Latino Voices

Pitbull Attacked On Twitter For Hosting American Music Awards (TWEETS)

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Host Pitbull speaks onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/AMA2013/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 24: Host Pitbull speaks onstage during the 2013 American Music Awards at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 24, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/AMA2013/FilmMagic)

Another moment in which a Latino takes the national spotlight has confused some Americans.

In what has become a common pattern of misinformed people assuming Latino celebrities are foreigners, Twitter haters lashed out at Cuban-American rapper Pitbull Sunday night for hosting the American Music Awards. Their logic: the American Music Awards shouldn’t be hosted by a “Mexican.”

sorry pitbull i thought this was the american music awards not the mexican music awards

— anthony (@anthonytooturnt) November 25, 2013

how is it the american music awards when a mexican in pitbull is the host and a british or whatever 1D is won 2 awards

— JJ Collins (@TheJJCollins) November 25, 2013

I'm gonna be honest, I didn't know Pitbull was Mexican until like 5 months ago

— Olivia Bowers✨ (@bowers_olivia) November 25, 2013

They are, of course, wrong. Armando Christian Pérez, also known as “Mr. Worldwide,” was born in Miami, Florida, making him 100 percent American.

It probably throws some people off that Pitbull's music is infused with Spanish verses and frequently uses his catchphrase, "Dale!" But as the child of Cuban immigrants, from heavily Hispanic southern Florida, it’s no surprise that he sings in America’s second-most spoken language. And as we’ve pointed out many times before, performing in Spanish certainly doesn’t make you foreign in the United States. Spanish was first spoken in North America before English, and more than 37 million people in the United States speak it today.

Some haters realized that Pitbull isn’t Mexican. One user posted a message, later deleted, reading "can we deport pitbull back to Cuba or wherever he came from so my ears dont bleed anymore?"

Those more knowledgeable about Pitbull’s background tried to enlighten the angry Twitter folk.

As Latinos become an increasingly prominent part of the United States' mainstream culture , many Americans have struggled to understand that the great majority of Hispanics in this country are American.

Marc Anthony faced a racist backlash on social media back in July from those who thought he wasn’t American enough to perform “God Bless America” at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in New York. The salsa singer was born and raised in New York City.

Eleven-year-old Sebastien de la Cruz, a mariachi singer, faced similar attacks while performing the Nation Anthem before a San Antonio Spurs game in June.

The young Tejano star took it in stride, saying it offered him a chance to showcase Mexican-American culture.

Check out eight reasons why Spanish is not a foreign language below.

UPDATE: This post was updated on Tuesday at 11:23 a.m. to remove a Twitter user's name from a deleted tweet.

Because lots of Americans speak Spanish
As of 2012, approximately 38.3 million people in the U.S. spoke Spanish at home, according to the U.S. Census. That's 13 percent of U.S. residents ages 5 and older.
Because a bunch of our states, cities and streets have Spanish names
Nevada, Colorado, Los Angeles, Florida, Montana, San Antonio, California and Sacramento are all Spanish words or names. The list goes on and on.
Because Spanish was spoken in what is today the United States before English
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Spanish colonizers first set foot in the area that would become the United States in the 16th century, founding a permanent colony in St. Augustine, Florida, in 1565 -- well before the English set up Jamestown. All European languages, on the other hand, are more foreign to North America than Karuk, Cherokee, Natchez or the scores of other languages of the indigenous peoples of the continent.
Because the U.S. has more Spanish speakers than Spain
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In 2013, the U.S. had the 5th largest Spanish-speaking population in the world. However, in 2015 it moved up to the number two spot behind Mexico.
Because it’s the most-spoken language on the island of Puerto Rico
Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images
And Puerto Rico is a U.S. territory whose inhabitants are U.S. citizens.
Because the U.S. does not have an official language
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English is not the official language of the United States. Though several states across the nation have adopted legislation establishing English as their official language, no such legislation has been adopted on a federal level.
Because even English-speaking people use Spanish words on a daily basis
Creatas via Getty Images
Words like "cafeteria," "vanilla," and even "ranch" are derived from Spanish.
Because this Spanish-language network is a ratings beast
Photo by Alexander Tamargo/WireImage
Spanish broadcast network Univision regularly outperforms English-language networks, especially on a local level. Univision stations in Los Angeles, New York, Houston and Sacramento closed out the May 2016 sweeps period as the most-watched early and late local newscasts among Adults ages 18-49, regardless of language.
Because Spanish is becoming the second-most important language in politics
Even candidates vying for political office recognize the fact that many of the nation's citizens speak Spanish, many releasing Spanish-language ads in an effort to connect with voters.

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