It burns me up whenever I read any article, whether penned by an amateur or a scholar, and they use the term Hispanic as a race: such as the fact that marriages between Whites and Hispanics make up a large percentage of interracial couples, or when Hispanic is designated as a race in crime reports. Even detectives on the First 48 know better than this – they usually consider the person of Hispanic heritage ‘White’ even though the majority of them (especially from Mexico, Honduras, and Guatemala) are of mixed – mestizo usually – ancestry.
Most illegals in the United States are certainly not ‘White’ in my opinion, and those that I have known and worked with assuredly did not consider themselves as such. In fact, they called themselves ‘Brown’ or even ‘Indio’. I’ve known Mexicans and Puerto Ricans (including some I would consider Caucasian) and a guy from El Salvador who became pissed at anyone who tried to say that they were ‘White’ even when they definitely looked to be.
People of Hispanic descent can be of any race – White, Black, Indian, or even mixed. The racial breakdown of Mexico is as follows according to Wikipedia (it’s true of the Mexican nationals that are currently living in America as well):
El Salvadoreans are even more so mixed with Indian: Mestizo 86%, White 12%, Amerindian 1% as are those from Honduras (among many other Latin American nations): Mestizo (mixed Amerindian and European) 90%, Amerindian 7%, Black 2%, White 1%.
I have friend whose mother is from Panama and to look at their family, you would immediately say that they are African American. But they are actually Latin American – Black Hispanics, in other words. There are many Black Mexicans in my area but you usually tell them apart from American Blacks because they will have hair that isn’t as kinky, or something about their features. However, I have met some that you cannot tell apart from a Black born in this country of African ancestors with hair that is so kinky they can wear it in flattop styles or even braided.
South Americans and people from the Caribbean islands with Latin ancestry are mostly of Spanish (i.e. – Caucasian) blood and you can tell it by their appearance, as with singers Shakira and Gloria Estafan. Most Hispanic entertainers, in this country and in Latin America, are usually what are known as White Hispanics. Not sure why this is so, as the populations of most Central American countries are heavily Mestizo. But watch any Spanish-speaking novela and the actors will all be White other than those playing the parts of maids or gardeners or even criminals. They tend to be the Hispanics that people think of when they hear the term ‘illegal alien’ – brown with Indian features.
Unfortunately, a lot of colorism and outright racism exists in Latin America – wherever Europeans have gone and conquered the native peoples, bigotry comes to the forefront – and it is the Spanish (White) people who are on top, with mixed bloods in between, and Blacks on the bottom as usual. Those with mostly or full Indian blood can either be above Blacks or even below them, it depends.
I would further state, from my studies on the topic, that racism is worse in the Spanish-speaking nations because of Colonialism and also because the non-Whites in those countries have never tried to fight for their civil liberties as Blacks in America have (and continue to do). But there were never any Jim Crow laws or Black Codes in effect in Latin American either – it is more of an unspoken rule in those lands than segregation was in the US and South Africa.
Just be aware that Hispanic is not a race. It is simply an ethnic affiliation and Hispanics can be White, Brown, Black, and even Yellow or – as usually is the case – some mixture of two or more races.