I was born in Brazil, my parents were born in Brazil, some grandparents born in Brazil others from Azores. I have lived my entire life since a baby here in the USA. I consider myself first an American, then a Brazilian with Portuguese/Azorean descendants. I do not consider myself Latin or Hispanic as the term is used here in California! My ethnic customs at home are not at all Spanish/Mexican/or the other South American countries. Our language at home is Portuguese, our food is European based...not tacos, enchiladas, hot peppers or such! More like good ole meat and potatoes of the European. Our religion is Catholic and all feast days celebrated are based on Portuguese/Azorean feast days. We do not revere Our Lady of Guadalupe as patroness, but Our Lady of Fatima. We have Holy Ghost celebrations...Hispanics do not...we do not kill the bull in bullfights... Well, as you can understand the list goes on and on and on and on...
I do speak Spanish due to Southern California having such a large Spanish speaking population. Hispanics/Latins are not even aware of the customs which are Portuguese or Brazilian, they think it's all the same...NOT!!!
Just thought I would throw in my .02 cents...thanks for reading, Marcia de Aguiar, Southern California
I have never considered myself 'Hispanic' although many other 'Hispanics' address me in Spanish, assuming I am by my looks. I always answer them in Portuguese and they smile. I have always identified myself as Portuguese or Azorean. Several years ago, I got into a huge disagreement with several members of a church I used to be a member of because they insisted that I was Hispanic and would not accept MY definition of MY ethnicity. Strictly speaking, the origin of the word Hispanic is from the Latin HISPANIA, the old Roman province that included all of the Iberian peninsula. It does mean the people of Spain and Portugal; and more recently also people from "Latin" America. [Yet another debate, I'm sure.] The vast majority of Portuguese people I know do not consider themselves Hispanic. There are some who identify themselves as 'Luso-Americans.' But does that clarify anything? The problem in the USA is that when you say "Hispanic" people immediately think of someone from Central or South America, not Spain. (Someone from Spain is 'Spanish.') So, someone from Portugal is 'Portuguese.' Ultimately, it comes down to what YOU want to identify yourself as ethnically.
Richard A. Matera [an Italian/Portuguese/American] :)
The "Are Portuguese Hispanic" topic has been touched a few times in "O Progresso," which I edit for the Portuguese Historical & Cultural Society. In my book, "Portuguese Pioneers of the Sacramento Area," I wrote this:
". . . former Congressman Tony Coelho . . . persuaded fellow Latino legislators in Washington to admit him to membership in the Hispanic Caucus, citing as justification the Miriam-Webster Dictionary definition of Hispanic as 'of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain and Portugal. . .' Few, if any other Portuguese-Americans, however, consider themselves Hispanic, and prefer not to be identified as a 'minority.'"
In 1994 the California Legislature passed a bill by then senator Henry Mello which amended the designation "Hispanic" to include a person of Portuguese ancestry for purposes of certification as a minority business enterprise with respect to state-funded contracts. The Oakland City Council opposed the idea, saying that the Public Contract Code sections concerning minority and business enterprises were intended to 'encourage and develop businesses of minority groups that have suffered from pernicious and historical discrimination in business opportunities' and held that 'there is no empirical data that documents that persons of European Spanish or Portuguese origin have suffered historic discrimination.'
Most if not all Portuguese in California do not consider themselves Hispanic.
Lionel Holmes, California.
Portuguese people are different: The Portuguese population have stayed relatively isolated in the last few thousand years which makes them unique from the rest of the Iberian population. This conclusion was the result of a study made by the University of Coimbra in Portugal and the University of Madrid in Spain. This study may have important applications in the organ transplant of individuals of Portuguese origin or ancestry. The study was published in the magazine "Immunogenetics."
Hello Manuel--- Just have to reply. Hispanic means someone of Spanish descent. I am a second generation American of Portuguese descent (mom's side from Madeira/dad's side from the Azores) If you are Portuguese ---you have ancestors of Portuguese descent. If you are Hispanic -- this means your ancestors are Spanish or Latin American (according to Random House College Dictionary). The Spanish and Portuguese are distinctive by way of their own geographical, cultural, sociological and political background. They are both wonderful in their own right. Please let us not melt them into one group.

Enjoy this site Mary Murphy
I was reading the e-mails and noticed that someone complained about Tony Coelho being listed in "Hispanic Americans in Congress". I don't understand this complaint. I'm of Azorean Portuguese background, and I label myself Hispanic -- after all Hispanic means Iberian. If I didn't mark Hispanic, I wouldn't know what to mark. Being brown skinned, people have always labeled me as "Hispanic"-- and I specify: Portuguese. Why would we not want to mark Hispanic/Latino? Are background, Iberian/Latin American is all the same in its diversity! Jennifer Carvalho

   Dear Mr. Mira - I noticed that the Library of Congress web site has former Congressman Tony Coelho listed under "Hispanic Americans in Congress". My great grandparents emigrated from the Azores to southeastern Massachusetts around the turn of the century. We have never identified ourselves as Hispanic. Is there something I should know?
G.C. - Worcester, Mass.
Dear Mr. G.C. - This is a battle we have been fighting for many years. My immediate suggestion is to write to the Library of Congress to the attention of: Dr. Iêda Siqueira Wiarda, Ph. D. Hispanic Division, 101 Independence Ave. SE, Washington, DC 20540-4850. If we all write, eventually they'll correct it.
Dr. Iêda is sympathetic to our plea, and she understands. It is unfortunate that most Americans do not know the difference between being Hispanic and Portuguese. The word Hispanic derives from the Roman province of Hispania. The Roman Emperor Augustus (27 BC-14AD) divided it into two provinces and named them Hispania and Lusitania. Lusitania is today most of modern Portugal, therefore we're Lusitanos not Hispanics, this is a term used mostly only in America. Spain and Portugal share the Iberian Peninsula. We and more than 200 millions throughout the world who share our culture, language and ancestry descend from the Lusitanos.The proud people of Azores and their rich history, have played a prominent part in helping to keep our culture and language in many parts of the world since the 16th century. You and your friends can help. Write Today.
Good Luck, MM


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