then uses this definition as the basis for an argument that in the United States Blacks cannot be racist against whites, they can only be racially prejudiced against them. This makes an important connection that matters as far as this particular nonsense is concerned, which is that this stipulated definition exists as an excuse to defend members of racial minorities against accusations of racism and it has always existed for this reason. The definition was largely popularized by Judy Katz, who referenced Bidol explicitly, in her 1978 book “White Awareness” which presented a course of counter-racist training for organizations. The book was highly influential and through it the formulation, for those who were searching for such a tool with which to deflect accusations of racism, gained popularity.

    Which brings us to the present day, more or less, where the slogan has achieved a sort of quasi legitimacy by virtue of having been repeated so often. Of course, it’s of absolutely no use to anyone for anything except what the slogan was intended for initially, and even then it’s a very poor tool. Nevertheless, when reading over the tossed out thoughts on race by the left wing of the technocracy in particular, it remains as a sort of gospel despite the fact that as far as I can tell, the arguments for it are either very thin or even non-existent. In the Katz book, for example, it is purely stipulated and the only argument given for it is that without the component of power, any definition of racism looks exactly like prejudice. Why the formulation “racism = racial prejudice,” which is much more consistent with the general usage of the term, is problematic is left unexplored by Katz and by all the theorists I have found who have adopted the definition.

    i love this author because they are confounded

    they are confounded because they believe the rhetoric, goals, and ideas… and do not have the ability to question them in a way that realizes how stupid it is, but it works. and that the selling goals and points of the left are lies… so they are confounded, yet loyal to the end…

    however, to understand that these people are only doing what their teachers taught them… is to look at the opinions of most, who were not taught the special way of thinking compared to those who were required to change their minds or fail at their dreams and futures (And let freinds and fmaily down)

    here is proof he is confounded as he believes that the poitn of socialism is a better society, not unseating the merit of a society so you can usurp power.

    so he doesnt see that the most effective tool for femi8nists adn racialists is the most effective tool.

    he sees them using it wrong, and that it wont lead to the end he believes… and so, rather than think that his leaders want a different end, he endeavors to correct the error, and try to bring them back to track

    but that just neutralizes him..
    he becomes a nothing…
    he either blindly supports them, or wastes time trying to help them improve (Which they dont want or need), rather than questioning what he is following!!!!!!!

    [you have to follow the link to read his explanations, anyone like me who can read wittgenstein and comment cogently, does not do short posts for the undermenschen... i do, as i dont see th em as undermenschen... but they yell and want to be undermenschent and i have a problem seeing them that way... ]

    Which brings me to the point of all this, which is that the formulation “Racism = Prejudice + Power” is counterproductive and even vaguely racist in and of itself and it is in this that problems listed above arise.

    The problems with the Racism Formula are as follows:

    [do note how each point he is missing the point that he is right, and that the point is not to be correctd, but used. ]

    1.) It gives ammunition to enemies of racial reform
    2.) It excuses or hides racism between racial minorities;
    3.) It is divisive between working class whites and working class racial minorities
    4.) It obfuscates the locus of power by attributing to race what can only be accumulated by class regardless of race.

    1 – that way they cant stop the game that gathers the others power

    2- making it an us against them society where all whites, including jews, have to go to the ovens. thereby avoiding the error of the final solution last century – thinking that white males would let jews die out, instead they rescued them. now, they know to make sure that same group doesnt do that again. (given that groups attitudes, they woudl do it again!)

    3- which is the whole point of divide and conquer

    4- right.. that way, you dont kick sotomayor out as she cant be racist, and you kick all the whiges out as they are always racist. and by not knowing who to blame, you can avoid being stopped.

    4 also speaks to feminism in the prior posts.. that by joining the victims in the crowd, the perpetrators walk out without a problem! and everyone is left trying to place blame, to which they point to the butler, i mean the white guy…

  34. Bob from Virginia Says:

    OKaY here is my stupid story. My wife is from Argentina, so my kids qualify as Hispanic/Latino and therefore doors open for them because Latinos to the US government means semi-literate Mexicans who need to be helped because they are culturally disadvantaged. The fact that her parent’s culture is Yiddish, and that the Argentines are really European with a higher literacy rate than the US and have as much culturally in common with Mexico as the Danes means nothing, at least to US government professional racialists.

    Or to put it another way, the term Hispanic/ Latino applies equally to President Kirchner (Nuestra Señora de la corrupción) and Ecuadorian head hunters.

  35. Sangiovese Says:

    My parents are Italian and I was born in the U.S. That makes me an American. The Pope’s parents are Italian and he was born in Argentina. That makes him Argentinian. If people from Mexico, Central and South America (except Brazil) are Hispanic, and if Hispanic = Latino, then the Pope is Latino.

    On the other hand, if someone has to have roots exclusively south of the U.S. border to be Latino, with no ancentry from anywhere else, then almost everybody alive doesn’t qualify. We’re all from somewhere else or we’re partially from somewhere else. So almost nobody is Latino according to this strict definition.

    I’ll go with the first definition. Born and raised in Latin America = Latino.

  36. Artfldgr Says:

    if he is latino… thats ok with them
    but if he is italian…
    then i guess all this applies

    Jewish intellectual and leftist activist Susan Sontag snarled, “The White race is the cancer of history.”

    Leonard Jeffries, chairman of African-American studies at the City College of New York, said he wanted to leave his children in a “world in which there aren’t any White people.”

    Jewish Harvard professor and editor of “Race Traitor” magazine Noel Ignatiev trumpeted, “The goal of abolishing the White race is on its face so desirable that some may find it hard to believe that it could incur any opposition other than from committed White supremacists… Keep bashing the dead White males, and the live ones, and the females, too, until the social construct known as the White race is destroyed. Not deconstructed, but destroyed.”

    Mario Obledo, founder of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), remarked on radio station KIEV, “California is going to be a Hispanic state and anyone who doesn’t like it should leave. If they don’t like Mexicans, they ought to go back to Europe.”

    Miles Davis, famous Black jazz man, quipped in a Jet magazine feature: “If somebody told me I had only one hour to live, I’d spend it choking a White man. I’d do it nice and slow.”

    Professor Jose Gutierrez of the University of Texas gleefully boasted, “We have an aging White America. They are dying. They are [expletive] in their pants with fear! I love it!”

    Malcolm X described a plane crash in 1962 as follows: “The death of over 120 White people is a very beautiful thing.”

    Eldridge Cleaver, former Black Panther leader, explained why he raped White women: “Rape was an insurrectionary act. It delighted me that I was defying and trampling upon the White man’s law, upon his system of values, and that I was defiling his women.”

  37. Ymarsakar Says:

    There are generally two different, and polar opposite, strategies to dealing with grassroots (totalitarian) political organizations that aren’t on your side.

    1. Liberate the oppressed by giving them power to overthrow the organization that keeps them shackled, instead of merely lecturing them about duty and personal responsibility to free themselves.

    2. Help the Left oppress their members even more, inform the Left’s secret police of other “uncle toms”, fake or real, and goad the Left into brutalizing their own members more with anti-insurgent purges. This in turn will produce dissent amongst the membership body, allowing more of them to defect to the other side.

    Organizations derive their power from their membership and the loyalty of said group. Once you take it away from them, the organization collapses automatically. It’s just difficult to pry away the private property of slave owners. It’s difficult getting slaves to consider freedom more beneficial than guaranteed food and safety. One must harness the tension of class and racial differences first, to make the status quo unlivable, before people will think about defecting.

    Killing people is the easy part.

  38. Gary Rosen Says:

    Thank you JuliB!

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