A “white Hispanic” is someone of Latin American or Spanish heritage who looks racially white -- Ted Cruz, for example. Just like there’s white people in the United States, there’s white people in Latin America. But that’s not the case with Zimmerman, who comes from a mixed-race background -- part white, non-Hispanic American and part Afro-Peruvian
. Media originally referred to him as "white"
because that’s how police originally classified his ethnicity. Three weeks after the shooting, the Orlando Sentinel quoted his father as calling him a "Spanish-speaking minority."
Some news publications adopted the inaccurate term "white Hispanic" to describe him.
Media that continue to use the term are likely making one of two mistakes. Either they incorrectly think “white Hispanic” means someone of both “white” and “Hispanic” ancestry, or they don’t know to classify Latinos of mixed race, so they continue to use a term we now know doesn’t fit.