John Leguizamo Says High School History Makes Latinos Feel ‘Invisible’

Latino contributions to U.S. history remain largely absent from high school history books, and John Leguizamo is doing something about it. The 51-year-old actor and comedian sat down with HuffPost Live’s

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HT Steven Riley @mixed_race

Documentary about Dr. Favianna Rodriguez’s work nominated for an Emmy

Favianna Rodriguez is a visual artist and community organizer who merges her artistic practice with political activism. Through her bold, vivid artwork, she has become a leading voice in raising awareness about immigration, women’s issues, globalization and economic injustice.


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The Invention of Hispanics – Latino USA

Before 1970, the US Census Bureau classified Mexican, Cuban and Puerto Rican immigrants as whites. Each community of Latin American origin would go by their nationality and by the region where they lived in the United States. But all that changed in the seventies, as activists began lobbying the US Census Bureau to create a broad, national category that included all these communities. The result was the creation of the term “Hispanic”, first introduced in the US Census in 1970.


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The Game We Play


For much of my life I hid my identity somewhere comfortably between Mexican and Tejano. As a particularly brown girl with a funny sounding name, I could leave many confused if I started to explain that I am not an immigrant.  Explaining my identity  was so hard for people who assumed my brown skin meant I was not an American. It’s even harder to assuage brown people who think you are “ashamed” of being Mexican when you tell them you are not an immigrant .  My family has been in Texas over 9 generations. We lost our native ways somewhere along the path but not our knowing. We were just fine being called Tejano for the most part… but I am nosy. Questions of  race and identity have always intrigued me so after earning an anthropology  degree, and many life experiences later,  I  know  that there is no need for explanation for what simply is. I am an indigenous women.
For any Hispanic or Latina or even self identified Chicana reading this, I want to tell you this was not easy. You yourself may be struggling with understanding why this should even matter. I want to help you get there if I can.


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If you are Latino, how do you self identify when your child is born? If  you don’t indicate Amerindian – is your child’s identity partially lost?



White Hispanics


White Hispanics (1977) are people in the US with roots in Latin America who consider themselves White by race. Among US Hispanics (aka Latinos), about half do.

Latin America has long had White people. Like in Anglo America, they came from Europe, took Native land, brought in Black slaves and built their societies on racism. But the term “White Hispanic” was rare in English before 1977. It was then that the US government came out
with Statistical Policy Directive #15. It said in part:
“Hispanic. A person of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race.”

From that came the terms “White Hispanics” and “non-Hispanic Whites”.

In 2012
 the term “White Hispanic” became more widely known when the New York Times called George Zimmerman a “white Hispanic”. It had rarely used that term before.

Hispanics who identified as White on the US Census in 2010:

  • 85% Cuban Americans
  • 53% Puerto Rican Americans
  • 53% Mexican Americans
  • 40% Salvadoran Americans
  • 39% Guatemalan Americans
  • 30% Dominican Americans

It comes to 53% overall.


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There are White Hispanics like those with heritage from the Iberian peninsula and there are also people who are of half European heritage and half Latin American heritage – and they can select both ‘White’ and ‘Hispanic’ on the census and school applications but people may not visually identify them as White Hispanics because they can actually be ‘of color’ instead of the pink, or beige that the term White is associated with.


These categories are required by the 1964 Civil Rights act to track racial discrimination.


The next Civil Rights monitoring that needs to be increased are for both the LGBTQ communities and religious communities. And, oddly enough, it’s some of the religious communities who persecute the LGBTQ communities.


If racial labels are required to help reduce racism and discrimination. Shouldn’t LGBTQ/Cis labels be required to reduce homophobia, and transphobia?


Juan Rodriguez

Juan Rodriguez (early 1600s), also known as Jan Rodrigues, was the first non-Native person known to live in what is now metropolitan New York. His trading post of 1613 in Lower Manhattan grew into …


Should Latino be a Race? Part 7 of 7 – The AQE [VIDEO]

Multiracial Americans President Thomas Lopez delivers a talk on changing the Census categories to allow Latino to become a race. In this episode, the talk co…


Gina Rodriguez Stars in Multiracial Romcom ‘Sleeping with the Fishes’

Gina Rodriguez, who appeared in the hip-hop drama Filly Brown, is set to play the lead in a romantic comedy called Sleeping with the Fishes.

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Black and Latino

Visit for more interviews and to join the conversation! What does it mean to be black and Latino in the U.S.? Featuring intervi…

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