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Springfield Speaks On Latino Racial Identity

The gamut spans the Caribbean and South America. Panamanians, Cubans, Dominicans, Mexicans, and the list goes on.  But how do Latinos racially identify themselves?

Deborah Roque is an accountant at  Roque Tax Services “We prefer to say we are Hispanic. We are Puerto Rican. That’s it. we are not white, not black, Puerto Rican” she beamed. “Usually I don’t mind being called Hispanic or Puerto Rican, it’s not a big deal to me” said American International College Sophomore, Nicole Perez.

Deborah Roque is a Puerto Rico native who says the need for racial identification is more of an American trait. On the island, they might not feel that way. Everyone is a vast mixture of color, but share the same culture.

The Pew Center for Research found that 51% of Latinos identify with their country’s origin. 40% of American-born Hispanics identify as simply American. “What you do see more often around Springfield area like we feel more Americanized pretty much” said Perez.

One part of the study found that 36% identify as white, while 6% identify as black. It’s a stat that caused a stir at AIC. “To say that Hispanic people are generally non-white and so forth, I think it’s a myth. It’s a stereotype” exclaimed the retired Chair of AIC’s Foreign Language Department, Art Natella.

“More people are probably going to identify more with being white. Just because they feel like it’s supposed to be more superior so they want to identify more with that” Perez added.

In spite of the research, there’s no real way to measure feeling. It all comes down to personal preference.

“Don’t think individual person. You are a part of the whole community” said Luz Ramirez of the MA Latino Chamber of Commerce. The Colombian native couldn’t have said it better.

The study was taken from a bilingual survey of 1,220 Latinos nationwide.


  • jose larriu

    i’m a westfield resident for 49 year.i don’t think i’m black or white.i’m a latino male first and pround of it. i think the kids of to day are not latin kids most of them can’t speak spanish so why do they say they are of latin decent when they can’t read or write spanish.we the latins are the most pepole on on this planit.why do we kill each other we should be together.latins are the most in this world.this true if you don’t think so look it up.ty hope to here from you soon and ty for this

  • Marisol

    My skin is white..but everything about me is puertorican…although i wasnt born in puertorico or raised there my parent’s were.so i relate to my cultural upbringing..my roots are in the culture my parents surrounded me with i cant identify myself white…i dont eat boxed mashed potatoes..with gravy n turkey…I eat yellow rice with pigeon peas …baked pork shoulder..and fried plantains…did i stereotype? See where im hoing with this…yes i was born in america..but singing the anthem …and celebrating white holidays ..doesnt apply to me..again …its just not in my hispanic latino culture..its America’s Culture..but im not a racist n im not stereotyping people on purpose..just thought id share my view..

  • Marisol

    My skin is white..but everything about me is puertorican…although i wasnt born in puertorico or raised there my parent’s were.so i relate to my cultural upbringing..my roots are in the culture my parents surrounded me with i cant identify myself white…i dont eat boxed mashed potatoes..with gravy n turkey…I eat yellow rice with pigeon peas …baked pork shoulder..and fried plantains…did i stereotype? See where im going with this…yes i was born in america..but singing the anthem …and celebrating white holidays ..doesnt apply to me..again …its just not in my hispanic latino culture..its America’s Culture..but im not a racist n im not
    stereotyping people on purpose..just thought id share my view..

    • http://wggb Lovie

      I don’t think your a racist your a person that wants to be respected for who you are not who everyone else wants you to be. Your Real’. Im so… sick of this way of splitting everyone apart. Why do you have to be white if your light or Black if your brown” its plain ignorance. I wish most of the world felt this way.

  • Ray

    Hispanic are of many race and ethnicity although i’m Puerto Rican i called myself Hispanic because my ancestors came from the Canary Ilands.