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Forum LockedIs Latin America Western?

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Poll Question: Is Latin America Western?
Poll Choice Votes Poll Statistics
28 [51.85%]
0 [0.00%]
4 [7.41%]
0 [0.00%]
1 [1.85%]
0 [0.00%]
16 [29.63%]
5 [9.26%]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 20:07
Hi Emily!!
 
It is really you, Emily Monroy in person? Oh Jesus!!!
 
For me you are really an idol, since I read your articles about Latin America. I never believe I was going to establish contact with you, though.
 
Not only I added that article in here, but the one called "Is Latin America Indian?" as well. As usual, a little bit later some smart guy started a thread called "Is Latin America Welsh?", so I was forced to show him the Welsh colonies in Argentina LOL
 
As a Chilean, an average Latin American that is the result of the mixtures between Natives and Europeans that have been going on in here for centuries, but who carry a real and deep rooted European culture, I would like to thank you very much for your intelligent and comprehensive article.
 
Best regards,
 
Omar Vega (Allias "Penguin" in this site)
 
 
 
 


Edited by pinguin - 20-May-2007 at 20:08
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emilia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 20:22
Dear Omar,
 
Thank you!  I generally search under my articles to see if they have been printed elsewhere besides the sites to which I originally sent them.  But my life has gotten busier lately so I haven't had much chance to do so, and it took me about a month to find my article posted here.  By the way, where did you originally see it, because it was on a couple of sites before.
 
I also propose you might start a discussion regarding another essay I wrote, "Race Mixing and Westernization in Latin America and the Philippines."  I have gotten several responses on it.  One was from a Filipina (of part Spanish descent), who basically agreed with it.  Another was from a very nice young Filipino man who insisted that yes, the Philippines was a Latin country.  So I would be interested in what your readers thought.
 
I'm sorry; I tried to copy and paste it here but I can't, so search under "Race Mixing and Westernization in Latin America and the Philippines" or go to www.analitica.com/bitbiblio/emily_monroy/race_mixing.asp.
 
Emilia
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 20:45
Although I have not really thought about the question, I realise now that I have never considered Latin America to be Western. Neither have I considered portugal to be western, and even Spain and the Realm of Sicily are questionable. The reason for this is entirely due to influence and industralisation. Nothing to do with geography or culture.

When Australians look for comparisions with or examples to emulate from western nations we never look toward latin america. Argentina was once seen as a country with many similarities to Aus, but still in a different cultural boat. The West actually means, "Industrialised wealthy nations that have western or northern European cultures", where as the East is "Industrialised wealthy nations that have east Asian cultures", and the rest is the third world.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 21:09
Hi Emily. The article was not in the link you posted but in Interracial Voice. I copied now:
 
 

Race Mixing and Westernization in Latin America and the Philippines
By Emily Monroy

E.%20Monroy 

 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
In his book Race and Ethnicity, Belgian sociologist Pierre van den Berghe compares the impact of European colonization on Africa and the Americas. While the former largely retained its original character despite being under European rule, the latter ended up with a predominantly Western culture. As well, race mixing was widespread in the New World but occurred on a much smaller scale in Africa, with the exception of South Africa's Cape Province. The amount of acculturation and miscegenation moreover did not depend on whether the European power in question took an "assimilationist" approach, as France, Spain and Portugal did, or a "racialist" one, as did Britain and the Netherlands. At the end of the day, the Americas are a "cultural extension of Europe," whereas Africa is not.

The same observation can be made of Latin America1 and the Philippines. Though both were under Spain's control for roughly three centuries, Latin America essentially adopted a Western (Iberian) culture as a result of colonization while the Philippines remained more or less as it had been before the conquest. Similarly, miscegenation between the conquered and conquerors took place extensively in the former region but was fairly negligible in the latter. To paraphrase van den Berghe, Latin America is a cultural extension of Spain; the Philippines is not.

This is not to say that the Philippines was not influenced by three hundred years of Spanish rule. Among Spain's legacies to the islands were Castilian2 loan words to the local languages, Spanish personal names of the inhabitants, and perhaps most importantly, Roman Catholicism, today the religion of over 80% of Filipinos. (When it comes to being good Catholics, the Filipinos may have beaten their former colonial masters and the latter's overseas descendants at their own game. Several years ago the international newswires reported on Father Ener Glotario, a priest in Barranquilla, Colombia who refused to give communion to scantily clad female parishioners. I couldn't help thinking how much easier Father Glotario's life would have been if he were stationed in the Philippines, where the women, unlike their Western sisters, generally eschew miniskirts, midriff-baring tops and short shorts.) Yet the Philippines' status as an Asian country is undisputed not only geographically but also culturally.

