Growing up in Latin America there was only two races.We had blacks and we had whites which translated into “Catires y Morenos” that’s it, plain and simple. Imagine my confusion 15 years ago in college when I had to fill out my first application and they asked (among a million other things) my race.
It started out like this:
What is your racial ethnicity? (please just choose one)
1)Caucasian (what type of animal is this?)
2)African American (do all black Americans come from Africa?)
3)Native Americans (are these Indians?)
4)Asian (I know this one)
5.1) are you sure, Spain, Latino, Central America(remember just one!)?
5.2) think about it because Latin and Hispanic might be the same, but not really.
6.1) are both parents Latin (this has to be a joke)
6.2) what color are your eyes Latin
6.3) are you sure you are not a Caucasian type of Latin?
Ok, great… as I am reading this application (probably sitting in some doctor’s sad office), what it was supposed to take me 1m took probable 15m if not more. I remember everything started going downhill when I read the title of the question, racial ethnicity? Oh Dios, my English needed to be improved ASAP. After that, you can only imagine what I thought Caucasian meant. Thank God I don’t identify myself as Asian or African American that would have taken me another 30m just staring at that paper.
Nowadays, nothing has changed every time I have to fill out an application I start sweating because I’m still debating the difference between questions 5 and 6 and all the in between while also struggling to know if I should add number 1 as well.
Why don’t they let you check a few boxes is beyond me, because all I really am is a person with white skin and a Latin American background who speaks Spanish. Oh Dios, this is exhausting. Could this mean that I am back to square one?
Important Definitions (for those of you still deciding)
Caucasian: A person who is white and who has European ancestors is an example of someone who would be described as a Caucasian person.
Hispanic: Hispanic is defined as a Spanish-speaking person who lives in the U.S. and comes from Portugal, Spain or Latin America, or someone of this descent.
Latino: A usually Spanish-speaking person of Latin American birth or descent who lives in the U.S.