October 22nd, 2009
11:06 AM ET

'But what's a Latino?'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/21/latinos.poll/art.museo.afp.gi.jpg caption="The Museo del Barrio, dedicated to the work of Latino artists, opened Saturday in New York City."]

Raquel Cepeda

Let's all pretend to be the astrologer Walter Mercado for a moment. Say we predict that the Obama administration's master plan to engage people of Latino/Hispanic/Spanish origin proves to be effective.

Let's say that along with strategic partners Telemundo and the Census Bureau, they somehow manage to corral the millions of "Latinos" into filling out the 2010 census forms in April. Say the idea of plot-kneading the message into an already half-baked yet inexplicably popular telenovela, "Mas Sabe el Diablo," wins over the hearts and minds of "Latinos" everywhere.

But what's a Latino?

While we all may speak a version of our Spanish colonizer's language, contrary to popular belief, we're not all Mexican. Yes, the majority of Latinos in America are of Mexican descent, but we also hail from other countries around the world.

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soundoff (4 Responses)
  1. KAY

    Putting all Latin ethnicities into one category is just ignorance. I mean, we don't call Italians "Europeans", right? I believe it's even harder for bi-racial people, like myself, who can't just identify themselves as one thing. Why does most ethnic boxes end with 'not of hispanic origin'?

    October 22, 2009 at 6:51 pm |
  2. alex lyrics

    spanish speaking latin americans .

    October 22, 2009 at 2:10 pm |
  3. Janell

    I really hate when American call latinos "Spanish people" we SPEAK Spanish we are not from Spain (well some) and I don't call Americans "English".
    I live in Michigan and everybody thinks that I'm Mexican automatically when I'm actually from Puerto Rico and being Puertorrican also puts me in a weird position because I'm born an American Citizen because of the long relationship between PR and US and a lot of people can'r understand the fact that no I don't need a visa, no I'm not here illegally, I'm as legal as the next guy, but most of the Americans I've met sadly don't even know where Puerto Rico is.

    October 22, 2009 at 12:20 pm |
  4. Niki Taylor

    I'm half latino..(Brazil) but they don't have a box to check for that...so I put white...What am I supposed to mark?

    October 22, 2009 at 12:05 pm |