Is "Hispanic" a race?
When I came to the United States of America as a little girl, I didn't know what to call myself. That is the question being faced today as the U.S. Census looks to possibly add "Hispanic" into the race, instead of ethnicity, category for 2020.
I've always known the basic biological statistics: my name, date of birth, the fact that my dad was Cuban and my mom was Russian. As I started to fill out forms in school, I never knew which box to check. Am I white? (My dad always identified as white). Am I Hispanic? (Well, yes.) Or am I something that isn't even on this neat little form?
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The problem, though, is that us Latinos can't seem to make up our minds. There are a lot of pros and cons to changing the census. Some of us would say that being Latina has nothing to do with race and everything to do with cultural identity. While others say that it would be a good thing since many Latinos check "other", which could seriously affect data, and, consequently government policy.
We're all split about this. And I can see why: We come from many different countries, are all different colors, shapes and sizes. How can we possibly identify in just one way? There are Latinas who have blond hair and blue eyes and Latinas with dark caramel skin, brown eyes and black hair. And, of course, pretty much every color and combination in between. How can one little box on one little piece of paper possible sum up who we truly are?
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The truth of the matter is that it can't. It's simply impossible. At the end of the day, I definitely support making "Hispanic" a category under race. I know it won't solve all of our problems, but it could mean a lot more Latinos checking the right box and, in the end, a lot more recognition for our growing numbers in America. I would rather check off "Hispanic" and recognize our unity rather than lead to a bunch of confusion in statistics. After all, we are all connected in one way or another.
Image via PaulSh/flickr