Hispanics aren’t a racial group


The June 10 story Key players in the George Zimmerman case says that Zimmerman is “half white, half Hispanic.” Hispanic is not a race.

The term refers to people of Latin American or Spanish origin. The countries of Latin America are diverse, multiracial and often racially mixed — it’s a social category invented to keep people apart.

From Mexico to Patagonia to Spain there are white people, black people and indigenous people, and all possible combinations.

There are also people of Asian and Middle Eastern backgrounds.

Race is a more fluid concept for Hispanics, but racism against people with darker skin exists across the Americas. And in the United States, there is rampant racism from white Hispanics toward blacks.

In Latin America, as well as the United States, people with lighter skin hold a disproportionate share of the wealth and political power.

I’m white with green eyes, born in Havana of Cuban parents who descended from Spain. So what does that make me? I am 100 percent Hispanic and 100 percent white. There are no halves — just like Zimmerman.

Sylvia Cherry-Olozaga, Coconut Grove

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