I think about this word and it makes me think about the segregation of dark and light Latinos. It makes me think about how I thought, for the longest time, that the word “Hispanic” described me. I am sure that most Latinos can, in some ways, trace back their roots to Spain. I would think that any one of us can do that very much the same way that many African Americans have traced their DNA to tribes in in Africa.

As I explained about Latino Sexuality, the Spanish settlers wanted to breed our people out. Perhaps even erase them from the history books. Thus, descendants of the Spanish and Indigenous or Africans accounts for many of current population that resides in Latin American and the Caribbean.

Last time I looked there was a lot of dark people in these places. But you would never know based on the Media. Hispanics are what you do generally see on Univision or Telemundo. These would be the Marc Anthonys and the Ricky Martins. The fair skinned Latinos with the blond Latinas on their arm. This is what Hispanic represents to me: The lack of any perception of African or Native roots on the people.

Latino represents what I have come to know of our people. A conglomeration of skin tones and dialects. To me, this incorporates the Chicanos from Chicago, the Cubans from Miami, the Dominicans from Washington Heights, and the Puerto Ricans from New York City (plus many more, of course).

There seems to be a fundamental failure with many “Hispanics” to really see past their own culture. One of the questions I opened this blog with many months ago was, Have you seen a Black Mexican? That is a question many people have told me no to. Would they fall under the realm of Hispanics? No, probably not because they are barely considered Mexican.

I know that not all Hispanics will ever consider themselves to be anything else. After all, Latino is still a relatively new term in the grand scheme of things. If you are wondering who comes up with all this stuff or who dictates what a group of people are called, that would be the US Census.

As long as they have been counting people, they are ones come up with the names. It was not to long ago that they still had Mulatto as a category for which people can pick. Quite frankly, this department does not want to have to count every last Ecuadorian or Panamanian. They would rather just group us all into one large group and be down with it. Which is why they fell Hispanic works. So you can pick your race as Black or White and have an ethnicity of Hispanic.

In the coming years it will not matter. Latinos are multiplying that rabbits (we can’t help it we are oversexed). Perhaps when we are 50% of the population we will be able to finally pick a term that defines who we are as a whole.

3 thoughts on “Hispanics!

  1. I always wondered what the difference was between hispanic and latino/a. I just assumed latino/a was the more politically correct term, since most friends of that ethnicity choose to identify themselves with that term, or simply say “Spanish, and the specify which country their family is from. That what happened where I grew up. No one even used any term- it was “Puerto rRcan” or “Dominican” or “El Salvadorian” etc

    Edward James Olmos had the best quote ever (when he came to su and gave that great speech) “theres’ only one race- the human race” ok, so i might not be the exact way he said it, but that always stuck with me- .

    We are all part of the same race, just from different geographical places, each with its own unique culture…and yes, i realize many people, sadly, dont see this just yet… maybe one day the us census will get rid of the “Race” category all together…


  2. I agree with Jeri – I never knew or understood the difference. It’s interesting because growing up in the south we didn’t really categorize in any politically correct manner. Interesting topic and now I know what the difference is and I’ll make the effort to use the “right” terminology. Like Jeri and Mr. Olmos says “we’re just one race, the human race.” I’m still not so sure why everyone has to fit within some box.


  3. Jeri…were we at the same lecture when he spoke at SU? I agree with Edward James Olmos about being just the Human Race. However, we are all trained to play with our own sandboxes, which is unfortunate.

    If you have ever seen the Watchmen, then you you will know that the point of the entire movie was to make poeple realize that it is time to come together as one people and not be split my culture ot political bouderies.

    So, for now we are stuck checking that box.


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