Thread Tools
Old 08-07-2010, 11:47 AM
Charter Member
Join Date: May 2000
Location: JSOTF SDMB, OL-LANL
Posts: 7,095
Why "are you of Hispanic origin" in so many surveys?

I'm taking the 2010 Don't Ask, Don't Tell survey, and came across a ubiquitous question which seems present in almost all surveys/census forms I have to take:

Quote:

Q-Are you Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?

Yes: Mexican-American, Mexican, Chicano, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino

No
So, why do many surveys focus on Hispanic culture? Why don't they care if I'm a Slavic white versus a Scandinavian one? Why do they not seem to care if my friend is Korean or Japanese (subtle culture differences, if I recall correctly)? Why do they not care if a Native American comes from an Eastern, Western, or Northern-based tribe?

Tripler
Curious minds are. . . well, curious.

Last edited by Tripler; 08-07-2010 at 11:51 AM.
Old 08-07-2010, 12:02 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2010
Location: Southern California
Posts: 59
I've always wondered about this, too.

I'd assume that there is some sort of significance when the question is education-related (i.e. signing up for a college, or registering on a financial aid site)...

And yes, being Korean or being Japanese is very different--in fact, I'd say the culture differences are more than subtle. Same with being Chinese vs. Taiwanese. Still pretty different.
Old 08-07-2010, 12:42 PM
Member
Join Date: Oct 1999
Posts: 25,044
Hispanics are a large visible minority in this country, more so than Slavs, and Hispanics as a class still suffer from discrimination, moreso than Slavs.
Old 08-07-2010, 01:39 PM
Guest
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: Maryland
Posts: 1,750
In the analysis of many social surveys in the US, people will be grouped into four or five racial/ethnic groups: non-Hispanic white, non-Hispanic black, Hispanic, other, and (depending on the size of the survey) maybe Asian/Pacific Islander. No survey that doesn't specifically focus on smaller groups will have the sample size to distinguish Korean-Americans or Japanese-Americans or Cherokees or Slavs or whatever.

There are specific surveys and organizations that focus more explicitly on certain groups. The Pew Hispanic research center (I think) has surveys that will do more to distinguish between Puerto Ricans and Mexicans and Dominicans or whatever. This is well outside my area of expertise, but I think there are also studies of Asian groups. I don't personally know of anyone in 2010 who studies the descendants of Slavic or Scandinavian immigrants - they're pretty well assimilated and I don't know that there's much reason to believe that they would be faring differently than the average American.

Basically, there's no theoretical reason to look at some groups, and examining others isn't practical for reasons of sample size.
Old 08-07-2010, 02:27 PM
Guest
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 5,194
I hate those surveys. I have some Hispanic ancestory, but my Spanish is terrible, and I was raised by my white mother. Am I Hispanic or not? If you say no then does that mean my paternal grandfather, who was a pretty nice dude, from what little I met of him, doesn't count? If you say yes, then does that mean my anglo family doesn't count? The ones who raised me from birth.

None of the selections are the right answer. I am of partial Hispanic origin. It's like that Zen Koan, does a dog have a Buddha nature? If you say yes or if you say no you lose your Buddha nature. The idea is a question with no apparent right answer. However the koan at least has the answer of "mu" (nothing), but wheres the god damn mu selection on this crap?

Last edited by The Tao's Revenge; 08-07-2010 at 02:29 PM.
Old 08-07-2010, 02:44 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 1999
Location: Schenectady, NY, USA
Posts: 40,916
In general, the surveys have always asked about race. This became an issue because some Hispanics consider themselves Caucasian and others consider themselves Black.

The solution was to separate "Hispanic" from the race (where it used to be) and ask the question separately.
__________________
"If a person saying he was something was all there was to it, this country'd be full of rich men and good-looking women. Too bad it isn't that easy.... In short, when someone else says you're a writer, that's when you're a writer... not before."
Purveyor of fine science fiction since 1982.
Old 08-07-2010, 03:49 PM
Guest
Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Northern CA
Posts: 9,154
Quote:
Originally Posted by The Tao's Revenge View Post
The idea is a question with no apparent right answer. However the koan at least has the answer of "mu" (nothing), but wheres the god damn mu selection on this crap?
Excellent. Next time someone asks my ethnicity on a form, I'm totally going to answer mu.
Old 08-07-2010, 07:16 PM
Guest
Join Date: Aug 2000
Location: Memphis
Posts: 5,808
I never know what to say when it comes to my daughter. Her father is Mexican, I am American. Getting her registered for school the other day I had to decide whether or not to mark Hispanic. I did but I'm not sure if I should have. She's fair skinned, although her features otherwise match her father's.
Old 08-07-2010, 08:51 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,122
Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
Old 08-07-2010, 11:50 PM
Charter Member
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: California
Posts: 8,088
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
Absolutely wrong. By U.S. Census standards, Spaniards are definitely Hispanic.
Old 08-08-2010, 04:09 PM
Guest
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 1,122
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nametag View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by GiantRat View Post
Also interesting to note that folks from Spain are not Hispanic and should not identify themselves as such. Ya' gotta' be from this side of the pond to fit the bill.
Absolutely wrong. By U.S. Census standards, Spaniards are definitely Hispanic.
Consider my ignorance fought. I'm somewhat surprised by this, but I've checked it out and you are correct. I was relying on some bad info given to me by a member of our Latino social organization at work. I am assuming that he was himself confusing "Latino" with "hispanic."
Thread Tools

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 05:54 AM.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: [email protected]

Send comments about this website to:

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: [email protected].

Copyright 2018 STM Reader, LLC.

Copyright © 2017
Best Topics: rip audible books retarded asians gestapo ss locate underground wires maynard crebs the song cannonball cartoon bear sleeping print amazon receipt sambo picture directional emp microwave clothes kindle charging but not recognized how tall are stormtroopers poulan pro chainsaw chain tensioner first you get the sugar then you get the bees how much do atms hold do you need calculus for linear algebra my eyesight got better do girls like messy hair stewie it's good to have land carl from aqua team hunger force quotes what is the point of wingdings font years between episode 3 and 4