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Hispanics spell out why labels don't fit
April 4th, 2012
12:01 AM ET

Hispanics spell out why labels don't fit

By Mariano Castillo and Moni Basu, CNN

(CNN) - Public debate is raging over how to describe George Zimmerman, the man who admitted shooting unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin. Is he Hispanic? Or white? Or both? Should his identity even be raised in the news?

Amid the whirlwind of controversy comes a new survey about why the label "Hispanic" doesn't always fit those it attempts to describe.

A majority of Hispanics or Latinos don't fully embrace those terms; instead, they most often identify themselves by their family's country of origin, said a Pew Hispanic Center study released Wednesday.

The report used the two terms Hispanic and Latino interchangeably, but Latino is often preferred by many because it is more inclusive, said Allert Brown-Gort, associate director of the Institute for Latino Studies at Notre Dame University. Latino includes everyone from Latin America while Hispanic - descended from a Spanish-speaking land or culture - may not.

It has been almost four decades since Hispanic and Latino surfaced in the cultural language of the United States. The federal government mandated them to categorize Americans who traced their roots to Spanish-speaking countries.

But the Pew survey found that only 24% of Hispanics prefer a pan-ethnic label like Hispanic or Latino. A majority - 51% - said they use national identity.

Carmen George, a business owner in Marietta, Georgia, who emigrated from Mexico 26 years ago, accepts the usage of "Hispanic." But she doesn't like it.

"I do not consider myself Hispanic," she said, explaining that the term does not exist where she's from.

"In Mexico, there are no Hispanics. In the Dominican Republic, there are no Hispanics. In Chile, there are no Hispanics. In Mexico, there are Mexicans; in the Dominican Republic, Dominicans; and in Chile, Chileans," she said.

George is among the 51% of Latinos who, when filling out official forms that ask about race, answer "other."

She has almost lived equal amounts of time in Mexico and the United States and feels a strong loyalty to both, she said.

The Pew survey found that 95% of Hispanics found it very important or somewhat important for future generations to be able to speak Spanish.

George's business, De Colors Spanish Bookstore, offers Spanish classes to all ages, though she has a different reason for advocating Spanish. She teaches Spanish for the intellectual benefits of speaking two languages more than for cultural purposes, she said.

Of the 1,220 Latino adults surveyed in all 50 states and Washington, D.C., 82% said they speak Spanish. Language was one of their strong shared connections.

Culture, on the other hand, was not.

By a ratio of more than two-to-one (69% versus 29%), those surveyed said Latinos in the United States have many different cultures rather than a common culture.

"It took me 10 years to understand that I was Hispanic," said Brown-Gort, who grew up in Mexico and didn't understand the U.S. categorization.

"The reality is we as human beings have multiple identities," he said.

Sometimes Brown-Gort identifies himself as Latino. Other times, the native Mexican who has lived in Indiana for 13 years says he's a Hoosier. When he travels abroad, he might call himself an American.

The U.S. Census Bureau introduced the question about Hispanic origin in 1970. A version of it has been asked ever since, and the responses are based on an individual's self-identification.

The latest census in 2010 counted 50 million of America's 300 million people as Hispanic. Mexicans are the largest group, at almost 21 million people, followed by Puerto Ricans with nearly 5 million and Cubans with more than 1 million.

About half of those in the Pew poll considered themselves to be very different from the typical American. Only 21% said they use the term American most often to describe their identity.

U.S.-born Hispanics expressed a stronger sense of affinity with other Americans than with immigrant Hispanics, a trait that is perhaps true of all ethnic groups.

Questions of identity are most salient in regions near the U.S.-Mexico border, where two cultures, languages and customs blend.

In the border city of Laredo, Texas, a passerby or drive-thru operator is more likely to greet a stranger in Spanish than English.

Border residents here don't equivocate when it comes to how they identify themselves, said Xochitl Mora, a Laredo resident who works for the city.

She didn't grow up in Laredo and prefers to identify as a Mexican-American, "but most around here say just Mexican."

"Here it's different, because people identify absolutely with their Mexican roots," she said.

But most are very proud to be American, too.

The city holds one of the largest and most festive Washington's Birthday celebrations in the country.

"It's a very interesting dynamic because people here almost have two psyches - their Mexican half and their American half," Mora said.

As for Zimmerman's identity, many Americans said that his race was raised simply to frame the story of Trayvon Martin's shooting in racial terms. Zimmerman's mother is from Peru, and he identifies himself as Hispanic, which says nothing about a person's race, but he was at first labeled a white Hispanic by some media outlets, including CNN.

Most Hispanics in the Pew survey did not see themselves fitting into the standard racial categories used by the U.S. Census Bureau. Just more than half - 51% - of Latinos identified themselves as "some other race" or volunteered "Hispanic/Latino." Another 36% said they were white, and 3% said they were black.

