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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.

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