Who’s Hispanic? Who’s Filipino?

Posted in Articles, Latino Studies, Media Archive on 2016-01-18 02:50Z by Steven

Who’s Hispanic? Who’s Filipino?

The Multiracial Activist: Covering news of interest to multiracial individuals and interracial couples since 1997.

Emily Monroy

A few years ago, I wrote an essay called ‘Who’s White?’ I asked this question about several individuals, both famous (controversial shooter George Zimmerman) and not-so-famous (two boyfriends of mine). I ended the piece by discussing whether my daughter, who is part American Indian on her father’s side (he’s from Nicaragua), would be considered White or not. Conclusion: maybe, maybe not.

Since then, a few new developments have occurred. Members of a Scandinavian club whose events I occasionally attend seem to think that my daughter looks Italian – which doesn’t surprise me because both her father and I have some ancestry from Italy. I wasn’t so prepared, though, when at least two people asked me if my daughter was part-Filipino (both were Filipino themselves, incidentally). In one case, the question came after I mentioned that my daughter had a Spanish last name from her father: having been under Spain’s rule for more than 300 years, most surnames in the Philippines are Spanish. One of my daughter’s surnames is Ramos, the name of the Philippines’ 12th president. In the other instance, a man working at my daughter’s school thought she might be Filipino because of her eyes.

I’ll concede that my daughter could probably ‘pass’ as a Filipino mestiza (Spanish word used in Latin America and the Philippines for a woman of mixed racial origins). These exchanges also got me asking my own questions: How Spanish are Filipinos? Are they an Asian people who just happen to have Spanish names? Or are they, like most of the inhabitants of Spanish America, all mestizo?…

Read the entire article here.

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