"I've written about the thorny subjects of race and ethnicity for nearly a quarter century, and I rarely hear this term," columnist Ruben Navarrette Jr. wrote on CNN.com about referring to Zimmerman as a white Hispanic.

"We might have been able to see this coming given that there is no Hispanic race and Hispanics come in all colors."

soundoff (700 Responses)
  1. rvaldez

    so why are all the Latino or Hispanic advocate groups letting CNN off of the hook on this term used in their reporting? Where are the voices of concern about this misinformed reporting. Do you think for one minute that the naacp, Jackson or Sharpton would let a term like Light Skinned Black be differentiated from a Dark Skinned Black man or woman be differentiated in the public media? I don't like the verdict per se, but it is the law of our country at present that applies to all of us. Please advocacy groups you have more access than I do! Don't let CNN get a pass on this!!!

    August 3, 2013 at 8:02 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Soares

    Minority owned???? so some group of people are given advantage or face discrimination because they fit into a forced description.

    June 3, 2013 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Logicus Hispanicus

    I am form Spain, thus I am myself Latino, provided my heritage, language, laws, customs, and culture come from Rome, and I back my claim with the caesars and philosophers that my land bred for the Roman Empire. I recognise as fellow Latino countries Italy, France, Portugal, and Romania, and French and Italian speaking Belgian and Swiss regions. In any case, all of them are in Europe. I don't consider Latino or Hispanic any of the the so called Latin-Americans, in the same way I believe that Sioux are neither Anglo-Saxon nor Britons. If there are Hispanic people in America, they must be Spanish of Spanish ancestry, i.e., Spaniards, wherever they were born, but what I see beeing called latinos in american movies and tv series are obviously Indians. May Seneca's ashes rest in peace despite this misuse of the terms Latino or Hispanic!

    October 12, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Helen

      My mother's mother was Basque and my father's mother was Italian. Their fathers were mestizo. My parents are South American. Don't be so offended–or stop letting your people immigrate.

      January 20, 2013 at 11:56 pm | Report abuse |
  4. andy

    hispanic / latino are such inaccurate terms that they were born in the 70's outta the US census bureau need to create a designated race for the growing number of mexicans in america.

    the fact is my wife is colombian and she feels no connections to such term, Ive been to colombia and no one walks around saying they're latinos/hispanics.... in fact in colombia a hispanic is a person from spain and latino is the language romans spoke.

    July 3, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • lost

      nationality is not your race

      September 20, 2012 at 2:47 am | Report abuse |
  5. LIz

    Hi to all!

    I don't consider myself Latina and I don't like when someone put that Label on Me.
    I was born in Uruguay, so I would said Im Uruguayan.
    When I had to check a Box in the USA Census I lije to identified myself as White Spanish.
    Am I right ? My Great-great grandparents form both sides come to Uruguay from Spain (Basque Region) ,Italy, England and Switzerland.
    Am I wrong cause I don't like to be call Latina by all this Americans?

    June 11, 2012 at 1:48 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Melgar

    I am not like Zimmerman. He is different than me. It is still offensive to me.

    June 3, 2012 at 3:16 am | Report abuse |
  7. brazilian

    So If I'm from Brazil – a LATIN American country – but I speak Portuguese, NOT Spanish like every one and their mothers think... I'm NOT hispanic! I'm a Latina. But I was born in Brazil, so I'm Brazilian. But I'm also a citizen of America, so I'm Brazilian American? Who the heck cares what I "am". I am a PERSON. I am not white, but I am not black. I just "am". People need to stop worrying about what people look like, and worry more about their character. If every one could just put race and color aside, this country would be the best example of a melting pot. Not much has changed since the days of segregation; these comments all support that statement...

    May 3, 2012 at 5:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      You are Hispano-Portugues or Iberoamericana. All people whose ancestry is from Spain and Portugal are Iberomaericans.

      September 13, 2012 at 1:09 am | Report abuse |
    • lost

      ok its not that hard to understand its called DNA

      September 20, 2012 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  8. Rsquared

    If you are a citizen of the US, you are American. Not african-american, mexican-american, asian-american, or anything else. You are just american; stop prolonging racism by saying you're not!

    April 27, 2012 at 7:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alii

      Lupe,You make us Latinos proud ! I am so happy to once more share with you as we serve onour professional Board of Directors/NASW.As a hotispal Clinical Social Work department director, I had the pleasure of serving with you on the Hospital Social Wk Administrators' Association. We were among the precious few professionals of color in the 1980s.Blessings, Olga V. Sarabia, LCSW

      October 15, 2012 at 2:18 am | Report abuse |
  9. Ed

    It is hard for us to rise up and push forward in life, when we are so enmeshed in petty debates over whether I am Latio or Hispanic... There are better things for us as a people to be focused on. The "man" isn't keeping us down, we are keeping ourselves down because we choose to get wrapped up in nonsense that at the end of the day, really doesn't mean that much... It's pretty embarassing. I am going to select "other" on government docs? really?

