A Canadian Reader Is Puzzled About Hispanics And Race

[Previous Letter: A Reader Laments The Death Of The American Auto Industry]

Re: Linda Thom’s article The Real Trayvon Martin Scandal: Minorities Have Bigger Problems Than Trumped-Up Hate Crimes. So Does America.

From: A Canadian Reader [Email Him]

I am at a loss to understand why the media keeps calling Mr. Zimmerman “white”. A look at photos of him clearly show he is brown skinned. I also don`t get the term “white Hispanic”. If you are white, you are well, white. No other term is needed. Would one say “white Celtic” or “white Slavic”? Hispanic by definition, means a non-white person, someone of mixed-racial ancestry. Why not simply use the term Mestizo?

James Fulford writes: You’re  right to say that Zimmerman is not white, and doesn’t define himself as such. His mother comes from Peru, which is

Amerindian 45%, mestizo (mixed Amerindian and white) 37%, white 15%, black, Japanese, Chinese, and other 3%

Zimmerman appears to be a mestizo,  and if you ask why American journalists don’t say that,  the answer is that most of them have never heard of it, and the rest think it’s either derogatory, or unmentionable since race is “irrelevant.”  That’s in spite of the fact that mestizo  is the word Mexicans use themselves (they think it’s relevant) and it is etymologically the same as the French-Canadian word Métis, which is the officially non-derogatory word in Canada.

(The equivalent English phrase is considered derogatory almost everywhere these days.)

However,  you`re wrong to say that Hispanic definitely means non-white; it can also mean pure Spanish.This is a  picture of Marco Rubio here, the GOP’s Great Hispanic Hope:

 

He doesn`t look anything like most Mexican immigrants, and he`s not going to get the Mexican immigrant vote. Oddly enough, people looking not too different from him actually govern Mexico.