Cardozo, Sotomayor, and "Hispanic":

The Pew Research Center has an interesting item on the subject. An interesting item (one of many in the piece):

[S]ome 99% of all immigrants from Mexico call themselves Hispanic. But just 87% of immigrants from Venezuela adopt this label, as do 86% of immigrants from Argentina, 70% of immigrants from Spain and only 67% from Panama. As for race, 54% of all Hispanics in the U.S. self-identify as white, 1.5% self-identify as black, 40% do not identify with any race and 3.8% identify as being two or more races.

Thanks to Prof. J. Michael Bitzer for the pointer.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. Cardozo, Sotomayor, and "Hispanic":
  2. The First Hispanic Justice:
Thomas Williams (mail):
I find at least one of those statistics difficult to credit; I've lived in Argentina for about a year now, and the people here, generally speaking, do not consider themselves Hispanic. They are primarily Italian with a fairly large portion of Spanish blood, with German being the next largest IIRC.

More importantly, they do not (again, generally speaking) identify much with the rest of the Latin American world; speaking a different form of Spanish, with an entirely different culture (from dance to food to architecture) and a largely different ethnic background, since they lack the mixing with native South American people that is characteristic of most other Latin Americans.
5.28.2009 6:12pm
Putting Two and Two...:
I wonder what percentage of immigrants from Spain would prefer "hispanic" over "European" (one assumes their #1 pick would be "Spanish").
5.28.2009 6:43pm
New Pseudonym:
"Hispanic" has becoma a code word for Mexican (althought Judge Sotomayor is not Mexican) because they are by far the most numerous voting bloc. Locally, the school board has caught flack for playing the Mexican National Anthem at the beginning of an event -- to honor the "Hispanics." There is actually some sense in that, since in Dallas County TX almost all Hispanics are of Mexican descent, including Tejanos. Not true in Dade County FL or New York County NY, though.

I understand that the Census Bureau has an official definition of Hispanic, however, and Cardozo meets that standard. If we had not become more enlightened in the iterim, perhaps he could have listed himself as multiracial. Classifying Hispanic as a race makes as much sense as classifying Jewish as a race.
5.28.2009 7:10pm
Brian G (mail) (www):
What people identify themselves as depends if there are racial preferences involved. This one guy I grew up with considered himself white but always maked he was Hispanic thanks to his Cuban grandfather. (Who was actually an Anerican who moved to Cuba many decades before!)
5.28.2009 7:21pm
James Moylan (mail) (www):
I have been considering the same 'self definition' ambiguities in regard to the terms 'Asian' and 'Asia'.

I would tender a suggestion that 'Hispanic' is far more an American label than it is a personal descriptor and that it is a far less homogenous term than is 'Jewish' because with the latter there is at least a cohesive ideological/religous paradigm being referenced.
5.28.2009 7:27pm
James Moylan (mail) (www):
(On a second read it also occurs that:)

'99% of Mexicans describing themselves as Hispanic' represents an amazing statistic!

I can't remember seeing a polling number (of any description) that high. Surely such an abberrant result points a faulty sample or sampling process (here I am referencing methodology not subject)
5.28.2009 7:31pm
Bruce Hayden (mail):
I didn't realize that people from Spain were considered Hispanic, at least by most metrics here in the U.S. Is the distinction that their first language is Spanish? But if so, does Basque also count? What about Catalan? Galician? Catalan apparently gets close to Italian, and Galician to Portuguese, yet are primarily spoken in Spain. But if you accepted Galician, then why not Portuguese, and if you did that, then why not accept those from Brazil too as Hispanic? But, if you limit it to Castilian, then while most Spaniards would qualify, but a lot of the Hispanics in the U.S. would not, since their native language is English. Oh, and throw in any of the Native-Americans in Mexico and south who still primarily speak their aboriginal language.

How things have changed. Forty years ago, many of those descended directly from Spaniards here in the U.S. would proudly declare that they were not Hispanic, Latino, etc., but Spanish. Now, they may qualify for Affirmative Action, and so many apparently claim the appropriate victim status.
5.28.2009 9:02pm
wpeak (mail) (www):
Let's see now, Sotomayor is Hispanic even though she was born in the US and her parents were US citizens. Most people wouldn't dispute her claim, but what makes her Hispanic?

