Who Is Hispanic?

Many people seem not to realize that “Hispanic” is not a race. Hence, asking people on a questionnaire whether they are Hispanic or Caucasian makes zero sense. Because you can very easily be both.

My colleague from Spain shared with me today that he stopped putting himself down as Hispanic on official documents because nobody sees him as Hispanic since he is white. And this, of course, is a mistaken perception. If there are Hispanics in the Americas it’s only because my colleague’s ancestors conquered the New World.

The word “Hispanic” comes from “Hispania”, which was what Romans called the Iberian Peninsula. And the Iberian Peninsula is the place where Spain is located. Nowadays, however, the word “Hispanic” has somehow become attached to people who are of Amerindian origin and live in Spanish speaking countries. I’ve heard even those Amerindians who don’t speak a word of Spanish being referred to as Hispanic because there is this perception that Hispanics are somehow racially different from the Caucasians.

Some people are going so far down this ridiculous journey towards racializing the appellation “Hispanic” that they have started adding the categories of “Hispanic White” and “Hispanic Non-White.” My Peruvian brother-in-law has spent a lot of time studying his own skin color and comparing it to my sister’s because he has no idea whether he is “Hispanic White” or “Hispanic Non-White.”

So expecting people to be either Hispanic or Caucasian is like asking them whether they are female or Chinese. And saying things like, “What do you mean she is Hispanic? She is completely white!” is very stupid.

Is the Word “Literature” Scary?

How do you feel about the suggestion that the word “Literature” be removed from the name of the department because when students hear it they supposedly get discouraged? And that instead of being a “Department of Languages and Literature”, it’s better to be a “Department of Languages and Cultures” because “culture” is more likely to attract students?

I feel that I don’t really need students who have such an unhealthy reaction to the word “literature.” Why should we cater to this kind of weird people and pretend that we are doing something other than what we are doing?

What do you, folks, think? It kind of really matters to me that I can remain working at a Department of Literature but I need help to win this argument with my colleagues.

New Job Interview Style

OK, I have to share this. There is a new style of interviewing people for jobs. You fly, say, 15 people in. You meet them all at the airport, interview them there for 2 hours, select the 3 you like and drive them to your facilities for a visit and the rest of the interview.

The unlucky 12 are put on the plane back right there at the airport.

If you want to ask why Skype isn’t used instead, I’m as puzzled as you are.

This is actually being done at my university right now. If anybody has any explanations, please share.

Who Wants to Control Women’s Bodies?

Here is a completely shocking story about a horrible vile monster of a woman who refuses her raped daughter a Plan B pill in order to brag about it online to her equally monstrous friends.

Now repeat after me: the anti-choice movement is not about men wanting to control women’s bodies. It’s about a bunch of vile freakazoids wanting to control women’s bodies.

Great Motivation

So I almost interrupted my Seinfeld Chain yesterday. You don’t want to hear my excuses because they are all very predictable and amount to one thing: simple laziness.

Then I went to Jonathan’s blog in search for motivation and read the following statement:

Just remember that there are people like me out there, people who not only have the intellectual capability to publish scholarship of high quality, but who also can work over a hundred days straight on a major project.

And that really lit a fire under my ass. “Oh, really?” I exclaimed loudly, scaring people who were hanging out in the vicinity of my office. “And you are suggesting that I’m not such a person? That I can’t do it? I’ll show you!”

After which, I attacked my document with a passionate dedication.

It’s  a rare skill to know how to motivate people as well as Jonathan does.

P.S. I know that people are bored by the posts on my struggle with research but scholarship is a huge part of my life and I want to write about it. Since I have abandoned personal diary writing in favor of the blog, I need a place to record my journey as a researcher. Feel free to scroll down for more general interest posts.

Holodomor Deniers

My regular readers know that I don’t throw around the word “fascist” lightly. I hate it when people employ it in the meaning of “a person I dislike or disagree with.”

However, I absolutely insist that anybody who denies the horrible reality of the Holodomor, a famine organized by Stalin’s regime that claimed the lives of millions of Ukrainians in 1931-2, is no different from a Holocaust denier. And I will tell such people that they are fascists.

I also want to point out to the especially clueless that recognizing the very well-documented historical reality of Holodomor does not make one an anti-Semite. I first found out about the horrors of Holodomor from my father, a Jew. He told me this was one of the greatest tragedies of humankind. And it insults me that some jerks would equate being Jewish with being a Holodomor-denier.

I have talked to people who lived in Ukraine in 1931-2. They told me about corpses lying in the streets, people from the country-side coming to the city to beg for food for their starving children, and the military chasing them back to the country-side. You have to be a real animal to deny their stories.

Watch the following and, please, finally, shut the fuck up about the Holodomor.