Back in April, the Pew Hispanic Center released a study titled "When Labels Don’t Fit: Hispanics and Their Views of Identity." The study found that members of the ethnic group preferred the term Hispanic over Latino. More importantly it found that 51 percent of interviewees said they most often identify themselves by their family’s country of origin; just 24% say they prefer a pan-ethnic label.
The results of the nationwide survey provoked immediate responses which put the "Latino" identity into question. To continue the conversation, The Pew Hispanic Center invited eight journalists and scholars to share their views on the subject.
Below are there responses:
<strong>DIVERSE IDENTITIES BUT MUCH COMMON GROUND</strong> To paraphrase a saying, the proof of this is in the pudding. Look at the unity we've seen in recent years on the issue of immigration. The reality is that there is a connection among the 50 million-plus Hispanics. When one group is attacked, we know it's an attack on us all, as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. so eloquently said. We should want, and we should work, to be connected. Because in our unity lies the power to make the policy changes necessary to advance our community and our country forward. <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/05/31/janet-murguia-diverse-identities-but-much-common-ground/" target="_hplink">here </a></em>
<strong>I'M A MINORITY WITHIN A MINORITY</strong> As a bicultural, bilingual Chicagoan, I feel pretty typical. And I get a little crabby when asked where I'm "really" from when I say I'm American - probably just like the rest of those who identify themselves as American. Why am I "American?" Well for one, because I say so. There are many other reasons, but the biggest one is that my parents are not from the same Spanish-speaking country. Being the U.S.-born child of Ecuadorian and Mexican immigrants effectively makes me pan-ethnic Hispanic or Latino (and I'm firmly in the Hispanic boat - hearing the term "Latino" is like nails on a chalkboard to me) instead of simply Mexican-American or Ecuadorian-American. I can't dis half my heritage, can I? Basically, I'm a mutt. And what could be more American than that?" <em>Read the whole post<a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/05/30/esther-cepeda-im-a-minority-within-a-minority/" target="_hplink"> here</a> </em>
<strong>MY GRINGA MOTHER </strong> Much of my Hispanic identity is the product of my Irish-German-Norwegian, third generation New Jersey mother, Jane, who swears that she was Dominican in her previous life... If I'd had another mother, even a Latina mother, who wanted to uproot us from Union City, all of that cultural nuance would have been lost. At home, my mother's efforts were never forceful or overt. She simply loved Hispanic culture and she expressed that with authenticity and genuine curiosity. My mom is the one who put Isabel Allende books in my hands. She is the one who knew, long before he won a Pulitzer, that Junot Díaz was going to be a big deal. She's the one who makes café con leche every morning. <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/01/alicia-menendez-my-gringa-mother/" target="_hplink">here</a></em>
<strong>LABELS ASIDE, LATINOS SHARE COMMON VALUES</strong> Perhaps what was most surprising about the Pew Hispanic Center's recent report - finding that the majority of U.S. Latinos do not identify with a pan-Hispanic label but instead with a national origin -- is that it is not surprising at all. Personal identification with one's ancestral or familial roots is a powerful human characteristic, so it is understandable that so many Latinos, while identifying as "American," also identify as "Mexican," "Puerto Rican," etc. instead of "Latino" or "Hispanic." So what? <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/04/arturo-vargas-labels-aside-latinos-share-common-values/" target="_hplink">here</a></em>
<strong>WHERE ARE YOU <em>FROM?</em></strong> Many years ago, my aunt was stopped by a state trooper in Pennsylvania for a traffic violation. To appreciate what happened, you have to know this: Aunt Mimi has lived in this country since 1963 and speaks fluent English, albeit with a Spanish accent. She is fair of skin, green of eyes, and brown of hair. What ensued is family lore. "What race are you?" the trooper asked. "What do I look like?" was my aunt's retort. "What race are you?" the trooper insisted. "White!" my flustered aunt thundered. Still stumped, the befuddled trooper tried another approach. "Where," he finally asked, "are you from?" "Colombia," Aunt Mimi replied. <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/05/gabriel-escobar-where-are-you-from/" target="_hplink">here</a></em>
<strong>WONDERFULLY AMERICAN</strong> The nation's more than 50 million Latinos, or should I say Hispanics, do not see themselves as -- or purport to be -- a monolith. Not only is this not surprising, but I would argue, so wonderfully...American. You see, what is lost among the endless dissection and parsing of the "Latino population" or the "Hispanic vote" is a simple fact. What attracted so many of us to willingly put down roots in the US mainland was our fervent desire to work, participate, fall in love, prosper, and more importantly, weave ourselves into the great American fabric. If it wasn't us, it was our parents, or grandparents, or perhaps great-great-great grandparents. <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/06/sandra-lilley-wonderfully-american/" target="_hplink">here.</a></em>
Juan Carlos Lopez
<strong>LOOKING BEYOND THE DEBATE ON IMMIGRATION</strong> I've explained it many times and I'm pretty sure I'll have to explain it again, but before I begin, Are they Latinos or Hispanics? The term Hispanic has been adopted by the U.S. government, for that reason many people prefer the term Latino. So that's the term I'll use: What I'll repeat as much as I have to, is that Latinos aren't a solid, homogenous group. We do share a common language, Spanish or Castilian, but even then, there are many differences among us. <em>Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/07/juan-carlos-lopez-looking-beyond-the-debate-on-immigration/" target="_hplink">here.</a> </em>
<strong>LATINO ETHNICITY AND AMERICA'S FUTURE</strong> The U.S. will soon be a minority-majority country, a demographic change that is fueled by Latino population growth. What do patterns of Latino ethnic identification foreshadow for a nation that is becoming more ethnically diverse? The Pew Hispanic Center study suggests some possible scenarios. <em> Read the whole post <a href="http://www.pewhispanic.org/2012/06/08/jody-agius-vallejo-latino-ethnicity-and-americas-future/" target="_hplink">here. </a> </em>