Speaking Spanish? Excludes too many Americans. Born in a Spanish speaking country? Ditto. 'Looking' Hispanic? Bigot much? Accents? Costumes? Please!

What's the official definition? Well there are competing Federal definitions but the Census Bureau waffles on about something called self identification, but if that is it then anyone can claim to be the first Hispanic nominee. Not very satisfactory.

So here's my take. Hispanic means being born, or descended from those born, in a former colony of the Spanish Empire. That covers Sotomayor very nicely.

Just one problem, it would also include, at a glance, Tom C. Clark, Byron White, Anthony Kennedy, and Sandra Day O'Connor.

Damn, Sotomayor's not the first Hispanic! Or even the first Hispanic woman! Oh, and look at all those Hispanic Presidents we've had!

I dunno, sometimes I just think Hispanic is a word made up by ad men that means from America but not American. Kinda like a Puerto Rican.
5.28.2009 9:49pm
If I were advising those opposing the nomination I would tell them to ALWAYS refer to her are Puerto Rican and never Hispanic or Latina.
5.28.2009 10:24pm
The Venezuelan percentage doesn't surprise me since a surprising number of Venezuelans aren't of Spanish descent. After World War II many immigrants went to Venezuela (and Argentina.) There is quite a bit of intermarriage, which makes me wonder what people with Hispanic parents and non-Hispanic Europeans would consider themselves.

Also note that Peru has a measurable Japanese population.

* * *

Hispanic describes descendants of peoples of Hispania, the Roman name for the Iberian Peninsula. Technically, this would make those with Portuguese ancestry Hispanic, but the Portuguese people I know soundly reject that notion.

The weird part is that genetically many, perhaps most, people the US Census considers Hispanic aren't, which is yet another example of the perversity of the entire race business.
5.28.2009 10:50pm
** many non-Spanish European immigrants ** (especially from Eastern Europe.)

(I believe this mixed ancestry is a big factor in why Venezuelans dominate beauty pageants.)
5.28.2009 10:53pm
J. Aldridge:
RAND had a study about 15 years ago that showed 67% of Hispanics identified themselves as white in census data. This really skews things!
5.28.2009 11:15pm
There are too many terms that get used interchangeably in common parlance. For these terms to have meaning rather than be mere synonyms, I offer the following.

1) Latin means of latin descent - spain, portugal, france, italy, romania.

2) Latino/a means hailing from latin america.

3) Hispanic means hailing form spain or other spanish-speaking countries.

4) Spanish means from spain or of spanish descent.

5) Mexican means a citizen of Mexico, or descendent of one.

6) Chicana/o means of native Mexican descent (i.e. indian).

If you are of mixed aztec + spanish blood, you are all 6 of these things (spanish = first 4, aztec = last 2).

If you are pure blood native mexican indian, you are only the last 2 (chicano and mexican).

If your irish ancestors moved to mexico 400 years ago and you are still pure blood irish, you are only Mexican and latino (on top of irish). Your distant cousins living in New York are none of these, but are American (on top of Irish).

If your spanish ancestors moved to mexico 400 years ago and you are still pure blood spanish, you are the first 5, but are not chicano. Your distant cousins living in Florida are the first 4 plus American (rather than Mexican, obviously).

If you are of pure blood italian descent living in Argentina for generations, you are only the first 2 (Latin = italian, Latino = latin america). Your pure blood italian cousins in New Jersey are merely the 1st, latin.

If you are of pure blood german descent living in Argentina for genearations, you are only number 2, Latino, based on your geography. Your german cousins in Chicago are none of these 6.
5.29.2009 6:39am
So, Cardoza was not Hispanic. He was of portuguese descent.
5.29.2009 6:45am
Tracy Johnson (www):
Text and link sent to my wife who is a Hispanic Studies major at William &Mary. (The statistics are citable.)
5.29.2009 10:05am
emsl (mail):
My daughter went to school with a nice Jewish kid whose family came here from South Africa and who had lived there for several generations. Somehow calling him African-American seems incorrect although it is accurate. Any views?
5.29.2009 1:00pm
A. Non E. Mouse (mail):
I worked at a boarding high school and when a student of ours was applying to colleges, he applied as African American because he was a dual citizen of the US and Botswana. He was an extremely whiter than white, redheaded kid who admitted he was trolling for scholarships and shock value.
5.29.2009 3:22pm

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