It’s not easy being caucasion in some areas of los Estados Unidos de América, I mean the United States of America. While Hispanics and Latinos are described as the largest minority group in the United States, there are approximately over 44 million people to whom they refer (though sometimes it seems like more when you drive into some neighborhoods).
After speaking with someone about doing a better job next time when edging my lawn, Juan (or Paco or Jesus or whatever his name is) complained that he was working harder than I was and I should mind be happy for getting the job I was. For purposes of this article, I asked Juan the Lawn Jockey if he was from Mexico or another South American location, his response was extremely aggressive. Apparently Juan and his friends and family and cousins and more cousins come from many places and consider themselves to be of different nationalities, including: Hispanics, Hispanic-Americans, Latinos, Latino-Americans.
Since I didn’t have the time to put down my champagne and didn’t want to pick up a cerveza, I pondered where on the map of “Hispanic-America” was located. If course, being mixed, Juan assured me that there is no place titled “Hispanic-America” yet but that could very well be where I’m living if I stay still for a few years.
From a census standpoint, being of Hispanic or Latino origin means a person identifies himself in one of four listed categories: Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban or “other Spanish, Hispanic or Latino” origin. In the latter more open-ended category, respondents can write in specific origins, such as Salvadoran, Argentinean or Dominican. So I spoke with Maritza, my long-time maid of 4 months (fresh off the coyote truck). I was informed that being of different categories means as much to her and others like her as it does to me and my fellow super-anglo-master-race friends.
The U.S. government came up with the term “Hispanic” in the 1970s to generally refer to people who could trace their origin to Spanish-speaking countries. The term “Latino” refers to origins from Latin America, which includes non-Spanish speaking countries like Brazil. The terms are often used interchangeably, which is a point of some contention in the wider community. Though the truth is that before “Hispanic” was the term, there were dirtier and darker terms that most people will only hear during a Mexican Yo-Mama contest.
Overall it seems unclear what part of America is still white, or yellow, or brown, or black, or polk-a-dot. The easy to see truth is that America is a big mixing put, but eventually when you add enough light brown all things getting muddy looking.
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