American researchers fall out of the guayaba tree and discover problem with ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ designations

It may have taken decades, but after conducting a study, researchers at the Pew Hispanic Center finally discovered that Hispanics and Latinos do not like to be referred to as “Hispanics” and “Latinos”:

Study finds majority of Latinos prefer to identify by family’s country of origin, ancestry

WASHINGTON — A majority of Hispanics prefer to identify themselves according to their families’ countries of origin, rather than by the government’s suggested terms “Hispanic” or “Latino,” Pew Hispanic Center reported Wednesday.

The description preferred by 51 percent of Hispanics is Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or other culture they are tied to through family or ancestry. About a quarter surveyed said they identify as Latino or Hispanic first and a fifth said they tend to say American, according to Pew’s survey. About 50 million people in the U.S. are Hispanic.

Although Latinos have long maintained they are not a monolithic group, the complexity of Hispanic identity has drawn renewed interest amid the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, a black teenager, by George Zimmerman, whose father is white and mother is Hispanic, of Peruvian ancestry.

Police and early media reports described Zimmerman as white, but his father has defended his son against allegations of racial profiling by describing him as a “Spanish-speaking minority.”

Whites, blacks and Asian Americans are all considered a racial group. Hispanics are an ethnic group, which means although they share a common language, culture and heritage, they do not share a common race. They can be black, white, Asian, American Indian, or descended from original peoples of a place colonized by Spain and a few others.

Some 18 million Latinos checked “some other race” when they were asked to pick a race on census forms and were told Hispanic is not a race. But so many Latinos identified themselves as white, the overall number of white people in the U.S. increased.

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One thought on “American researchers fall out of the guayaba tree and discover problem with ‘Hispanic’ and ‘Latino’ designations

  1. Mexican American scholar Ian Stavans writes: “Identifying as Latino or Hispanic arose within the community and among non-Hispanics with the civil rights movement and took hold in the early ‘80s, giving strength to the idea that Latinos were “a sum, more than parts,” he said.”

    BINGO! That’s the point, it’s a politicized terminology that arose among non-Hispanics with the civil rights movement, and as Prof. Stavans mentions, within the community, but, I would venture to say, rather than “the community,” among self-styled intellectuals and political leaders speaking up for the rest of us, i.e. groups like MALDEF, and the National Council of La Raza, etc… What the terminology does is to erase our individuality, our differences [and aren’t we supposed to celebrate diversity?] in lieu of an undifferentiated group that most of us don’t identify with. It also creates stereotypes and perpetuates victimization, since it was created on the back of the civil rights movement.

    Thanks to this “latino” moniker, we are forced to carry on our shoulders the stereotypes of other groups. I was reading comments by anonymous posters talking about William Levy’s performance on DWTS. And while most were positive, here and there you could see what I’m talking about. Some people would say, “Oh, but he doesn’t look like my gardener,” or its, so refreshing to see a “latino that doesn’t belong to a gang, is in jail or someone who is going to mug you, etc…”

    It’s so irritating as a Cuban American who is proud of our accomplishments to be thrown into a group that I quite frankly have little in common with and whose leaders butt heads with us and rarely support us. No wonder a few years, then Cuban members of congress, Ros-Lehtinen and Diaz-Balart, left the Hispanic Congressional Caucus in protest over political differences.

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