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Asturiano-Americans: How Do You Self-Perceive?
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El Tampeno



Joined: 02 Dec 2003
Posts: 56
Location: Tampa

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 12:35 pm    Post subject: Asturiano-Americans: How Do You Self-Perceive? Reply with quote

I would like to know how most of my fellow 2nd/3rd generation Americans of Asturiano descent self-perceive?

In our sub-culture in Tampa, a distinction was made between those of us of Asturian/Spanish descent and "regular Americans". (In fact, in Tampa, the word "Latin" was used to describe anyone or anything of Spanish, Sicilian or Cuban heritage, or any combination thereof). Others were referred to as "American" or "Crackers"...ie a native Southerner...by the way this was not necessarily a derogatory term.

It was common, for example for someone to say:"El hijo de Fulano se caso con una Americanita"....or "No, no es Latina, es una cracka(cracker woman)".

This practice continued through the first native-born generation,at least.
Even today, I have native-born aunts and uncles who, in spontaneous conversation, will still make a distinction between us and "Americans".

I would like to hear your comments about your experiences along these lines in your own Asturiano-American community. Also, I invite our friends in Asturias or anywhere else to pass on any comments they would like.

Also, I would like feedback concerning the term "Hispanic".....I have never felt comfortable with it nor do I really understand what the true purpose of it is (other than the obvious attempt to document a growing component of American society). I feel it's a disservice to and misrepresentation of people of many different and beautiful cultures which have little in common, other than perhaps a written language.
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Tony Carreno/Tampa Florida


Last edited by El Tampeno on Sat Jul 31, 2004 12:15 am; edited 1 time in total
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Bob
Moderator


Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Fri Jul 30, 2004 1:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hola Tony,

When I was growing us, I thought of myself as Spanish on my father's side of the family. I wasn't aware of "Asturian" as a subset of "Spanish" until well into adulthood, probably because the Asturians in Niagara Falls (where I grew up) were a very small community in a much larger population, and were seen as "Spanish" by others. I now see myself as Asturian American and Slovak American (my mom's side of the family).

I share your dislike of the term "Hispanic", which I see as a government imposed term designed to group togther anyone whose ancestors spoke Spanish (or related languages) and to describe a group of people who may have been discriminated against. It took me over five years of conerted effort to get the university where I work to stop listing me as Hispanic on its annual report to the government, which it did to "prove" that is was not discriminatory in its hiring practices. The truth is that I have never felt discriminated against, and I have gotten more than my fair share of federal fellowships and grants without once having claimed minority status. Obviously this doesn't mean that there is no prejudice in the US, but I can't justify claiming minority status when I have never felt myself discriminated against.

"Cracker," by the way, is usually pejorative here in New England.

Un abrazo,

Bob Martinez


Last edited by Bob on Wed Aug 11, 2004 12:29 am; edited 1 time in total
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el californiano



Joined: 08 Dec 2003
Posts: 11
Location: Torrance,Ca

PostPosted: Tue Aug 10, 2004 11:08 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hola Tony y Bob,

I perceive myself as Asturian but nevertheless I am also hispanic. Here in California (but more specifically Los Angeles) the term hispanic means of a spanish background. Whereas Latin is more general term that embodies those of a Portugese,Brazilian or French-Carribean background.

When Columbus discovered what is today the Dominican Republic and Haiti he named the island Hispanola (Espanola). Perhaps that is the correlation?


Last edited by el californiano on Sun Feb 26, 2006 5:06 pm; edited 1 time in total
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Xose



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 338
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 10:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I consider myself an American. I'm 1/4 Asturian (I don't consider myself Spanish, rather of Asturian heritage), and a 3/4 mix of Scottish, Irish, German, English, and Dutch (with the majority being Scotch-Irish).

I identify with the Asturian side mostly, since I can pinpoint exactly where my family came from there, and the other side has been in America for so long, I have no idea where they came from.
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Ken Menendez



Joined: 14 Jul 2003
Posts: 108
Location: Overland Park, Kansas (formerly from Spelter, WV)

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Until Xose posted today, I had forgotton about this diagolue.

Growing up in Spelter and the Clarksburg area, all I heard was Spaniard, never a reference to a province, such as Asturias. The picnics were Spanish picnics, not Asturian. My paternal grandparents and my maternal grandfather are from Asturias, and they refered to themselves as Spaniards. My maternal grandmother was eighth generation born in the US going back to the late 1600's in Maryland.

Here in Kansas City we have a sizable Mexican population and some others from Central and South America. Reference is mostly for them as Mexican or Hispanic. Seldom hear the word Latin to describe them.
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Xose



Joined: 24 Oct 2003
Posts: 338
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:30 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ken, my family also referred to themselves as "Spanish." Only as an adult doing lots of research on our heritage and after spending time in Asturies did I come to the realization that Asturies is so different from the rest of "Spain" (which is really a pretty unnatural conglomeration of distinct cultures and kingdoms--thanks Ferdinand and Isabella!), that I should consider myself Asturianu rather than Spanish.

