Is Spain Hispanic?

Not in New York.

In my immediately preceding post I asked you to “imagine my surprise” when I discovered something. I was surprised, but I assure you it was nothing compared to the surprise Rocco Luiere must have felt when he was informed one day by the state of New York that he was no longer Hispanic.

Rocco’s maternal grandparents were born in Spain, and his construction company had been regarded by the state as a minority business enterprise for the past 15 years. Then some bureaucrat noticed that Spain is not one of the countries listed in the state’s definition of Hispanic, although it is included in the federal definition and New York state agencies, including the Dept. of Transportation, list Spain as one of the countries generating Hispanic descendants. Go figure.

Rocco figured, and sued the state.

“All Hispanics started in Spain,” Luiere said. “If there is discrimination, the people who discriminate don’t stop to ask where you’re from. They’re not going to say, ‘Are you Juan Castro from Mexico, or Juan Castro from Spain?’ “

But is there still rampant discrimination in the construction industry against people who have two Spanish (or Mexican or Cuban) grandparents? If there is, perhaps the state of New York and all the Roccos should make a deal: the state should drop all the favoritism it provides to everyone in advance as compensation for the discrimination that they might conceivably experience at some time in the future and instead agree to assist Rooco et. al. in pursuing aggressively all such discriminators.

Say What? (12)

  1. R Helms June 15, 2004 at 12:52 am | | Reply

    I think part of the problem is that, at the official level at least, no one has really figured out how to deal with white people from Latin American countries. It’s ridiculous that people of Spanish origin could get set-asides as a ‘minority’ when it wouldn’t be available to people of Portuguese or French origin (both peoples with, by global standards at least, quite similar cultural backgrounds and general physical appearance). I suppose the thinking is that, well, they’ll count white Miami Cubans as being members of a minority, so they might as well include the Spanish as well.

  2. Anonymous June 15, 2004 at 3:20 pm | | Reply

    They really should differentiate based on race and not country of origin. If they look white, then they are white.

  3. Claire June 17, 2004 at 1:51 pm | | Reply

    “if they look white, then they are white”

    So the goal is to have a rainbow of skin tones?

    Sounds like the skewed reasoning of folk in the old South. If a girl ‘looked’ white, she could pass as white, unless someone found out about her one black great-grandmother. Then she was no longer considered ‘white’, no matter what she looked like. Someone with as little as 1/16 of ‘black’ blood was considered legally ‘black’ and deprived of all rights and privileges pertaining to whites at the time.

    Judging based on appearance is disgusting, no matter which side of the coin you choose.

  4. Z July 7, 2004 at 2:10 am | | Reply

    Hispanic is made up of African, American Indian(maya, incas, aztecs), and European culture.

    SO I say a spaniard is the SAME as a Hispanic, even if their skin tone is darker or hair is less than soft.

    And there is always a puerto rican saying a mexican is not hispanic, most puerto ricans are in denial, don’t hate your fellow brother!

  5. greg peterson August 21, 2004 at 4:24 pm | | Reply

    The main problem here is that most Americans do not know that people from Spain are 100% white. Spain is a Western European country, and indeed, there is no difference between a European from Spain or a European from France or Germany. The term “hispanic” or “Latino” makes reference to those of South American descend who speak Spanish because their countries once belonged to the kingdom of Spain, but who are not caucasian.

    So to clarify things, Spaniards are white, and those who come from Latin American countries are Latino or Hispanic.

  6. James March 14, 2006 at 1:39 pm | | Reply

    Yes, Spaniards are white.

    Hispanics or Latin Americans can be white (of European ascendancy, mainly Spaniard, but also French, Portuguese, Italian, German or even British -see the president of Mexico, Vicente Fox-), many types of mixed-blood, blacks and pure native americans. Don’t forget 500 years of inmigration and interethnic marriage!

  7. sasha April 28, 2006 at 10:48 pm | | Reply

    I am 1/2 Castillian. My mother is full Castillian. We moved to the states when I was a young girl. I was always taught that I was white. My mother always stated herself as white, never chose ‘hispanic’ because she taught us we were spaniards, not hispanics. This was taught to me as fact not prejudice. Most people would never believe we were spanish because we are very fair and blue eyed. Spaniard/Spanish should not be confused with Hispanic. If I had ‘ANY’ South American, Mexican, etc. blood, I would then be considered hispanic, even if I had Spaniard as well. If you were to ask any Spaniard in the US, they would agree with what I am saying.

  8. karla October 18, 2006 at 9:31 pm | | Reply

    I have long wondered if when applying for a job to check hispanic or caucasian. My fathers parents were both from Spain. My aunt was born there and my father (her younger brother} in the USA. What am I, if I am 1/2 spanish?

  9. Jeff June 27, 2007 at 3:10 pm | | Reply

    Why must we define who we are based on where are descendants came from? If you are born in the United States, then you are American. We need to stop defining ourselves as Irish, Italian, Spanish, Hispanic, Latino, Pacific Islander, what is the point? If you are born here, you are American, regardless of your color, your culture is American which is a mixture of the world. C’mon people, let’s just be where we are from, not where are families are from.

  10. TJ September 5, 2008 at 5:32 pm | | Reply

    My grandfathers side is descended from Irish royalty. My great-grandmother was full-blooded Cherokee. I’m almost whiter than Michael Jackson..almost!

    So what does that make me? American.

    It sickens me that both political parties ( and race hustlers like jesse jackson) focus on the skin color that divides us, instead of the American spirit that binds us.

    We’re American dammit..grow up.

  11. Prolific Programmer September 22, 2008 at 12:14 am | | Reply

    @TJ, yes, indeed it makes you American… As Irish royalty doesn’t exist!

  12. D May 1, 2013 at 2:26 pm | | Reply

    @Z I realize I’m about 7 years too late to the convo, but “Spainard is Hispanic, even if their skin is a little darker or hair is less than soft.”?? Are you dense? Spainards are FROM SPAIN! god how is this a debate. Hispanic means “of Spainish Descent” which is a stupid way to classify a minority. In case nobody has looked at a map SPAIN IS A EUROPEAN COUNTRY. The CLOSEST countries to Spain are FRANCE, PORTUGAL and ENGLAND. They are WHITE AD WHITE CAN BE (blonde hair/blue eyes fair skin in the north, dark hair dark hairs, fair/tan complexion, still white in the Mediterranean area.) Spainish or the old school outdated “spainard” is not a minority anymore than French, Italian, or English people. How was Rocco surprised by that? He is a European. His grandparents were European. I’m half Spanish, half swiss. I’m white. I’ve never experienced feud rumination. When I tell people I’m spanish they all say “you don’t look Mexican” and that’s because I’m not. Mexican speak Spanish. But they aren’t Spanish. Spanish descent is even pushing it. They have Spanish names from an era that died out four hundred years ago. The age of the conquistadors. But Mexicans are essentially native Americans. Not Spanish, or spainard. Man. How do people not know this stuff.

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