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Why are white people from Spain not considered white in the USA?

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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:05 PM
Original message
Why are white people from Spain not considered white in the USA?
Edited on Tue May-20-08 04:42 PM by reggie the dog
The term non-Hispanic white is used on many forms in the USA. I thought white was meant to describe anyone with solely European ancestry. Why are white people from parts of Spain not considered white? A white Catalonian Spanish person (someone from Barcelona)qualifies as white because their first language is Catalan, not Spanish. A Basque Spanish person is white because Spanish is not their first language, but a Spanish person from Madrid is not considered white in the USA?

Also white Brazilians are considered white in the USA, because their first language is Portuguese, but a White Argentinian (even those of Italian or Portuguese ancestry) is not considered white because they speak Spanish as their first language. Mexicans who have 100% European ancestry are not white because they speak Spanish?


Why does speaking Spanish rule out someone being considered white? If white is a racial category how does language come into play?
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kimmerspixelated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, why is that?
Someone has got some ex-SPAINING to do!

Sorry, I couldn't resist!
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:08 PM
Response to Reply #1
3. That pun was spainful to read. n/t
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kimmerspixelated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #3
24. But Gonzo!
I'm gonna have to SPAIN-K you!
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SteppingRazor Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #24
29. Oh God, that was even worse. Now you're really Latin me down. n/t
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kimmerspixelated Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #29
33. Gotta go for now,
Might be cookin' Spain-ghetti for La Familia this evening! I hope we can get together for more pun times tomorrow!
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TheCentepedeShoes Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 07:04 PM
Response to Reply #1
53. You got some
Spainin' to do Lucy
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LucyParsons Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:07 PM
Response to Original message
2. I've wondered about this, too
Insofar as curiosity about what Spanish nationals put on those damn ethnicity forms while here in America. Also, why is "Latino" synonymous with "Hispanic"? Italians would by definition be the most "Latino" of all, yet that appellation is not used to describe them, insofar as I am aware.

Also, did you know in the UK forms says "White British" and "White Irish"?!
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:10 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. That's because
a British person and an Irish person are from two different countries. Republic of Ireland is not part of the UK.
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LucyParsons Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:20 PM
Response to Reply #7
13. I know
I lived in the UK for four years.

I just thought it was funny/sad/ironic. Since, genetically, they are apt to be very similar.

Also, I never knew how to answer, so I usually put "Native American" - ha (I am mainly Anglo, but with a little Irish and a tiny bit of French and American Indian).
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enlightenment Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 08:43 PM
Response to Reply #13
56. ah. My bad.
Edited on Tue May-20-08 08:43 PM by enlightenment
My sarcasm meter is broken today, I think. :)

ETA: and I can't spell, either!
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XemaSab Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
4. My suspicion:
In a generation there won't be a distinction between Hispanic and non-Hispanic whites. :shrug:

It's like the Irish, the Italians, or any other cultural group. At first they're considered freakishly different, then after a while nobody really cares.
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:09 PM
Response to Original message
5. Why are white people from Africa not considered African American in the USA?
We make up our own rules whenever it suits us.

:shrug:
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LSparkle Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:10 PM
Response to Original message
6. Just another reason we should get rid of those stupid boxes ...
It's maddening enough that they request this information, but
when the categories aren't even logical or consistent, then I
say, GET RID OF 'EM!
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:12 PM
Response to Original message
8. They are. Sometimes.
Census Bureau on the subject:

The federal government considers race and
Hispanic origin to be two separate and
distinct concepts. For Census 2000, the
questions on race and Hispanic origin were
asked of every individual living in the
United States. The question on Hispanic
origin asked respondents if they were
Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino.2 The
question on race asked respondents
to report the race or races they considered
themselves to be. Both questions
are based on self-identification.

http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/cenbr01-1.pdf
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:36 PM
Response to Reply #8
19. ok Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino
But what about people from Argentina who have 100% white European ancestors?

Black people are considered black whether or not the speak Spanish, why is a distinction made for whites? It is some kind of linguistic discrimination, for example, to be used to consider Mexicans to not be white even though they have European ancestory? Also would a mixed native/european ancestory person from Mexico and south be allowed to fill in the "Native American" box?
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muriel_volestrangler Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #19
37. No, that distinction is not made
There are 2 entirely separate categories, with 2 questions.

One is:

Do you consider yourself "Spanish, Hispanic and/or Latino"? Yes or No

The other is:

What race do you consider yourself? White, Black, Asian, ...