    April 19, 2012 at 10:17 pm | Report abuse |
    • jessica

      *latino

      April 20, 2012 at 12:53 am | Report abuse |
  10. Oscar Segovia

    Yes, Latino is more inclusive. Look up the terms Hispanic and Latino in a dictionary. Sure, some people living in the U.S., by definition, are Hispanic, since their immediate descendants are from Spain. However, most Latinos living in the U.S. have immediate descendants from Latin American countries, not Spain! Furthermore, the historical significance of Latin America can not be overlooked. For, many Latinos are mestizo (a mixture of indigenous and european blood) and the term Hispanic has a Euro-centric tone, ignoring the native DNA that exists in our people. Numerically and historically speaking, Latino is the better label. Hispanic is a term thrown at us by naive people. Let's make the educated choice.

    April 19, 2012 at 8:39 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ed

      Latino derives from Latin, and even though we want to say that Latin is a polite was to say Hispanic, it is not as accurate. Latin was the core language that Romance languages were derived from, so to say Latin is more inclusive is true, but it is so inclusive as to be incorrect. By true definition Portugese, Brazilians, Italians, French, Romanian are all Latinos as they all speak romance languages that derived from Latin. Hispanic is more specific to the Spanish heritage Language and Influences shared by Spanish-speaking people. Being identified by nationality is preferred, but if we are going to be grouped, Hispanic is my preference because it is the most accurate. At the end of the day, I have better things to worry about than my cultural identifier.

      April 19, 2012 at 10:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Sorry to say but the real Latinos are from Italy. Hispanics are those who descend from the Iberian Peninsula. In other words, Portugal and Spain. Every nation in the Americas has some Indian element but the culture, language and tradition remains Iberian. We are Iberoamericanos like it or not.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
  11. Peter Trainor

    Argentina, Uruguay, Chile and Paraguay % wise are whiter than the USA. Argentina with 40 million folks has an 85% white population all of European background.

    April 19, 2012 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  12. yes sir

    i love MS 13

    April 18, 2012 at 10:06 am | Report abuse |
  13. Talinn

    There are many people here from Mexico, Central and South American countries. But people in or from Puerto Rico are US citizens because Puerto Rico is part of the US. Most Puerto Ricans are bilingual – and in the future maybe all will be. The issue I missed here is that all countries south of our border share this section of the earth with the US and are or should be our natural trading partners, allies, etc. just as Europe and other regions have put aside past differences to benefit economically from the synergy of local trading partners and allies. NO – we do NOT need a 'one world' borderless, unified fiasco. We just need recognition that in the US we are missing out by trivializing our neighbors to the south. Personally, I think EVERY US child should be bi-lingual – be fluent in Spanish as well as English. The most important opportunities for the US is to expand trade with all American countries to the south and north of us. And by the way, if we continue to ignore our neighbors we just may wake up one day to find some very unfriendly influences much too near to our borders. We do need to secure our borders – but we also need to embrace our neighbors.

    April 18, 2012 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  14. StarBorneMaiden

    God, enough about race. I am so tired of race. Does it matter what someone is? Can't people just be people?

    April 17, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • YO MERO

      it is weird why in America everything is race,,,i am from Mexico city and i am white with polish roots...if i were in an american prison in which band would i fit in???lol

      April 19, 2012 at 9:20 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Mario

    Please people free your mind from the deception. The term “Hispanic” is a false and insulting label because there is no “Hispanic race”, there is only one race and it’s the HUMAN race (Genesis 1:26-28; Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:26-28). The term “Hispanic and Latino” are false labels that the United States government and media chooses to continuously use in order to try to brainwash everyone to accept and classify/label people that are of Spanish-speaking nations or descent. People of speaking nations or descent can be brown, black, white, etc… in other words they come in all skin colors and physical characteristics. Using these false and insulting labels is like saying that people of all skin colors and physical characteristics that come from English speaking nations (like the United States) or descent should be labeled “Anglican or Germanic” because they share a common heritage, a common language, and a common culture.

    We all came from the same blood people. Please stop the hate (Mark 12:28-34)!

    April 10, 2012 at 10:53 am | Report abuse |
    • Pat

      Well stated. I agree.

      April 11, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Pert ner Suppertime.

      Yes there needs to be less hate, and people need to get along better. But I think if you come to the U.S.A, you should be proud you are an American!! What is up with Mexican people here in America still flying their Mexican flag? They need to be fined for flying it, or they should move back to Mexico if they choose flying the Mexican flag over the American Flag.

