Friday, March 25, 2011

Brazilians are NOT Hispanic!


And neither are the FRENCH CANADIANS, HATIANS, JAMAICANS, GUYANESE, SURINAMESE or the SPANIARDS for that matter!!


Please add French Canadians to the Latinos side and REMOVE Spaniards from the HISPANIC side! Thank you

HERE is a definition to the term Hispanic and Latino Americans, that might help you understand this discussion a little better or it will just confuse you completely if you think like I do.

I have been in discussions about the definition of the word "HISPANIC" many times since the first time I lived in the United States back in the 1980's.
The first time I heard it, it didn't make any sense to me.
I  was at a small government agency applying for a Social Security Number because I was going to High School in Oklahoma and needed the document for School purposes.
While completing the form, under the section "RACE", I didn't have any doubts, I checked "White", no big deal, right! But I was quickly corrected by the government agency lady "helping" me fill out the form, she said, YOU ARE HISPANIC, not WHITE!!
I thought to myself, EXCUSE ME! My grandparents came from EUROPE; France, Germany, Italy, part Catholic, part Jewish heritage, you name it, I might be a mutt when it comes to Europe, but I have no doubt in my mind I am WHITE, CAUCASIAN, whatever you want to call people from Europe, I am blond, have fair skin and have green eyes. My mother has natural red hair and light blue eyes, if I am not WHITE I should go back to school, because I learned that CAUCASIANS, European, are WHITE, PERIOD, regardless where they were born.
The semi ignorant lady from that specific small office proceeded to explain that I was from Latin America, so, in her book I was HISPANIC when it came to RACE, UGH!!! WHAT??? Really, in what freaking planet?
I fought her to the end, not because it would be a bad thing to be classified as anything other than WHITE or CAUCASIAN but because from the PLANET EARTH where I grew up, regardless of where you were born, your RACE doesn't change. P E R I O D.
Your culture, sure, but your RACE, impossible, you are what you are, regardless of Geographic positioning. I would still be CAUCASIAN if I was born in GHANA or JAPAN, wouldn't I?... Thank you!
After that ridiculous discussion in my early teenage years I became somewhat interested to understand why and how UNCLE SAM'S forms insisted in classifying people as HISPANIC, even if we were something else.
Just a little research will lead you to information regarding the ORIGIN of the word HISPANIC, which for starters has NOTHING to do with the word HISPANIA. HISPANIA was the original name Romans gave to the people of the Iberian Peninsula, keep in mind, that was even before Portugal became a country with a separate and distinct culture and language from Spain.
If you have any doubts between the cultural differences between Brazilians and Mexicans, try this, offer a Mexican Avocados with Condensed Milk and watch him gag or try to place some slice Avocados in a Brazilian salad and throw some Olive Oil, Lime and Salt over it and watch he throw up! Salted Avocados!!!No way Jose! Remove Cilantro from Mexican's cuisine and watch them have an aneurism and put Cilantro on anything besides some FISH in Brazil and watch them refuse to eat your disgusting Cilantro infested meal, hell, Italians don't even know what the heck cilantro means. Sao Paulo is mostly Italian, I will tell you, I never knew what Cilantro was until I lived in Oklahoma in 1989.
Ok, having said that, the word "HISPANIC' was INVENTED, MADE UP, CREATED by PRESIDENT REAGAN'S administration to identify the growing number of BROWN people moving into the United States from the South.
It was ORIGINALLY used to define RACE, not ethnicity or culture as you may see it today.
In earlier years, the US government forms had the following options for RACE; Caucasian, African American, Asian, Pacific Islander, Native American.
They had no real definition for the BROWN folks from Mexico and other Central American countries, they weren't Africans, they weren't Caucasians, they are, for the most part, a mix of many races, mostly Native Americans mixed with Spanish or some other Caucasian group with a just a dash or a lot of African influence, like it's the case of Dominican Republic, Cuba and Puerto Rico.
The biggest fear of the American government at the time was that the "new brown" folks, who were basically Native Americans from south of the border would move into the US and start taking advantage of all the benefits available to the Native Americans born in the United States.
I lived in Oklahoma and learned about these benefits. They are actually very good and both Uncle Sam and the"Native Americans" felt threatened that if these new immigrants ("brown folks") from South of the border had precedents and started claiming "native American" benefits in the US.
If that had ever happened, the whole program would have it's days counted.
Ok, solution, EVERYONE south of the US border would be classified as HISPANIC. I always thought Reagan was a freaking idiot!!! Ok, even if he had little to nothing to do with the creation of this idiotic situation, he was an idiot for many other reasons.
The people who came up with this definition were clearly not very bright, because if you have traveled around Latin America, you have noticed that there are many folks of African origin, many people of Asian origin ( Peru for Example ), several countries south of the US border have a large majority of their populations composed of Caucasians ( Argentina,  Uruguay and Chile for example ), you have Guiana with a huge population of Indians, who are actually south Asians.
You have Brazil, that, for starters, doesn't even speak Spanish, doesn't have a Spanish culture.
Brazil in general has a very distinct Portuguese influenced culture with strong African flavor and a large percentage of Caucasians as well, hell, you can get more Italian than Paulistas if you tried.
So, the whole concept of the word HISPANIC is a real MESS, a true embarrassment for the ignorant people who created and even a bigger embarrassment for the US government that embraced the broken concept of this misunderstood subject.
So, over the years, we watched the US government desperately back paddle out of this mess with enhancements to the term, more recently we have started to see the US forms changing from RACE : HISPANIC, to RACE : "HISPANIC of CAUCASIAN origin" or "HISPANIC NOT of CAUCASIAN origin" and even more recently some government agencies started separating the term HISPANIC from the RACE field and including a separate field for "Ethnicity" WHAT? Really!
Give me a freaking break!
Just drop the term all together, it's ignorant, it's RACIST, it's confusing and nobody really knows what the hell it means anyway, even the people who created still haven't really made up their minds about what it really means.
Not even anyone in the US government is clear about it, trust me!
If you try to find definitions about the term, you get even more confused, I certainly do and let me be crystal clear about this, I am not confused about what I am or what people of most races are, I just get frustrated and confused trying to make sense of some government forms that insist in using a term without clear definition.
My suggestion, just abandon this ridiculous term all together and forgetaboutit!!!! Will you?
Example, with a quick Google search, below are some of the "COMPLETELY" "CONTRADICTORY" definitions I found.
Now, just for fun sake, I will try to explain and see if I can help you spot the contradictions I see by making some remarks below in YELLOW BOLD and Italic:

