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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

The Latino Race

“This report focuses on a critical demographic in the United States – Latinos. Currently 17% of the U.S. population (more than 58 million people) and the second-largest racial/ethnic group in the nation Latinos are a fast-growing demographic,” begins a study conducted by Yale researchers that is titled “Climate Change in the Latino Mind.”

I can’t keep reading past the first sentences because I don’t understand how Latinos can be a “racial/ethnic group.”

How can one trust a study whose creators didn’t even try to familiarize themselves with a group they are studying? What shared ethnicity or race can an Afro-Cuban, a white Argentinean of Ukrainian descent, a descendant of the Bolivian Aymaras and a mestizo from Tamaulipas possibly have? They will probably (but not always) share a language and a culture. But race? That’s every kind of insane. Is it the “all THOSE people are the same to me” attitude at play?

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8 thoughts on “The Latino Race

  1. Stringer Bell on said:

    “What shared ethnicity…”
    “They will probably (but not always) share a language and a culture.”

    Isn’t this the point that distinguishes ethnicity from race?

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  2. Latino/Hispanic is just a folk racial category that has become enshrined in legislation. Doesn’t make sense but neither do a lot of the categories…

    It wasn’t until the 1970s that most Americans even thought of different parts of LAmerica as having different cultures. At the time I didn’t understand the uproar in the 1970s when a PuertoRican was cast as a Mexican in the TV show Chico and the Man (not a very good show) but that was before I started learning Spanish..

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    • These “researchers” seem to think that “Latinos” are the same as “chicanos”, or the Mexican immigrants to the US.

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    • Dreidel on said:

      @ Cliff
      Okay, since Clarissa wants posts to run up her “stats” record, here’s some useless trivia related to the “Chico and the Man” controversy.

      At about the same time (mid-1970s), some Hispanic group raised hell about a Gallo Winery television advertisement because of its “ethnic lies.” Gallo is a famous California winery founded by two Italian-American brothers. One of the brothers’ wives was born in Nicaragua, and the company featured her in TV advertisements for their Madria-Madria sangria wine brand. In one of those advertisements, the ad used an actress portraying the wife, and the actress was from Argentina.

      Nobody complains if American actors play Brits or Germans (or vice-versa), but somehow an Argentinian actress shouldn’t be allowed to portray a woman from Nicaragua.

      Similar complaints are being made today about Japanese actors playing Chinese characters, or the reverse.

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  3. Well, the reality is that “latino” is an ethnic (but not racial) category in the US. Now whether or not that makes sense is another issue.

    But I agree that the phrase “the Latino mind” is really troubling. Are Latino minds different from the minds of other people?

    The Latino category has become racialized in the US because the popular image of Latinos in the media is that of the mestizo or “brown” person. Think of the popular phrase these days of “black and brown people.” [Or “black and brown bodies”, a phrase often used by SJWs, which has the inadvertent effect of reducing people of color to their bodies rather than treating them(selves) as people.]

    By why in the world would anyone think the topic of Latino perspectives on climate change is a useful thing to study? I could maybe see the usefulness of looking at the views of people of color on climate change and how they might be different than the views of white people (to invoke the language of privilege, a privileged group–white people–might have different perspectives on climate change than underprivileged, minority groups…)

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    • If ethnicity is, in this postmodern approach, completely divorced from biology, then I wonder, did my ethnicity change when I emigrated? Both times?

      And will the ethnicity of these Latinos change when they learn to speak English?
      Do all immigrants switch ethnicities automatically?

      To me this all sounds insane because the only definition of ethnicity I know is the biological one. It’s something that shows up on a DNA test. And it can’t change at will because it just is.

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