      April 12, 2012 at 12:31 am | Report abuse |
      • Alex

        It's a cultural display. Why do some southerners display the Confederate for no real reason? or why do we have state flags? It is all cultural and you need to understand that people have heritages that they are proud of. You don't have to agree with them, but at least respect them. I wave both my U.S. flag and Mexican flag proudly.

        April 19, 2012 at 9:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • H. Olguin

        You better tell those folks at Notre Dame to stop calling themselves Irish.

        September 1, 2012 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
    • JJ

      Hispanic is an ethnicity not a race. Hispanics are mostly whites unless those who are Native or Black.

      September 13, 2012 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
  16. OregonTom

    If you are a citizen you are an American.

    April 9, 2012 at 11:05 am | Report abuse |
    • Chiva303

      anyone born in the new world is an American not just US citizens -.-

      April 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm | Report abuse |
  17. MrJay11

    will the Libtard autheors of this mess please drive their electric cars into tree's at 80mph. thanks. much appreciated.....

    dude speaks spanish fluently, goes by Jorge NOT george. all his friends are Latino ... but yet.. really he's white as a ghost.

    new Company slogan:
    CNN ........... do people get any dumber...?

    April 7, 2012 at 6:19 pm | Report abuse |
    • bobloblaw

      The left crows how whites will one day be in the minority in the USA due to the rising hispanic population. Now the left wants to classify certain hispanics as whites becasue it is politically expedient. But if they do so, whites will maintain their majority status well into the 22nd century. Cant have it both ways. In fact George Zimmerman is really America's future. One hispanic and one white parent. Unlike blacks and whites, hispanics and whites mix far more easily.

      April 15, 2012 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
    • Jim

      Easy test#1
      Can they speak Latin? If not, then not Latino.
      Easy test#2
      Do the males in the family have facial hair? If so then they are Spanish. If males have no facial hair then they are Native Americans that survived the genocide in South and Central America.
      Easy Test#3
      Are they called "white"? , There is no one nationality that is white, white is not a true racial term.

      People through out the middle east can be as white as any Europeans, Afghanistan is famous for their blue eyed populations as are certain areas in Tibet.. Russia, England, Italy, France, and many other nations including Spain may be considered ; "white". But the languages, and cultures are very different and they have had many wars amongst each other, no love lost so to speak, and yet all these cultures get lumped together in the US as being white. If considered as nationality then those of spanish heritage are the number 1 population majority in the US.

      April 18, 2012 at 2:57 am | Report abuse |
  18. frank

    how ignorant can CNN be!!!!
    hispanic is everyone of Spanish descent and culture (from mexico to Phillipines to ecuatorial Guinea in Africa.
    Latino....are those influenced by, derived from Rome...Romania...France, Italy Spain among others
    I would be proud of the hispanic label...... and by the way IT IS NOT A RACE (they are not BROWN)..
    Proud spaniard.

    April 7, 2012 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • sunny

      Philippines is more of Malay race than Spanish. Also, it's in Asia.

      April 9, 2012 at 7:08 pm | Report abuse |
    • Limeygirl

      Thick Spaniard, I suggest, based on your basic misunderstanding of geography & international culture.

      April 10, 2012 at 7:22 am | Report abuse |
    • mexitalirican

      i concur.

      April 17, 2012 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  19. Loyal Northern Democrat

    Just say Messican and it covers all bases.

    April 7, 2012 at 12:15 am | Report abuse |
    • Chrome48

      How about american. Or if your from another country like mexico/ mexican. I think it's pretty simple. WHat the hell is an african american either your from Africa or America. My ancestors came from Germany. I am not German/American.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:24 am | Report abuse |
      • Broida

        African American is a term used to describe people that are considered to be of African descent and are citizens of America. The majority of African Americans were not born in Africa. Most times, their families are at least 3 or 4 generations removed from African ancestry. While you are able to track your ancestors back to Germany, most of us cannot. You consider yourself a German who lives in America. There are Mexicans who live in America as well as Koreans, Swedes, Arabians, and such. African Americans were basically created here in America. After being removed from Africa centuries ago, our bloodlines have become mixed with so many others to the point where Africans and African Americans are almost two totally different ethnic groups. Africans, just like many other ethnic groups, identify with the country from which they originate. Most African Americans aren't able to do this. I wish we were able to just call ourselves Americans, but the dominant culture calls for separation according to the color of our skin.