In fact, the example of the Philippines provides a powerful counterweight to claims by left- and right-wing ideologues alike that Latin America is not Western and that its "soul" is Indian rather than European. If such were the case, the counter argument might go, why did the region not end up like the Philippines, whose people were conquered by Spain but nonetheless kept their own languages and cultural traditions?

One of the most striking differences between Latin America and the Philippines today lies in the racial composition of their inhabitants.

 
 
Mestizos3 form the bulk of Latin America's population. By contrast, most Filipinos are of indigenous Malay stock, and individuals of mixed Spanish-Malay descent are relatively rare.

What accounted for the low rate of miscegenation between Spaniards and natives in the Philippines? Certainly not a lack of desire by either party. Even clerics succumbed. Spanish chronicler Sinibaldo de Mas attempted to explain why so many Spanish priests in the Philippines broke their vows of celibacy: "The offense is most excusable, especially in young and healthy men placed in the torrid zone... The garb of the native women is very seductive; and the girls, far from being unattainable, consider themselves lucky to attract the attention of the curate, and their mother, father, and relatives share in that sentiment. What virtue and stoicism does not the friar need to possess!" (The good de Mas is perhaps a little too quick to blame the "girls" and their attire for his compatriots' lust. More likely, the women's eagerness to couple with curates stemmed from the higher social status that mixed race children in colonial -- and according to some sources, modern -- Philippines enjoyed compared to their unmixed native counterparts. In addition, I suspect Spanish priests' fall into temptation was due less to the native women's "garb" than to the fact that, as Pierre van den Berghe writes in his book Human Family Systems: An Evolutionary View, "celibacy, however saintly, goes against most people's grain.")

The main reason for the dearth of Spanish-Filipino mestizos was that few Spaniards ventured to the Philippines. The voyage from Spain to the islands was considerably long. Before the construction of the Panama Canal, it involved going around the southern tip of Africa and across the Indian Ocean. The Philippines in addition lacked natural resources like gold and silver that the Americas had and that might have convinced large numbers of Spaniards to migrate there (indeed, at one point the scarcity of potential riches led Spain to consider abandoning the islands). According to de Mas, in some Philippine villages the friar and/or the mayor were the only white residents.

Whatever the cause, the low incidence of race mixing in the Philippines effectively stopped that country from going down the path of Hispanicization. The offspring of Spanish men and Filipino women4 may have adopted the culture of their fathers -- some mixed race families in the Philippines still speak Spanish among themselves, for instance -- but ultimately there were simply not enough Spanish mestizos in the country to have much of an effect on Philippine culture as a whole. Mestizos in Latin America conversely came to constitute the largest racial category in the region, so as a group they managed to maintain and promote the Spanish language and culture.

One giveaway to Latin America's "Westernness" is the fact that the majority of the population speaks Spanish, not an indigenous language or even a Creole, as their mother tongue. On the other hand, it has been estimated that even at the height of Spanish domination only 10% of Filipinos were able to speak the language of their masters, and undoubtedly fewer still learned it as a mother tongue. And while the Americans who took over the islands in 1898 were much more successful in teaching their Filipino subjects English than the Spaniards were in teaching their language, the reality is that English in the Philippines is a lingua franca and an administrative medium rather than a mother tongue. Neither the Americans nor the Spaniards managed to eradicate the islands' Asian character.

Going back to van den Berghe's argument, the example of the Philippines and Latin America shows that regions colonized by the same power may nevertheless turn out quite differently. It also shows how miscegenation can change the course of history. Despite Spain's assimilationist approach and occasional "successes" in the Philippines (such as religious conversion), the Spaniards failed to acculturate the islands to any significant degree. Spain's conquest of Latin America on the other hand transformed that region into a part of the Western world. As van den Berghe explains with regard to Africa and the Americas, differences in the Philippines and Latin America themselves rather than racial attitudes on the part of the colonizer were responsible for the different outcomes of European rule in the two regions.


(1) For the purpose of this essay, Latin America will refer only to the Spanish-speaking part of the region.

(2) The term "Castilian" refers to the official language of Spain (as opposed to regional dialects and languages like Galician and Catalan).

(3) Though the term "mestizo" literally means "mixed" in Spanish, for the purpose of this essay the term will refer to individuals of mixed Spanish and Native American descent in the Latin American context and to those of mixed Spanish and Filipino Malay origin in the Philippines.