Definitions of Hispanic on the Web:
  • Spanish American: an American whose first language is Spanish.
Ok, right off the bat, this definition would be trying to tell you AMERICANS who speak Spanish are Hispanics, right? So forget about the Mexicans, Guatemalans, Colombians etc...Ok, so this is saying ONLY Americans who have Spanish as first language are HISPANIC. CLEARLY leaves BRAZILIANS out! 

Again, confusing!!! So this definition is throwing "SPANISH" folks from Spain into the mix, after all, they are a Spanish-speaking people with a Spanish culture, Jamon Serrano anyone? 
NO, Spanish folks are Spaniards, not HISPANIC, look it up on your dictionary, and by the way, the last time I studied Geography and History, Spaniards from Spain are CAUCASIAN not anything else.
What the hell is wrong with this people who make up crappy definitions as they go???
God save us all after the invention of Wikipedia!!! After all, if something is on the internet, it must be true right!
  • Hispanic (hispano, hispánico) is a term that originally denoted a relationship to the ancient Hispania (geographically coinciding with the Iberian Peninsula). During the modern era, it took on a more limited meaning, relating to the contemporary nation of Spain.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic
STOP!!! Please!! My head is spinning already! There you go with HISPANIA again, you can't just throw around the words "Iberian Peninsula", "modern era" and throw the Spaniards from Spain in limbo again, ok, you just robbed them of their RACE, their identity, they are no longer CAUCASIAN, now after your Geography deprived ignorant brain acted on your stupidity, people from Spain are HISPANIC, again!
What are you going to do with the brown folks coming in from the south??? Thank you! I thought so! Go back to school and select GEOGRAPHY and HISTORY while you are at it! PLEASE, I beg you!
  • Race and ethnicity in the United States Census, as defined by the United States Census Bureau and the Federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), are self-identification data items in which residents choose the race or races with which they most closely identify, and indicate whether or not ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanic_(U.S._Census)
Ok, here comes confused old Uncle Sam again, PLEASE CHOOSE, you invented the freaking term, so make up your mind, ETHNICITY or RACE? CHOOSE ONE, stop confusing people, stop making a mess.( OMB ) Yeah, your Federal Office of Budget confusion has been caught red handed trying to convince BRAZILIANS in the BOSTON area to CHECK HISPANIC on government forms, that way you can inflate the HISPANIC population sensus in the BOSTON AREA by about 300 thousand, yes, that is the number of MOSTLY Caucasian Brazilians living in the Boston Metro.
That way, the Hispanic community gets a bigger portion of the Budget dedicated to them.
Now just go ahead and try to CHECK HISPANIC, if you are a BRAZILIAN applying for one of the grants or schoolarships available to the HISPANIC community in the area, it's not gonna fly, you will get your samba dancing Brazilian behind kicked faster than you can learn to spell TEGUCIGUALPA..
You are only considered a HISPANIC to help inflate the numbes and increase the BUDGETS available to the HISPANIC community but you can't really be a part of the benefit.
What the hell are you thinking, you WHITE ELITIST BRAZILIANS, these funds are for the needed poor brown folks from south of the border.

  • A Spanish-speaking person; A person residing in the United States, Latin America or worldwide of Spanish ancestry, generally but not always exclusive of Brazilians; Of or related to Spain; Pertaining to a Spanish-speaking people or culture, as in Latin America; Of or pertaining to the Iberian ...
    en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hispanic
Ok, these one has completely gone off the deep end.
I am not even gonna try to explain or make sense of anything written on this crazy freaking definition, whoever wrote it was really high on some misterious drug not yet available to the general public yet, "GENERALLY BUT NOT ALWAYS EXCLUSIVE OF BRAZILIANS"  WHAT THE HELL IS THIS SUPPOSED TO MEAN?
Brazilians who speak Spanish, well, there aren't any, for your information, unless off course you started to call HISPANIC the Brazilians who learned how to speak Spanish at a language school.
I rest my case on this one, let me just point out the word "wiki" is related to this definition. Need I say more? For all we know it could be George W. Bush writting this definition on Wiktionary or whatever the hell this thing is called.
Then it would make total sense, if good ol'Georgie wrote this, I would totally understand and feel much better, by the way. :)
  • Hispanicism - Hispanism (also referred to at times as Hispanic studies) is the study of the literature and culture of the Spanish-speaking world, principally that of Spain and Latin America. ...
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanicism
Ok, so now we have derivatives of the crazy mistery Reagan era created word.
Still not making any sense?? Brazil and Quebec are Latin America and have NOTHING to do with HISPANICS!!!
  • Hispanicity - The Hispanidad (Hispanidad) is the community formed by all the people and countries that share a common Hispanic-heritage and cultural pattern.
    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hispanicity

