I’m sure that by now many of you living in the U.S. have gotten your U.S. Census to fill out. I was really excited to get mine because I get really excited about things like that (voting and jury duty, for example – LOVE!).
I get to #5 which is all about being of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin and I’m like “OH SNAP! Latinos get their own section! HOLLER!” And then I get to #6 and it asks for your race and I’m like “OH SNAP! I HAVE NO RACE!”
Because at some point in time it was deemed necessary to separate the issue of race and ethnicity. Gone are the days of forms asking for race/ethnicity. Which is cool. Unless you’re Latino, because then you’re race-less… or, post-racial, for the optimistic folks.
Of course, this isn’t the first time I’ve encountered this. This has become an annoying part of online applications for jobs, schools, etc. The worst is when they don’t let you leave it blank because presumably one must have a race. And then they make you choose between White, Black, American Indian, Asian, or something like “I prefer not to answer.” Which is annoying, because I have no problem answering, but I just don’t feel any of these reflect my race…
See, Latinos are biracial, except not in the way we use the term today. Most Latinos have some combination of Native American, Black, and White in them because that’s just the history of our culture. But then there are Latinos who identify as Latino AND something else, which is more of the image we get when we think of biracial – one race AND another race.
So, um, what the hell? Where does that leave us? I really feel like labeling myself as Native American, Black, and White is a bit misleading. Sure, sometimes they give you Other as an option and then I can just list Latino again… except they’ve already decided that Latino isn’t a race…
Mi gente, what do the rest of you do when you get to this question? And not to leave out my non-USians, with the various race/ethnicity issues in your own cultures, how the heck do you keep it all straight?!
In the meantime, I’ll go ahead and find me a Presidente and jam to Juan Luis Guerra, just because.