If people of Spanish descent are "people of color" why aren't Italians?

This thread in Café refers to the Mexican director of The Revenant Alejandro González Iñárritu as a “person of color”.

Italy and Spain and not far separated in Europe and are at similar latitudes and the inhabitants are not that different looking. Why are people of Italian descent not also “people of color” like people of Spanish descent?

Spanish people are not called “of color” they are white.
Difference is that Mexicans are a mixture of spanish and indigenous populations

Spaniards are white European people.
Mexicans are mostly mestizo, which is basically American Indian with a bit of European. Just because they both speak Spanish (and I’m sure there are some differences in their Spanish as well) doesn’t make them the same, racially.

Those who are.

Mestizo indicates mixture of Amerindian and European, no specific ratios.

Both Spaniards and Mexicans come in all colors and González Iñárritu happens to be as white as Rajoy Brey. But some people think that anybody who is not an American WASP is “of color”. And some, like these two samples up here, apparently have eyesight problems.

Also keep in mind that “white” is a social / cultural construct, and as such, changes over time.

Italians used to not be white. The Irish were also not white. They only “became” white in the mid-19th century when white culture / business interests decided that oppressing indigenous and African descendants was more important than doing so to Europeans.

I read a great article about the shifting lines of “whiteness” in the 19th century but can’t find it now, dammit. Sorry. If I remember correctly, Italians “became” white first, followed by the Irish.

I think it’s a pittable offense by the op MovieMogul, and a viewpoint not shared by the vast majority of people. Some people really need to get a passport and travel the world to adjust their viewpoint of race and culture. Late 19th century America “race wars” aren’t the end-all-be-all determinant historical event that should dictate how we view people today.

These are social constructs nothing more. There are Arabs and South Asians who are lighter skinned than most Europeans and are not thought of nor do they think of themselves as “white”.

Except those Spaniards who have Northern African/Jewish/Roman Empire Diaspora genes.

The disconnect here is that we consider Latin Americans to be “people of color”, but Latino is an ethnic designation rather than a racial one (you can be a Latino of any race). When we made up in-groups and out-groups, we weren’t thinking at our most rationally.

Many white Anericans do, still, consider both Spaniards and Italians to be non-white.

Along with the somewhat uncomfortable checkbox on some official forms of ‘White - non-hispanic’.

Why do lots of people have an image of Syrians as brown-skinned, when the majority are peach- and olive-skinned–no different than any other Mediterranean population?

I think the use of the phrase “of color” generally is used to imply a certain outsideness of mainstream establishment and of lesser “privilege” status to the sociocultural identifier. It signifies “other” from the White majority perspective, and “discriminated against” to many of those who self-identify as such. A usage that hopefully increasingly becomes anachronistic but aint there yet.

Hence yes Italians were, when more clearly “outsider”/“other” population in the United States, “of color” to the point that the ethnic slur “guinea” originated from the Guinea coast of Africa in reference to their darkness.

Italians have lost their “of color” status as they became part of “White privilege” but Hispanics (whatever their genetic heritage or skin tone) are still sloppily lumped as “of color” in many people’s minds as they are still “other” to the majority.

Gosh monstro I can’t imagine why a majority White population would try to image an other that they want to if not completely demonize then at least feel comfortable not throwing a life jacket to as being as unlike them as possible, even in appearance.

Depends who you ask. Many people of my granfather’s generation didn’t consider Italians white. There was a lot of tension between ethnic groups in the coal towns in those days. Tension that the companies encouraged because it hindered labor organization. In any case, in my childhood I knew a lot of elderly people who considered Italuans to be “colored.”

I’ve seen forms where the categories were completely orthogonal. One set of check boxes for white/black/asian/&c and another for hispanic yes/no. Hispanic doesn’t really fit well into a racial classification scheme designed the the antebellum south.

If I ask Iñárritu, and he says he’s a person of color, I’ll shrug and say okay; and if he says he’s white, I’ll shrug and say okay; and I can’t come up with a less bad solution.

To add to the complexity of this particular case: I’m pretty sure the director’s ancestors (some if them, at least) were Basque, who linguistically are the clearest example of an “other” – a minority – in Western Europe (to them, all Indo-Europeans are “recent immigrants.”)

None of this matters, of course – the OP’s question has been answered: 1. Americans generalize “Mexican citizen” as “enough indigenous ancestry to be ‘brown’ (their ‘brownness’ accentuated they’re often poor)”; 2. Timing: Italians went through this 100-130 years ago (and their “whiting” was facilitated by their ancestry entirely in Western Europe).

I’ve always wondered why Hispanic is a category, but Jewish isn’t under that orthogonal classification. Or Middle Eastern. Right now I think Middle Eastern is a very important sociological category that we don’t capture in the census or on those forms.

The Western Europe thing is interesting. My father’s half of me is Slavic and Roma. In Western Europe I would be “other” (I had a friend who is Irish who I saw a lot less of when she learned I was Roma). In the U.S. I’m a white person of privilege.

Probably because the percentages are so small. Hispanics make up about 17% of the US population, while Jews make up about 2% and Arab-Americans around 1%.