This is one of the things I forgot in yesterday's post. If you were wondering which decision we made regarding this issue... I'll tell you in a minute. (And for a while there if you googled something like "Census 2010 are Brazilians Hispanic?" I was the third result. Wait a minute, I come in first now, but probably because Google "knows" I may be looking for my own post, ha ha).
First of all, perhaps you didn't see my friend Meredith's comment to that post, I liked it a lot, so here is part of it (the beginning is good too, about people who refuse to collaborate with the census, M is an economist, BTW):
[T]he Census Bureau will call you Hispanic if you call yourself Hispanic. But the "official" OMD definitions* make it clear that the government does not consider Brazilians to [b]e Hispanic because their origin is not a Spanish speaking country. (Yes, yes, there are a million problems with this. Your origin IS a Latin country.) The vast majority of Brazilians do not select "Hispanic" on the census form.
I also found this about the 2000 census here:
Among those born in Brazil,** 50.5 percent were identified as “not Hispanic” and 4.5 percent were “Hispanic” in both the CPS and Census 2000. However, 43.8 percent of Brazilians identified as “Hispanic” in CPS but were identified as “not Hispanic” in Census 2000. The main reason for this may be that respondents who identified as “Other Spanish/Hispanic/Latino” and wrote-in “Brazilian” were recoded into “not Hispanic” in Census 2000.
and I cannot, for the life of me, remember what I answered on the 2000 Census! In any case, if what I quoted above is true, we will end up not counted as Hispanic because what I put down in the end, because of K's insistence, but I guess he's right in the end, was "Hispanic Other" and added Brazilian. For the boys too, although maybe for them I should have put down "Brazilian American"?
Why did K (and his brother "K2" as well) insist we join the ranks of our Hispanic "brothers and sisters"? First, because the Census includes the word "Latino" and we're most definitely "Latinos," from "Latin America" -- a strange, non-geographic "area" to begin with since it encompasses Mexico in North America, most of Central America and South America, but then, again, if you guys in "this country of yours" (as K loves to say) considered America as ONE CONTINENT as I was taught in grade school in Brazil,*** saying "Latin America" might make more sense and signify more of a "place" too.
Now, the term "Latino(a)" is quite problematic because it derives from "Latin" and alludes to historical fact that the Romans invaded Spain, Portugal, etc. So it refers to domination, colonization, so some people think it's a negative term. In addition, French, Italian (and Romanian too, if I'm not entirely wrong) are "Latin Languages" and "Latin people" too, not only Spanish and Portuguese (and the former Spanish and Portuguese colonies in the Americas), so, "Latino(a)" is a very complicated term. I have to concede that I've always identified myself as "Latina," though (Brazilian first and foremost, obviously).
Going back to the discussion above, if our first reason was the "Latino" category, for the second one K argued that we have to identify with our fellow Hispanic immigrants, because we understand them (not just the language, but we "get them" in more general terms) and also join their ranks to make Hispanics less and less of a "minority" here in the U.S. And, BTW, my googling above led me to find out that some Hispanics are boycotting the census claiming that we need immigration reform. I don't see how this boycott would help them, though! Quite the contrary, the sheer numbers would prove that reform is needed, I guess.
OK, this is long enough already, but I guess that you can see how this issue is complicated for me. I guess I'm OK with having categorized myself as "Hispanic and Latino(a)." I do intend to really "learn" Spanish anyway at some point ;-). If I don't, it looks like I won't be able to have a teaching job in the future since I teaching Portuguese/Brazilian literature is not an option most anywhere in the country. :-( (I already missed a teaching opportunity in VA because of that).
* Meredith, maybe you can give us a link and let us know more what "OMD definitions" are? (I should have emailed you about this, I know).
**How in the world can the Census Bureau know that respondents were born in Brazil? Do they cross information with other agencies? I thought that these statements were strange.
***I discussed this here in the blog years ago, we are taught there are only 5 continents -- like in the Olympic rings -- not counting Antarctica, obviously.