Ok, I have to ask this cause I just don’t get it.

As far as I know, hispanics are, in polls and other statistics in the USA, counted seperately or their own category as “white”, “black” etc. Also, if someone has a hispanic father/mother and the other one is say of, I don’t know, other white, the person is seen as mixed race or something. Why? If say an english and a spanish get married in europe, they are not seen as a mixed couple, at least not according to their “race”/colour, but they might according to their nationality.
So, my point is, why are hispanics seen as different from other white as say black people? I don’t know if the same takes place in Canada too. Just curious.

The focus on racial groups in the US is extremely unsettling to me.
Just wanted ot say that.

The Hispanic population in the Americas has a significant Native American “bloodstream” and are not necessarily analagous to Spaniards or Portuguese insofar as racial categorization is concerned.

In some circles, Hispanics are considered to be a “white” race so many forms with racial catergoies have a box that says “White (Non Hispanic)” to separate the Europeans out.


Because we’re discriminated against, bitch.

My understanding is that it’s up to the individual whether to identify themselves as hispanic or white. That’s the way I’ve seen it on the government forms, tests, etc.

This distinction isn’t as nefarious as it at first seems IMHO, as the intent is to use it to support affirmitive action. The truth of the matter is that hispanics (called such slurs as “Spic” and “Wetback”) are discriminated against, pretty badly. Affirmitive action does alot to level the racially distorted school/work playing field, despite what its “but it’s not fair to white people!” detractors say, and so in my mind this is much better than having the government pretending these distinctions don’t exist and letting passive racism continue to dominant US society as it has done in the past.

Then again, while I’ve known lots of white, black, and asian people, I haven’t known many hispanic people and haven’t had a chance to ask anyone so labeled what they think of it.

Anders- Do you think that might have something to do with the ethnic makeup of Sweden?

Well, since I don’t have much of a problem with the categorisation “by home country” and “by foreign heritage”, for the purpose of social statistics, I don’t really know. While I see certain social factors that may be helped by it, the racial thinking in the US is profoundly disturbing. I’m not too keen on the creation of peoples by biological happenstance.

We had a spanish native (i.e. from Madrid) working at my old company. FWIW, he drew a sharp distinction that he was NOT hispanic and had negative views of hispanics. For that matter, it’s my understanding (though not from personal experience), that different hispanic subgroups (i.e. Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican), make fairly strong distinctions amongst themselves.

Because a European suffers less discrimination in this country than a Latin or South American.

If you were a person of European and Amerindian descent with a fair complexion, most people would consider you “white”, and you could avoid the usual “dirty mexican” discrimination. But, you would probably still identify yourself as Hispanic.

In the U.S., the government considers both mestizos and castizos to be Hispanic.

The use of the “one drop” rule in the US is a legacy of slavery and its following discriminatory legislation. Wiki, as usual, has a write-up about it.

I always thought the American Anthropological Association had a good write up on the American concept of race, for anyone who really cares, as well as some information on the OMB Directive 15 that creates that confusing seperation of race and ethnicity, and thus the whole “white/hispanic” thing that you see in U.S. polling.

I don’t like it much either, but it is an established part of modern socieity – you can’t just ignore it.

Anyway, the US is hardly unique in this misery, and in my experience (despite having seen first hand discrimination against blacks, asians, and hispanics) the US is actually more moderate than most other cultures I’m familiar with. France, Russia, and pretty much all of Asia come immediately to mind. “Racial thinking” is hardly a monopoly, and if it’s rare in Sweden consider yourself lucky.

Ef, as Udarnik alluded, Hispanics are considered an ethnic group in the US, not a racial group. You can be Hispanic under US usage and be entirely of European ancestry, entirely of African ancestry, entirely of Mesoamerican ancestry, or any combination.

So, what exactly is your question?

True enough. Hispanic is a category created by census takers (was it 1980?). It isn’t a real culture OR ethnicity, though it has since been adopted as both. It was simply a category, a way to separate a certain group of people. I have no idea who (or when) it was expanded to its current usage.

The short version is “we occasionally have race riots where we go after anyone who’s brown, so all brown people are in one class”.

You just made that up, didn’t you?

It may be that I’m just not paying attention to France and other countries enough, but I thought people were more interested in the (perhaps equally constructed) categorisation of “ethnicity”, rather than melding it with “race”.

Americans don’t like to think in a two-tiered system. A lot of Jews, when asked their ethnicity, will say “Jewish,” for example.

But I don’t think it’s two-tiered really. Rather that ethnicity has replaced race as being the thing that matters, while in the US, race seems to have aggregated some of the meanings of ethnicity.

Perhaps leaving that AAA text behind a link wasn’t the best idea, so I’ll pull some of it out here. The point they make is that the division between ethnicity and race is entirely the confused thinking of U.S. senators in the 1970s who made the laws that introduced most of us to those terms.

First, by treating race and ethnicity as fundamentally different kinds of identity, the historical evolution of these category types is largely ignored. For example, today’s ethnicities are yesterday’s races. In the early 20th century in the US, Italians, the Irish, and Jews were all thought to be racial (not ethnic) groups whose members were inherently and irredeemably distinct from the majority white population. Today, of course, the situation has changed considerably. Italians, Irish, and Jews are now seen as ethnic groups that are included in the majority white population. The notion that they are racially distinct from whites seems far-fetched, possibly “racist.” Earlier in the 20th century, the categories of Hindu and Mexican were included as racial categories in the Census. Today, however, neither would be considered racial categories.

Knowing the history of how these groups “became white” is an integral part of how race and ethnicity are conceptualized in contemporary America. The aggregated category of “white” begs scrutiny.

I realize Jason is being sarcastic when he talks about “brown” people, but I’m sure there are a lot of “white” Americans who would be startled to find themselves considered to be not-white or non-European in countries where race is interpreted differently. I have a white friend, for example, who was called “black” in Russia, and another who was tailed by Russian police because of his tawny skin and brown eyes. No one should look for any more meaning in words like race or ethnicity than whatever your neighbors invest in them.