Hispanic

A word that signifies an identity connection with Spain, Spanish language, Spanish culture, or any of its colonial derivatives. This is considered an ethnicity in the US Census, which is frequently confused with race. So, a person can be Black and Hispanic, White and Hispanic, or Asian/Pacific Islander and Hispanic. P-P-T’s perspective is that Hispanic, in the US Census, is intended not to get at ethnicity, but to find out who speaks Spanish as a native language – because there are many, and immigration policy (which also means who votes) strains under the impact of 11 million people who are residing and working in the country without a valid visa, many of them who are Spanish speakers.

The essential problem with this word, from our perspective, is that it tries to generalize an identity based solely on a more or less common language. It flattens the vastly different ethnicities of Colombians, Peruvians, Mexicans from Mexico City and Mexicans from Oaxaca. P-P-T’s perspective is to use “hispan@” to to refer to those who speak Spanish well, and use a more particular ethnic designation to distinguish between different groups who use a particular language.

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