"People of color" was; Re: Whom Hispanics call "Hispanic" -- or not

Barbara Need bhneed at GMAIL.COM
Wed May 27 20:33:05 UTC 2009

On the news last night (ABC or its local affiliate) they ran a clip in
which Sotomayor used the term "people of color", and, as far as I
could tell, she was including herself in that category. Now,
recognizing that many Hispanics are of mixed African and European
ancestry (not to mention Native American), I was a little taken aback.
Is it usual to include Hispanics among "people of color"?


Barbara Need

On 27 May 2009, at 3:12 PM, Joel S. Berson wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Whom Hispanics call "Hispanic" -- or not
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> As expected, some Hispanics do not consider other
> Hispanics "Hispanic" (letting alone whether a
> Portuguese Sephardic Jew would even be considered
> human).  From the NYTimes, May 27, New England
> Edition, A16/6 [on-line version]:
> Was a Hispanic Justice on the Court in the ’30s?
> WASHINGTON — While most people may believe Sonia
> Sotomayor is poised to become the first Hispanic
> justice on the Supreme Court, there has been a
> rich under-the-radar debate for years as to
> whether the court had already had a Hispanic justice.
> Several people have suggested that Justice
> Benjamin Cardozo might properly hold the title of
> the court’s first Hispanic justice. Prof. Andrew
> Kaufman of the Harvard Law School, who is the
> author of a 1998 biography of Cardozo, said the
> debate was esoteric, complicated and, perhaps above all, amusing.
> “Was Cardozo Hispanic?” Professor Kaufman asked,
> noting that the assertion has been prevalent on
> Web sites and in articles for years. “Well, I
> think he regarded himself as a Sephardic Jew
> whose ancestors came from the Iberian Peninsula.”
> He said the term “Hispanic” was not commonly used
> during Cardozo’s lifetime and would probably have
> been unfamiliar to him in 1932 when President
> Herbert Hoover named him to the court, where he
> served for six years until his death.
> Professor Kaufman said that although there is no
> documentation, Cardozo’s family, which came to
> America in the 18th century, always believed that
> its forebears had come from Portugal, not Spain.
> And that raises an even more recondite question:
> are Portuguese people Hispanic?
> Most Hispanic organizations and the United States
> Census Bureau do not regard Portuguese as Hispanic.
> But Tony Coelho, a Portuguese-American
> congressman from California, was a member of the
> Congressional Hispanic Caucus when he was in the
> House, and Representative Dennis Cardoza,
> Democrat of California, whose ancestors came from
> the Azores, a Portuguese archipelago, is still a member.
> The executive director of the National
> Association of Latino Elected and Appointed
> Officials, Arturo Vargas, said the contemporary
> political definition of Hispanic in the United
> States would definitely not include Cardozo. The
> practical definition he uses, Mr. Vargas said,
> includes people who are “descended from countries
> in the Americas” with a Spanish-language
> heritage. It does not even include those from Spain itself, he said.
> ------------------------------------------------------------
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