Why Are Some Latinos White? MTV Explains.
Chances are, no matter what you look like or how you identify, you’ve interacted with someone who was a bit confused about how this whole “Latinx” thing works.
“If you’re Latinx then… why are you white?”
“But you can’t be both Latinx and black. Right?”
“Wait, so you’re Asian and Latinx? How does that even work?”
Sigh. Fortunately, MTV’s “Decoded” host Franchesca Ramsey offered us an in-depth look on the differences between race and ethnicity when it comes to that age-old question: Are Hispanics white?
And she had a little help from our very own video producer extraordinaire, Kat Lazo.
Franchesca kicks things off by explaining how the census is currently set up in a pretty confusing way.
…Especially if you’re Latinx and/or of Hispanic descent, namely because it strives to categorize people in neat little boxes according to both race and ethnicity, even though these labels can be, well. Pretty complex!
Adding to all this is the existing confusion between the terms “Hispanic” and “Latinx / Latin@ / Latino/a.”
Fortunately, Kat was able to clear up some misconceptions:
Breaking it down to its most basic level, it’s essentially a matter of language versus location. And, as Kat also points out, neither term refers to a racial identity.
In fact, Latinx can refer to people of any race.
As Kat explains, Latin American history includes colonization, slavery and global migration, and those have resulted in Latinx indigenous American, European, African and Asian descent. We’re a global phenomenon!
Ok, ready for things to get a little more complicated? Awesome, let’s go:
As Franchesca explains, the concept of race isn’t truly inherent. It’s a construct, and an ever-shifting one at that.
As for ethnicity, we can define it as a set of cultural practices, values and traditions that unite and define a group of people.
Like, for example, Latinx.
Making this even MORE COMPLICATED is the fact that even though Latinx isn’t a race, we’re racialized.
And popular Latinx representation in media hasn’t helped.
And, since so much of the U.S.’s understanding and discussion of race tends to fall into a black/white binary, it’s all the more important for us as Latinx to define ourselves.
Here’s how Kat identifies, for instance:
So. Are Hispanics white?
Sure, some are! And some are black. And some are both. And some are mixed race with indigenous ancestry. And some are Japanese-Brazilian-Afro-Venezuelan-Taíno. And some simply identify as Chicanx.
Watch the full video below:
So tell us: How do you identify?