Lawrence Auster and the cult of white victimhood

(Note: This entry contains a discussion on how Latin Americans refer to the United States.)

A commenter says that my statement, “The aim of liberalism is white dhimmitude,” shows that am I fetishizing victimhood and becoming like a Marxist; and I reply.

Update: The commenter, Joseph, has posted at his website a fair-minded article expressing his positive and negative responses to VFR, which he has just discovered. He is quite an industrious fellow, and also a night owl. The exchange between us took place at 1 a.m. last night, and his 1,500 word article, which he wrote after extensive reading of this site following our exchange, was posted at 7:30 a.m. Regarding his criticism of “white dhimmitude,” he makes it clear that he was not objecting to the substance of my idea, but to my terminology, which reminded him of the post-modern victimological discourse that is current in the academy. .

Note, by the way, that when I write that Joseph “discovered” VFR, that does not imply that VFR did not exist or that no one knew about it before he “discovered” it, an absurd premise the left has used in their effort to delegitimize the idea that Columbus discovered America. If I say, “I discovered a nice coffee shop on East 79th Street,” that does not mean that the coffee shop did not exist or was unknown before I discovered it; it simply means that it was unknown to me.

Which sets off another question. When Canadians speak of Columbus, do they say he discovered America, or do they have some other phrase? The name America is of course ambiguous, since America originally meant the totality of North America and South America, but then came to mean the United States of America, and South Americans do not use the word “America” to refer to the U.S. They refer to it as “Norte America” or “America del Norte,” and to Americans as Norteamericanos. But that word is also problematic, since, of course, Mexico and Canada are part of North America. So, do Latin Americans have a single, exclusive, and non-ambiguous term for Americans?

- end of initial entry -

Kevin V. writes:

You write:

So, do Latin Americans have a single, exclusive, and non-ambiguous term for Americans?

They do. They don’t use it too much, preferring to use terms that are quietly offensive, but there is a term in Spanish that can be used if a Spanish-speaker doesn’t want to play that came.

The word is “estadounidense” Pronounced es-tado-una-dens-say.

Literally, a “United-Statesian.”

LA replies:

That’s amazing. I can’t imagine a Spanish speaking person actually using that word. Estados Unidos simply does not make it in adjectival form.

Ilion Troas writes:

Some Canadians pretend that we Americans have misappropriated the term to ourselves … but that’s just their inferiority-disguised-as-superiority complex, that’s their “liberal” attempt to define us out of existence.

The fact is that we have been called “Americans” almost from the beginning of English civilization on these shores. [LA replies: yes, but there is a problem, not just a problem rooted in the Canadian inferiority complex, in the fact that America means both the two continents, and one country on those two continents. I’m not saying that there’s anything wrong with that, it’s just the way it happened. But it does produee an awkwardness, e.g., “estadounidense.”]

I thought the general, non-ambiguous Latin-American term for us was “gringo.” ;)

Scott H. writes:

“So, do Latin Americans have a single, exclusive, and non-ambiguous term for Americans?”

Yes. If you’re white and speak English you are a gringo. They don’t consider blacks or Asians part of the U.S., only whites, and we are gringos. Unless you have an English accent, then you are “Ingles,” much better than a p***- gringo American.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at November 12, 2008 01:15 AM | Send

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