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Identification vs. Categorization among Latinos

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  • multiracialbookclub
    Identification vs. Categorization and some Latinos-of-color. If you have populations that need certain remedies, what do you do to `identify them? asked
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 5, 2006
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      Identification vs. Categorization
      and some Latinos-of-color

      "If you have populations that need certain remedies,
      what do you do to `identify' them?" asked William A.
      Darity, director of the Institute of
      African American
      Research at the University of North Carolina .

      Self-identification is the only way, he said,
      "while being careful that how they are seen
      by others can be quite different from the way
      they label themselves - and that may be more
      important in the kind of social treatment they face."

      Some "
      black" Latinos say that how others perceive
      them has an effect on how they identify themselves.

      Maria Perez-Brown, 41, a Puerto Rican television
      producer and entertainment lawyer in New York ,
      is the daughter of a dark-skinned Puerto Rican
      mother and a White Puerto Rican father.

      She marked "Hispanic" and "
      black" on the census form.

      "A lot of times society makes that decision for you," she said.
      "The way American culture works, you select one or the other.
      If you're brown-skinned and you say you're White,
      you're going to grow up with a lot of conflict."

      But self-identification [should] also be a personal choice.

      Nina Paulino, 42, a Dominican … in New York … is blue-eyed
      and olive-skinned but said she identifies herself as a "
      black" Latina
      --as a political statement -- to honor her father's side of the family.

      "I had never given respect to that side of me"
      while growing up in the Dominican Republic , she said.

      Almost half the Latinos responding in the census - 47.9 percent -
      identified themselves as White, even though many
      Americans might not see some of them that way.

      In Latin America, by contrast, the concept of race tends to be more
      elastic, said Roberto Suro, the director of the Pew Hispanic Center .

      It often starts out from a baseline of Mixed heritage
      --- rather than one that is purely Black or White.

      "In the Caribbean we're White, but in this country we would
      be "
      black"," said Neyda Martinez, Fernando Ramirez's
      fiancée, who was born in Chicago to Puerto Rican parents.

      She is dark-skinned, with long wavy hair, and is
      often regarded as Indian in Puerto Rico but is
      more accurately Mulatto, a Mix of Black and White.

      … Ms. Martinez, who identifies herself as a "black" Latina .[says]
      "It's a very personal thing how people identify themselves.
      You can't go by skin color."…

      Will Jones, a 26-year-old "
      black" Latino of Panamanian descent …
      said he has moved comfortably in the Hispanic and
      worlds because he sees himself as belonging to both ...

      Ms. Perez-Brown, who grew up in the East New York section of
      Brooklyn, said that when she attended Yale University there
      was a division between the Puerto Ricans from the island -
      "rich and blonde," she said - and "mainlanders" like her … [who are]
      more in tune with
      African-Americans from the same background.

      "It was a class issue, but class and
      race became commingled," she said.
      "I made a conscious decision to hang out
      with "
      blacks" rather than the Latin Americans."

      These days, Ms. Perez-Brown is busy trying to pick the right skin
      tone for Kaelyn, the lead character in an animated series she is
      creating for Nickelodeon that features preschool superheroes.
      The character's parents are Puerto Rican and African-American,
      ----like Ms. Perez-Brown and her husband …
      Ms. Perez-Brown was leaning toward making
      Kaelyn a medium brown, not unlike herself.

      While a marketing team may look at the character's coloring
      as something that will help determine its commercial success
      as a toy, Ms. Perez-Brown said, she has other priorities in mind.

      "I want "
      black" and Puerto Rican girls to
      be able to say, `That's me,' " she said.
      "And `that's me' because of … the way she looks."

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