Is there actually a “Hispanic” race? Somebody please explain this to me!
No, since “Hispanic” means Spanish-speaking, and Spanish-speaking is not a race: it’s an ethnic group, like African-American, Native American, and Polish-American
“Hispanic” means “Spanish-speaking” and is an ethnic group rather than a race. Many Spanish-speaking peoples have similar physical characteristics such as skin tone, dark hair, brown eyes, etc., but I don’t think that qualifies them as a race.
(And the whole concept of race is rather controversial anyway; apparently there are some genetic traits associated with race (e.g., predisposition to sickle-cell anemia), but it’s often difficult to draw a hard line about this person belongs to such-and-such race. If you start from northern Africa and go south you will see a spectrum of physical traits in people and in some places it’s hard to say who is black and who is caucasian.)
Race is a social construct, not something that has to do with biology. There are many social definitions where an Hispanic race could make sense, and many where it would not.
What’s your definition of race? Once we know that we can discuss.
It’s not even a linguistic group anymore. Many self-identified “Hispanics” don’t speak Spanish.
One definition of the word race is -
A group of people united or classified together on the basis of common history, nationality, or geographic distribution.
So - “the German race”, “the Irish race”, “the Swedish race”, etc.
The Hispanic race are those with linguistic origins in Hispania - i.e. everyone that speaks some version Spanish as their first language or per John Mace is descended from those that do ( or did ). At base it means no more or less than that.
Sometimes it includes those whose first language is Portuguese, probably as a consequence of assuming Hispanic = Latino (ie, Latin American). And it’s generally not used in the US to indicate someone who is actually from Spain (oddly enough).
This is not a well defined term.
Actually, hispanics are very quick to discount Brazilians. They can be latino, but not hispanic. Apparently the fact that they have the same racial mixture as Puerto Rico is inconsequential.
The US census uses two categories, race and ethnicity. American Indian or Alaska Native; Asian; Black or African American; Native Hawaiian or Other Pacific Islander; and White are races. Hispanic is an ethnicity. Thus, someone can be of the Black, White, or other race and be Hispanic or non-Hispanic. Both race and ethnicity are social constructs. The Census dept. acknowledges that its categories “do not conform to any biological, anthropological, or genetic criteria.”
Here is more detail from the Census bureau http://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/race/racefactcb.html
I think the term is generally understood to apply to the people with some family history in the new world whose blood is some kind of mix of Spanish, Native American and African. The ratio of the mix can vary - which is why you can include people who look like Jennifer Lopez as well as people who look like Sammy Sosa.
Well, I don’t really have a definition.
I don’t think race is a purely social construct, though. Can’t anthropologists and forensic scientists usually determine whether or not a skeleton belonged to a white, black, or Asian individual? (Of course, there will be variations between individuals of a race, so i suppose it does get complicated!)
Not if “black” includes South Asian and Melanesian people, or if “Asian” includes people from all parts of Asia. If “race” is a decent scientific construct, then skin colour and continent of origin are only minor parts of what is means.
While Spanish/Native American/African are the most common components, other groups are also included. For example, a large number of Argentinians are primarily of Italian descent. Here in Panama and elsewhere in Latin America there are many “hispanics” who are mainly of Chinese or Middle Eastern descent. (Several recent Latin American presidents have had Lebanese names.)
See this current thread for a discussion on that topic. Beyond that, suffice it to say that our species doesn’t meet the criteria generally used by biologists for “subspecies”, which is another term for “race”.
Brazilians are hardly of one racial mixture.