Hispanic??? What color is that? Is it a race?

For the White people here:

What race is a Hispanic person that has skin tone that is the same as your own? Are they a different race from you or just culturally different?

Ain’t none of them there wetbacks got no skin like mine.

I think that what is usually meant by “hispanic” is a tan-skinned person whose family is from South or Central America. Sort of the color all the pale people go to great lengths to be, risking skin cancer in the process.

IMHO I think it’s silly, and getting sillier. I work for someone who comes from a South American country, has a Spanish surname, and whose skin is no darker than mine. Not that it makes any difference. I couldn’t care less.

I’ve posted elsewhere about a family in my neighborhood with a Spanish surname, that all the other evidence would make you tend to believe was Irish or German.

I would say cultural. But many people consider race to be “social construct”, in which case it can mean anything you want.

Here in CA, most Hispanics are Mexicans. And many, if not most, of them ar so-called meztisos, or Indian/Eruopean mixed race people. In many people’s minds, Hispanics = Mexican = Meztiso.

I consider myself to be a “white Mexican”, which is perfectly valid in Mexico - but an oxymoron in the United States. But I would guess that many Mexican politicians, singers, and actors would not be assumed to be “Mexican” either but “white” in America. I also don’t understand it when people say things like “he is Mexican/Hispanic but looks white.” Isn’t “white” completely based on appearance? I mean what does a Ukraniian, a Frenchman, and an ‘Anglo’ from North Carolina have in common apart from the general appearance of a “white” person? I have other freinds who are white or light skinned Hispanics who also feel sort of confused - they look “white” but they are unsure of what they are supposed to be. I am sure black Dominicans or Japanese Peruvians in America go through some of that too.

Not that I feel special or better for this - but the reality is to a stranger I am seen as a white person and not a “minority”.

For some background, the term “Hispanic” as it is used for a “race” or category of people is a relatively recent invention. When my parents were growing up in New Mexico and Texas, more affluent, usually lighter skinned people were commonly called “Spanish” and darker skinned poorer people “Mexicans” (or worse) - with no regard to actual origin or ancestry. Collectively they were “Latins”, “Latin Americans” and so on. This “Hispanic” business was essentially crafted in the 1970’s to encompass all these varied groups: Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Southwestern Hispanos (people who trace their family back to Spanish colonists before 1848). Before then there were awkward constructions such as “Spanish surnamed persons”, “Spanish speaking persons” that did not include all members of these groups.

Another thing is many Latin Americans have a looser view of race than say Anglo-Americans. For instance in Spanish the word “raza” can mean race, or just a people - as when people in the 19th century spoke of a ‘Irish race’. So when people in Mexico say “la raza mexicana” they fully realize that this includes full blooded Indians, mestizos, and white Spanish Mexicans. This causes some confusion I think.

Also in many countries “race” is confused with class, so wealthier people are seen as “whites” and the poor as “Indians” - regardless of actual genetic ancestry - though in general there is a correalation between skin color and social status.


Seems like to narrow a definition to me.

didn’t work

Why on earth does it matter?

Seriously. What’s with the bizarre prefixing of Irish-German-Slovakian-Hispanic in front of the “American” when people describe themselves?

So your grandma came from Africa and your dad was born in the Ukraine. What are YOU like? And what the Holy Mother of Gene Pitney does the colour of your skin have anything to do with that?

I always hated the classsification of people ‘south of the border’ as ‘Hispanic’ because they are not another race, barring the mixed ancestry of indian-mexicans, they are nicely tanned Caucasians.
If Hispanics are another race (for the skeptics) prove it, barring mixed race.

But I really don’t believe that they are another race.

It’s a false construct used for purportedly easy classification of a group that doesn’t exist outside of the construct.

Public agencies have to classify people into a number of manageable groups. Let’s say that the EEOC wants to gauge employment discrimination. Inconveniently, there are more individual groups than may be easily measured. For administrative purposes, it’s easier to say “black” than to divide by the linguistic, geographical and other strata existing within the community, or (for example) to have top-level categories for a native Haitian, native Nigerian, African American with Western African ancestry, African American with Ethiopian roots, etc.

Likewise, it’s more expedient to say “Hispanic” than to measure the level of discrimination against Mexicans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, Bolivians, etc. I think the intended target group would also include an indigenous person from Belize, although Belize nationals are not Hispanic or Latino, as far as I know.

Once I filled out an EEOC compliance form in which the Hispanic category was “Spanish Surname”… which would put white and privileged José Gómez in an oppressed class while dark-skinned laborer Jonathan Jones would be in the privileged class, for statistical purposes. Actually, I knew a man who had a big-dollar contract with the City of Chicago, for which he qualified largely due to his “ethnicity” as defined by his Hispanic-sounding name and family heritage, although he did not speak Spanish, did not personally identify with any ethnic group and happened to be distrustful of others typically in his category.

I suspect that these categories are developed as a function of how they are viewed by The Man… a small-town white shop owner may not distinguish between a Puerto Rican and a Mexican, even though the two groups have little in common notwithstanding Telemundo’s programming. The category cant say what it really wants to say, which is something along the lines of Western Hemisphere Swarthy.

“Hispanic” is one of the stupiest ways of labeling a group of people ever conceived. Imagine if all people of English descent living in the US were labeled Angloic and treated as one race because of it. That would not only include a great many whites, but also many blacks and Native Americans. Yet would we all would be considered “Angloic”.

And why does Latin seem to only apply to spanish descendants? Would not English and Italian also fall into that classification, since they all share the same roots?


I agree that “Hispanic” is one of the most ridiculous classification categories.

Latin is used to describe people who speak a languange derived from Latin, of which English is not. French, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian, yes. Also, the term “Latin” ( as opposed to Latino) is more of a cultural term. Funny, though, you never hear of Romanians reffered to as “Latins”.