        April 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  20. Mr. Herrera

    If you're going to label me anything... it better be American! Yes my mom is Puerto Rican and my dad is Dominican, SO, I was born in Harlem, NY (United States of America), I speak a little Spanish but my primary language is English. I'm not Latino or Hispanic... I'm just an American surrouned by IDIOTS who want to label me and put me in a category, never been to PR, I've been to DR once when I was like 5, all I know is America, nothing else! If people would do away with the hyphanated ignorance (i.e. African American, Asian American, etc. etc.) this country would be alot better off.

    April 6, 2012 at 2:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alienative

      Well said

      April 7, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • frank

      and you are ignorant...shame on you for not speaking spanish! and YES YOU ARE HISPANIC and should be proud of it!

      April 7, 2012 at 5:36 pm | Report abuse |
      • brenda

        and I bet frank from Sicily doesn't even speak Italian either!

        April 17, 2012 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • pogojo

      i guess the real question is, what do you consider yourself first? American, or other?

      April 9, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • Gene

        It doesn't matter if Mr. Herrera considers himself an American. There's no shortage of idiots out there reminding him he must be an "other", whatever else that happens to be. I've personally seen it on multiple occasions. A perfectly unaccented, English speaking, brown-skinned minority will always get asked "What are you?" If they reply with "American", the next question often is "No, really, what are you?" At that point, said minority is forced to name the country of their ancestors. Since this is the response they get all the time, they start telling people they ARE Filipino or whatever, since no one seems to believe them they are, in fact, Americans. It happens to my Filipino girlfriend ALL THE TIME.

        April 9, 2012 at 11:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • brenda

      U hit it right on the spot! But, ppl in Mid-America will never see it! Had to be a NYer to tell ppl the truth!

      April 17, 2012 at 10:56 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Jim Rivera

    Totally a bunch of cr@p. I am Puerto Rican (my Mom was born there) and yeah I use the term Hispanic. Just like someone would say they were German or Irish. You know why? BECAUSE I am AMERICAN. American citizen and BORN HERE. So if you are like from Mexico say you are Mexican but if you are born here you are American. Latino, Hispanic.. who cares? Start reporting on something important and btw we all do not vote for Obama either. I also want LEGAL imigration only.

    April 6, 2012 at 1:30 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Moncada

    I wounder what they would label me: Spanish, German, Chouhuiltecan, French.

    April 5, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Tucano Fulano

      Only two "labels" really count; the best = American Citizen, and the 2nd doesn't really matter at all.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Report abuse |
  23. arale norimaki

    We urge these politicians to STOP dividing us into groups for their own gains, and treat us as AMERICANS

    April 5, 2012 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  24. marc

    Whatever we all know Zimmerman isn't a white man that's for sure.

    April 5, 2012 at 4:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • ElreyJones

      Zimmerman is white. White now has a broad definition. Most Hispanics are white. Most Arabs are white. White is northern European, southern European, Meditterranean, and tens of millions of Hispanics and Latinos. The old definition of white has been replaced by a better definition. My children are darker than Zimmerman and they are white.

      April 5, 2012 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • Tucano Fulano

        Oh how very convenient for you.

        April 5, 2012 at 11:41 pm | Report abuse |
      • Richard Turnbull

        It's a slippery slope from buying into that reasoning to claiming there are, how many? "biological races" where the phenotype
        matches up with the genotype - and invoking the discredited and debunked nonsense about "pure" races. I will assume you aren't advocating that but the danger remains real.
        Cf. The Race Bomb by Dr. Paul Ehrlich - written over thirty years ago; still absolutely relevant.

        April 6, 2012 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
      • frank

        well put!

        April 7, 2012 at 5:37 pm | Report abuse |
      • pogojo

        if they consider themselves white, does this remove them from the minority list?

        April 9, 2012 at 11:02 pm | Report abuse |
      • brenda

        it is not about color. do u need glasses?

        April 17, 2012 at 10:58 pm | Report abuse |
      • OhPlease

        Zimmerman is not white. There is no "new white". Now that we have a black President now we got new white folks! Look the white race will not be the majority much longer so now your trying to hold on to it by calling anybody who is mixed with white White? Oh please just like white folks to change the rules half way through the game.

        April 18, 2012 at 11:03 am | Report abuse |
      • Peter Trainor

        Actually Zimmerman looks more like a native american indian. SO he is mostly Indian. MY white Latinos friends are quite white. BTW is George Clooney what? He is brown no white.

        April 19, 2012 at 8:01 pm | Report abuse |
  25. NorCalMojo

    If minorities want people to take them seriously, they need to stop playing these silly games.

    It was a clumsy attempt at spinning the story into a riot. Media executives were drooling over the thought of America being glued to their tv sets.

