LatinaLista — A new study on the Changing Racial and Ethnic Composition of the US Population found that 15.4 million Americans identify themselves solely as “some other race.” Ninety-seven percent of those Americans who do that are Hispanic.
This tendency among Hispanics to identify ourselves so vaguely is wreaking havoc on demographers.
Because Hispanics are a large and fast-growing segment of the US populationâ€”over 35 million (12.5 percent of the national population) in 2000â€”their disproportionate refusal to claim standard racial identities clouds any prospect of summarizing the racial composition of the US population without taking Hispanic identity into account.
â€¦As evidenced by their responses to the race question, many Hispanics do not identify themselves with the standard categories of American racial statistics and see little need to report an identity beyond their Hispanic/Latino origin. Despite being given explicit instructions to answer both questions, many Hispanics either leave the race question blank or reiterate their Hispanic identity by writing in Mexican or some other Latin American country on the â€œSome Other Raceâ€ (SOR) line. In 2000, nearly half of all Hispanics (48 percent) supplied an SOR response (alone or in combination) to the race question.
The report’s authors suggest that these Census findings suggest that a new “Americanization of ethnicity” is occurring.
In other words, critics who say Latinos don’t assimilate have only to see the evidence that proves otherwise and reveals that with the passage of time “ancestral ties weaken.”
Yet, the bigger acknowledgement should be that though ancestral ties weaken â€” ethnic pride doesn’t necessarily diminish. If anything, it would be interesting to see if subsequent generations feel more ethnic pride than first and second generations.