March 18, 2001
Letter to Elizabeth Llorente
The Bergen Record
March 18, 2001
I read and enjoyed your column for the North New Jersey Record, dateline Sunday, March 11, 2001, entitled “Uneasy truce over ‘Latino’ or ‘Hispanic'”.
As your column’s title reflects, you explored the uneasyness of the broad spectrum of Hispanic Americans finding themselves all covered together under two interchangeable (‘though by no means universally accepted) umbrella terms, “Hispanic” and “Latino.” You mentioned a Mrs. Angelica Matos, who just wanted to be called an American, and you ended your column quoting a Mr. Emilio Fandino dissenting, too: “‘I don’t think I like either one,’… ‘I think we need to come up with a third term.'”
I believe Mrs. Matos had the word that Mr. Fandino was looking for — “American.” However, I am sure we all know it is not that easy going from “Hispanic/Latino” to simply “American.” Let me suggest a way.
As your article mentioned, Latino Americans don’t call themselves “Hispanic/Latino” in their homelands. This is a U.S. taxon. It is not really about ethnicity. Of all the world’s many ethnicities, why would everyone in the U.S.A. have to answer yes/no only to Hispanic ethnicity if the question’s real demographic purpose was not zoological labeling — “race”? We know Hispanic are multiracial people. They might help this race-obsessed country wake up, come to its senses. They might do that by refusing to let U.S. OMB (Office of Management and Budget) planners conscript the Hispanic peoples into this “minority” spoils system, perpetuating the slander of “race.” “Race” is a dreadful fiction. It defames our gorgeous human range of somatic variation as if we were organisms in a zoological pigeon-coop. Why must we be pigeon-holed in “subspecies” or “breeds,” purportedly “pure” or not? On the decennial census and every government “race”-snooping questionnaire spawned by it, everyone is required taxonomically to declare loyalty to a quasi-biological polity. “Hispanic” is one such politically powerful “minority.” I like to think it was sensing this, made both Mrs. Matos and Mr. Fandino feel uneasy. And thank you for your intuitively sensing it, too.
Let me suggest, then, an interim “third term,” for Mr. Fandino, and Hispanic peoples: “Multiracial.” There can be little doubt the Hispanic ethnicity was adopted in 1970 by U.S. OMB census planners bent on masking the multiracial face of Latino peoples. The name Hispanic indulged the preference of a people often describing themselves racially “white,” who were demographically or politically too strong to be forced to accept Indian or African “minority” identities under the U.S. “one-drop” “black blood” mythical “rule.” Reciting, as OMB does, that Hispanic “may be of any race” denies they are more than one. “Race” is the arbitrary division of the indivisible. “Multiracial,” implying full blending — fusion — is “race’s” contradiction.
We Anglo interracial and multiracial activists cordially invite dissident souls such as Mrs. Matos and Mr. Fandino, whom you quoted — all Hispanic/Latino — to join us building a Multiracial Movement. The “race” fiction depends on the illusion of only five mutually exclusive, exhaustive human bio-taxonic categories — as if “immutable” social “species” — clearly an awful caste system. We need your, everyone’s help undermining and overthrowing (discontinuing) the whole dreadful “race” system.
“Interracial Voice” <email@example.com>
“Multiracial Activist” <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Project R.A.C.E.” <ProjRACE@aol.com>