"Hispanics" and Sotomayor:

Tom Goldstein:

To Hispanics, the nomination would be an absolutely historic landmark. It really is impossible to overstate its significance. The achievement of a lifetime appointment at the absolute highest levels of the government is a profound event for that community, which in turn is a vital electoral group now and in the future.

I'm genuinely curious about how this will play out. I know "Hispanics" are a census category, an affirmative action category, a politically correct category, the target of common mass marketing in Spanish-language and other media, and, to some extent the target of undifferentiated discrimination, especially for those who "look" Hispanic.

On the other hand, "Hispanic" includes everyone with Spanish or Portuguese speaking ancestors, and I wonder how much pride, say, Mexican-Americans in California or Central Americans in the Northern Virginia suburbs take in the success of a Puerto Rican woman from the Bronx. One can imagine satisfaction that a fellow "Hispanic" is being nominated to the Supreme Court, but one can also imagine resentment that the first "Hispanic" nominee to the Court is from a relatively small demographic group, Puerto Ricans who live in the mainland, and not from by far the largest group of Hispanics, Mexican Americans.

I guess this is another way of asking whether there is really a common identity of Hispanic among descendants of Spanish speakers in the U.S., or whether they primarily think of themselves as Mexican, Cuban, Colombian, Salvadoran, etc., the way people of European descent considered themselves German, Italian, Irish, etc., not "European." And if the latter, whether there is still enough of a common identity that it's good politics to nominate a "Hispanic," even from a relatively small (and overwhelmingly Democratic) group.

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