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  #1  
Old 08-07-2010, 11:47 AM
Tripler Tripler is offline
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Why "are you of Hispanic origin" in so many surveys?

I'm taking the 2010 Don't Ask, Don't Tell survey, and came across a ubiquitous question which seems present in almost all surveys/census forms I have to take:

Quote:

Q-Are you Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?

Yes: Mexican-American, Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino

No
So, why do many surveys focus on Hispanic culture? Why don't they care if I'm a Slavic white versus a Scandinavian one? Why do they not seem to care if my friend is Korean or Japanese (subtle culture differences, if I recall correctly)? Why do they not care if a Native American comes from an Eastern, Western, or Northern-based tribe?

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Last edited by Tripler; 08-07-2010 at 11:51 AM..
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  #2  
Old 08-07-2010, 12:02 PM
be bright be bright is offline
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I've always wondered about this, too.

I'd assume that there is some sort of significance when the question is education-related (i.e. signing up for a college, or registering on a financial aid site)...

And yes, being Korean or being Japanese is very different--in fact, I'd say the culture differences are more than subtle. Same with being Chinese vs. Taiwanese. Still pretty different.
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Old 08-07-2010, 12:42 PM
Captain Amazing Captain Amazing is offline
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Hispanics are a large visible minority in this country, more so than Slavs, and Hispanics as a class still suffer from discrimination, moreso than Slavs.
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Old 08-07-2010, 01:39 PM
BetsQ BetsQ is offline
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In the analysis of many social surveys in the US, people will be grouped into four or five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, other, and (depending on the size of the survey) maybe Asian/Pacific Islander. No survey that doesn't specifically focus on smaller groups will have the sample size to distinguish Korean-Americans or Japanese-Americans or Cherokees or Slavs or whatever.

There are specific surveys and organizations that focus more explicitly on certain groups. The Pew Hispanic research center (I think) has surveys that will do more to distinguish between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans and Dominicans or whatever. This is well outside my area of expertise, but I think there are also studies of Asian groups. I don't personally know of anyone in 2010 who studies the descendants of Slavic or Scandinavian immigrants - they're pretty well assimilated and I don't know that there's much reason to believe that they would be faring differently than the average American.

Basically, there's no theoretical reason to look at some groups, and examining others isn't practical for reasons of sample size.
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:27 PM
The Tao's Revenge The Tao's Revenge is offline
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I hate those surveys. I have some Hispanic ancestory, but my Spanish is terrible, and I was raised by my white mother. Am I Hispanic or not? If you say no then does that mean my paternal grandfather, who was a pretty nice dude, from what little I met of him, doesn't count? If you say yes, then does that mean my anglo family doesn't count? The ones who raised me from birth.

None of the selections are the right answer. I am of partial Hispanic origin. It's like that Zen Koan, does a dog have a Buddha nature? If you say yes or if you say no you lose your Buddha nature. The idea is a question with no apparent right answer. However the koan at least has the answer of "mu" (nothing), but wheres the god damn mu selection on this crap?

Last edited by The Tao's Revenge; 08-07-2010 at 02:29 PM..
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Old 08-07-2010, 02:44 PM
RealityChuck RealityChuck is offline
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In general, the surveys have always asked about race. This became an issue because some Hispanics consider themselves Caucasian and others consider themselves Black.

The solution was to separate "Hispanic" from the race (where it used to be) and ask the question separately.
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Old 08-07-2010, 03:49 PM
dangermom dangermom is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tao's Revenge View Post
The idea is a question with no apparent right answer. However the koan at least has the answer of "mu" (nothing), but wheres the god damn mu selection on this crap?
Excellent. Next time someone asks my ethnicity on a form, I'm totally going to answer mu.
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Old 08-07-2010, 07:16 PM
Rushgeekgirl Rushgeekgirl is offline
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I never know what to say when it comes to my daughter. Her father is Mexican, I am American. Getting her registered for school the other day I had to decide whether or not to mark Hispanic. I did but I'm not sure if I should have. She's fair skinned, although her features otherwise match her father's.
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Old 08-07-2010, 08:51 PM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
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Old 08-07-2010, 11:50 PM
Nametag Nametag is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
Absolutely wrong. By U.S. Census standards, Spaniards are definitely Hispanic.
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Old 08-08-2010, 04:09 PM
GiantRat GiantRat is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
Absolutely wrong. By U.S. Census standards, Spaniards are definitely Hispanic.
Consider my ignorance fought. I'm somewhat surprised by this, but I've checked it out and you are correct. I was relying on some bad info given to me by a member of our Latino social organization at work. I am assuming that he was himself confusing "Latino" with "hispanic."
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