For example:
My last name is bable, not castillian Spanish. When I'm in Andalucia, they think it's Italian! Smile

Asturies has its own language, which predates castillian Spanish and is distinct from modern Spanish

Asturies' culture is much more aligned to Ireland, Wales, and Scotland than it is to what most Americans consider Spanish: ie bullfighting, wine, olives, etc.

Asturies was the only area in Spain not conquered by the Moors, and thus lacks the Moorish influences that "unify" most of the rest of Spain.

I never knew any of these things before studying abroad and living in Úviéu. Pretty interesting nevertheless.
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Barbara Alonso Novellino



Joined: 22 Oct 2003
Posts: 324
Location: Long Island, New York

PostPosted: Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

My Dad always referred to himself as Asturiano...and was very proud of that.

I always say that I am Spanish. I am first generation on my Father's side and second generation on my Mother's side. My parents met in West Virginia...as it turned out both families were from Asturias.

Bob, when I worked in Sears in the 70's I was listed as Hispanic...I changed it year after year but it didn't make any difference thats how they listed me.
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MJ



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 1:59 pm    Post subject: Asturiana, Dude! Reply with quote

Hi everyone! This is my first post, so please be gentle. Wink

My grandparents were Asturian on both sides, though they were raised in Cuba, their parents having left Spain while they were either very little, or in the womb. However, my grandfather would tell me stories of his childhood in Cuba, where he would get into fights with other kids that made fun of his accent.

Many little things Asturian have crept into my upbringing that I thought for most of my life were Cuban.

While I consider myself American, as I was born and raised in the United States, I am proud of my Asturian heritage and proudly inform those that are interested that I am not of true Cuban descent, but of Asturian descent. All my life, my grandfather, when observing my stubborness and temper, was quick to remark, "Se te voto la Asturiana." (forgive my spelling in Spanish- I speak it but writing is another story). So, I suppose that there is something to that.

It is only recently that I have tried to begin a research project on my family history. My goal now is to visit Asturias.

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Trad. Terechu

Hola a todos! Este es mi primer mensaje, así que tened paciencia.

Mis abuelos por ambas partes eran asturianos, aunque se criaron en Cuba, porque sus padres se marcharon de España cuando eran muy pequeños, o incluso nonatos. Sin embargo, mi abuelo me contaba historias de su infancia en Cuba, donde tenía peleas con otros niños porque se reían de su accento.

Muchas pequeñas cosas asturianas se fueron colando en mi educación que toda mi vida creí que eran cubanas.

Aunque me considero americana, porque nací y me crié en los EE.UU., estoy orgullosa de mis raíces asturianas y siempre les digo con orgullo a todos los que quieren saberlo que no soy de ascendencia cubana, sino de ascendencia asturiana. Toda mi vida, cuando me ponía testaruda o sacaba el genio, mi abuelo me decía: “Se te botó la asturiana!” (perdonad por la ortografía, aunque hablo español, escribirlo es otra historia). O sea que supongo que algo tiene que haber de cierto.

Hace poco todavía que he empezado a indagar sobre la historia de mi familia. My objetivo ahora es visitar Asturias.
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MJ
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Art
Site Admin


Joined: 17 Feb 2003
Posts: 4476
Location: Maryland

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Welcome, MJ! I think (hope) we're normally pretty warm here.

I'd never heard that expression before:
"Se te voto la Asturiana."

Can anyone tell us what the expression means?

------------

¡Bienvenidos, MJ! Creo (espero) que somos normalmente cariñosos en el foro.

Nunca he oído esta expresión:
"Se te voto la Asturiana."

Hay alguien que puede explicarlo?
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MJ



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 2:33 pm    Post subject: Hi! Reply with quote

It's a Cuban thing... sort of like saying that someone has their Irish up, to use a more familiar expression.

Thank you for the warm welcome. I am so tickled to have found this site!!!
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MJ
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Terechu
Moderator


Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 1557
Location: GIJON - ASTURIAS

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 5:52 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi and welcome to the Forum MJ!
Art, I believe it might be "botar", which in Spain means mainly "to bounce" (a ball for instance), but in Cuba and Puerto Rico they use it for "throwing s.o. out" or "chucking s.th."
We would probably say: "Se te salió la asturiana/lo asturiano." MJ's grandfather meant that the Asturian in her had come out.

--------------------------------------------------------------
Hola y bienvenido al foro MJ!
Art, creo que podría referirse a "botar", lo cual en España significa principalmente botar (una pelota, por ejemplo), pero en Cuba y Puerto Rico lo usan por "echar", "salir" o "tirar " . " Nosotros diríamos "Te salió la asturiana/lo asturiano". El abuelo de MJ quería decir que le salía la asturiana que lleva dentro.
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MJ



Joined: 26 Jan 2005
Posts: 25
Location: Florida, USA

PostPosted: Wed Jan 26, 2005 6:30 pm    Post subject: That's How It's Spelled! Reply with quote

Thank you, Terechu!

See? I told you that my spelling in Spanish was horrendous. It is botar, not votar. This is a great forum for me to read more Spanish and actually better spell it one day.

