The roots thing (II)....
"But, you don't look Latino?" (usually accompanied with a look of confusion and slight intrigue).
I've had this reaction countless times as a white Latino living in the far north.
The predictability of this encounter is understandable given that relatively few Argentines migrate, and rarely do so to
The need for this clarification brings me back to my first post. I must qualify the idea that I am doing the "roots" thing in
In this sense,
From the turn of the 19th century until WWII, massive waves of Europeans migrated to
In my case, my mother's father fled from Franco during the Spanish civil war because of his socialist ideals and my father's parents were Eastern European Jews - a not-so-accommodating place for them in the 1920s.
For the most part, immigrants were searching for greater economic opportunity which many poorer European regions, such as
The impact of Italian immigration is quite unique to
Argentina also has to partially thank the Italians for a gold medal in basketball. The 2004 Olympic gold medal game was played between
Team 1: Basile, Bulleri, Soragna, Galanda, Marconato, Radulovic, Pozzecco, Righetti, Rombaldoni, Chiacig, Garri and Coach: Recalcati.
Team 2: Nocioni, Sconochini, Scola, Wolkowyski, Montecchia, Fernández, Ginóbili, Sánchez, Delfino and Coach: Magnano.
For anyone who follows basketball, the Ginobili and Nocioni names reveal Team 2 to be
Anyways, I started to delve into the race and immigration issue to make the point that compared to the rest of the continent,
I think this reality is essential to understanding the unique sense of cultural superiority found in
Most sources I've come across claim that whites make up 97% of the population, while grouping the remaining 3% as mestizos (mixed European and indigenous) and indigenous. However, these numbers distort reality. After having read the Executive Summary of the Human Rights Documentation Center, Racial Discrimination: The Record of Argentina, I would probably put these figures at around 85% white, 12% mestizo, and 3% indigenous.
Regardless of which figures are exact, the document makes a critical point about what is essential to understanding Argentinean society: The official figures may overestimate the white population, but they certainly reflect the normative perception that the country is predominantly white.
This illusion is also reflected by the everday use of racist labels which greatly distort the way races are perceived in other societies. The most common example is when people call mestizos negros (blacks) and refer to anything vulgar or lower-class, in reference to mestizos, as a negrada (no direct translation).
I once half-seriously, half-mockingly asked someone, "If mestizos are called blacks, then what are blacks called?" He looked at me like the question came out of left field, and said: "We dont have those kind of blacks here."
Indeed, the general perception of race in