During the course of study last year, I had an interesting conversation with a client regarding race. This individual considered himself Latino; however, had the outward features of an African American man. We discussed his occasional “demographic challenge” of whether he considered himself an African American or some other race given his ancestry. This is a growing trend within most organizations that are attempting to make headway in understanding the diversity realm.
Latino Decisions has shared some interesting data which I think will continue to raise even more questions for organizations and individuals regarding Latinos in the context of race and ethnicity. In this survey, more Latinos consider themselves racially “white.” It really throws a wrench into what we define as racially “diverse.”
Although it is far too early to draw any conclusions from the apparent rise in white identification among Latinos in the most recent Census, this is an issue that will surely generate wider discussion and speculation as it did following the release of the 2000 numbers. For example, some contend that the high numbers of Latinos who identify as white racially makes a majority-minority population in the U.S. a distant reality. Furthermore, some demographers have suggested that the broadened measure of white in the 2010 Census could lead to a major shift in our understanding of race in the United States. While the implications of this measurement change are not yet understood, it is clear that how Latinos think about their identities will influence the way in which the nation defines race and ethnicity in the future.