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What should I put as my RACE?

kiterunner18kiterunner18 Posts: 1,394Registered User Senior Member
edited January 2012 in Hispanic Students
Sorry if I have asked like, 9 million questions on this thread. I'm unsure what to put as my race. For my ethnicity, I checked Latino(a), but I don't know what to do next. My parents are both Colombian... does that mean I check white? I can't really think of any other races that are applicable.
Post edited by kiterunner18 on
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Replies to: What should I put as my RACE?

  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    I'm assuming they are not AA or Asian. Unless you have evidence that they are from Original Peoples of SA, then yes you would check white. Only a few Hispanic SA countries have a relatively large population of descendants from Original Peoples (Peru & Ecuador come to mind), the vast majority of people are descendants of immigrants from Spain or other European countries.
  • soccer_girl4lifesoccer_girl4life Posts: 90Registered User Junior Member
    so if both of my parents are Mexican i should put white? we just look mixed
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    It's a really tough question because while many people in Mexico and other CA & SA countries are descendants of OP, I don't think there's anything for Original Peoples of Latin America that is like the NA tribal membership.

    You might actually want to try calling up the Admissions office at a college you're interested in. Say that though you believe you are mixed OP and white, but that you have no proof and don't want to misrepresent your race on applications. The reason I'm cautious is because I have seen people on the Yale forum who marked NA and later got forms to fill out with information about their tribal membership; neither Hispanic or AA URMs got these forms (there was no option to mark both Hispanic and OP at that time). Perhaps adcoms would understand that OP from Latino countries don't generally have that sort of documentation.

    Anyone else with thoughts or experience with this??
  • kiterunner18kiterunner18 Posts: 1,394Registered User Senior Member
    I spoke with one of my history teachers and she told me to check Native American with no membership. I just feel... wrong doing that, lol. My parents don't know a lot about their parents, so they can't help me much, either. Also - If I check white, what do I put under "more information?" European? Other?
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    I personally wouldn't count out NA/OP. I'm not a huge fan of Wiki (do check the footnotes though), but a large majority of people from MX are mestizo:

    Mexico - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    "Mestizos (those of mixed European and Amerindian ancestry) form the largest group, comprising up to 60–80% of the total population."

    As far as white immigration to MX, Spaniards are the largest group, but there are other European countries with significant numbers:

    Immigration to Mexico - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  • KeilexandraKeilexandra Posts: 5,492Registered User Senior Member
    Asking on behalf of a friend: is it ethical to choose NA and list "mestizo" as the "tribe"? Friend thinks that his ethnicity is probably Incan somewhere far back--from Peru--and he has issues with identifying as "white" because, um, he isn't white. At all. We joke that he could pass for a dark Filipino.
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    The CA has this classification:

    "American Indian or Alaska Native (including all Original Peoples of the Americas)"

    Then it asks if you are enrolled or not (if yes, give Tribal enrollment number).

    And finally, "Please describe your background".

    IMO it's ethical for a person to check the NA box, mark not enrolled, and describe their background. The college can then interpret the information as they wish. I don't think it's a good idea to mark that they are enrolled (that is a legal designation) and that their tribe is mestizo.
  • KeilexandraKeilexandra Posts: 5,492Registered User Senior Member
    ^Right, definitely not enrolled. Sorry, I was under the impression that one had to specify tribal affiliation regardless.

    I think my friend is concerned that an unscrupulous college would just use him for the NA statistics. He considers himself 100% Latino.
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    NA does not preclude Hispanic as the former is a race and the later is ethnicity.

    He would already have marked himself as Hispanic/Latino. The designation of NA comes in the second part where you choose from different racial categories. And for race, you can mark as many as apply. So since he likely doesn't know his exact heritage, he might want to consider marking both NA and white.