    April 5, 2012 at 12:19 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Ron

    We should all stop being two years old. The Media are the biggest babies of all. They love the arguing and fighting between race. I',m American, we are the melting pot! Stop the straining of the pot. Don't devide us. Our President has set us back 50 yrs, and the media love it. Our great President Abraham Lincoln will be turning over in his grave for What Obama has done to his beloved country. Shame on all of you! A house devided can not stand. Words so true today more then ever! One common goal is to keep America the great nation it once was. It has worked and will work again if we all stop the infighting. We are family and family have disagreements, but families that put love and decency first survive and flurish. We have to stop, stop. Say and do something nice today!!

    April 5, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Jorge

      Try that argument with my parents, who as American citizens born in Puerto Rico, had to deal with signs on storefronts in New York City's East Side that said: NO DOGS OR PUERTO RICANS ALLOWED. True, things have gotten better, but not by much in some circles.

      April 12, 2012 at 11:02 am | Report abuse |
  27. 1twinsfan

    I can't tell you the number of times I've had to explain to people in my midwest state that my Hispanic hubby isn't Mexican. He's Hispanic. They are shocked (and that's a quote) that Hispanic doesn't mean someone from Mexico. Hispanic is just too identify the ethnicity; not the nationality. Pendejos. :) But for Zimmerman, I believe, he chooses to ID himself as Hispanic just to help people with the contrast of the tan skin and lack of Spanish surname. He'll have fun in jail explaining that.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:51 am | Report abuse |
    • james

      ppl in the mid-west are narrow minded. they got the country messed up. midwesterners r incompetent of understanding

      April 17, 2012 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
      • brazilian

        That's generalizing, don't you think?

        May 3, 2012 at 5:43 pm | Report abuse |
  28. harryzoyster

    This article is a contrived piece of left wing garbage. You can't find a Fast and Furious article on this site. You can't find a story about the 5th Circuit Court smackdown of Obama's dictatorial comments on this site. But damn if the left wing loons at CNN continue to print a story America doesn't care about and try to make Zimmerman white to fit in with their corrupt agenda. Damn.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:44 am | Report abuse |
    • Alyson R

      To Harryzoyster: there is a story on this site discussing Obama's remarks on the judicial system and the response of Supreme Court members. Just read it before this article- I personally feel it is fair and balanced. I don't see how this article is political at all- the authors speak to evolving societal norms, specifically how we as Americans view and define "race." An important issue for registered Democrats, Republicans and the rest of us.

      April 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm | Report abuse |
      • MrJay11

        uh no... they speak of THEIR evolving norms. which is a convenient way of saying I have no morals , standards or ethics if the moment suits me. What are you 9?

        Do me a favor,..go visit your mom and punch her in the face for me. She failed.

        April 7, 2012 at 6:25 pm | Report abuse |
  29. newideaman

    Well, I want to be called English Italian German Cherokee American which is what I am.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:06 am | Report abuse |
    • Kiss

      Really I get so offended when someone calls me Italian when I am sicilian. Why can't people see the difference? bunch of racist

      April 5, 2012 at 10:39 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      That shows how stupid we are getting. It all got started when some bozo decided to seperate them selves from Ameica by becoming African Americans. They labeled thereselves. Thats not right, we are all Americans.

      April 5, 2012 at 11:08 am | Report abuse |
      • Broida

        Forgive us for trying to hold on to some part of our heritage after it was striped from us, as well as our religion, native language, and actual names.

        April 11, 2012 at 5:03 pm | Report abuse |
      • AreUserious

        Wow, blacks started the labeling? I think they were brought here on slave ships, made into slaves, told that they couldn't go to the same schools, drink from the same water fountains, vote, and tons of other things because "they" call themselves african-american. I think not, the labeling began long ago by white "masters" who didn't want to be equal to a people who was brought here, by no will of there own, to be enslaved. Sad that white Americans feel guilty, and rather than face that guilt, they would rather not hear it and say racisim does not exist or say that whites are not, in general, a priveleged race. Please do your part don't contribute to the problem, be fair, be nice, and be honest.

        April 13, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • frank

      you forgot...idiot

      April 7, 2012 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  30. anon

    I answer other and put human next to it.

    April 5, 2012 at 9:00 am | Report abuse |
  31. Bobby Dias

    The authors should live in Mexico until they learn why the term hispanic has a negative meaning to most. Easy to say the nice things on the internet but real people kill.

    April 5, 2012 at 8:41 am | Report abuse |
    • Pro American

      pita probably a more appropriate name.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:45 am | Report abuse |
  32. josh rogen

    in order to label Zimmerman in the minds of the knee-jerk racist they have to call him "white" the word "Hispanic" doesn't generate the hate they're looking for

    April 5, 2012 at 2:51 am | Report abuse |
    • Ron

      We all know thats exactly what they are doing. They wanted him to be white so bad. They want to devide us , they want a civil war. How terrible. Have they no shame??

