by Lalo Alcaraz
The embattled Census Bureau is tasked with the impossible year after year, which is to “count everybody.”
Now they are again trying the even more impossible — make sense of Latinos.
The Census Bureau, in an effort to figure out a better way for Latinos to identify themselves, asked in alternative survey to choose Hispanic as a race, and many did just that.
The Census Bureau and I are in agreement here. Let Latinos be specific about what they want to call themselves. I don’t care what other Latinos call themselves, be it Hispanic, Latino, mestizo or Wombat-American. I hope that there is a glimmer of consciousness in every U.S.Latino that makes them realize we are not exactly “Anglo-Saxons” in the Mitt Romney, London backside-kissing mode. Be Guate, Salvi, Chicana! If I ran the Census Bureau Forms Dept. they’d all be an option.
Sorting out whether “Hispanic” or “Latino” identifiers qualify as a “race” is another topic. Of course some of us look more Caucasian and some more indigenous, and some more African. And that’s in one family.
All names are artificial: even nationalities can be ill-fitting. One can be of indigenous descent and be from Mexico, or have an Irish dad and a Peruvian mom. It’s a complicated world and labels help us make sense of the nonsensical.
I personally retch when someone tries to call me “Hispanic.” As I have long said, “Hispanic” is an ugly word for a beautiful people. Don’t ever call me that, but let me call myself what I want to call myself.
And give the poor Census Bureau a break and fill in the boxes the best you can. Let’s help them try to figure us out, we need the help.
Source: NBC Latino