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Introducing a New Expert Content Section: Careers!

Latino...Hook?

McskittlZ10McskittlZ10 Registered User Posts: 433 Member
edited February 2011 in Hispanic Students
I've come to notice on every form I fill out related to the college process, there is a separate box asking an easy yes/no question: Are you Hispanic/Latino?

Now, I am a Brazilian-American, and according to the college board definition, fully eligible to check that box. By almost every other definition, I am not Hispanic, because I speak Portuguese, not Spanish. Depending on which source you go by, Brazilians are usually not Latinos. I've spoken to my counselor and decided I will check that box, despite my doubts on the formal definition.

So my question is: why is there a separate box for Hispanics and Latinos? The option is available under ethnicity, so why give it its own box? If Hispanic/Latino, why not have a box for first generation Europeans? I checked the numbers for the schools I'm looking at and they are a mere 5% Latino. I'd assume they'd want to bring that number up, so am I looking at a better chance and is that eagerness to stack the statistics manifested in this separate box?

Thanks for 'el' help. Excuse my Spanish.
Post edited by McskittlZ10 on

Replies to: Latino...Hook?

  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    Now, I am a Brazilian-American, and according to the college board definition, fully eligible to check that box.

    Not exactly if you go by the CA categories. Please see page 1 of the Hispanic/Latino defined sticky thread, and post #47 of the same thread. Note that while NHRP recognizes Brazilians as Hispanic, for Hispanic background the CA category is "South America (excluding Brazil)".

    You will also find related threads by using the Search function for 'Brazilian'.
    why is there a separate box for Hispanics and Latinos? The option is available under ethnicity, so why give it its own box?

    The first question asks if you are of Hispanic/Latino ethnicity. The second question asks which race(s) you are. Hispanics can be, and are, of any race(s).
  • CopterguyCopterguy Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    I've been thinking about this word "hook," which a lot of posts on cc throw around in relation to ethnicity. (Not to pick on this one particular post.) A lot of people consider themselves Hispanic/Latino (or Mexican-American, etc.), and it's part of culture and history, both personal and more general, and I just don't see it as a "hook." I realize that some admissions offices consider ethnicity as part of the application process, and a good thing because a lot of very smart students do not want to attend ethnically homogeneous colleges and universities. And I also realize that the use of "hook" on cc is shorthand for that consideration. But one person's hook is another person's heritage. And in cases where students may have suffered discrimination because of their ethnicity, I doubt that they think about it as a hook. Again, I do not want to single out this OP because I have seen it in other places.
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    I don't particularly like the term and it is used and abused much here on CC. Fact of the matter is, even if you have a 'hook', whether it's race, ethnicity, athlete, development, etc., there's a range of hookness involved in any of these categories. And that range depends on the demographics and accomplishments of the candidate as well as the particular school they are applying to. Heck, Asians are considered URMs at some rural LACs that have a hard time recruiting and retaining minority students.
  • Going2UnivGoing2Univ Registered User Posts: 15 New Member
    I'm Brazilian too :) We're from Latin America, right? Therefore, I don't agree with the thing on the Online Common App that says ''excluding Brazil''. Why is that? I share a lot of my culture and beliefs with my neighboring countries, and a slight difference in language should not ''exclude'' me from that category. I'm so proud of being Italian-Brazilian and yes, I do consider myself Latina!
  • CopterguyCopterguy Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    The issue raised by the OP and Going2Univ is a complicated one, and it has to do with Brazilians negotiating identity in the United States. Although some definitions of Hispanic/Latino, including the Census, may not include Brazilians among Latinos/as, truth is some Brazilians think of themselves as Latinos/as, or other people perceive them as such. I read an interesting article about a woman who studies this topic -- interviews Brazilians in the US- and she herself has been through the experiences of considering herself both a Brazilian and a Latina. So part of this comes down to the difference between the way people experience identity and the definitions that come up when we are filling out boxes on applications and other places.
  • smileygerlsmileygerl Registered User Posts: 323 Member
    My sister-in-law is Brazilian(born in Rio de Janiero), she says she is not Hispanic/Latino. She said Brazilians do not consider themselves Hispanic.
  • CopterguyCopterguy Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    smileygirl, and now on cc you read posts by and about Brazilians who do consider themselves Latinas... I try not to generalize too much about what large groups of people do or don't do when it comes to the way they identify themselves.

    But I want to get back to a point made by entomom -- who said, "there's a range of hookness involved in any of these categories. And that range depends on the demographics and accomplishments of the candidate as well as the particular school they are applying to." I think this is a very important piece of information for all the applicants who posts questions about the role of ethnic identity in admissions. And I like the example she provides. I think ethnic identity may play a much larger role at schools that have trouble recruiting ethnic minorities.
  • entomomentomom Registered User Posts: 23,662 Senior Member
    When it comes to Brazilians, I think the difference between definitions of Hispanic and Latino is also relevant. As described in the US Census, Hispanic tends to be a geographically broader category that includes Spain and emphasizes Spanish speaking countries. On the other hand, Latino often refers more specifically to New World countries and excludes Spain. Note, I'm not trying to infer that these are universal definitions, just trying to add some thoughts to the discussion.
  • smileygerlsmileygerl Registered User Posts: 323 Member
    copterguy,

    The op is entitled to check what he/she feels is representative of their background. I was by no means telling the op what to do. I only added my two cents because when the topic came up in a family discussion...my sister-in-law was emphatic about her feelings and of the people she has encountered in her homeland(she is 40 yrs).
  • CopterguyCopterguy Registered User Posts: 294 Junior Member
    smileygerl, your point is well taken. I know there are people who prefer to idenitify by country of origin, and I was only saying there are others who have a different response to the more general terminology. Entomom makes a good point that "Hispanic" and "Latino/a" can be viewed very differently when it comes to Brazilians. We could also get into the differences between Hispanic and Latino, but that is another matter.
This discussion has been closed.