So, we finally find a definition that makes a little sense, but GUESS WHAT? It is defining ethnicity, NOT RACE!
Well, at least they don't throw Quebec and Brazil in the definition with the rest of Spanish speaking America, because if you learned Georgraphy or History you know that Brazil and Quebec are of Latin culture as well, but not of Spanish cultural background. 
I think I understand this one...but I better call some of my friends from Miami to get some clarification, I will get back to you on this one... ( No, I won't )
  • People who identify with the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" are those who classify themselves in one of the specific Hispanic or Latino categories listed on the Census questionaire - "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," or "Cuban" - as well as those who indicate that they are "other Spanish, Hispanic, or ...
    ne.marketmaker.uiuc.edu/glossary.php
Oh, please, "Latino categories listed on the Census questionaire"... "other Spanish, Hispanic... How can you be OTHER Hispanic if Hispanic is used for every freaking people on these crazy govenment's form imagination???? HOW? Hooooow????
French Canadians-Latinos for sure! Hispanics? I don't think so and try to tell a French Canadian retiring in Florida that you throw them in the same boat with the Mexicans, Puerto Ricans etc... again, it's not gonna fly!
So, this PEARL is defining the term HISPANIC as the "Children whose parents reported their ethnicity as Hispanic"!!!! ?????
So, what about RACE, did you forget? Reagan wanted to clearly SEPARATE the BROWN people from the rest of us, remember? The 1980's wasn't that long ago!!! The term was invented in the 80's!!!
  • Someone of Spanish descent living in the United States. A term used by the government and often by people of Latin American descent who vote republican. This term is problematic in that it focuses on a colonizer (Spain) and ignores African, Asian, American Indian, and other European ethnicities. ...
    elenamary.com/terminology/
This is a total BIPOLAR definition.
Ok, so, someone of Latin American descent who VOTED REPUBLICAN!!! WHO VOTED REPUBLICAN?????!!!!! 
You must be freaking joking right!!! At least you admit it, for the first time on my findings of crazy definitions, that "This term is problematic", YES, the first thing I read on these searches that made any sense. THANK YOU!

So, according to the definition above, Antonio Banderas is not Caucasian, he is Hispanic Right?

Ok, we are getting creative again, so now we are HISPANIC if we are Spanish settlers in the Southwest, not if we are Spanish settlers in New York, Massachusetts or Florida for example.
I can see the Spanish settlers in the Southwest getting a good tan and fitting in your "Brown folk" classification, but the Spanish settlers in Massachusetts and New York are not tanned, they are as pale as the French Canadian or the Italian Americans living in the Northeast and what about Florida? Have you seen those Florida women's TAN?
Those ladies have a mean TAN. I don't really know if it's from TANNING BEDS or not, but it doesn't matter, they are SUPER BROWN, most of them Jewish and of European origin, but who cares, your definition makes no sense anyway, thrown in the Jewish New York/New Jersey brown ladies from the tanning salons of Miami, why not?
Just keep in mind, they don't vote Republican, they are BLUE IN THE FACE DEMOCRATS!! 

Typical look of a Miami "brown" Jewish woman of New York origin. Hispanic? 


So, this definition is somewhat reveling and enlighting, "NOT REALLY", but once we all embarked on this crazy trip, let's get to the bottom of it, shall we?
Ok, so forget the Brazilians and French Canadians, ( unless you want to inflate your numbers to get more government funds ) , you ONLY became a HISPANIC when you became a US citizen, GREEN CARD HOLDERS DON'T COUNT! Citizens only, so, before you become a citizen, you are a Mexican, Central American, Bolivian, Brown, Mixed Race, Chihuahua whatever.
If you wanna become a part of this select group called "Hispanics", get your freaking citizenship in order, will you?
A mere 1200 Dollars aplication fee to become a citizen will get you in, Uncle Sam thanks you for your hard earned dollars!
Hell, we might just have to buy another batch of Tomahawk cruze missiles for our next international policy fiasco, we need the cash, caugh it up and we will gladly call you HISPANIC! :)

Talk about Chihuahua, below is a visual representation of how much sense the Hispanic classification makes to me:



White/Caucasian Hispanic

Pacific Islander Hispanic

    Mexican Hispanic

    Hispanic of Caribbean origin!

    
    Hispanic of Asian origin
    

Hispanic of African origin


Hispanic of Spanish origin!


I refuse to explain that HISPANIA known to the Romans had nothing to do with the term created by the Reagan administration in the 80's to define the BROWN people crossing the border and to make sure they were different than the "BROWN" people already born here, called Native Americans and enjoying some hefty government entitlements negotiated as the CAUCASIANS advanced over their land a couple of centuries ago, remember "The trail of tears", "General Custer", "Indian Wars"? You get my point.
This one is the classic "BACK PADDLE" situation, when the government realized how ignorant they were trying to throw all of Latin Americans in the same RACE classification basket, they started switching and adding "culture", "origin" and ethnicity in the mix!
Not flying, at least not in my book.


All right, so, if you were interested enough and was able to follow my rants about the crazy definitions I found regarding the word HISPANIC on the world wide web, you would probably be able to answer the following questions, just for sake of consistency, let's use the same classification as the forms used by the US government, ok, ready!

Here we go:

1-A person of Italian origin, let's call him Tony Soprano, born in Broklin, New York:
HISPANIC - YES or NO?

2-A person of Italian origin, one of my friends, Marcelo Ferrarini, born in Buenos Aires, Argentina:
HISPANIC - YES or NO?

3-My mother's next door neighbor, Dona Vida, born in Spain, of Spanish culture, makes the meanest paella on this side of the Atlantic, a Brazilian citizen, immigrated to Brazil in the 1950's, still speaks little to no Portuguese:
HISPANIC- YES or NO?

 4-One of my best Sales Managers, speaks five languages, born in Miami, Spanish was his first language while growing up in Florida, father from Honduras, mother from Trinidad and Tobago, he is not TANNED, he is as black as Pele ( google Pele-images for a visual example ):
HISPANICE- YES or NO?

