What do you check under the Race Box?

This has always been a perplexing question for me.  I feel a big identity crisis each time I come upon that specific question when filling out paperwork.  I never know what to put!  When we were young my mother always filled out that we were Hispanic, although she is not.

My mother is Caucasian or “white” with a mix of German, Swedish, Irish and Norwegian that make up the beautiful woman she is.  My father is I guess you could say Hispanic. His mother and father were originally from Mexico, but found their way to Arizona at a very young age, where they were raised. His Father’s Father was from Spain, and he has some Italian and French mixed in their from a far away bloodline.  So I assume his Hispanic.  Often times now, you will find Hispanic or Latino…so what to check!

Hispanic was termed during the late 70’s by the Federal government.  it comes from the Latin word “Hispania” and refers to someone fluent in Spanish. It was a way to gain information on the discriminated population.  Basically Hispanic refers to someone speaking the language.  Latino was later added by the government to identify more of the mixed races or “mestizo”. Basically Latino identifies someones geography.

Well this still leaves me stumped. I was both born and raised in the United States. My father grew up speaking Spanish at home.  He spoke English outside of his home. He met my mother and they married and spoke English to one another as well as the three children they had. None of my siblings nor I speak Spanish. We are of mixed decent, but we reside in the U.S. So what are we?

I am not the only one with this “identity crisis”. I have met many others that too feel the same way. I feel as though filling out your defined race, or the race your defined by a piece of paper is wrong. I am not by definition Hispanic or Latino, but I am not white or Caucasion and feel guilty to my father for thinking to check that. I have at times wondered if I would be rethought of if I were to check Hispanic. I live in Arizona and there has been much controversy on illegal aliens, and Mexicans. Although I am not one (an illegal alien) and I am part Mexican,  I am not what people may stereotype me as by my race.  I feel as though I have a had a taste of what it must be like for many people that deal with deeper issues of race and ethnicity.

For the sake of people, let’s omit that question and let people be human.  America is a melting pot of races and ethnicities.  There is not a one size or even 5 size fits all way. There is a human way. A mixed american way.

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