(4) The opposite combination was virtually non-existent, as even fewer Spanish women than men traveled to the islands.


Emily Monroy is of Sicilian and Irish descent and lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada
 


Edited by pinguin - 20-May-2007 at 21:12
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 21:17
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Although I have not really thought about the question, I realise now that I have never considered Latin America to be Western. Neither have I considered portugal to be western, and even Spain and the Realm of Sicily are questionable. The reason for this is entirely due to influence and industralisation. Nothing to do with geography or culture.

When Australians look for comparisions with or examples to emulate from western nations we never look toward latin america. Argentina was once seen as a country with many similarities to Aus, but still in a different cultural boat. The West actually means, "Industrialised wealthy nations that have western or northern European cultures", where as the East is "Industrialised wealthy nations that have east Asian cultures", and the rest is the third world.
 
Well, that's the wrong way of seeing things. Let me illustrate you with an example.
 
Why should New Zealand, for instance, a small country that is developed but not precisely industrialized could be considered more Western than Brazil: a country that sent its own rockets to space, design and manufacture its own airplanes, and impose a style worldwide?
 
Not even the race card can be play this time. New Zealand has only 3 million white people while Brazil has more than 90 millions. Only germans in Brazil are more numerous than New Zealanders.
 
Finally, when the anglosaxon mentalities push Latin America into the third world, with the poorest nations of Asia and Africa, that really hurt us.
 
Pinguin
 
 
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 22:29
I never said it was the right way, I said it was the Australian way. "Western" has different definitions depending on who you talk to. To ask, is latin america "western", you first need to ask what is "western"?

Would you call South Africa western? Or what about Singapore?

(why do you want to be considered western anyway?)

To be very strict with the definition, I think western countries are only the countries of the Western Roman Empire. Since thats where the West vs East diechotomy started.


Edited by Omar al Hashim - 20-May-2007 at 22:34
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-May-2007 at 22:47
As far as I learn at school which is mainstream mentality in Spain and Latin America, Western Civilization is the culture of Western Europe (Iberia included) and its colonies in the Americas and the Pacific. Not all the colonial countries are western; only those where the largest majority came from Europe, like is the case of Latin America
 
West is not synonimous of developed world because not all western countries are developed (600 million people are not) and not all the developed countries are western (consider Japan)
 
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 00:05
I think your definition makes more sense. Ours is based on some weird definition of us & them.

Although thats not to say that people will include latin american countries when they say western, they hardly ever do I think. At least here.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 00:27
Hey Omar, read the articles of Emily Monroy. She hit the nail. She said exactly what I meant. She is of Italian descend, though, so she understand there is a divide between Northern and Southern Europe that was projected to the Americas as well.
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 06:14
Hm, I never thought about it either... I think I never considered Latin America as Western before, but on the other hand, I would very defenately not consider it third world at all! Come to think of it, (and reading your posts Penguin) it is quite a lot more western than anything else...
 
I think for me the best solution would be to seperate western in two categories: North (practical, very organised, mainly Calvinist, Germanic base) and South (emotional, loose and easy organisation,  mainly Catholic, Romanised base). Latin America would be in the South, together with Spain, Italy, Portugal and southern France. Scandinavia, Anglo-Saxon countries, Benelux and Germany in the other. Eastern Europe I would consider another group again altogether... the second world perhaps? LOL 
 
Anyway, the simple division in Western and Not Western is a bit silly and way too general to be fit for daily use...


Edited by Aelfgifu - 21-May-2007 at 06:16

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 09:23
Originally posted by Aelfgifu Aelfgifu wrote:

...
I think for me the best solution would be to seperate western in two categories: North (practical, very organised, mainly Calvinist, Germanic base) and South (emotional, loose and easy organisation,  mainly Catholic, Romanised base). Latin America would be in the South, together with Spain, Italy, Portugal and southern France. Scandinavia, Anglo-Saxon countries, Benelux and Germany in the other. Eastern Europe I would consider another group again altogether... the second world perhaps? LOL 
... 
 
I agree. We also make that distinction between North and South. Although in some cases the barriers blur. Don't forget Irish and Germans migrated to Latin America and Italians to the U.S. LOL. Besides, the number of people that is ateist or agnostic in Southern Europe and Latin America is really high, perhaps as a reaction to catholicism. But in general is true.
 
