Myth: Hispanics are a single race

Comparing Whites, Blacks, Asians and Hispanics is like comparing apples, oranges, bananas and a fruit salad. The latter contains elements of the first three. Despite this evident fact, these four “racial” categories appear side-by-side in the U.S. media every single day. Even some Hispanics help perpetuate this widespread myth. A leading Hispanic interest group calls itself the National Council for La Raza, The Race. But do they accurately represent all Hispanics?

4_up_Hispanics

People with Spanish surnames can also be White, Black or even Asian

“What does a Hispanic look like?” asks Laurent Belsie of the Christian Science Monitor. Since it’s a language-based designation, it’s impossible to know. The grouping links Argentines of European descent with indigenous people in Guatemala whose culture predates Columbus. According to Hilary Shelton of the NAACP, “The Hispanic community is made up of very many different racial groups. African-Americans are still the largest racial minority group.” Ignoring this fact, the term Hispanic is routinely applied to more than 90 million people of African descent who live in Latin America. In other instances, the term Hispanic has been used to define any person with a Spanish surname, opening the label to include Caucasians from Spain to Asians from the Philippines. Clearly, this has become a bewildering human category.

Can you spot the Hispanic? (Actually, all these people fit the definition.)

Can you spot the Hispanic in the photos above?

Actually, all these people fit the definition of Hispanic. (Top left: Cuban singer Ibrahim Ferrer, Top right: Philippine official Alberto Romulo, Bottom left: U.S. actor Wilmer Valderamma, Bottom right: U.S. actor Sarah Ramos)

Although people with Spanish surnames do not fit into a tidy racial category, the misconception of Hispanics as a single race continues to endure in the United States.

Other myths…

Myth: The Hispanic label is harmless

Myth: The Hispanic label has always existed

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