"Who is American? by José Alberto Rato"
I would like to say one thing: Since the term Hispanic comes from what the Romans originally named the Iberian Peninsula, Hispania-- which means the land of the rabbits, and has evolved into the word Espana, the Spanish word for Spain-- it cannot be correctly applied to other peoples who live outside the Iberian Peninsula, ie Central and South Americans. Skin color is not what defines an Hispanic (Spaniard); hair and skin color of Spaniards vary greatly. There are Spaniards who are "darker" than the typical South American; there are those as light as the typical Englishman.

Being of both Spanish and Portuguese descent and a North American, I am not concerned about defining "racial purity" with the usage of the word, Hispanic; I would like only to preserve the cultural heritage of Spain by reserving the word, Hispanic, for the description of "the people of the land of the rabbits".

Hope Vega

@Mr. Denis M. Medeiros

1. Of course portuguese are considered latins.They are latins!!! But they(we) are not latinos.There's a big difference.

2. I don't want to tell you how you should define yourself but if you have 100% portuguese ancestry then you are not a latino!You can call yourself latino, as well as i can call myself chinese, but does that make me a chinese just because i call myself chinese?Obviously not!

3. You separate portuguese and azoreans??! That says it all!

4. I am not saying that all portuguese people should call themselves white.I' m just wondering how/why so many portuguese identify themselves with south/central America when there are other definitions like Portuguese or simply European.
@Mr. da Gama

You wrote that Portuguese were not considered white because they came for work.

Does that mean if someone comes to Hawai ( or the USA) for work he's not white?

What's about the irish people then?Are they non-white just because they worked in construction or something?
Mr. Aradas, thanks for your participation:

1. The Census in the United States provides the Government with valuable information.

2. The USA have more than 400 million people in 50 states, from different backgrounds and they all live together in peace.

3. The Census is a tool used all over the world by every government.

4. Some may not agree with the questions asked, others do. The answers are considered valuable.

5. This forum is designed to receive opinions from people of Portuguese ancestry living in the USA who may or may not agree with the Census questions. The present trend is to add more groups, due to the fact that in the last census, 1/4 of the population in the USA were considered Hispanic. Many did not agree.

6. This forum does not endorse racism or anything leading to it. Please separate culture from racism.

The Editor


I won't enter the debate of whether Portuguese people should be considered Hispanic. It's inconsecuential. The root of the problem stems from the neurotic obsession on the part of the USA government of putting labels on people and classifying them into neat categories according to their appearance and origin. This is a preposterous, banal pursuit to say the least and, at its worst, it promotes popular prejudice and perpetuates misconceptions and ignorance of the most elementary facts of ethnicity, history and geography. Racial classifications are now obsolete, both scientifically and sociologically, and will become utterly ludicrous in the future as people mix and ethnic barriers collapse.

More and more individuals stem from multiple origins, and that fact, thank heavens, will contribute to people judging others more objectively as individuals, not as Mr. or Ms. X, who should behave in a particular way or like certain things because of the colour of their skin and considering where they or their families originally came from.

And that applies not only to suposedly ignorant people from the States, but also to people spreading comments such as "we don't want to be considered Hispanics because "Hispanic" applies only to Spain and we all know that Spain has always been a thorn on Portugal's side."

Yes, I'm Spanish, from Galicia, my first language is Galician, which has the same origin as Portuguese (namely, Medioeval Galego-Portuguêse) and I love Portugal. No one in Spain or Portugal with an atom of intelligence in them can ignore the fact that there is a lot in common between the two countries. Aren't those comments perpetuating the same irrational prejudices that many of you are subjected to by racial classification (the real problem when transferred to popular perception, not the specific term used) when you put all Spaniards in the same sack with the label "undesireable neighbours" on it?

This debate should not be taking place. If people did not pay so much attention to ethnicity, emotions would not be running so high. Don't fuel it. Just ignore it. Or better even, protest against the irrationality of the whole ratial classification system, not just against its inevitable inaccuracies. Join those who regard themselves as individuals that are not conditioned by their ethnicity, either as a self-perception or as the external perception of others.

Just a final consideration: I can have more in common with someone from Beijing in today's world than with someone from my home town, skin tone and ethnical origin have little to do with who we are and will have even less in the future. Don't let the sociocultural environment you live in determine your essence as an individual. FIGHT THE INJUSTICE OF THE SYSTEM. BE DISCERNING INDIVIDUALS.

Carlos Aradas

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