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Opinion

New U.S. Latino Museum Questioned

May 17th, 2011 (New York)-----The Italic Institute of America (IIA), a national association of Italian American educators based in New York, is questioning the newly proposed U.S. Latino Museum in Washington D.C. The group says the use of the term "Latino" is historically inaccurate.

"It's not just about semantics," says Bill Dal Cerro, current national president of the IIA. "We're certainly not here to rain on anyone's parade, either. But the use of 'Latino' to refer to Spanish speaking peoples either in North or South America is just factually wrong. The word Latino has become a convenient social label but it fails to take history into account."

According to Rosario A. Iaconis, chairman of the IIA: "Scholars will tell you that the word 'Latin,' when referring to a people, denotes the classical Italians of the Roman Empire. By dint of Roman influence, the Spanish, French, and Portugese became 'Latinized'—that is, their languages arose from Roman culture."

John Mancini, an IIA founder, notes: "Like many other misappropriated Italian words in American popular culture, 'Latino' ignores the cultural and linguistic roots of a people. The term also ignores the rich cultural diversity of the indigenous populations of South and Central America."

 
 
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