NWR-Black/African American, Mexican Hispanic
We were having a discussion at work and we were talking about the above topic. My heritage is French,Mexican, Spaniard which I guess would be covered under Hispanic, somewhat. But not all people of color (black) are African so the blanket African American does not cover. I have always objected to this title. I am not asking this to create a problem but to clear this up for myself. I have friends from Jamaica that would not be African American so it would be wrong to refer to them as such. Would the designation Black American be better. I really think - just American is much better but...we were talking about school registration forms and the forms have an area that ask for this information. When we were filing papers for this house that we live in, the question was on the form as to and I put - Made In USA and they ask me to check one of the boxes and I would not change it and I refused to let them change it.

Married: 2+ years ago
Posted On: Jan 16, 2011 at 4:45 PM • Vendors are allowed • Add to My WatchlistFlag As Inappropriate1 like

29 Comments | Login or Signup to post a comment!
«12»

Chesty LaRue
Married: 08/27/2011
Jan 16, 2011 at 4:55 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I'm Caribbean American (Of Guyanese decent) and I check african american on the forms. Its just easier. Although i was born here I was raised with Guyanese culture. My mom however always wanted her children to remember that they were American probably because of the hard life she had back home and the opportunites we are afforded her as American citizens. Although I am AA i still identify with being Caribbean. I have more an issue when ppl assume that all Caribbean ppl are Jamaican because thats the only country the know about.

Sharon
Married: 06/04/2010
Reviews: 6
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:03 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I can see why they do it in my business, I close Real Estate. It allows mortgage companies to be audited and if they see a higher percentage of African Americans or Hispanics being declined a loan, they will investigate to make sure there isn't any discrimination within that company.

Married: 07/24/2010
Reviews: 6
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:04 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I am half caucasian and half Native American. I check "caucasian" on the forms, as I do not have papers showing my native heritage (I was adopted at the age of three days).

Married: 09/10/2011
Reviews: 1
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:15 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Hmm...controversial and touchy subject for some. I have had this discussion with people as well. I personally agree with you. I've always felt like the "African" umbrella is a way to single out a particular group. In academic books, I understand the need to distinguish between ethnicity in order to show historic events. I find it interesting that black Americans are the only group of people who don't simply say American. Blacks in Brazil don't call themselves African-Brazilian, they simply say Brazilian; same with Cuba, Dominican Republic, and so on.

Married: 09/10/2011
Reviews: 1
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:19 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Also, my FH's background is German and Sicilian. He is recognized as either white or American, never European-American.

Married: 06/24/2011
Reviews: 8
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:21 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think whatever a person wants to go by is what I will refer to them as (if I need to designate that part of a person in some way). To me, it's up to each individual.

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:29 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I use the term Black rather than African-American in most cases because, as you discuss, it is more inclusive. Also, a Black colleague of mine once told me that she preferred the term because it better captured how most Black people experience race--that is, others see them as Black because of their skin color and treat them in certain ways based on that identification. This is backed up by numerous studies of housing discrimination, for instance, which show that the darker a person's skin, the worse discrimination they face. A Hispanic person and a Black person of the same skin tone face the same levels of discrimination in housing, regardless of how they identify.


Of course, some people prefer the term African-American to describe themselves, and I agree with Holly; it's only basic respect to honor a person's chosen self-description.

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:32 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
As far as collecting racial and ethnic data goes, as Sharon said, in housing it is often an attempt to catch discrimination--if data aren't collected, we can't find patterns of discrimination. There are similar justifications for collecting race data in the Census.


That said, it was only very recently that the Census Bureau admitted to giving identifiable race data to the government during WWII to allow the government to send American citizens of Japanese ancestry to internment camps. So while as a social scientist I think that these data are important to collect, I can also understand the reluctance of people in oppressed groups to provide information that might be used against them.


For White Americans (generally people of Western European descent), however, that's really never been an issue.

Married: 2+ years ago
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:33 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I really think that is part of our problem here in the US, we need to get away from the ethnic designations and list all born here as Americans. Then if you want to go deeper you can list heritage but should not be necessary less division. We of course should all be proud of our heritage but not to the point of fighting because of it.

Married: 2+ years ago
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:41 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Cabel....Ok given the information you listed above....My mother is Spanish/French...My father is French/Mexican so I would list??? Hispanic or White?

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 5:48 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I disagree vehemently. Ignoring race doesn't make discrimination & institutional racism disappear; it just makes it hard to demonstrate, track, and address through social policy. Everyone born in the US is an American by citizenship, but race has real effects on people's experiences & outcomes, & you can't make those disappear by refusing to talk about them.


One does not have to choose between Hispanic & White on the Census, because the Census measures Hispanic as an "ethnicity" separate from race. One can be White Hispanic or Black Hispanic, for instance. I would be surprised by other agencies conflating Hispanic with a race question, since they're probably collecting the data for government use, but who knows who wrote the form... Whether or not you identify as Hispanic is really your own determination--if you feel that you grew up with Hispanic culture, or that others view you as Hispanic, those would be (imo) compelling reasons to check the category.

