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  1. #1
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    HOW RICHARD NIXON INVENTED HISPANICS

    Interesting read, Happy Valentines Day!

    MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2005

    How Richard Nixon Invented Hispanics



    Update: See bottom of post for other information.

    Update: I found out that Mark Levin mentioned this post on June 16, 2014, so I welcome visitors who found this post that way. I've moved on to other things and haven't updated this blog in years, but this was always my most widely viewed post.
    _______________________

    In a press release in 2003, the Bureau of the Census announced with great fanfare that "Hispanics" had become the largest minority group in the U.S. As they are also at great pains to clarify, Hispanics, unlike "blacks" and "Asians," are not a "race.".

    And yet they must be something, else no one would pressure the government to count them. And the story of how something called "Hispanics" came to be an objective reality worth measuring is a fascinating lesson in the economics of tribal self-identification. "Hispanics" are readily identifiable in the U.S. But as soon as one crosses the Rio Grande from the north there is no such thing as "Hispanic." There are instead races: "whites," and "Indians," and mestizos, and "blacks," and all of the above together. And there are nationalities: Dominicans, and Salvadorans, and Hondurans, and Mexicans and Brazilians. But in the United States these disparate nations and people, who sometimes go to war at least proximately because of soccer games and who argue over the racial stereotyping in their television soap operas, through the waving of a bureaucratic wand in an obscure office at the end of an obscure hall in Washington magically become a single demographic group. So too with "Asian," whose official definition as of 2002 was a masterpiece of bureaucratic obfuscation masquerading as clarification:

    "Asian" refers to those having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Thailand, and Vietnam. "Pacific Islander" refers to those having origins in any of the original peoples of Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. The Asian and Pacific Islander population is not a homogeneous group; rather, it comprises many groups who differ in language, culture, and length of residence in the United States. Some of the Asian groups, such as the Chinese and Japanese, have been in the United States for several generations. Others, such as the Hmong, Vietnamese, Laotians, and Cambodians, are comparatively recent immigrants. Relatively few of the Pacific Islanders are foreign born.

    The immigrant from China or Korea on the one hand and Japan or Vietnam on the other must be mystified that, when he arrives in the U.S., he is placed in the same demographic category as those whose genetic lineage is traced to countries recently at war with his own. But such is the nature of tribal politics in the U.S. (and, because of its influence, in other multi-tribal Western democracies too) these days. Everyone must be pigeonholed, the pigeonholing must be by physical appearance, and the government will tell you which compartment is yours.

    This is all an artifact of decisions taken during the first Nixon Administration. The terms "Hispanic" and "Asian/Pacific Islander" have their origins in a term first placed on the 1970 Census form during the Nixon Administration, and sought in the case of "Hispanic" to unite those with nothing in common other than backgrounds vaguely related to countries where the Spanish language is important. It is not strictly a geographic term, identifying people from Latin America and the Caribbean. While Dominicans, who speak Spanish, and Brazilians, who speak Portuguese, are Hispanic, Haitians, who speak French and Creole, and Jamaicans, who speak English, are not. (And whether this vague type of person should be called "Hispanic" or "Latino" is an absurd and impenetrable controversy all its own.) The decision to invent Hispanics has had profound effects on American culture.

    In any society (certainly including ours) where people can organize to pressure the government to transfer income from other groups to theirs, the question arises of what shared characteristics to organize the group around. People can organize around vague notions of race (the NAACP or La Raza), around occupation (small-business owner or farmer), around whether they are left- or right-handed, or any other criterion. But the criteria around which they do choose to organize is, in the economic way of thinking, a function of the marginal costs of organizing each type of group. One reason labor unions are such a powerful force in many societies of all income levels and many forms of governments is that they are easy to organize, with many of the potential constituents converging to the same workplace every day. Groups organized around tribe form relatively easily as well because it is easy to tell who is and is not a member, and the tendency of people to socialize based on common language, church membership or other criteria also lowers these organizational transaction costs.

    But what is striking about recent years is the ability of government decisions to create artificial identities. This is in part presumably because in a democratic political system bigger numbers, other things equal, can mean bigger influence. The notion of what it means to be "white" has itself undergone dramatic transformation over time. The term once connoted primarily northern Europeans – people descended from residents of the British Isles, Scandinavia, (non-Jewish) Germany, and the like – with those considered eminently “white” now – people with last names like Rosselli and Papadopoulos – previously consigned to a sub-"white" basement, not quite "black" but not quite Smith or Johnson either.

    To get a sense of how artificial it all is, note that some Japanese consider Persians and Arabs to be "white," something utterly preposterous to many people who actually call themselves "white." Are Jews “white”? They are now, but once upon a time they were not. The media sometimes acts as if, because of their successful integration (which "Hispanic" immigrants are rapidly duplicating)," "Asians" already are. When the government is counting people, President Bush’s first-term Labor Secretary nominee, Linda Chavez, is “Hispanic.” But when she is asked to serve in government, she is, because the “Chavez” in “Linda Chavez” comes from her ancestors who came to New Mexico from Spain in the 1600s, not Hispanic enough.