      April 5, 2012 at 11:11 am | Report abuse |
  33. Javier J.

    Whilst the 15th-century mentality of colour-coded justice persists, how come the Bernard Goetz case(1984) has already been forgotten (and that was a clearly black-and-white case)?

    April 5, 2012 at 1:06 am | Report abuse |
  34. Claudio

    If people would just know what Latino really means, that word would not be in those forms. Let's also state that Latino/Hispanic is NOT a race (a race is not defined for the language you speak). So, if I'm Italian, Should I say I'm Latino? Now, if my great grand parents are Italian but I was born in Latin America? What if my great grand parents are Italian but I was born in the US?
    Tricky

    April 4, 2012 at 10:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Criolla

      True, is an Austrian German? and Irish , Australian etc all English? We are all very diferent from each other. I refused to be labeled.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:30 pm | Report abuse |
      • ElreyJones

        Of course Germans and Irish are considered Anglos in some parts of the country. You have to understrand the local aberrrations.

        April 5, 2012 at 10:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Cacique

      Don't care. This is just fodder for an opinion piece, means nothing.

      April 5, 2012 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
    • frank

      latino descent

      April 7, 2012 at 5:40 pm | Report abuse |
  35. BlackHeywood

    Hispanic and or Latino makes it easier to claim minority status in America and they benefit from it greatly. In employment, schools, housings and other programs designed to help American Blacks who were LEGALLY discriminated against,denying them access,opportunity and equality. Using Hispanic or Latino is another "get over" tactic.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Criolla

      When I visited Texas and had to meet people from diferent backrounds , older Mexican Americas, the ones that were here before Texas existed told me that when they were small, the teacher will beat them for speaking Spanish, also they were legally descriminated like Blacks, could not attend the same churches, schools, etc.
      Many were just killed for fun.
      I would accept a label, it denigrates me. I do not have mexican roots, but I was born in South America, never recieved any benefits, I work as everybody in my family, we depend only in ourselves.
      How you would like to be label the N word? Would it be easier? Well Hispanic is also an insult.

      April 4, 2012 at 11:38 pm | Report abuse |
      • Ted

        And you believed that bs?

        April 5, 2012 at 8:48 am | Report abuse |
  36. Jeff

    No one seems to be concerned about labels for white people.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • G

      Except for you........ how dare you label us white people, I prefer lacking color people.

      April 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
      • Bob

        Lacking color?

        April 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Report abuse |
  37. Sesn O

    One of the most intelligent comments I have read here. I agree 100% that you cannot classify a group of people by their common language. It defies any logic. No one would classify all food that contain sugar a dessert for instance. As a euro mutt it would make everyone's lives easier if race were simply defined by Caucasian, Afro-Descendant, Asian-Descendant. That allows for combinations that everyone fits into one way or another.

    April 4, 2012 at 9:21 pm | Report abuse |
  38. SteveRhoades

    Estimated 7 million non-agricultural jobs are held by illegal aliens . (with stolen, or fake ID)
    Jobs that could and should go to Americans. Push your state rep to make a change .
    Google this: NUMBERSUSA .Once you are registered, go to the "action board" to
    send free faxes to your state representative .
    They are all typed up and ready to go, you just need to click your mouse to send.
    No more illegal aliens in payroll jobs !

    April 4, 2012 at 8:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • iLiveInReality

      They tried that in Georgia last year... All it amounted to was a crop left in the field to rot. Be realistic, are you going to labor in a field all day?

      April 4, 2012 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Kachoto

      Instead of wasting time by sending faxes, how about picking up a part time at those fields building America up. I doubt the exhorbitant amounts of money you'll get from it would be hard to resist. Get a life and do something productive for this country.

      April 5, 2012 at 12:22 am | Report abuse |
      • Jorge

        So true, Steve's words are big and bad for someone who probably has neither the nads nor the vinegar to work crops ten hours a day for peanuts. (I know because I cut elephant grass with a machete on my dad's plantation in Puerto Rico every summer I was in high school, blood blisters, split nails, sore body, sunburn etc.).

        April 12, 2012 at 11:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Rsquared

      Hey, I don't think that illegals should be in the US illegally (since it's, you know, illegal and all...), but I'm appreciative of their hard work.

      April 27, 2012 at 7:54 pm | Report abuse |
  39. sabina barnes

    This a corrrction to the hispanic decendents who wifei is german. Most applications ask for other if your nationality isnt on there.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse |
  40. Kelly

    This from a person who can't even find the caps button....

    April 4, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Report abuse |
  41. sabina barnes

    For all those cant identify with, what they are and how the should be addressed, on an application there is a spot that says other,this for the german husband whos wife is white.

