Michael Newman mnewman at QC.EDU
Wed May 22 12:37:48 UTC 2002

>I think the answer to your question in the first paragraph is to be found
>in the last paragraph.  'Anglo' doesn't equal 'white', it equals
>'non-Hispanic white'.  Since 'Hispanic' has its roots as a linguistic
>category, it is potentially multi-racial.

Maybe this varies in different parts of the US. In New York, at least
among the young, Hispanic cannot usually be White or Black. In other
words, racial categorization is trumped by cultural identity since a
Latino can look as White or Black as anyone else. I have any number
of amusing anecdotes from my field research that show that.

1) an English-dominant blond, light-skinned Colombian boy called
Jose, whose mission in the school appeared to be making sure that
people didn't confuse him with being White. When another, Black, kid
had to write him up for harassing him in the halls, he spelled his
name 'Hose' because he thought he was White.

2) another, now re-haired Colombian rap artist, about whom my
research assistant, a Jamaican kid, said that he first thought he was
White till he "heard him speaking Spanish."

3) a Dominican girl who I heard tell a Black girl that she was Black
and then a few days later tell me, she was White. I looked at her.
"OK, I'm Dominican."

On gringo, I haven't heard it in English, but in Spanish here I've
heard it used to refer to blond, pale-skinned people by Dominicans
and Colombians and to all Whites by Mexicans, who use the term
'guero' to refer to the melanin-challenged.
Michael Newman
Assistant Professor of Applied Linguistics
Dept. of Linguistics and Communication Disorders
Queens College/CUNY
Flushing, NY 11367

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