So, someone can be 'Black Hispanic', 'White Hispanic', 'White Non-Hispanic', and so on.

See eg:

U.S. Population by Race and Hispanic Origin, July 1, 1997
(in thousands)

White Black American Indian Asian & Pacific
& Alaska Native Islander
non-Hispanic 194,571 32,324 1,977 9,532
Hispanic 26,746 1,649 347 598

http://www.census.gov/population/estimates/rho.txt
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shraby Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:14 PM
Response to Original message
9. When I have to fill out a form that asks race
I always check "other" and put human in the blank. I figure it's no of their damn business and also they have no business categorizing people like that.
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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 07:35 PM
Response to Reply #9
54. My race is the 4X100 relay
but I usually put "other" if people ask about race. My known ancestors are all Slavic, and I don't want to be thrown into the "white" bucket with those Celtic people with the funny-colored hair, or those Germans :-)

More seriously, there are a growing number of people in this country with mixed ancestry. Eventually the check boxes are going to be meaningless - even more so than they are now.
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:16 PM
Response to Original message
10. Because...
Edited on Tue May-20-08 04:18 PM by N4457S
...they eat tapas? Hell, I don't know.

Air Force people love Spain:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mor%C3%B3n_Air_Base

There are many stories of normal enlisted folks renting houses off base and living like kings back when the dollar was strong.

The women are good looking. People tend to be well educated, also.

There's a lot to like about the place.
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LucyParsons Donating Member (938 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:25 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Are the men good looking?
No offense intended, but it irritates me when people discuss a country's women alongside beaches, cars, food, and other consumables.
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:44 PM
Response to Reply #15
25. Probably So...
...and I would imagine they're probably more laid back than I am.

I'm a unix administrator. Anyone's more laid back than me. I went to the FAA doctor in December and the combination of forty extra pounds and a Type A personality and what I do for a living landed me on an ACE inhibitor for the first time in my life. It's a low dose, so no side effects but I wasn't taking medication of any kind for years before that.
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #15
35. You Know...
Edited on Tue May-20-08 05:21 PM by N4457S
...I remember having a prof in college twenty years ago who was a Spaniard, here in this country to do translating and get her doctorate. She was a highly compensated person, dressed very flashy, etc...and had looks that would absolutely stop a fucking clock. I have a serious weakness for voluptuous women and then here's one with a personality and a brain and money. She spent a lot of time in the salon and at the mall. You could tell.

I actually had to drop out of the course. I couldn't keep my eyes off of her. Being in her presence was like a drug.

It messed with my head. I'd have done anything she wanted me to.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:37 PM
Response to Reply #10
20. You can grow all the cannabis you want
in Spain too, so long as it doesn't create a nuisance for the neighbors and you can circulate with 50 grams in your pocket at the police cannot even take it from you.
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:50 PM
Response to Reply #20
27. Hey!
(sound of drawing in air, holding, letting it out and watching the smoke clear)
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:43 PM
Response to Reply #27
40. Say now !!!
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:44 PM
Response to Reply #40
41. Whew...
...gimme them Oreos, will ya?
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:45 PM
Response to Reply #41
42. There on the turnpike...here comes the milk truck !!!
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:49 PM
Response to Reply #42
43. Naw...
...milk blows me up like the Hindenburg since I turned forty.

I love it but I can't drink it anymore. Packs on the weight like a motherfucker, too.
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Sequoia Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:11 PM
Response to Reply #43
44. Really?! I never knew milk could do that?
For me it's bagels.
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N4457S Donating Member (415 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:31 PM
Response to Reply #44
46. Oh...
...you betcha, buddy. It packs on the weight and it'll shoot your cholesterol to the sky and even bloat you.

I love it but I don't drink it anymore. I just can't.
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trackfan Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
11. They are considered so, as far as I recall from government forms.
It says something like ...Black...White...(etc)...Hispanic*

*Hispanic may be of any race


Something like that.


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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:19 PM
Response to Original message
12. Because this country is mostly dumber than a bag of door knobs.
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izquierdista Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:33 PM
Response to Reply #12
18. Bingo!
American racial and ethnic stereotypes were created to fit in the convoluted brain of Archie Bunker. Not being logical in the first place, when confronted with a seemingly logical impossibility, it does what all Republicans do -- change the subject.

