Yesterday, while I was pursuing the Internet I ran across an interesting article about Latinos and race. In his piece, “What Race is a Latino? Some Mexican-Americans in California Aren’t Even Sure (Neither Are We),” Dennis Romero discussed the difficulty some Latinos face when they are forced to fill out forms that ask about race.

Because Latino isn’t a designated racial category and, as Romero points out, “Latinos can chose a race from white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American/Alaska Native — but not ‘Latino,’ because it’s not a race,” Hispanics further illustrate the trickiness of how people are classified.

Although race is socially, not biologically, constructed and there are more biological differences between men and women than between the races, some people still want to align themselves (and others) along certain racial lines.

But what about Latinos?

Like many, they can run the gambit from fair-skinned and blue-eyed to deep brown and kinky-haired, and as Latinos continue to become the largest minority group in the U.S., increasing not only in numbers but also political and economic power, some are wondering if Hispanics could be the first ever post-racial ethnic group.

Despite their diversity, however, many Latino countries and communities suffer from the same isms—racism and colorism–that plague others. However, it is their inherent differences that give some hope that with their varied skin tones, cultures, and customs, Latinos can help us all transcend the boundaries and constraints of race.

What do you think? Can Latinos help us reach the ‘Post Racial Promised Land?’ Sound Off!

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter
  • Bahia

    Unbelievable the coments here. Peolpe saying that latinos “are most likely to use the word nigger even among themselve”, they are “all about running towards whiteness and kicking down blackness” , latin people don’t like black peolple… Riley? All this based on conversations with some few people? Could you please stop with the generalization? Race in countries like Brazil are complex problems that goes beyond the prejudice of some american, who, apparently, does not know other countries culture or history. Yes we have racism, but north americans people should not impose their racial perspectives on other people problems. Let’s be realistic, even IF latin america where pos racial, american would not admit that anything good come out of this , after all, latin america are nothing but a bunch of countries inferior to the U.S.A, right?. Arrogance and condescension are true values to american, white or black.

    • Bahia

      *post racial*

    • Bahia

      *were*

    • chanela

      um no! you do NOT need to talk to “a few people” all you have to do is turn to spanish channels and you’ll see only white looking latino people. blonde hair, blue eyes green eyes super pale skin. that is ALL you will see.wth

    • Bahia

      I agree with you, we do have racism on latin countries, i never say the opposite. What i do not agree it’s the need to portray all black people in latin america as noting but a self hate, who will do everything to run away of your blackness. Trust me, in the country that i live, at least, there are black people who questions the sistem, and fight back the racism, but you will never hear about them on the spanish channel the are transmittedin the U.S.A…

  • Mel

    This article raises a very interesting point…and it definitely left me hanging. I wish Ms. Danielle had gone on to complicate the issue further and comment more on race politics and the fact that Latinos are both highly visible and invisible in this country (has anyone read Linda Martin Alcoff’s piece “Latinos Beyond the Binary”?).

    First and foremost, let me point out that the terms Latino and Hispanic are not interchangeable.

    The fact that this whole notion of race is kept alive by the perpetual juggling of terms and obscure definitions of “who is what” is further intensified by the 2010 Census– as a Latina, filling out the Census was infuriating. On many official documents, Latino IS listed as an option for race. Never once have I viewed (or been taught) that Latino is an ethnicity… I’ve come to understand this category as a leftover term, stuck in whenever necessary. When I filled out the Census, I checked off Black, White, Native American AND Other. Why? Because that’s my heritage. Latinos have a long history of cross-cultural mixing, and I know for a fact that on all sides of my family there are strong ties to European, African, Taino, and Native blood. Being Latino is much more than the language we speak and the food we eat… but, there still is no place for Latinos in this country.

    There is no such thing as a post-racial society. Latinos DO NOT exist in a race-less bubble. Skin/class/race politics are still at play EVERYWHERE.

    And as far as the stereotype that Latinos dislike Blacks… cut that shit out. I’m so tired of the bickering. To say that Latinos hate Blacks, or that we milk whatever splash of skin privilege we have to keep Blacks down is pure ignorance. This is exactly what keeps us all down– fighting amongst ourselves. We have a lot more in common than people think (especially those of us who grew up poor and had to struggle alongside other kids from the neighborhood to prove everyone wrong).

    Not a single person is in an ideal position to “teach” anyone else about race or help “fix” racial politics. The whole race ideology was cemented in place alongside slavery (not just in North America) and colonialism– it’s a global issue. This argument needs to be less about who is more aware of racial issues and more about how we can work towards pushing past it. If we spent less time cooing over racial mixes and trying to figure “who is what” then maybe we’d get somewhere.

    • Bahia

      “Not a single person is in an ideal position to “teach” anyone else about race or help “fix” racial politics. The whole race ideology was cemented in place alongside slavery (not just in North America) and colonialism– it’s a global issue. This argument needs to be less about who is more aware of racial issues and more about how we can work towards pushing past it. If we spent less time cooing over racial mixes and trying to figure “who is what” then maybe we’d get somewhere.”

      Co sign 100%. In my country we are far away of a racial utopia, but the amount of stereotype display here on the coments its not going to help in anything.