5-Alberto Fujimori, the former President of Peru, of Spanish culture, Spanish was his first language while growing up in Peru, his parents were born in Japan, emigrated to Peru in 1934, he was born in Lima in 1938, his family was Budhist:
HISPANIC- YES or NO?

6-A person from Spain who immigrates to California and becomes a US citizen?
HISPANIC- YES or NO?

7-A Mexican, with both parents that immigrated directly from Spain, Caucasian, born in Mexico, immigrates to California and becomes an American citizen, this person is definitely not brown, he has fair skin, red hair and blue eyes:
HISPANIC- YES or NO?

8-Are Haitians Hispanic? They are certainly Latino's, right?

 9-My dear friend Catharine Whitworth, 3 generations Argentinian, of 100% English origin, from Bariloche, Argentina, fair skin, blue eyed:
HISPANIC- YES or NO?

10-Some Visual examples:


Snooky is brown! Is she Hispanic? She sure looks Hispanic to me!
Snooky actually has Lebanese and Chilean parents, she is born in New Jersey!! Hispanic or Not?
Heck, if you follow the "Brown" folk rule, you might as well throw the entire cast of the Jersey Shores on the Hispanic classification, agree?



Cast of Jersey Shores. Your garden variety Garden State "Brown people"! Hispanics?

Confused much? I don't blame you, so am I and so is anyone working for Uncle Sam and trying to make any sense of these forms and insane classification.

All right, I think I made my point, the definition is IDIOTIC to begin with, just DROP IT, let people check the RACE they identify with the most, the RACE the think they look like the most or just check MIXED and please don't make it worse my mixing in culture, ethnicity or whatever else your little creative mind comes up with during an attempt to back paddle out of the mess your created.
MIXED RACE folks are clearly going to be the majority in the United States soon anyway, sensus results were published today and the facts in...
Uncle Sam! Good luck trying to fit people in the HISPANIC basket in the future.
Today we see Indians mixing with Cambodian with Brazilian with Cuban with Nigerian with Chinese, German, Irish, Cape Verdean, Jamaican, Tibet...it doesn't stop here, we are all going to be one big "TRUE" melting pot faster than you say "Carne Assada", which by the way means exactly the same thing in both Spanish and Portuguese ;)

41 comments:

Jim said...

Hurrah! This post is a tour de force on the subject!

Not that you left any stone unturned - but what about the second generation French folks living in French Guiana? LOL!!

This is great - I'm posting it on FaceBook.

It should be required reading for all government workers (and Tea Party members).

Well done!

Rachel said...

Thank you for clearing that up! My husband would greatly appreciate it! He HATES being called Hispanic.

Nina said...

Ricardo too, will be very please. Now just get on 20/20 and tell the American people. There is a lack of edcuation about race and ethnicity in the U.S..

Take is a step down and write an awesome children book!!

Meredith said...

I found your blog through an expat living in Brazil.

Great post! My husband is Brazilian and also hates being referred to as Hispanic, especially since he's NOT. We were at a government office in the U.S. a couple of years ago and they asked for his ethnicity/race on a form and there was none that referred to him. The officer, a Hispanic, said to put down "Hispanic" because it was "close enough". NOT.

Gil and Ray said...

Jim,

Thanks for the compliment!
That is actually a great question! I would say that folks from the French Guiana are Latinos, because many of them are originally from France, some are French ( Caucasian ) mixed with the natives and many are immigrants from many different countries.
I have a great friend from Highschool that lives in Boston, she married a guy who was born in French Guiana, his parents, Indian Muslims, from India that is, not Indians from the Amazon.
The family immigrated to New York when he was in high school. Is he Hispanic? NO, is he Latino? HELL NO, tell him he is Latino and he will crack the Koran in your head...!
So, my answer would be always NOT HISPANICS for French Guiana, and maybe Latino...
Don't get me started on Tea Party members, I get heart palpitations just to hear the mention of the miserable existence :)
Thanks again Jim, this is huge coming from, who always writes great posts.


Ray

Gil and Ray said...

Rachel,

We can't blame him for hating to be called HISPANIC being the true Brazilian that he is...lol...sorry, I just had a flash memory of his Carnaval costume ;) You can't get any more Brazilian than that... :)
Besides the short Geographical distance to other Spanish speaking countries in South America, we, Brazilians know very little about them...the only thing that stands out is that popular song "La cucaracha, La cucaracha, Yo no puedo caminar! La cucaracha, la cucaracha...."
Funny, I know, but it is what it is, Brazilians around the US call HISPANIC "CUCA", because of the song "LA CUCARACHA", CUCARACHA means cockroach, but most Brazilians don't even know what CUCARACHA means, because in Portuguese it is called BARATA, no resemblance in the word, but the song is the strongest memory any Brazilian will have of HISPANIC culture, which means, NOTHING, ZERO, if you lived in California, you know there are a lot of interesting and rich aspects of the Mexican and Hispanic culture in general that Brazilians are completely and utterly oblivious to...
Since the Iberian peninsula, Portugal had much stronger ties with the British than we the Spaniards themselves, hence the fact that Portuguese are much more influenced by English culturally speaking than by their next door neighbors in Spain.


