Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Are "Hispanics" a race? White or non-white?


Pigments of Our Imagination: The Racialization of the Hispanic-Latino Category

By Rubén G. Rumbaut
University of California, Irvine
April 2011
Are Hispanics a "race" or, more precisely, a racialized category? In fact, are they even a "they"? Is there a Latino or Hispanic ethnic group, cohesive and self-conscious, sharing a sense of peoplehood in the same way that there is an African American people in the United States? Or is it mainly administrative shorthand devised for statistical purposes; a one-size-fits-all label that subsumes diverse peoples and identities?

The dominant "racial frame" that evolved in the United States — during the long colonial and national era of slavery and after it — was that of white supremacy. But how do persons classified as Latinos or Hispanics fit into the country's racial frame today?

Are Hispanics a "race" or, more precisely, a racialized category? In fact, are they even a "they"? Is there a Latino or Hispanic ethnic group, cohesive and self-conscious, sharing a sense of peoplehood in the same way that there is an African American people in the United States? Or is it mainly administrative shorthand devised for statistical purposes; a one-size-fits-all label that subsumes diverse peoples and identities?

This article considers these questions, focusing primarily on official or state definitions and on the malleable way the categories of Hispanic and Latino are incorporated into the psyches of those so classified.

MORE:
http://www.migrationinformation.org/Feature/display.cfm?ID=837