    Have your friend look at the CA, they have improved it this year so that one doesn't have to choose between Hispanic and different races as they have in the past, they've finally recognized that Hispanics can be of any race. The only mistake they made was to ask applicants to mark "any ethnicities that best describe you", when they are really asking for race.
  • fineartsmajormomfineartsmajormom Posts: 1,191Registered User Senior Member
    Many countries in Latin America have a long history of Afro- and Amerindian mixing with the European settlers. Colombia has a large Afro-colombian population--you don't get those african rhytms in vallenato by luck! I find the whole racial thing is a bit uncomfortable for our family..my husband is from South America so we are culturally "hispanic", but I always advise my kids on the race issue to put down what you "feel" best describes you (self identification). My husband and I are quite fair skinned but our kids are both darker and take after their paternal grandparents. My daughter has a "mongolian spot"--birthmark common to native americans and asians (thus the "mongolian"). We did a genetic heritage test with national geographic and they have a native american haplotype from south america. Nevertheless, they self-identify has hispanic/white... no test or certificate makes you a certain "race" we all share 99% of the same genetic material.

    Almost any person who is hispanic from south/central america and doesn't know their family tree goes back uniformly to Spain...could put down OP or Black if they "feel" that this describes them. You don't have to prove it but sometimes people may judge you for your choice. A very close friend has a daughter who started at a prestigious prep school and her father is haitian. She was contacted by the black student association but felt really uncomfortable since no one would be able to guess her black heritage from her looks....but she "feels" hatian (culturally and linguistically) so does that makes her "black" racially??--she tentatively joined the group where she has been warmly accepted. It has helped her feel comfortable when she self identifies as black.
  • PayForPayFor Posts: 285Registered User Junior Member
    With my approval and encouragement, my S marked the Common Application as Hispanic / Mexican AND American Indian / “not enrolled” AND White / European. This was the best way to answer for someone who clearly has “Original Peoples of the Americas” in his lineage, as well as Spanish and other European. I only have to look at my relatives to know we have Indian ancestors.

    Having said all that, it did occur to me that the Common Application format encourages colleges to check in the NA box for a lot of students who consider themselves “100% Latino”. I wonder if they realized this. Maybe we’ll see NA enrollment mysteriously increase all of a sudden. This stuff is so mixed up!
  • aglagesaglages Posts: 2,516Registered User Senior Member
    "I only have to look at my relatives to know we have Indian ancestors."
    My son has curly hair. Do you think it would be OK if I told him to put down African American? Never mind......
  • J'adoubeJ'adoube Posts: 2,054Registered User Senior Member
    This could either help or add to your confusion:

    College Admissions and Race
  • entomomentomom Posts: 23,657Registered User Senior Member
    "I only have to look at my relatives to know we have Indian ancestors."
    My son has curly hair. Do you think it would be OK if I told him to put down African American? Never mind......

    Never mind is right, since your attempted analogy is very far off base. PayFor described an honest description of their son's ethnic and racial background. While there is nothing similar (to my knowledge) to NA tribal membership for other original peoples of the Americas, it is well understood and accepted that a large portion of people from certain countries are mixed race (often white and original peoples).

    It's interesting that race/ethnicity is similar to other parts of college applications in that the applicant is asked to give an honest rendering of their situation but are not asked for confirmation (eg. ECs, essay content), yet it is the one that is so vehemently attacked.

    J'adoube, concerning the link you gave. Here's my take on all Hispanics NOT being created equal:

    http://talk.collegeconfidential.com/hispanic-students/801377-whats-bottom-line.html

    Adcoms are far from naive, they can tell the SES of an applicant by many factors including HS, zip code, parents education and profession, ECs, etc. When they ask demographic questions, I don't think the applicant has any other responsibility than to give an honest answer of what they know their ethnic and racial background to be.
  • aglagesaglages Posts: 2,516Registered User Senior Member
    "I only have to look at my relatives to know we have Indian ancestors."
    ^^^^^
    "PayFor described an honest description of their son's ethnic and racial background."
    ^^^^^
    Just looking at her ancestors is an honest description and justification for listing a certain ethnic affiliation? LoL
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