IS THERE AN IDENTITY CRISIS? ……I SAY NO
I read an interesting article about how Hispanics want to be identified and the majority (51%), stated the preferred to be called by their country of origin, fair enough**. According to this article, the term “Hispanic” was officially adopted by Congress in 1976 as a law to collect the information of U.S. residents with Spanish-speaking country origins. The Office of Management and Budget added the term “Latino” in 1997. Even worse, someone stated that Puerto Ricans are not Hispanics. Sounds confusing? It is. Let’s see if we can make some sense of it.
First of all, if someone was born somewhere in the Western Hemisphere, you are an American, period. The United States is not America, it’s part of the Americas. Second, the word “Hispanic” as defined in the United States is correct. Third, according to the survey, Hispanics are very aware that you need to speak English if you want to be successful in this country. The most recent Census states that there are more Hispanics that speak English than ever before, but want the Spanish language to be part of their heritage. After all, we grew up speaking Spanish and bilingual persons are supposed to be “smarter than the rest” (NY Times, March 17th 2012, Why Bilinguals Are Smarter by Yudhijit Bhattacharjee). Those that want to define Puerto Ricans as “Americans that speak Spanish” are reaffirming that they are in fact, Hispanics, according to the laws of the United States.
The next time you are involved in some kind of discussion, the correct way to address your identity would be: I am a (your country of origin) American (you were born in the Americas) who can speak English. Or just say I am Hispanic. It’s the same thing.
At the end, names are not important. It’s what the name represents and how to gain the respect of all who live in the Americas. That is the most important part. If you want respect, no matter who or what you are called, unity is the best way to obtain respect. Names are just names. See you next week
** (April 4, 2012 CBS http://washington.cbslocal.com/2012/04/04/study-most-hispanics-prefer-describing-identity-from-familys-country-of-origin/)