Now that Archie Bunker is gone, the burden of carrying on racial and ethnic stereotyping has fallen to Carlos Mencia, truly a no-talent in the first place. But because he is Hispanic, and a low-status one at that (Central Americans being lower on the class totem pole than the Mexicans) he gets big yucks.

I'd love to live in a world where race and ethnicity are just interesting background information about people, but as long as Americans put so much stock in it I will continue to shake my head in disgust.
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crimsonblue Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:21 PM
Response to Original message
14. Spanish is not the same as Hispanic.
At least in this country. People from Spain are Spaniards, and people from Hispanic America are referred to as Hispanics or Latinos.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:46 PM
Response to Reply #14
26. Yes, it is. n/t
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Xithras Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #26
47. There are relatively few people of Spanish descent in the USA.
I'm not saying that there aren't any, but the USA never had a mass migration from Spain the same way we had people come in from France, Germany, Ireland, etc. Iberians who wanted to migrate west typically ended up in Mexico, Argentina, or Brazil.

As a result, the overwhelming majority of "hispanics" that we meet in the United States have come here from other hispanoamerican nations, and not Spain itself. While the term "hispanic" may technically include Spain, in practical usage in the United States it refers to people from Central and South America.

The "non-hispanic white" thing reflects the fact that hispanics of European ancestry migrating from hispanoamerican nations typically face the same discrimination in the United States as their non-European neighbors simply because of their language and place of origin. They are grouped together simply because they face the same challenges here as non-white hispanics.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:58 PM
Response to Reply #47
52. The word Hispanic refers to people from Spain.
That America doesn't know how to use that word is another thing. That Americans use it to refer to brown people from Latin America who may or may not speak Spanish is just another sign of how little they actually know about the people they need to label.
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conspirator Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:25 PM
Response to Original message
16. In UK all mediterranean people are considered dark skinned or "tanned", not white.
This includes portuguese, spanish, italian, greek, southern french and all mediterranean Islands.
Althought some people in southern europe can be very pale as well.
What is called white in UK is pale white skin, usually associated with nordic looks, blond with blues eyes but not necessarily.
You are wrong about Brazil. In Brazil portuguese, spanish, italian and all european descendents are considered white, unless
of course one of the parents is not white, in which case they are mixed.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:39 PM
Response to Reply #16
21. I meant to say that in the USA a white person from Brazil
would be considered white but that a white person from Argentina would not.
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Retrograde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 07:41 PM
Response to Reply #16
55. we've inherited a few British outlooks
when it comes to skin color. I always used to wonder why some people, especially in English mysteries, were considered "olive" skinned: I never saw a green person! It wasn't until I spent some time in England and saw a lot of people with the traditional pale coloring that I realized they meant a slightly darker skin tone than they were used to seeing.
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Beregond2 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:27 PM
Response to Original message
17. This always makes me cringe.
I suppose Hispanics are separated because they might not be completely Caucasian, as so many have native American ancestry. But really, do we need to make these distinctions at all? I know these questions are asked for statistical purposes, but it gets into areas that are ethically questionable, and it makes me uneasy.
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reggie the dog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:42 PM
Response to Reply #17
23. I can understand this for Hispanics in the Americas
but people from Spain likely have no Native American ancestors. Also people from Brazil may indeed have Native American ancestors but they classify as white non Hispanic because their native language is Portuguese.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:01 PM
Response to Reply #23
32. LOL! Language is not DNA.
Spanish is a European language, remember?

Do you know how many indigenous languages there are in Brazil ALONE?

Unreal.





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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:54 PM
Response to Reply #17
31. Hispanic means from Spain -- Caucasian.
lol
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:40 PM
Response to Original message
22. Because all this racial classification is actually bullshit and should be dropped.
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EFerrari Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:52 PM
Response to Reply #22
28. Spanish and Hispanic literally designate European Americans from Spain.
Ironic that "Hispanic" is used to mean "those brown people Lou Dobbs says are bringing us leprosy".

