As a blogger who writes about the differences between this country, its people, its costumes and the ones I left behind I am always presented with the problem of what to call its citizens.
I am sure a U.S. Citizen wouldn’t have a problem calling himself North American but as a Colombian/Venezuelan from South America I understand that the description is not completely accurate since North American not only is comprised by the United States but also as a continent of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Canada, Cuba, Belize, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Haiti, Jamaica, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Trinidad & Tobago among others (got bored of typing all).
I also have heard them call themselves Americans but that would include all the countries I already listed plus the ones in South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Uruguay, etc.
So what do I call you people?! I have tried to stop the use of “Gringo” which I do not mean in a disparaging, racist, stereotypical way, but in the easy and convenient way of describing the citizens of this country since apparently there is not a word that describes them to the world. I don’t want to use the formal “U.S. Citizens” since I am so used to calling nationalities with the “an” at the end. German, Colombian, Canadian, Brazilian, Irish… wait… French... damn it okay so is not an infallible rule but at least the Irish, French, Afghans have ONE word to name their nationality, and aside from my cluelessness of what the people of Papua New Guinea are called I have never felt so frustrated when it comes to know what to call you! Is hard enough to remember that people from Finland are called Finns in the English language and not Finlanders (as it would be said in Spanish) but now I have a problem naming the citizens of the country I actually reside in! (I’ll worry about Finland and Papua New Guinea when I have to).
In Spanish this is a non-issue since in Spanish there is a name for citizens of the U.S., see the United States is Los Estados Unidos, so citizens are called Estado Unidenses. Simple yet beautiful.
I don’t want to be accused of racism or shit like that by calling you guys Gringos (see? I even did it with a capital G!) but what else is there to call you? I cannot call you Americans, or North Americans (I just can’t) and U.S. Citizens sounds too damn formal, too damn long and makes me sound like my nemesis (the immigration agents).
So please understand it is not racism, not stereotyping, not disparaging when I call you Gringos. (at least that is not how I mean it, I cannot be held responsible for how you perceive it) I like you, I am thankful for your country and grateful to you for letting me stay here and be part of it. I am thankful for my Gringo husband whom I adore and who can now recognize the difference between Salsa and Merengue (Reggaeton still sounds all the same to him).
I don’t care when people call me Latin (even though that is a language not a nationality) I don’t care when they say I’m Spanish (even though I am not from Spain) call me what you may and I’ll keep calling you Gringos and know that I do it with all the love from the bottom of my heart.
Those who don’t like it can’t just put a sock on it.