And that's exactly what my grandfather said. He said it with both irritation and pride. Wink

I have been totally blown away here by some of the stuff I read that I once thought was Cuban, including a lot of the recipes! Some of the proverbs were well known in my family as well, and again, I thought they were Cuban for the longest time.

I feel as though I am rediscovering a whole new part of myself!

-----------------------------------------------------------------------
Trad. Terechu

Gracias Terechu!
Véis, ya sabía yo que mi ortografía era horrenda. Era botar no votar. Este es un foro genial para leer español y aprender a escribirlo mejor.

Y eso es exactamente lo que quería decir mi abuelo, y lo decía con una mezcla de irritación y orgullo Wink

Estoy totalmente alucinada con algunas de las cosas que he leído aquí, creyendo toda mi vida que eran cubanas, incluso muchas recetas. Algunos de los dichos también son muy conocidos en mi familia y, nuevamente, siempre creí que eran cubanos.

Tengo la sensación de estar descubriendo un parte nueva de mi misma!
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MJ
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Trabanco
Section Leader


Joined: 29 Apr 2004
Posts: 25
Location: Orlando, Florida

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hola:

I found your comments about the term "Hispanic" very interesting. There is a whole line of criticism devoted to just that; defining the term Hispanic--I can share some titles if some of you are interested. But it is always funny to see how the term seems to divide more than unite the people of Spanish descent. I was for a while the advisor of the "Latin American Students Association" in my university. Most of these students were US born, some of them third, forth generation, therefore I proposed to change the name to "Hispanic Students Asscociation", thinking that this term would better reflect their reality--most of them had never even been in Latin America! To my surprise all of them rejected the idea and much rather prefered the term "Latin American". (!)

There is obviously an obsession in this country to label everything, including people; you always have to fit in some category and that's probably part of the problem. Many of you will remember the questionaries that needed to be filled in order to enter this country; these questions forced people entering the US to look for and find their own ethnicity in a piece of paper. I never knew that there were so many ethnicities in the world!--and funny enough I would always ended up checking "other" as the term "Hispanic" would specify "non white".

Being from Spain and "only" having lived here 11 years I have a different perspective, but I agree with el Californiano in the sense that if by impossision we need to choose a term, "Hispanic" is the best one around, at least it includes the root "Hispano" in it, which should be broad enough to refer to all peoples that share a common Spanish language heritage. The other terms around, Latino, Chicano, Raza... you name it, hide and somehow disguise the common Spanish root which is the main aspect that unities us
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Terechu
Moderator


Joined: 24 Jun 2003
Posts: 1557
Location: GIJON - ASTURIAS

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 10:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Hi Trabanco,
With that surname I bet your folks were from Gijón, weren't they?

As to the term "Hispanic", the proverbial American hysteria to racially label everybody, which began in Ellis Island when classifying immigrants and which has since spread throughout the world with Hollywood movies and TV series (and American culture in general) combined with many Americans' ignorance of the exact location of Spain (I was once asked by an employer if Spain was south of Mexico!! Rolling Eyes ) has brought about all kinds of misunderstandings and misconceptions.

Whether Hispanics like it or not, the term "Hispanic" designates the citizens of all Spanish-speaking countries. That excludes Brazil, some Caribbean countries and Belize.

The term "Latin" designates the citizens of all those countries where a Latin language is spoken (derived from Latin). That includes all Central and South America, Brazil as well, and also the following European countries: Italy, France, Spain, Portugal, Monaco, The Vatican, San Marino, part of Switzerland and Rumania. I hope I haven't left out any. Smile

So, if you are Hispanic, you are also Latin. But if you are Latin, you are not necessarily Hispanic.

As to defining our race, we are Europeans and thus Caucasians. No more, no less. I'm not making a statement of value, as I don't believe that anybody is worth more for being from a certain part of the world, but we are Europeans, just as European as the Brits or the Germans.
I was married to an American citizen and my surname then was Moore. Nobody ever defined me as anything but "White" or "Caucasian".
If my surname had been Mendoza I would probably had been labeled "Hispanic". It's all a big humbug!
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Bob
Moderator


Joined: 24 Feb 2003
Posts: 1727
Location: Connecticut and Massachusetts

PostPosted: Tue Feb 01, 2005 12:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What annoys me about the term Hispanic is the way in which the US government uses it, not to indicate a person whose ancestors spoke Spanish (only half of mine did, by the way, the other half spoke Slovak), but as the equivalent of African-American, Asian American, Alaskan Native, Native American, Pacific Islander, etc (which are intended to be racial and not linguistic categories). I can't really check off Caucasian on the forms, since I don't have any known ancestors from the Caucasus, and European American (which would be accurate) isn't offered as an option.

It's all politics anyway. I just don't like being pigeon-holed for someone else's purposes. The US is overly concerned about race (and as a geneticist I can make a good argument that the usual racial categories are myths anyway). We all are who we are, and we all have good reason to be proud of our ancestry, something over which we have no control whatsoever.

Bob Martinez
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