Ray

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Nina,

I children's book sounds like a great idea!!
I can understand where Ricardo is coming from, when you call a Brazilian Hispanic you are striping us away of our rich culture and ethnicity and even RACE in some cases, it creates a serious identity crisis if the individual doesn't have a firm grip on History and Geography.
The problem is that many Brazilians tend to think Americans are superior somehow and if they are listening the "RULE" from the US government it makes it even worse, you think they might be right! I am HISPANIC, what the hell! Problem is, we, Brazilians know little to nothing about HISPANIC culture, ethnicity etc...
Bottom line, the term is wrong for Brazilians as much as it is wrong for anyone else, because you just throw a lot of different races, ethnicity's and cultural backgrounds in one big POT like it doesn't really matter where the HELL you come from, if you are Brown, Black, Yellow or White and if you are south of the Border, we will call you HISPANIC PERIOD, regardless of who you are and where you come from, it's like, you don't really matter.
I have had people tell me, I am not "REALLY" white! Because despite the fact that I am, I am not born in the US or Europe...!!!
One thing that gets on my nerves too is when someone says-I used to live in South America, When I went to South America blah, blah, blah...or even worse, people in South America also do that or used to be like this or like that...UGH!!!!
I have an older friend who lived in a small village in Ecuador for 20 years, she and her husband were Jehovah's witness missionaries...
She still says, South Americans eat this or that or South Americans are like this or like that...
I beg her, PLEASE, don't generalize...!!!
You can't compare ME, who grew up in Sao Paulo, a very cosmopolitan metropolis, rode the subway to School everyday with your former Native American neighbors from a tiny village in the mountains of Ecuador, we are NOT THE SAME PEOPLE!
Hell, I noticed a CLEAR HUGE difference between folks in Buffalo New York and Toronto, just across the border in Canada.
You are correct about the lack of education on Ethnicity and Race in the US, maybe they should make school subjects mandatory instead of choice...
Some people go thru school without ever studying any Geography, History or Political Science for that matter.


Ray

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Meredith,

Welcome to our blog!
It is great to hear from you in here.
What you describe is very accurate because US government workers are instructed to tell people to choose whatever they identify themselves with the most.
If your husband is Brazilian of mixed race he should choose an option that he feels more confortable with identifying himself. Hope you enjoy reading our blog and hope to see you in here often. ;)


Ray

Gil and Ray said...

Folks,

It is good to mention that Brazilians have always been historically isolated from the rest of South America by it's peculiar geography.
The Andes mountain literally separate the continent in West and East. Brazil always had it's back turned to the rest of South America, with the exception of Argentina and Uruguay.
Uruguay was a Brazilian state and it's people are very different from Peru, Colombia, Mexico for example, Uruguayans are very European in it's culture, very Italian, Jewish, German, Portuguese and Spanish naturally but they have little to no Native American or African influence, the same can be said about Argentina.
Did you ever hear the "joke" expression, Argentinians are Italians who think they are English and speak Spanish!
That is actually so true it hurts...!!!


Ray

Samia said...

I've seen some forms that have the option "mixed race" I always go with that one if available because my original races are long lost in the history of Brazil.
For the life of me, I wouldn't be able to tell you who my early ancestors are.

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Samia,

Thank you for you comment!
Just curious, did you ever thought of yourself as HISPANI?
Do you or did you ever get offended to be called HISPANIC?


Ray

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Samia,

I just saw your picture on your profile!
Is that you?
You are so beautiful and you look totally CAUCASIAN to me!!!
I have no idea what your last name is or like you said what is your background, but you look like a beautifull Brazilian CAUCASIAN lady!
At least visually, there is no doubt in my mind.
But, they always tell us to "choose" the race we identify the most, so, if you see yourself as a person of mixed race, that sounds like a safe bet :)

Ray

Samia said...

Yes, it's me in the picture. Thanks Ray. :)

My great-grandmother on my mom's side was Caucasian, my great-grandfather was mixed already, I'd guess African and Native Brazilian, but not even my grandmother knows for sure. My grandfather was an unknown mix too. My mom is as white as the next European. On my estranged father's side, his mother was Caucasian, but I never met her husband, so I don't know about him.
That brings you to me: mixed races. :) haha In Brazil I just go with "white" because I'm white according to the Brazilian standard. I don't dare be white in the US. lol

I like to think of myself as being mixed races because it gives me the feeling that I belong everywhere... sou do mundo, as Milton Nascimento would sing.

Now, you're right. I'm definitely NOT HISPANIC!!! I don't consider myself Hispanic and it does not sit well with me when there's no other option in a form other than Hispanic. It does not make sense at all. I'd go with Latino because of the language, although, like you pointed out, language is not race and they normally have Hispanic slash Latino, never Latino by itself. Even Latino is weird though; the imagery of Latino they have here does not suit Brazil. So it's either "others" or "prefer not to say" for me. NEVER Hispanic.

It's utterly ignorant to classify Brazilians as Hispanics, especially because Brazil is as diverse as the US when it comes to races and immigration patterns.

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Samia,

I totally hear you, I still think you would definitely be considered "WHITE" or "CAUCASIAN" here in the US, they actually have a 4th generation rule to classify you as this or that, for example, if you wanted to benefit from Native American benefits, you would have to be at least within
4th generation or 25% Native American to be eligible for such benefits.
But in general, in government forms they advise you to choose what you identify with more...in your case, certainly CAUCASIAN.
Gil, my partner has African decendants as well as Native Brazilian, but he also has Portuguese and Polish, and that is only from his Mother's side of the family.
From Gil's father side, he is 100% Italian, he even has an Italian passport. Gil has fair skin and green eyes, he looks very Italian, you would never be able to tell he has African and Native ancestry. He always chooses "WHITE" or "CAUCASIAN" as options in forms because it would be really strange for him to claim to be anything else...due to his looks. ;)
I just remembered once a man in Oklahoma told me he didn't think I was "dark" enough to be from Brazil, he thought I was joking him about being from Brazil and he had never even heard of Sao Paulo!!! UGH!!!

Ray

Fiona said...

Ray,

Rolling on the floor laughing.

In addition...

a dictionary definition of caucasian is as follows...