Pinguin
 


Edited by pinguin - 21-May-2007 at 09:26
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emilia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 12:00
It's funny; I was reading a book called No Pictures in My Grave: A Spiritual Journey in Sicily by an American woman named Susan Caperna Lloyd.  In it she states that "Sicilians don't appreciate Westerners' fascination with the island's history," as if Sicilians were not Westerners themselves.  That struck me; I always thought of Sicily (my father's homeland, by the way) as part of the West and didn't suspect anyone else did not.  In fact, Sicily was a colony of Greece in ancient times, so it was exposed to Western culture at a very early stage.
 
On the other hand, Ms.  Lloyd, though of partial Italian descent, grew up in an Anglo-Saxon culture, so I can see why she thought of Sicily as "exotic."  So if Anglo Americans like her don't even consider Sicily Western, they won't see Latin America as Western either.
 
Eastern Europe is hard to classify.  I suspect maybe one reason it's often not considered Western is political rather than cultural; they were separated from Western Europe by the iron curtain.  On the other hand, maybe even now it's easier to view Poles and Hungarians, who are Catholic, use the Latin alphabet, etcetera, as Western than it is Russians or Serbs.  Then again, my stepmother, who is Polish, doesn't consider Poland Western...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote pinguin Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-May-2007 at 12:34
Yes, it is funny.
 
The people of Nordics or Germanic ancestry, tend to see the West as a legacy of Northern Europe only. They forget, though, that the basis of the Western Civilization are in the south. In Greece, Rome, Hispania and even in Carthago and Palestine. Without forgeting Middle Ages and Renascence Italy.
 
Without that part, the Western Civilization could be a concept totally different from accepted history. It would be the history of the rise of the barbarian tribes of the North, and Greece and Rome should be excluded.
 
Strange, isn't? Perhaps, the south is remembered just when it is convenient?
 
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Aelfgifu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 04:31
Now now penguin, that is not true. Most people from Northern Europe are very much aware of the achievements of the South, and they do not try to hide it or forget it. In spite of differences in culture and language, there is still a strong sense of unity in Europe, based on the knowledge of so much common past.
 
All you are displaying is your bias on Northern Europe, not Northern Europe's bias on Southern Europe. To base such an opinion on a single US citizen's opinion is very crude.

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 05:24
Originally posted by Emilia Emilia wrote:

In fact, Sicily was a colony of Greece in ancient times, so it was exposed to Western culture at a very early stage.

Now certainly Greeks are not westerners. They were one of the biggest components of the Eastern Orthodox Church, they had the most power in the Eastern Roman Empire. Mediaeval history is full of the friction between the Eastern Romans/Greeks and western latins/franks.
And if we are going to work this thing on cultural similarities, then if the Greeks are considered western, so should the Arabs and Turks. Arab and Greek culture is very similar. Since the Arabs are certainly not considered western, I don't think the Greeks should be either.

'Western' basically means 'us', and it varies in each use depended on who 'us' is in the situation. The use of the word Western to apply to Greeks is using western to mean christian. (Lebanese Christians are also sometimes called western.) The use of the word western in Anglo-Saxon communities would basically have a north european cultural bias in it, but will happily claim the ancient empires of Greece and Rome too.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 06:40
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:


 Arab and Greek culture is very similar.


What do you mean?
Which similarities did you find?




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Omar al Hashim Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 06:47
Food, outlook on life, music, history. Most things except religion.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote nikodemos Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 07:03
Originally posted by Omar al Hashim Omar al Hashim wrote:

Food, outlook on life, music, history. Most things except religion.


I don't know many things about arab cuisine so i cannot tell whether there are similarities.Possibly there are.
Regarding the outlook on life, i don't think that arabs are so similar to greeks.Greeks in my opinion are liberal in outlook while most arabs are not.
Our history is very different compared to the history of the arab states.
The greek state since the beggining (1830) has been oriented towards the west.For example many institutions were brought to Greece by the Bavarian monarchy.reading greek history you can see the steps that were made in greece towards westernisation.



Edited by nikodemos - 22-May-2007 at 07:04
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote The Hidden Face Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 12:01
Greece is not a western state because of her traditional agricultural culture -which really looks eastern, Greece is a western country because she is totally westernized. Turkey is also considered as a westernized state by the West. Whereas Arabic states have their own political and cultural systems. There's no reason to call Arabs "Westerner."

I consider Latin America to be Westerner, also.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Emilia Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 22-May-2007 at 13:15
Of course Greece is Western; as the cradle of Western civilization, we wouldn't have the West as we know it without Greece.  On the other hand, I think Greece got separated in a sense from the rest of the West by embracing Orthodoxy rather than Catholicism or Protestantism and also because it was under Turkish rule for a long time.  But I definitely consider Greece Western.
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