NOTE: This commentary was written in 2008 and is every bit as true now as it was then.
It was a decade ago. What a difference ten years makes. A census study stated that by 2050, white people would no longer be the majority race in this country. If this information had been released when we weren’t trying to commit impeachment-by-fellatio, it would have been a bigger story. Still, if you look at the changes that have been made in the past ten years…maybe it was.
Think back to 1998:
- • tech stocks were making people rich,
- • El Nino was being blamed for everything from ruining crops to raising your cholesterol,
- • California became the first state to ban smoking outdoors
- • Ramzi Yousef was sentenced to life in prison for bombing the World Trade Center
- • the Denver Broncos won the Super Bowl
- • the Winter Olympics were in Nagano, Japan
- • the Oscar for Best Film went to the movie Titanic
- • Proposition 227 in California banned bi-lingual education (which included Ebonics)
- • Michael Jordan won his sixth NBA title with the Chicago Bulls and then retired…for the second time.
- • Mark McGwire broke Hank Aaron‘s single-season home run record*
- • We found out what Catholic priests were doing with the Altar boys for all these years
- • Jesse “The Body” Ventura was elected Governor of Minnesota
Yeah, that was 1998. But there is one more thing that we had in 1998 that we no longer have…Hispanics, Whites, and Blacks. It’s worth noting that ’98 was the year that McGwire broke the home run record* because his record number of homers was followed by Sammy Sosa (playing with the Chicago Cubs). Sammy Sosa, while being as dark as most Blacks, has always considered himself Hispanic/Latino. He, like a lot of Hispanic people chose to identify himself by ethnic standards and not racial standards. The U.S. did not, at that time, accept Central/South Americans under the same standards that we held ourselves. While we divided ourselves up by Race, we allowed immigrants from the South to collect themselves by Ethnicity. If you don’t know the history of this country and ethnic divisiveness, that may not seem significant to you. Knowing the history, it meant only one thing…they would have to be co-opted and assimilated.
There’s just one problem with racially co-opting Hispanic immigration to this country, they are the most racially diverse people on the planet!
It would do those in power no good to place the emerging Hispanic population with the Native Americans, though that is the most accurate generalization, by far. They couldn’t be universally adopted as ‘White’ because someone like Sammy Sosa would have screwed that up altogether. So what they were left with was trying to split Hispanics and Latinos between White and Black. Now here was the ingenuity of that decision…many, though not all, Central and Latin American countries are Colorist in their nature. While we have Racism, they have Colorism because there are too many racial mixes and they’re so diverse that you can’t clearly tell who belongs to which race(s). This Colorist system praises the lighter shade and condemns the darker shade (though rising to prominence in sports or music will go a long way toward removing any dark color stigma). Hispanic countries get their Colorist underpinnings from the Spanish and the Portuguese, naturally. The Spanish and the Portuguese had just removed the Moors (African Muslims) from power in the Iberian Peninsula before their conquests in South, Central, and North America which later led to their involvement in trading African slaves.
What is the result of Colorism brought into a country with Racism? We now have the option of being Non-Hispanic White (Nancy Pelosi), Non-Hispanic Black (Jay-Z), White-Hispanic, or Black-Hispanic. Then there’s always Native American, Asian, and Other. So here’s my question to you, can you place these twenty prominent Hispanics (though not all Americans) comfortably into a White or Black racial slot?
George Lopez – comedian
Antonio Banderas – actor, producer
Sammy Sosa – MLB baseball player
Andy Garcia – actor
Manny Ramirez – MLB baseball player
Carlos Mencia – comedian
Tony Gonzalez – NFL football player
Rich Rodriguez – college football coach
Henry Cisneros – former Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Bill Richardson – former Governor of New Mexico
Celia Cruz – Grammy winning singer
Christina Aguilera – Grammy winning singer
Gisele Bundchen – World’s highest paid supermodel
Jennifer Lopez – actress, singer
Rebecca Lobo – women’s basketball analyst, former WNBA basketball player, Olympic Gold medalist
Lorena Ochoa – WPGA golfer
Gloria Estefan – Grammy winning singer
Salma Hayek – actress, model
Rita Moreno – Grammy-winning singer, Tony-winning performer, Emmy & Oscar-winning actress
Selena – singer
I didn’t think so, they can’t either. Colorism would suggest you claim to be white as that is praised. Black has historically had negative connotations in this and other countries. So over time it is likely that the incoming Hispanics will become White (not in pigment, just in classification), which will alleviate the Racial power shift that was predicted for 2050 (more recently updated to 2042). If the U.S. reclassifies the majority of immigrant Hispanics as white, then White will remain the “racial” majority in this country. What will that do for the Hispanic community, other than rip them from their culture just to become the other white meat? It’s just not worth it.
© 2012 His-Stor-E
- Latino or Hispanic? Neither. Try Country of Origin (colorlines.com)
- Hispanic is Not a Race (everydaysociologyblog.com)