Jasmine
Married: 09/22/2012
Reviews: 6
Jan 16, 2011 at 6:00 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I agree with Cabell. "Not seeing race" is disingenuous. Everyone sees the color of someone else's skin, and more often than not, behave in a manner or treat that person in a way based on experiences or stereotypes of the group that we suppose they identify most closely with. I don't think the problem is identifying with a cultural heritage; it's an emphasis in American society to lump everyone together, to make them the same, under this umbrella of being "American" even though we make distinctions between "real America", "patriot", etc. In doing so, then when there are true questions or prejudice or discrimination, it could be less believable. I consider myself Black or African-American, although my mother's side is more Native American. But as someone mentioned, since I wasn't raised with that heritage, I don't necessarily identify.

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 6:11 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Another problem is that people often think of "ethnicity" or "culture" as something that White people don't have--but of course, it's just that the ethnic traditions of Western Europe became seen as "American" while people of color are often seen as outsiders to "American culture" even when their families have been in the US for generations.


A good book on the subject is How Jews Became White Folks And What That Says About Race in America by Karen Brodkin. I use an excerpt from it when I teach Race in the US.

Jasmine
Married: 09/22/2012
Reviews: 6
Jan 16, 2011 at 6:31 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Good book suggestion. Thanks Cabell.

Meghan
Married: 08/20/2011
Reviews: 3
Jan 16, 2011 at 7:57 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I'm 3/4 Native American and 1/4 Danish... guess which side my appearance takes after...

But racial designations irk me. We talk all the time about equality, then ask people to checkboxes for what they are. Discrimination exists, and (sadly) it's always going to. People are prejudice based on their own experiences and how they were raised.

But I think those little check boxes need to be removed from employment applications, mortgage forms, or school applications. Quotas need to disappear and companies need to stop being punished for hiring who is most qualified for the job.

At my office, we have a hispanic girl who is awful. She's a bitch, refuses to do ANY work and never shows up- working 'virtually' but can't take a phone call, join the teleconference or reply to email in the same week. They can't fire her because of Affirmative Action. They need a minority female for the numbers in my department. (I'm an engineer- I'm surrounded by middle aged white men).

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:07 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
Quotas are illegal in the United States.


While companies may be motivated to hire people in order to be competitive for government contracts as affirmative action employers, it is just that: motivation, not requirement. Affirmative action policies explicitly state that they are to be applied to "qualified minorities," meaning that race or gender is meant to function as a tie-breaker when applicants are otherwise equal in qualifications.


I'm sorry if your employer prefers to retain someone who doesn't work up to standard rather than putting in the resources to find someone who does, which they could certainly do (especially in this economy), but that doesn't mean that affirmative action policies aren't a useful way to address the problem of pervasive employment discrimination that exists in this country.

Amy
Married: 02/19/2011
Reviews: 6
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:09 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
@Meghan- again you have the same attitude I have. I wish we would stop celebrating our differences. We need to start looking at how we are the same. If we start now maybe our grandchildren will see people instead race. I believe diversity is divisive. I do not like our country being divided. We need to become the melting pot we were once known to be.

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:09 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I think it's irresponsible and lazy to argue that "discrimination is always going to exist"; it removes any responsibility for trying to make things better. And for sure things aren't going to get better by themselves!


Numerous resume studies show that people with names that "sound Black" are typically passed over in favor of people with "neutral" (read: assumed to be White unless demonstrated otherwise) names. Job audit studies also show that a Black man withOUT a criminal record is less likely to be hired for entry-level work in Milwaukee than a White man WITH such a record (and that White man with the record is about four times as likely to be offered the job as a Black man with one).


Just the job interview is an exercise in homophily (liking others who are similar to oneself) in action. Affirmative action policies don't require that certain people be hired, but they can motivate employers to reconsider an unconscious bias towards applicants like themselves--usually White men.

Married: 05/21/2010
Reviews: 15
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:12 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
"Melting pots" are lovely if you're the dominant flavor in the pot--not so great if you're the one who's expected to give up all aspects of your culture in favor of the dominant one. This relates to another reading that I assign in my race class: "The Ideology of Color-Blindness."


People who espouse an ideal of "not seeing race" (color-blindness) are more likely to be unaware of racist actions and practices in the world around them, which leads to them blaming the victims of institutional racism for not doing better, which reconfirms their original belief that only individual effort and ability matter--not race. But of course, race has all kinds of effects on people's life outcomes, whether you want to acknowledge that it exists or not.

Private User
Married: 2+ years ago
Jan 16, 2011 at 8:29 PM • Flag As Inappropriate
I'm human
Login or Signup to post a comment!
«12»

Topics

Vow of Conduct