The perception of a homogeneous Hispanic “race” hurts disadvantaged Latinos most
Few would argue that many Hispanics suffer the effects of discrimination. But the misconception of Hispanics as a single race hits the most disadvantaged Latinos hardest. Painting a racially-homogeneous portrait of Hispanics often obscures the depth of prejudice against darker-skinned Latinos behind the success stories of white Hispanics whose Caucasian phenotypes have granted them easier entry into the racially-sensitive citadels of privilege in U.S. society. In our race conscious culture, economic success and Caucasian phenotypes are often closely linked. In effect, the depth of discrimination and the needs of those truly disadvantaged are glossed over and minimized. One look at most Spanish-surnamed CEO’s in the United States bears out this trend.
Are white Hispanics really a “disadvantaged minority”?
Many white Hispanics are direct descendants of Spanish slave holders. The incongruity of giving white Hispanics protected status as a “disadvantaged minority” is made clear by Harry C. Alford, president of the National Black Chamber of Commerce: “Imagine heirs to slave traders and slave owners being automatically allowed to participate in affirmative action programs like they suffered from slavery and Jim Crow effects. The fact is they prospered from it.”