This campaign is organized by "Voto Latino" a non profit organization that promotes the civic and political participation of Latinos in the US, with the support of LULAC the League of United Latin American Citizens, among other groups.
Not Counted Last night I attended the Voto Latino event “Be Counted” in Washington, DC. This was after a long day so I went there carrying my video equipment –I refuse to drive in this chaotic city- but the security guards at the K Street Lounge entrance didn’t allow me in. After manhandling me, pulling my jacket and asking me for an I.D., I asked them to talk to the organizers so they could allow me to take photos and record videos. They said the organizers thought that it wasn’t the right moment. So I left, not before recording this video.
Latino stars "at [actor and activist] Wilmer Valderrama's home in the Los Angeles area, some of the top Latinos in the entertainment industry got together to shoot a PSA encouraging Latinos to participate in the 2010 Census."
National Census are held every ten years in the U.S. The official form will be mailed to most U.S. households by March this year, and the National Census will be conducted on April 1, 2010. It's very important that every person living in the United States is counted, regardless of your immigration status, or any other reason.
"If you don't take us seriously, you won't be elected"
Attendant to Voto Latino's Be Counted event
Many in the Latino community think that the Census Bureau should not use the term Hispanic in order to define our ethnic origins, because we consider it to be wrong. The word Hispanic promotes White supremacy and an Eurocentric identity, which hides our multiracial and multi-ethnic communities.
Latinos have strong influences from our Indigenous and African ancestors, among others, too important to be ignored. So here comes the conflict within the 2010 Census, which mixes the terms Latino, Hispanic, and Spanish in one category.
The Be Counted campaign is encouraging Latinos to mark “Hispanic” as our ethnic origin:
8. This is perhaps the most important question on the census for Latinos. By identifying as Hispanic, Latino or of [Spanish] origin, data is used to fund state and local governments for special programs such as bilingual education.So is this about how the Census Bureau views Latinos? I know it’s not Voto Latino’s fault, but the 2010 Census form itself is going to mislead many people, forcing them to check “Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin”, even when many of Latinos reject those words. Let me explain why.
It’s important to understand that the Census [Bureau] views Latinos as an ethnic, and not a racial, group. That means even if you self-identify as Hispanic for Question 8, you can also add additional racial data in Question 9. It also means that you can check all boxes that apply to you. You can check “Hispanic” alone, or you can also add additional racial data. For example, if you identify as Afro-Latino, you can mark “Hispanic” for Question 8 and “Black” for Question 9 (below).
9. Race is used to implement many federal laws such as the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act. It is used to map out congressional districts, and also used to assess the fairness of employment practices, monitor racial disparities in health and education, and plan accordingly.
The Latino community in the United States is not defined by one race, but several communities of different races, cultures, nationalities and heritages. For decades, Spanish speaking immigrants and their children have found a common identity in this country by adopting the term Latino, which refers to Latin America. It was a way to defend our families against racism from Whites and other groups who ignored who we really are.
Latino/a is not the most appropriate word, but it’s out there, as a popular and widely accepted term, it was embraced in the streets of U.S. urban communities. It refers to Latin America, name created by Napoleon III, the French imperialist emperor that invaded Mexico in the 19th century.
Then there is the word Hispanic, which is exclusively referring to Hispania, the Roman province that included what is today Spain and Portugal. This term was coined by the U.S. government, its’ a forced identity.
The official form of the national Census includes an option to check “Latino/Hispanic/Spanish” as ethnic origin. This implies that anyone who speaks Spanish or comes from a Spanish speaking country, is a person of Hispanic heritage. That is absolutely false.
Personally I reject the Hispanic word 100% percent so I won’t mark it. In some way yes I want to represent the Latino community which I am part of by default, although my race is American Indian. I have to honor my ancestry. The Census also includes a question about race, say Black or African descendant, American Indian or Indigenous I should say, White Caucasian, Asian, etc. This is one of the most important questions of the Census, I believe.
For few years now, the U.S. Census Bureau has stated that Hispanics are the biggest minority in the United States. I don’t believe this is true, considering that Hispanic is not a race but a forced identity created by the Richard Nixon administration, with the sponsorship of racist elites of Spanish speaking advocates. Many of the so called Hispanics are Blacks –or Negro as the Census form states- therefore African descendants should be the biggest minority still.
By the way, the word Negro means Black man in Spanish and it doesn’t have an offensive origin as the N world, but it can be offensive to many who speak only English. However, I am wondering why they included it in the census form.
Anyways the question is: should we embrace a historical mistake and a misrepresentation of our ethnic identities? Or should we be true to ourselves, and honor our heritages. In my case, my first language is Spanish which another European language as English is, but that doesn’t change my ethnic origin or my race.
The 2010 Census is subtly forcing African and Indigenous descendants in the U.S. to identity themselves as Europeans. It’s obvious that whoever designed this Census form are people who still believe in White European supremacy, that’s for sure.
Actor Wilder Valderrama speaks in DC. Next to him are White Congress members -who speak Spanish- brothers Lincoln Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) Photo by The Hill
More about this event
Check out a video with actor and activist Wilder Valderrama in CBS. Here is an article in Spanish by often-racist People en Espanol.
Here is a press coverage by the The Examiner saying that Demi Lovato is Hispanic, and photos posted by Rosario Dawson Afro Puerto Rican actress. Cool pictures of a press conference posted by The Hill
Of course, check out the Voto Latino - Be Counted website, and if you want to understand one of the reasons of why the term Hispanic is promoted (in this country run by corporations) check out this funny website.