Because everyone knows that indigenous Americans brought all the most serious diseases to this continent. :crazy:
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blondeatlast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 04:53 PM
Response to Reply #22
30. Exactly.
:thumbsup:
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:15 PM
Response to Reply #22
34. So can we take them out of job hiring and college acceptance decisions? n/t
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UndertheOcean Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:20 PM
Response to Reply #34
36. The only two important criteria are your achievement , and your economical situation.l
Basing such decision on race is not warranted in my opinion.
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papapi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:35 PM
Response to Original message
38. It's all about affirmative action and who gets your dollar....
...I worked in a state college Spanish, Italian, Portuguese language department and sometimes the Dean's office would have some grant or scholarship money to give away to a deserving graduate student but a stipulation had been set that the student needed to be (hispanic, latino, etc. you fill in the blank). Often the candidate was from Spain, Italy, Argentina, Romania, Bulgaria (again, fill in the blank with any country name) but on their admissions application they had stated 'caucasian'. I always made up some believeable excuse about why they should be considered (latino, hispanic, eskimo, etc.) so they could get their grubby little hands on all that cash.

Who the FUCK cares! It should all be assigned on merit anyway. When the best have enough (they general already do because of more opportunity), then spread the rest of it around so everybody gets some.
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:19 PM
Response to Reply #38
45. Yep, no one wants racial classifications until it helps them out.
"Get the fuck rid of these classifications"

"I always check other, then write in human"

LOL :rofl:

So are people against affirmative action?

Oh, hell no!!!

We need to help people and the only way to do that is with racial classifications!!!

Contradictory?

Of course not!!!

:rofl:
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papapi Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:36 PM
Response to Reply #45
48. I've been needy a few times in my life, if race is the only way to....
...get some help, then I can be anything you want me to be.

Does being Anglo-Saxon, Latino, Native American get me anything?

I hope so.
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Zywiec Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:52 PM
Response to Reply #48
51. Exactly my point
People use race when it helps them, then act all offended when someone asks them about it.

We want to be judged by our character? Not always.

We want to be judged on our merit? Not always.

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kenny blankenship Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
39. The proximity of Mexico
Edited on Tue May-20-08 06:07 PM by kenny blankenship
and all the history of territorial aggression against Mexico and the resultant "problem" of having Spanish speaking persons of Spanish or Mestizo descent within US borders. They were not to be considered white because of their ancestry, but they clearly weren't African. They weren't trusted as "full blooded Americans" (that may sound familiar) because as descendants of a losing side in a war of aggression they could be expected to be plotting treachery against America at any moment! For example Tejano people --Hispanic people living in Texas at the time of its rebellion against Mexico-- tended to lose their franchise and property, even though they had fought alongside the Anglo Texans against Mexico. After their big victory they became a disadvantaged minority in their own homeland. Outnumbered 6 to 1 by whites, they just had the wrong religion, the wrong blood, the wrong language--and sadly the wrong idea about their Anglo neighbors. Plus they had all that land, and that was just WRONG! 99% of the time people of Hispanic descent living within the territories in the vast area acquired by the US during the subsequent Mexican War could be identified for discrimination well enough by skin color, after all most Mexicans are far more descendants of the indigenous people of N.America than descended from Spanish colonists. That put(s) them in the same boat vis a vis the White Man's Manifest Destiny as the Cherokees and Cheyennes. But then there were also the sneaky ones who look nearly or entirely white. The Spanish language could serve as the identifying mark for ALL of them - they may speak perfect "American" or the King's Fookin' English, and might even be unable to speak Spanish at all, but they still have an Hispanic surname they can't get rid of. Problem solved!

Having another war of imperial expansion with Spanish speaking people--this time with Spain itself--only half a century after taking a third of Mexico could only reinforce the need to hold all "Hispanics" as a separate non-white race category. Filipinos, Cubans, Puerto Ricans all got lumped, nonsensically, into the Hispanic hopper created by the US government "administering" their homelands, along with "Mexicans" living inside US borders. It's hopefully clear that the term does not positively describe a category so much as it negatively corrals disparate peoples into a catch-all term to distinguish them from the "full blooded American" White Anglo majority.
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malaise Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:39 PM
Response to Original message
49. In the former British Caribbean
Spanish and Portugese people (from Europe) were not considered 'white' by the Anglo-Saxons. I've always wondered if it was their dark hair.
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Throd Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 06:40 PM
Response to Original message
50. Ay joder! 41 years in this country and only today I found out that I'm not white.
Damn my dark brown eyes! They give me away every time.
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jberryhill Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 08:50 PM
Response to Original message
57. It was okay for Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball to get married and have a TV show

...because he was Hispanic, not Latino.
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meow2u3 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue May-20-08 08:53 PM
Response to Original message
58. "Hispanic" is an ethnicity, and native Spanish speakers are such regardless of race
If you're white but Hispanic, you check both white and Hispanic on the race/ethnicity.
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