    April 4, 2012 at 8:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • AaaaCccc

      you would be amazed at how many applications and forms I stared at trying to fit a category but unable. Other was not an option based on the wording. It often says other of nonHispanic origin. But then Hispanic would say Hispanic with Hispanic surname. This includes a licencing board-I had to call them.

      Why aren't we all just Americans? they think we all think alike somehow if you place peole in boxes.

      April 7, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  42. jeff

    So now we can say that Obama is white african american too, just like Zimmerman,

    April 4, 2012 at 6:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • AreUserious

      How is it that Zimmerman is african american again?

      April 13, 2012 at 7:32 pm | Report abuse |
  43. Jason S

    Now he's white again to fit the media need to create a story.

    April 4, 2012 at 6:01 pm | Report abuse |
  44. Andrew

    hispanic and latino have always been bad labels. they don't describe a race, a nationality, or even a culture. all they really describe is a common language, like francophone. and now the labels are even being misused there, for second and third generation hispanics who don't even speak spanish.

    April 4, 2012 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
  45. Daniel

    ALRIGHT, SO LETS MAKE THIS QUICK !! HOW MANY MEXICANS are trying to become American not because of the languague and the culture, but instead because ECONOMY factors. Wait, you dont come to America if you dont learn the language. IT IS OBVIOUSLY that as long as mexican keep comming to the states, they will want the spanish to be the official language.... HOld on , something came up to my mind... how many mexican american will vote for democrats who wants to open the border? Of course they will want the border to be opened... their vote is unparcial.... STOP ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION STOL ILLEGAL IMMIGRATION STAY LAWFUL, IF YOU WANT TO COME TO AMERICA, EARN IT... AMERICA WELCOMES THE BEST LEGAL LEGAL ALIENS....

    April 4, 2012 at 4:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      You post is not relevant to this article Daniel. I'm sure there might be an article about illegal immigration where you can rant against Mexicans. Here we are talking about the terms Hispanic and Latino, which most people of Latin American descent don't really like, because it groups together people from very different cultures.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
  46. JOHN BEARD

    The Term America is one more that needs to be updated..... America includes Greenland, Canada, United States, Mexico, Brazil, Chile..... to name a few..... country's
    SO.... if anyone born in any Country in the America's can be called American.

    April 4, 2012 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
    • Daniel

      John, U do go and call someone from Mexico that he/she is American and then u tell me what you get as an aswer !!!!

      April 4, 2012 at 4:28 pm | Report abuse |
      • Maria

        They will say America is one big continent that is divided in three parts, North America, Central America and South America. So all the people born in this continent are Americans.

        April 4, 2012 at 4:55 pm | Report abuse |
  47. lisapizza1

    Im a very dark looking Italian. I dont think I'm white, although technically I'm Caucasian I suppose. I choose "other" on those surveys.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • tommy

      What's the purpose of self identifying race if its not used for preferential treatment? Why ask the question at all if it doesn't mean anything? Maybe on the U.S.. census every 10yrs it may be relevant.

      April 4, 2012 at 4:10 pm | Report abuse |
      • Andrew

        frankly I think we should adopt the same laws that many other countries have: make it illegal for the government and employers to ask a person's race

        April 4, 2012 at 5:16 pm | Report abuse |
      • tommy

        We

        April 4, 2012 at 6:02 pm | Report abuse |
  48. Cupid

    Greetings from the planet Earth. I just wanted to remind all of you that there is only one race and that is the human race. Now within the human race there are those who enjoy dividing and conquering, and judging from some of the comments it is working just like it always has. They are experts they are so good at the game that they don't need any weapons. All I can say is peace to all because if the earth is destroyed for whatever reason, we are ALL in the same boat.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:03 pm | Report abuse |
  49. Chris

    Hey, im white from South Africa. Not one of those keffers so im African American too.

    April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • tommy

      So now there are black african americans and white african americans? Just like Hispanics. Haha!

      April 4, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Report abuse |
      • Anne

        Of course, the British colonies in South Africa are white people.
        There is white people all over the world. So, two Germans get married and move to Mexico, then they have children born and raised up in Mexico, speaking Spanish. Those children are white Latinos, or not?

        April 4, 2012 at 3:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ricky

      Yeah, I used to go to College with a girl who was a white South African. She said that sometimes she would put African American in the forms at school and people would look at her like she was lying or something.

      April 4, 2012 at 3:42 pm | Report abuse |
  50. Ricky

    I have immigrated here from South America and I don't like the terms Hispanic or Latino. I'm now a US citizen, so you can call me American. If people really need to know about my origins, I would prefer they use my national origin. I'm not Mexican, or Cuban, or Puerto Rican, or Colombian, so I don't really identify with their culture, or they food, or their music.

    April 4, 2012 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
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