    By defining phenomena called "Hispanic" and "Asian," the government of the U.S. is subsidizing a particular basis for both tribal identification specifically and presure-group formation more generally. What makes this arbitrariness so troubling is the ability of the state through its decisions to promote tribal tensions that might otherwise not be there. Imagine a hypothetical American named John Kim. He is the native-born grandson of Korean immigrants, an accountant, the married father of three children, a Roman Catholic, a Dallas Cowboys fan, and a bowler. So what is he? If asked, he would probably define himself by all these criteria simultaneously. But in modern America, with tribal identity more and more the primary engine of political engagement, he is probably inclined to think of himself primarily as Korean or, even more artificially, as "Asian." And so when bad things happen to him in life he may be more likely to think that it is a result of his "Asian-ness" rather than to the rain that occasionally falls on all of us. By inventing Asians and Hispanics/Latinos, President Nixon subsidized the organization out of thin air of a brand-new ethnic identity, and the creation of "Asian" and "Hispanic" pressure groups in every sphere of American life has proceeded correspondingly. That is too bad, because accountancy and bowling are aspects of identification over which one has control, while tribal identities are encoded in the genes and therefore more difficult to overcome. When society divides along tribal lines, it becomes harder to reconcile competing factions than when they are divided along lines not so easily transmitted from parent to child.

    Richard Rodriguez, in his wonderful book Brown, wonders how long it takes a Bolivian immigrant to become a "Hispanic." He argues that when she arrives she will be thrown in with "...Mayan Indians from the Yucatán,…Argentine tangoistas, Colombian drug dealers, and Russian Jews who remember Cuba from the viewpoint of Miami." He offers the following definition of this only-in-America term:
    Hi.spa.nick 1. Spanish, adjective. 2. Latin American, adjective. 3. Hispano, noun. An American citizen or resident of Spanish descent. 4. Ducking under the cyclone fence, noun. 5. Seen running from the scene of the crime, adjective. Clinging to a raft off the Florida coast. Elected mayor in New Jersey. Elevated to bishop or traded to the San Diego Padres. Awarded the golden pomegranate by the U.S. Census Bureau: “most fertile.” Soon, an oxymoron: America’s largest minority. An utter absurdity: “destined to outnumber blacks.” A synonym for the future (salsa having replaced catsup on most American kitchen tables). Madonna’s daughter. Sammy Sosa’s son. A jillarioso novel about ten sisters, their sorrows and joys and intrauterine devices. The new face of American Protestantism: Evangelical minister, tats on his arm; wouldn’t buy a used car from. Highest high school dropout rate; magical realism.

    Rodriguez is writing approvingly of a society where tribal identity is becoming more confused, making the old categories less relevant and the new ones more dynamic, shorter-lived and hence more interesting. This will be true as long as he has not underestimated the power of tribal subsidy (e.g., via the census form, or tribal preferences in university admissions, tribal appeals by politicians running for office, etc.) to define the relative rates of return to the various ways of defining ourselves. One could suppose that the moral ideal of a multi-tribal society is that it become a post-tribal society, one where tribal identity is utterly irrelevant in how we trade and how we vote. (At least on religious grounds, it’s not clear that tribe would or should become irrelevant in how we marry, but on ethnic grounds perhaps it should.) And, given the rate at which our immigrants, who are the world in miniature, are living, working, marrying and conceiving inter-tribally, it is possible that the emotional and material benefits of annihilating tribal lines will override the political incentives and, occasionally, biological urges to build them up. Possible, but no sure thing. It is a race between those who are taking hammers to the walls and those who are for their own reasons busy building them.

    May 2015 update: There was apparently a question about "Hispanic" origin asked on the 1970 census (Q13b), although the word "Hispanic" was not used, the only choices being several national origins or "other Spanish," So the idea that "they" are all in some ways the same was in the air then. As for the term, the Washington Post seems to be confirming much of the reasoning in this post with their reporting in 2005 that in 1975 the, um, Ad Hoc Committee on Racial and Ethnic Definitions at the now-replaced Dept. of Health, Education and Welfare chose the name as official government terminology. Why was it necessary? One committee member, Abdin Noboa-Rios, said: "For the purposes of the census it was important to know who we were, because we were an underrepresented population." How they decided who "we" were is, one supposes, an interesting question in its own right.

    http://futureuncertain.blogspot.com/...hispanics.html



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  2. #2
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    June 12, 2003
    U.S. Census Bureau Guidance on the
    Presentation and Comparison of Race and Hispanic Origin Data


    Background
    Traditional and current data collection and classification treat race and Hispanic origin as two separate and distinct concepts in accordance with guidelines from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). In contrast, the practice of some organizations, researchers, and media is to show race and Hispanic origin together as one concept. The introduction of the option to report more than one race added more complexity to the presentation and comparison of these data. This document provides U.S. Census Bureau guidance to the user community on how to handle the interpretation of race and Hispanic origin data.
    Summary of Issues

    • Race and Hispanic origin are two separate concepts in the federal statistical system.
      • People who are Hispanic may be of any race.
      • People in each race group may be either Hispanic or Not Hispanic.
      • Each person has two attributes, their race (or races) and whether or not they are Hispanic.