1: of or relating to the Caucasus or its inhabitants
2: of, constituting, or characteristic of a race of humankind native to Europe, North Africa, and southwest Asia and classified according to physical features —used especially in referring to persons of European descent having usually light skin pigmentation

http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/caucasian


Basically what this means is that you need to have a narrow, long nose, almond shaped eyes, and relatively fair skin. Caucasians are of european origin, but they are also of north african and of indian origin.
these peoples have also been referred to as 'aryan'. which basically means the original speakers of indo-european languages constituting a race of people, that moved around europe, into northern africa and southwestern asia.
from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aryan_race

interesting to note that there is a correlation in this definition between language and race, just as there is in the term "hispanic" or "latino".

also interesting to note that both terms have been appropriated when classifying "whites"-- not mixed with any wide-nosed or darker skinned people.

Race changes depending on where you are, unfortunately, as it really is in the eye of the beholder.

I think I heard that during early immigration to the us, that the irish who came were considered "black" because they didn't have blonde hair and blue eyes, and were more poor, and overall, were just different from the english who had already set up camp.

http://www.rzuser.uni-heidelberg.de/~el6/presentations/Irish_Americans_S2_WS2003/Anti_Irish_Sentiment.htm

so race has always been a flexible thing when it comes to separating people into heirarchies. a puerto rican who considers herself white might come to texas and be called black. and vice versa. if you;re white in puerto rico but you're poor, you're considered black. This is what I've heard, anyway.

and Gustavo was "definitely not white" according to my vietnamese american roommate back in vancouver.

by the way, i'm tweeting this!!! it's too good not to share!!!

A. said...

You see? Those dumb Americans...
Just kidding. Hahaha!

Gil and Ray said...

Fiona,


Thank you so much for your kind compliments, I am so glad you enjoyed it, I had a lot of fun writing it too... :)
I have seen pictures of Gustavo, come on! What was your room mate thinking? White means blond, blue eyed?
Gustavo looks super European, Italian, Spanish or Portuguese if you ask me.
I know, race "definitions" are super flexible from country to country.
I also read the same thing you read about Race in the US having different "definitions" back about 100 years ago.
Not only the Irish, but also the Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Greeks, Russian, Polish were considered "persona non grata", or less desirable by US immigration employees at Ellis Island and other ports of entry into the US. The English that had immigrated here before definitely felt threatened by the different languages and cultures of different parts of Europe.
They did indeed welcomed with open arms folks from Scandinavia, Germany, Belgium, Holland and Great Britain.
I read somewhere that the southern European were called "less white" or "not really white" or even "inferior white folks".
The undesirable were turned back right away, not allowed entry, period, so the "Give me your poor, sick..." phrase from the steps of the Statue of Liberty should have been completed with "Please, just make sure they are "really White" HA! ;)

Jeez, we have really come a long way, I feel like today people over compensate for those early time meanies, and we are all so hyper sensitive it hurts...ouch, I might be considered a racist just by making this comment about race.

Like I said, who cares, in 50 years people will REALLY have a hard time trying to define any one race.




Ray

Rosa said...

Ray,
I am late to the debate. I was looking for your e-mail to send you a nice article about a kid from Sao Paolo, when I found this great post.
I echo everybody else about how funny, informative and in depth your post is.
As a Spaniard from Barcelona who lives in the USA I can not put in "good" words how extremely frustrated I get when people or written forms define me as Hispanic. Not because I think that I am better or worse than any of my Spanish speaking cousins from Latin America, mainly because I am from Spain not from the Americas. I am not Latina, nor "Hispanic" (whatever the last one means). I just happen to speak Spanish (as well as Catalan) and according to such people or written forms, that automatically makes me (and my 2 kids that have been born in the USA)Hispanic. I don't think so! By the same token all English speaking people are British, right?. At my son's Elementary school they did not give me any other choice but to say that Alexander was Hispanic based solely on the fact that I had disclosed that at home he spoke Spanish with his mother. Talk about messing up the Census!. I am so annoyed that I can tell my grammar is suffering.
Anyway, thank you writing about this great misconception, misinformation, or just plain old ignorance. I really enjoyed it.
Un abrazo,

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Rosa,

It is great to hear that you enjoyed this post.
Off you are NOT Hispanic, you are CAUCASIAN, period, regardless of your language.
Like I said, the term is so ignorant and plain RACIST, the idiots who came up with it don't have a clear conclusion about what the hell do they mean by it, RACE, ethnicity, what? The poor ignorant bastards were just desperately trying to distant themselves and feel somewhat superior to the new BROWN immigrants coming into their country. Thanks Mr.Reagan!
Ignorance causes confusion in people who actually go to school and learn facts of life ;)
The people in the US government who created the term HISPANIC were clearly not Geography, History or Antropology PHD's or even Majors for that matter.
They just wanted to call the Brown people something, but they were so ignorant, they had no idea the country where the "brown" folks came from had all types of different races, hell, what to say about the rest of AMERICA, that shows they knew very little about anything, and sadly still do, most US employees dealing with these forms don't have high degrees of education, so the confusion keeps getting complicated because now you have new generations of people from all walks of life learning the "WRONG" classification...
Well, again, I am glad you enjoyed!
Thanks for reading and sharing your comment!


Ray

Sérgio said...

I'm gaucho, from Rio Grande do Sul State, where there were large immigration of Germans and Italians. I have light skin and, although speak Spanish (I travel a lot to Uruguay, Argentina and Chile) do not even consider myself Hispanic or Latin because my ancestors came from Germany and Holland. Interestingly, the Argentinean and Uruguayan are also considered gauchos (it would be an ethnicity? ;)).

I really enjoyed your blog and agree with their assertions.

Gil and Ray said...

Sergio,

Good to see you here, I am glad you enjoy our blog.
See, thank you, good point, you are part German, part Ducth, lucky you to have been born on this side of the border, in Rio Grande do Sul, God forbit you were born a couple miles south inside Uruguay or Argentina, the crazies would call you Hispanic, change your ethnicity and your race while they were at it.
That is why my point tries to convey that the HISPANIC classification is dumb, stupid and makes no sense.
Thanks for your comment Sergio.

