Updated: Mon, 04 Feb 2013 17:41:44 GMT | By Michael Lopez, latino.msn.com

‘Hispanic’ may be a race on next Census form

2020 demographic report looks to re-label what it means to be Latino.


Latinos in the US

There is no denying that the term Hispanic is used to cover a lot of ground. The moniker is often thrown out to label people from Spain, South America, Cuba, the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Central America, and more. And since it was first coined in the 1970’s, it hasn’t always sat well with the Latino community. But now the U.S. Census Bureau may give it even more clout, by officially declaring "Hispanic" a race.

In 2018, Congress will be voting on whether or not to include the “Hispanic” as a race on the 2020 Census form. And that is not sitting well with a variety of Latino advocacy groups.

“Hispanic is not an ethnicity or a race,” San Antonio activist Irma Mireles told MySanAntonio.com.

But in the eyes of the data researchers, it may be the easiest way to classify Latinos. As of right now, the Census “race” category does not specify individuals of Spanish origin. Typical race choices include, “White,” “African-American,” “Asian,” and “Pacific Islander.”

Up to this point, many Latinos would fill in the “White” category to describe their race and Hispanic as an ethnicity. But that wasn’t giving the Census Bureau the accuracy they needed. University of Illinois professor Jorge Chapa actually agrees that the guidelines need to be changed.

“This is how you know there’s a problem, the data on race is not very good when 37 percent say essentially none of the above," says Chapa.

Indeed, research has shown that members in the same family have answered the Census’ Hispanic race question differently due to confusion. And the fact that the U.S. Latino population is now larger than ever, has prompted the Bureau to work on specific alterations.

Nancy Lopez, a director of the University of New Mexico’s Institute for the Study of Social Justice, believes that race needs to be an important clarification on the next Census study. She claims that the more we know about an individual’s cultural background, the better we can assess their experience as a U.S. citizen.

“If we collapse race and ethnicity as interchangeable concepts, we may miss the opportunity to examine whether there are unique experiences among co-ethnics that may occupy very different racial statuses,” she said.

“It will be challenging to capture the two concepts with one question.”

Clearly this is a hotly debated topic and to many, “Hispanic” isn’t the proper way to classify people with Spanish-speaking origins. The good news is that the next Census won’t be released for another seven years, giving those researchers plenty of time to think up the appropriate classifications.

How do you think Latinos should be labeled on the Census?

28Comments
Feb 5, 2013 10:38AM
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I will not like to be called "latino nor hispanic" that is not a race. Race is either white, black etc. Latino is a spanish word for latin. and hispanic is my culture not my race.
Feb 5, 2013 11:36AM
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Hispanic is not an ethnicity or a race!!

 

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white is white black is black  asian, Amerindian etc etc  hispanic is a term  that  the USA  give to people  who speak  spanish and that language is from the latin family
Spain, Italy, France, Romania, Portugal  ARE latin  countries, here u speak English but  u are not from England  PLEASE please I speack mandarin I'am not from China

Feb 5, 2013 7:52PM
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They need to add mestizo as a race...that would help
Feb 10, 2013 12:08AM
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I cannot believe what I am reading....Hispanic a race? pleeeeeeeeeeease....get some education.

Spanish first of all is a LANGUAGE.

Then we have people born in Spain that are Spanics...españoles.

Latinamerican are people that used the Spanish lenguage, but...they can be from many races:

Chinese, japones, indians (not Hindues, indians, american indians, natives to America...THE CONTINTNET!!!), WHITE EUROPEANS (with blue eyes, brown, black, green eyes, with white skin, tan skin and dark, blonde hair, black hair and brown hair....but nevertheless WHITES...., HISPANIC IS NOT A RACE...THEY ARE MAAAAAANY RACES IN THE HISPANIC COMMUNITIES...

I would never describe myself as hispanic...I was born in South America, I am of the white race, descendent of Spaniards, I proudly speak SPANISH....

PLEEEEEEEEEEASE....

Is like trying to say that all american citizens will be declared: anglosaxon....WHAT ABOUT AFRICAN AMERICAN?

