Race-work, Race-love

Media Madness: The Curious Case of the Racialization of Latinos

In Uncategorized on June 11, 2014 at 2:40 pm

Ever so often, the public becomes enraptured with Latinos. For the past two months, this rapture has involved race and Latinidad.

For those of us who have been studying the role of race in Latino identity, we find this … interesting.

Interesting because U.S. media tends to go from “WATCH OUT!! THE LATINO POPULATION IS GROWING!!!” to “Damn. Maybe Latinos are becoming White after all?”

Do you see what I am getting at here? No?


So for many of us who have been studying the role of race in Latinidad, we completely see through this paranoia inflicted by the U.S. government and reproduced by media. Not too long ago, we saw articles that also “warned” the American public that the Latino population was surpassing the Black population.

So the US media goes from “WATCH OUT! THE LATINOS ARE COMING!” to “HEY, NON-LATINOS – THEY ARE GROWING MORE THAN YOU” to “MAYBE LATINOS ARE BECOMING WHITE?” – what’s worse – these sentiments become attached to policies that are discriminatory against the Latino population.

This is one way that Latinos are made into “racial pawns” in the battle to maintain White Supremacy.

It is worth monitoring these important moments when Latinos scare EVERYONE into a frenzy. The stages, as outlined above, are clear. And each stage must be tracked.

I have to say – there has been more think pieces about the “Are Latinos becoming White” question than any stage. Perhaps it’s because Nate Cohn wrote a poor summary of a two line description of preliminary Pew findings. Perhaps it’s because Latinos have been experiencing one of the most intense anti-Latino climates in recent US history. Perhaps it’s because in the age of deporting and detaining immigrants (largely Latino), banning Latino literature, ending funding for Mexican American and Latino Studies, not teaching ANYONE abut the role race plays in Latino lives, and even not allowing Latinos to choose “Other” on the Census – some Latinos know that no matter what they pick on the Census, they are not treated as White people.

Just a thought.

So here is a list of articles that have pushed back and pointed out serious flaws in Cohn’s summary (who I call – the Analyzers), who have reported and added some analyses (who I call the Reporters), and finally one social media response via the hashtag #WhatLatinosLookLike. The rest of the list includes interesting perspectives into the issue but are not directly related to or spurred by this most recent frenzy. Finally, I add two articles related to how media is now using the Asian population as racial pawns in their fight to maintain White power via an pseudo expansion of White population.

You might note that most of the Analyzers identify as Latino and only one piece has reached a major media outlet (Huffington Post). The Reporters have a larger reach and therefore larger media audience and only some of the reporters are Latinos. While this issue is important not just for Latinos to reflect and write about, we must recognize the danger in reporting, researching, and analyzing Latinidad without Latinos. I explain more about what I mean about Latinidad without Latinos here.

In my next post, I will explain more about the need for more qualitative analysis about why Latinos chose white on the Census and why we are not equally as worried about the U.S. government’s need to create more White people.


How Frenzy about Race Begins: Performing Fear

More Hispanics Declaring Themselves White by Nate Cohn 

Are Hispanics Joining the White Mainstream? by Jamele Bouie



New York Times Piece on Hispanics and Census Based on Study Not Yet Finalized for Public by Rebeldes

When Latin American Racial Hierarchies Meet North American Racial Classification Schemas by Hector Cordero-Guzman

The Political Consequences of the Whitening of Latinos Myth by Dr. Victor M.

Changing Hispanic racial identity, or not by Philip N. Cohen

 Are Latinos Really Turning White? by Manuel Pastor

Nate Cohn Doubles Down on His NYTimes White Latino Piece by Julio Ricardo Varela

1.2 Million Latinos Tell Census They’re Now White, and NYTimes Thinks It’s Awesome by Julio Ricardo Varela



Latinos/Hispanics checking the ‘white’ box on the census won’t make them Republicans by Denise Oliver Velez 

What Is Your Race? For Millions Of Americans, A Shifting Answer by Gene Demby

The Census Can’t Fit Latinos Into A Race Box And It’s Causing More Confusion by Roque Planas

Millions Changed Their ‘Race’ on the 2010 Census From What They Said in 2000 by Richard Prince

Are Hispanics in danger of becoming white? by Mary White


The identity question: More Latinos checking ‘White’ on Census By Danielle Restuccia

The number of white Hispanics shoots up: Jarvis DeBerry

The Source: What Is White? by Paul Flayhive

Who Is White? by whentheninesrolloverwhentheninesrollover.wordpress.com

Latino Whiteness? They’re Asking the Wrong Question By Victor Landa



These Images Show #WhatLatinosLookLike by Roque Planas


Now White folks want to to be Latino – CALL NATE COHN!

White GOP Candidate Becomes Latino Democrat, Changes Name to ‘Cesar Chavez’ by Tina Nguyen


Side Note and History of the Creation of the Hispanic category:

The Invention of Hispanics by Maria Hinojosa


Race in the US

Eduardo Bonilla-Silva on Race in America


How Media Whitens Asian populations:

How the Asians became white by Eugene Volokh

How The Asians Did Not Become White by Scot Nakagawa





  1. […] more about this and other pieces written in response to the Latinos and Whiteness, please click here). She stated that she felt that her decision to pick White as a race was used against her because […]

  2. […] self-identifying as White. This opened up a much-needed, and still developing, conversation about who is a White Latinx, their privilege, and racism within our community. As a mathematics student, I found it useful to […]

  3. […] when it comes to culture and language (it’s even structured and accepted), but having this debate is critical. To all the detractors, saying that this is just the “way it is” symbolizes […]

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