Ray

Born Again Brazilian said...

Yes, I also made the mistake on a phone survey of referring to both my husband and daughter as hispanic (Years earlier he had berated me for this reference, and it hadn't come up again so I forgot.) He was quite upset, but now you've provided an extended explanation, which will definitely make me remember next time :) Thanks!

Gil and Ray said...

Dear Born Again Brazilian,

I can imagine how upset your husband must have been... ;)
The fastest way to get a Brazilian all upset and out of wack is implying we speak Spanish, the Capital of Brazil is Buenos Aires or that we are Hispanic... lol...
I am glad this discussion brought some more light into the definitions of Hispanic and Brazilians :)


Ray

Anonymous said...

I just arrived from the country of Colombia and rather than seeing a "latino / hispanic" country, what I saw it's a very multiracial society where whites, blacks, mixed race and indigenous people live, I even met colombians of asian, hindu and arab descent!

I 've come to the realization that hispanic/latino is an American terminology that applies mostly to Americans of mostly puerto rican and mexican descent.... traveling around south american countries have quickly taught me that it's not very wise to use latino hispanic terms around, because people many times dislike these terms profoundly, because they simply don't identify with such terms, they are US made up cultural labels.

There is no hispanic or latino culture, in fact what Americans think of latino is actually mexican, and in south america the culture is completely different, spanish speaking people in south america don't even eat tacos or enchiladas as part of their daily diet, don't know anything about cinco de mayo, many are not even familiar with mexican culture, which is what Americans tend to see as "latinoness"

Anonymous said...

LATINO: made up American term used mostly since the 80's.

LATIN: the ancient language of the roman, where italian, spanish, french come from (this is why Americans call mexicans latinos, because they speak spanish)

HISPANIC: A person from Spain, just like an Anglo is from England or a Gaul is from France! (Hispanics the real ones in the correct sense of the world are white / european / caucasian people)

CHICANO: Is a U.S mexican.

this is why so many latin americans HATE to be called latino / hispanic..... the only latinos I've seen that have no problem with such labels it's the ones born in the Us who are just as ignorant on the meaning of these terms as your average american.

Ray and Gil said...

Dear Anonymous

Ouch! Ouch! and Ouch!
Correct, correct and correct, you hit the nail in the head!
You know by now that I totally agree with you "em genero, numero e grau" ;)
Yes, made up crap by the Reagan Administration.
Thanks for your comments!


Ray

hosaki said...

Hi, I randomly was searching for clues on whether I should actually mark "HISPANIC/LATINO" because I'm Brazilian although my parents immigrated from China to Brazil.

Your post made me remember the day I was going to a take a test and there was a ethnicity form in the paper and guess what? "HISPANIC/LATINO" was already marked for me. I actually felt very insulted and later I was left to wonder what the hell I should've marked on that. And there was an option called "other". They gave a list and there's "other" to make you feel left out.

Thinking about how several Brazilians are always left out, it makes wonder if we could get enough signatures to petition a more accurate reform on those census forms. I did some googleing and found out that Brazilians don't have mark "HISPANIC/LATINO", and now the question is "What the hell do we mark?"

Ray and Gil said...

Dear Hosaki,

If the form is asking about your race, forget HISPANIC or LATINO options, your race is Asian, there always is an option for Asian in forms, right?
Now, if the form is asking about your ethnicity, you are an Asian American of Chinese origin, born in Brazil, you don't have to volunteer the fact that you were born in Brazil, because that doesn't change what race or ethinicity you are, perhaps you will be answering that on another portion of the form.
Long story short, you are an Asian American P E R I O D !!!
Every form I ever saw has that option :)
Thanks for comment.

Ray

Alex said...

what a great post! Hispanic is such a dumb term as racial classification because, well, like you all said...it's a cultural thing rather than racial.

All the rednecks here in the USA would definitely consider Brazilians Hispanic.I would say the general public mistakes the fact that Brasil does not speak Spanish, and would also not know of the millions of different immigrants that made (and are still making) Brasil what Brasil is today.

Abracos,
Alex

Ray and Gil said...

Alex,

I will have to agree with you, rednecks in the US know very little about Brazil, a car salesman in Oklahoma once told me I didn't look dark enough to be from Brazil????? WTF!!!
The truth of the matter is that Brazil has very little to nothing similar to most Hispanic societies.
Racially speaking, Brazil is actually very similar to the US, considering the mix of African, European and Asians with a very small percentage of natives, most Hispanic countries have a very large percentage of natives mixed in with the Spanish/European and not as many Africans as Brazil and the US.
Thanks for your comment ;)


Ray

Anonymous said...

Good post, with one exception: Brazilians are not "Latinos", either. The U.S. own Census Bureau specifically defines Latinos as those of "Spanish culture or origin".

This is one of my biggest pet peeves.

Quem escreve? said...

This was great reading, I always had trouble with what I needed to check of the back to qualify my race/ethnicity in US fromal documents. Now I just mark "other" or "alien". ; )

I will share this txt link in my facebook if you dont mind.

Ray and Gil said...

Quem escreve,

Sorry for taking so long to answer you.
Thanks for the kind words.
Yes, please feel free to share.

Abracos

Ray

Anonymous said...

I agree strongly that the definition of Race and Ethnicity are ridiculous.
Under Race I always put Other , and under other I put Human . But lets not blame this on Regan , In 1977 when Directive 15 was established I find Jimmy Carter was president .

Nicky G said...

I am Brazilian but I have lived in the US for the past few years. I cant express enough how much being called Hispanic or Latino bothers me. It makes me feel like people don't care at all about your culture and costums but simply, like you said several times, to categorize me as a person who's not American. People here have no empathy on making you and YOUR CULTURE feel welcomed and recognized. :( I trully appreciate your blog! i shareD it on facebook and hope you don't mind.