After I delivered my son, I had to complete some sort of statistical form. One of the sections requested my race. All the usual suspects were there: white, black, American Indian and so forth. For the Hispanic choice, however, there was a subcategory that listed almost every country in Central and South America as some Caribbean ones.

So, somewhere out there, people want to know just what your country of origin is if you identify with Hispanic.

If people who live in Spanish speaking countries are called “hispanic”, then shouldn’t people who live in English speaking countries be called “anglo”?
Yes, Blacks in the US are Anglos. See how that works?

I always believed (from a purely anthropological viewpoint) that there were only a few “races” and that these included caucasian, black and oriental asian.

The caucasian race includes (but is probably not limited to) all European descendents which includes Spanish, western Asia (Arabs; Indians; Russia and all previously Russian States; etc).

What we call “Hispanic” is IMHO merely a cultural sub-category, just as someone from Albania could label himself so as to reflect the culture in which he was raised.

That leaves me to wonder what to call the bigotry of someone who is anti-Hispanic…

A white person who espouses negative stereotypes and harbors resentment against black people can accurately be called a racist because he (or she) is a caucasian who thinks negatively about a person who is of an altogether different race. But if a white person is anti-Hispanic, that would be caucasian against caucasian. So would it be called “culturalism” perhaps?

from: http://www.bartleby.com/61/60/H0216000.html


ADJECTIVE: 1. Of or relating to Spain or Spanish-speaking Latin America. 2. Of or relating to a Spanish-speaking people or culture.
NOUN: 1. A Spanish-speaking person. 2. A U.S. citizen or resident of Latin-American or Spanish descent.
ETYMOLOGY: Latin Hispnicus, from Hispnia, Spain.
USAGE NOTE: Though often used interchangeably in American English, Hispanic and Latino are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant. Hispanic, from the Latin word for “Spain,” has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common. Latino—which in Spanish means “Latin” but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericano—refers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic, not a Latino, and one cannot substitute Latino in the phrase the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures without garbling the meaning. In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word. •A more important distinction concerns the sociopolitical rift that has opened between Latino and Hispanic in American usage. For a certain segment of the Spanish-speaking population, Latino is a term of ethnic pride and Hispanic a label that borders on the offensive. According to this view, Hispanic lacks the authenticity and cultural resonance of Latino, with its Spanish sound and its ability to show the feminine form Latina when used of women. Furthermore, Hispanic—the term used by the U.S. Census Bureau and other government agencies—is said to bear the stamp of an Anglo establishment far removed from the concerns of the Spanish-speaking community. While these views are strongly held by some, they are by no means universal, and the division in usage seems as related to geography as it is to politics, with Latino widely preferred in California and Hispanic the more usual term in Florida and Texas. Even in these regions, however, usage is often mixed, and it is not uncommon to find both terms used by the same writer or speaker. See Usage Note at Chicano.

So now my question is: What if you’re the child of Japanese immigrants in Mexico (actually quite common) or German immigrants, or belong to one of the Jewish communities? There are many such groups keeping to themselves for many generations in Latin America. If one of these children were to emigrate to the U.S., would they be considered Latino or Hispanic, even though they may speak two languages with equal facility and have not a drop of Spanish blood?

Also, it seems from the above citation, that Brazilians are considered “Latinos”.

ceyjen, there are four traditionally accpeted “stock” races - Caucasoid, Negroid, Mongoloid, and Australoid. Mix and match and you get the various ethnicities.

I believe that if your family is from Latin America, you may be considered “Hispanic” or “Latino” regardless of your “race”. A lot of people in Latin America don’t have a “drop” of Iberian blood.

For instance, I went to college with a girl who was born in Mexico of Greek Cypriot parents. Apparently her parents left in the Turkish invasion and managed to find refuge in Mexico City. She was completely Greek, yet when her family came to America some time later, she was termed “hispanic”.


This is where it gets tricky. You are lumping Polynesians in with “Mongoloid” which might be OK, and you’re luming Melansians in with “Australoid” which again, might be OK, although pretty debateable. But you are totally missing the !Kung San and their relatives who are clearly NOT in the Negroid category or any of the other 4 categories you’ve listed. I think some anthropologists refer to them as “Capoid”, but I could be wrong about that.

Hispanic is word that doesn´t has a meaning outside U.S.A.

In fact I think the word was invented by americans in order to fullfill their role in this planet. Clasify everything and everyone :slight_smile:

To clarify my position I’ll talk of my country and my family.

Argentina’s population is, I think, 90% white of european extraction, at the turn of the 20 century the majority of the inhabitants of Buenos Aires (our capital city) were foreigners. An my father, who is 57, still remembers that when he was a child almost everyone in Mar del Plata only spoke italian. Octavio Paz, one of the greatest living writers, once said: “Mexicans descend from the mayas, peruvians from the incas and argentinians… from the ships”.

So every effort to classify our population will fail unless the classification is very broad. The race you belong or your ethnicity is something that is simply never asked in my country.

With regards of my family, my mother surname is french her family has been in my country for 3 generations, she has not a single drop of indian blood and yet you would call her hispanic, in fact if you see the photos of her grand father (a french inmigrant) you would call him a mestizo. On the other hand my father is belongs to a family that has been in argentina for since the day of the conquest he has indian blood, mestizo and who knows perhaps he even has black ancestors (not a big chance Argentina unlike other spanish colonies was very poor importation of slaves wasn’t an option and to day they almost don’t exist, in fact the only time I’ve seen blacks was in Brazil) ok so my father unlike my mother can’t be classified, too much races in his gene pool… and yet he is nordic blond (one of his great - grandfather was Danish).