Many people seem not to realize that “Hispanic” is not a race. Hence, asking people on a questionnaire whether they are Hispanic or Caucasian makes zero sense. Because you can very easily be both.
My colleague from Spain shared with me today that he stopped putting himself down as Hispanic on official documents because nobody sees him as Hispanic since he is white. And this, of course, is a mistaken perception. If there are Hispanics in the Americas it’s only because my colleague’s ancestors conquered the New World.
The word “Hispanic” comes from “Hispania”, which was what Romans called the Iberian Peninsula. And the Iberian Peninsula is the place where Spain is located. Nowadays, however, the word “Hispanic” has somehow become attached to people who are of Amerindian origin and live in Spanish speaking countries. I’ve heard even those Amerindians who don’t speak a word of Spanish being referred to as Hispanic because there is this perception that Hispanics are somehow racially different from the Caucasians.
Some people are going so far down this ridiculous journey towards racializing the appellation “Hispanic” that they have started adding the categories of “Hispanic White” and “Hispanic Non-White.” My Peruvian brother-in-law has spent a lot of time studying his own skin color and comparing it to my sister’s because he has no idea whether he is “Hispanic White” or “Hispanic Non-White.”
So expecting people to be either Hispanic or Caucasian is like asking them whether they are female or Chinese. And saying things like, “What do you mean she is Hispanic? She is completely white!” is very stupid.