E. Barrera said...

We are american's and the only race who where here before any pilgrims,so we ALL are the truly "NATIVE AMERICANS" american by blood NOT definition period......

Anonymous said...

Hi. I found this blog while doing some research on Latin America. I am Afro-American and I was watching the series by Henry Louis Gates called "Black in Latin America". It was very interesting. Anyway, I think that the Hispanic label is also incorrect. There are a lot of Mexicans that have been moving to my state. Most of them have strong indigenous blood and not much Spanish blood. Also, many people living in Cuba, Puerto Rico and Dom. Republic have a lot of African ancestry. I think that the hispanic label is used by some people in these groups to avoid being categorized as Black or Indian (native american). Some people are still ashamed to identify as Black or native Indian or indigenous.

Rogerio Vaz said...

AMERICANS ARE STUPID OR WHAT!!!
THER IS NO SUCH THING AS..LATIN AMERICA!!
THERE IS:NORTH AMERICA (DUE TO IST GEOGRAPHIC POSITION)
CENTRAL AMERICA AND SOUTH AMERICA
BRAZIL IS LOCATED IN SOUTH AMERICA..SOOOO BRAZILIANS ARE SOUTH AMERICANS...AND SINCE BRAZIL..UST LIKE THE USA..WAS ALSO SETTLED BY IMMIGRANTS: EUROPE,ASIA,AFRICA...SO IT S A MELTING POT OF ETHICITIES (PLEASE...DO NOT USE RACE..SINCE THERE IS ONLY ONE RACE: HUMAN)..
LATINO OR HISPANIC JUST DENOTE HOW IGNORANT AND STUPID YOU REALLY ARE!!
AMERICANS LOVE TOLABEL PEOPLE..IS CULTURAL AND ITS A FORM TO DISCRIMINATE AND ISOLATE PEOLE IN GHETTOS!!! AND YOU LOVE TO BE CONSIDERED THE LAND OF THE FREE AND LOVE TO BE CALLED AS "FAIR AND JUST" AND AN EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD...OHHH P.L.E.A.S.E.!!! FROM NOW ON I WILLSTART CALLING AMERICANS AS FAT,STUPID, AND LETS SAY ...THAT YOU HAVE AN AWFULL TASTE FOR CLOTHING!!!

Rogerio Vaz said...

AMERICANS ARE STUPID OR WHAT!!!
THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS..LATIN AMERICA!!
THERE IS:NORTH AMERICA (DUE TO ITS GEOGRAPHIC POSITION)
CENTRAL AMERICA AND SOUTH AMERICA
BRAZIL IS LOCATED IN SOUTH AMERICA..SOOOO BRAZILIANS ARE SOUTH AMERICANS...AND SINCE BRAZIL..JUST LIKE THE USA..WAS ALSO SETTLED BY IMMIGRANTS: EUROPE,ASIA,AFRICA...SO IT S A MELTING POT OF ETHINICITIES (PLEASE...DO NOT USE RACE..SINCE THERE IS ONLY ONE RACE: HUMAN)..
LATINO OR HISPANIC JUST DENOTE HOW IGNORANT AND STUPID YOU REALLY ARE!!
AMERICANS LOVE TO LABEL PEOPLE..IS CULTURAL AND ITS A FORM TO DISCRIMINATE AND ISOLATE PEOPLE IN GHETTOS!!! AND YOU LOVE TO BE CONSIDERED THE LAND OF THE FREE AND LOVE TO BE CALLED AS "FAIR AND JUST" AND AN EXAMPLE TO THE WORLD...OHHH P.L.E.A.S.E.!!! FROM NOW ON I WILL START CALLING AMERICANS AS FAT,STUPID,UGLY AND LETS SAY ...THAT YOU HAVE AN AWEFULL TASTE FOR CLOTHING!!!

Rogerio Vaz said...

AMERICANS ARE STUPID OR WHAT??
THEY LOVEEEE TO LABEL PEOPLE ACCORDING TO THEIR OWN STUPID STANDARDS..
NO MATTER YOUR GENETIC BACKGROUND...AND/OR IF YOU ARE BORN IN SOUTH AMERICA (THEY INSIST TO SAY: LATIN AMERICA)...YOU ARE A HISPANIC OR EVEN "LATINO"
AHAHAHAHAHHAHA....HOW DUMB IS THAT??
A BRAZILIAN OF GERMAN, ITALIAN SWISS, LEBANESE, JAPANESE HERITAGE IS A LATINO?? OR A HISPANIC?? WHAT'S THE ORIGIN OF THE WORD "HISPANIC"??
PEOPLE BORN IS SPAIN ..IS A SPANIARD...NOT A HISPANIC!!!
PEOPLE BORN IN BRAZIL, URUGUAY , ARGENTINA, CHILE ARE SOUTH AMERICANS...NOT LATINOS NOR "HISPANIC"...
SHOULD I CALL AN AMERICAN OF AFRICAN OR MEXICAN ORIGIN AS ANGLO-SAXON OR CAUCASIAN AMERICAN??? COME ON...STUDY A BIT MORE DUMB ASSES!!!

American Heart Brazilian Soul said...

Rogerio,

First of all, thank you for taking the time to write such a passionate and well elaborated comment. Second, trust me, Americans are NOT stupid, Fat, well, that is also debatable, we are 300 million strong, many of us fat, yes! You try eating growth hormone filled meats for a few years then we will see how slim you manage to stay! Lol
Keep in mind the Reagan administration was responsible for such an idiotic way to label people, which is both ignorant and with a strong racist element. Reagan was an asshole in many aspects by the way, this was just another one among many including the beginning of the destruction of Americans good middle class quality of life enjoyed in the 80's.
Good to see such a passionate comment, and please, you should seriously reviewed your impression on Americans, it really is distorted and down right wrong.


Abracos

Ray