WHAT ABOUT CHINESE AMERICAN? THIS ARE RACES....WITH INDIVIDUAL LANGUAGUE...the SpanishAmerican community comes from a variety of RACES...BUT USE ONE LANGUAGE...in the Dominican Republic, the mayority is of black ancestry, in Cuba the same, but in SOUTH AMERICA we have WHITES, in ARGENTINA, URUGUAY, COLOMBIA, COSTA RICA, etc...and we have plenty chinese citicens...CHINESE BY RACE....Spanish speaking...got it?

Feb 5, 2013 3:28PM
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I am an American as were my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents...before that, there were Spanish immigrants mixing with the indigenous folks. Tough call. But I am and will be a fair complected American of some Latino background.
Feb 6, 2013 2:21PM
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I am an American as well as my parents and grandparents but our ancestors were from Spain & Mexico mixed with Native Americans. I honestly don't understand why we have to be LABELED as white, black, asian. Like Skaters, Preps, Goths, etc.... WHY? I taught my children, as I was taught....Color, creed, sexual preference, etc should not matter. We are all human beings no one bleeds or breaths differently then the other person. 
Feb 16, 2013 9:38PM
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Latino and Hispanic isn't a race. Hispanic means the people speak spanish, and latino means the language that the people speak have its origin in the Latin, like spanish, italian or portuguese.

The U.S. Census Bureau is wrong because “African-American,” “Asian,” and “Pacific Islander.” aren't races either. You can find white people in Africa. Maybe you know Russia is in Asia continent and most of they are white.

Races only are because of color: white, black, yellow and copper, and when this mixed each other we have mestizo, mulatto, etc. Please go back to school and learn about this.

Feb 7, 2013 6:36PM
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The census bureau should do their job properly.  Race has always depicted COLOR of skin.

To be hispanic, is a cultural thing.  This trait must NEVER be mixed!!!!  Absolutely not!

I am a white latina, and never shall the twain meet.

 

 

Feb 16, 2013 8:01PM
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Hispanic is a Culture, not a Race. You can to find in Latinamerica: Blacks (Caribe and North os Southamerica), Whites;(Argentina, Uriguay)

Mestizos (Paraguay, Chile, Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica) Indians (Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Central America & Mexico).

Feb 5, 2013 4:07PM
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We should be labeled Latín and or Latin-Americans
Feb 5, 2013 10:31PM
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Latinamerican culture is the RIGHT  term..period..!!
There are Whites,blacks and mestizos or browns  in the Latinamerican Culture,

Those ones  who uses the term Hispanic  for all spanish speakers ,automatically  are blinding themselves and are unables to see the truth about anyone,

 
Feb 17, 2013 1:42PM
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THERE IS ONLY ONE RACE. THE HUMAN RACE.
Feb 10, 2013 5:52AM
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for the purpose of the    all important census and data    and if you must classifify people i would say latin but i feel that classifying people only divides them and defeats e

fforts for us all to be seen just as americans

 

Feb 10, 2013 12:17AM
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hum...like Arsenio would say...things that makes you go hummmm

Why...because we have the RIGHT to live wherever we want, that is why....like the English people that came from England....like the Italians that came across the sea...like you...where are you from?

Are you....INDIAN? BECAUSE THOSE ARE THE ONLY TRUE AMERICANS....but...they live in .... reservasions...are you one of them...if you are my respects to you and YOUR RACE.

 

Feb 9, 2013 8:08PM
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I don't think anyone is so focused on being latino or being hispanic, we're discussing what would be a broad acceptable term to those Americans who are: white, black, brown, asian who identify themselves culturally with "Spanish speaking or language" in some way; and some of the most fervent Latino folks speak no Spanish but identify with being Hispanic/Latino/Latin.The problems lies in that there's such a broad mix of fthese folks of all different races who "culturally" via language, food, cultural, religion, or country of origin identifu culturally as Hispanic, Spanish, Latin or Latino. Unlike the Blacks, there's no universal acceptance from Spanish speakers of what to call themselves, and when people name them Hispanic they don't like it. No one likes Hispanic, it seems (anyone for Hispanic raise your hand). So the discussion is what else is there to call Latin-type individuals in America, or world-wide for that matter, especially if this is to be identified as a "race". I still say Latin American or just Latin, I really think adding the -o on the end should be done away with. Again, my personal opinion on this. We could just say we're Spanish descent of some degree, but how would you label that?
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Why not their primary non profit signifies "The Race" which our generations fought against in WWII as Communistas...

  

Feb 5, 2013 7:25PM
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I like the Latin or Latin-American
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