    • Overlap of race and Hispanic origin is the main comparability issue.
      • For example, Black Hispanics (Hispanic Blacks) are included in both the number of Blacks and in the number of Hispanics.

    • "More than one race" option increases possible numbers and overlapping groups.
      • For example, the three categories of Blacks, Hispanics, and people reporting two or more races produce multiple overlapping groups.

    • The complete cross tabulation of race and Hispanic origin data is problematic.
      • This option allows experienced users to tailor data for their specific use, but can confuse general users.

    • Comparability of data on race and Hispanic origin is affected by several other factors.
      • The universe differs across sources (censuses, national surveys, postcensal population estimates).
      • The allocation of "Some other race" responses from the Census 2000 category to standard OMB race categories increases the totals for each race, but does not affect the number of Hispanics.
      • The "Two or more races" category is present in Census 2000 and in the postcensal population estimates, but not in the 2002 Current Population Survey (CPS). It will be in the CPS every year, beginning with 2003.

    Data on Race and Hispanic Origin
    As noted above, the overlap of the concepts of race and Hispanic origin is the main comparability issue when users want to compare the population size of a specific race with the number of Hispanics, or even when comparing the population size of one race group with another. Table 1 classifies the Black and the Hispanic populations from the population estimates data showing each person once (three mutually exclusive categories). Due to the overlap issue, Black Hispanics (or Hispanic Blacks) can be included in either the total Black or the total Hispanic population.

    https://www.census.gov/population/www/socdemo/compraceho.html

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  3. #3
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    What Race is a Latino? Some Mexican-Americans in California Aren't Even Sure (Neither Are We)

    DENNIS ROMERO |
    MAY 25, 2011 | 7:08AM

    Have you ever looked at your light-skinned, green-eyed Latino neighbor — or perhaps he's kinky haired and the color of cinnamon — and asked, What the hell are you?

    It's a question Latinos even ask themselves, apparently, especially when filling out a U.S. Census form, which doesn't give them a race of their own, only an ethnicity of nationality. In other words, Latinos can chose a race from white, black, Asian/Pacific Islander or Native American/Alaska Native — but not "Latino," because it's not a race.

    It's true. But it's still confusing. And so many Latinos check "some other race" when filling out Census forms, or skip the question altogether. It's all about self-identity, so there's no wrong answer. Except that ...
    ... most anthropologists would say that most Latinos, unless they're direct descendants of Africans or other immigrants to the Americas, are white. Except that ...

    ... it doesn't entirely make sense, does it? The prevailing theory about the origin of indigenous Americans is that they came to the continent from Asia thousands of years ago, which would make purely indigenous Latinos ... Asian. That's a concept that would make some Asians laugh.

    And, well, most Latinos are mixed with European blood, though plenty of Jews, Germans, Austrians and Japanese (none of them races unto themselves) ended up south of the border too, particularly in the last 200 years.

    And so, we skip the race box and head on down to ethnicity and nationality.

    Mestizo, Chicano, Latino, Hispanic, Mexican, Salvadoran and Puerto Rican are popular. But they don't identify race, but rather ethnicity, culture and national heritage.

    (We love how some Asian Americans identify themselves as Hawaiian. Really? We're Californian. But it doesn't get to the heart of the matter, now does it?).

    "We don't obsess about race," Cesar Juarez, a 24-year-old community organizer in San Jose, told the Mercury News' Joe Rodriguez.

    Indeed, we predict a day when that top tier identifier of race is no longer even on the Census. In 2020? Who knows.

    But anthropology seems to be debunking race as a scientifically justifiable category: There's a much bigger difference between man and woman than black and white.

    Where does Caucasian end and Asian begin? Where does Asian end and Arab begin? Where does Arab end and African begin?

    And, for the love of God, what's Rosie Perez?

    It all seems a little bit ... racist, don't you think?

    [San Jose Mercury News].
    http://www.laweekly.com/news/what-ra...are-we-2398348
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    The title is wrong, it wasn't Richard Nixon, it was Jimmy Carter. They made an update correction but didn't change their title. No "Hispanic" term was used in the 1970 Census.

    May 2015 update: There was apparently a question about "Hispanic" origin asked on the 1970 census (Q13b), although the word "Hispanic" was not used, the only choices being several national origins or "other Spanish," So the idea that "they" are all in some ways the same was in the air then.
    Last edited by Judy; 02-14-2018 at 10:46 AM.
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  5. #5
    Super Moderator Newmexican's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Judy View Post
    The title is wrong, it wasn't Richard Nixon, it was Jimmy Carter. They made an update correction but didn't change their title. No "Hispanic" term was used in the 1970 Census.
    The point is, Hispanic is not a "race".
    Judy likes this.
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Judy's Avatar
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    Yes, I know. It's why for years I've posted that most Hispanics are Caucasian. They are not a minority group, but they got up with Jimmy Carter and devised this scheme to use their language history to make them eligible for affirmative action benefits when they were not otherwise eligible for them. It's disgusting, because this cheated black Americans out of jobs and educations that affirmative action was designed to steer to black Americans to help them catch up.
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