America is the only country in world where Latin Americans are sectioned off into their own little 'racial' group instead of being considered another European ethnicity. Historically, there is some precedence. My father's family came from Ireland. Even though the Irish are a nation so pale that many risk bursting into flame whenever they go into direct sunlight, it is only in the last century that Americans included them amongst the white races. The problem was religion. The US has always been proud of its religious diversity, but the reality is that the diversity was one of Reformation churches. If you weren't Protestant, you weren't welcome. Now you might reply that it is silly to consider religion in determining race, but that's because of the success non-Protestants have had in gaining acceptance. It is silly to include religion in defining race now, it wasn't then. The definition of race has changed.
Following the Irish, many others have found acceptance, particularly the 'Latin' and Meditarrean nations. The Italians, the Greeks. But not the Spanish. Maybe the proximity of Latin America weighs on the discussion, making Latinos an Other that is right here, rather than way over there in the 'Old Country'? I don't know, but I do know that when faced with the rise of 'non-white' groups in the past, America has reacted, not by embracing multi-culturalism, but by redefining what it means to be white. I predict it'll happen again. Yes, there are some Latinos that are black, there are even some that are Asian, but most are white. America will simply be recognizing something that every other nation already sees.
Originally Pubished at: David Bird
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