Thursday, May 12th, 2005

Are Asians and Latinos Just A Different Kind of White?

Tamara Nopper reviews George Yancey’s sure-to-be-controversial new book. Much more on this to come…

UPDATE: Check comments below for more links and discussion.

posted by @ 9:20 am | 109 Comments

109 Responses to “Are Asians and Latinos Just A Different Kind of White?”

  1. ronnie brown says:

    Anonymous (of the 9:22am post),

    What you call “coddling” by White America is nothing more than a form of “divide and conquer”. Of course whites continue to exibit a perverse form of protectionism regarding the word “nigga”…They created it!!…If they could, they’d like to monopolize the use of the word for their own personal use. (cause they just loooove black folk like that!) Your example of the white guy attempting to use the Black man to put the Afro-Puerto Rican in check is classic example of the saying: “the enemy of my enemy is a friend”. Two factions ally themselves for so-called “mutual gain” against a “common foe”

    Please believe, whites are using unthinking Blacks as a club against Asians and Latinos…”Real” Americans?…please!…Our history in the United States makes us the living contradiction to every principle this country claims to stand for…

  2. ronnie brown says:

    Found an interesting editorial in today’s L.A.Wave newspaper ( by Sharon Woodson-Bryant “Mexico plays its own race card”

    some excerpts…

    “The fact that many Mexicans did not see their president’s comments about Blacks as offensive should tell you something about a culture where black-face comedy is still considered funny and many people hand out nicknames based on skin color.”

    “Although Mexico has a few isolated Black communities, the population is dominated by descendants of the country’s Spanish colonizers and its native Indians. Comments that would generally be considered openly racist in the United States generate little attention here.

    There they say things like “He works like a Black person,” according to the Associated Press story. The article also describes an afternoon television program that regularly features a comedian in blackface chasing actresses in skimpy outfits and an advertisement for a small chocolate pastry called the “negrito”- the little black man-that shows a white boy sprouting an Afro as he eats the sweet.

    Do you really believe that these attitudes toward Black all get left at the border?

    That is why i ripped up my “people of color” card years ago. The term has become inconsequential, merely a big tent providing cover for politicians and single issue groups looking for wider community clout.

    Instead of transcending race, it denies it. I am not a multicultural blur. I am Black-an African-American who wants an honest look at race relations, an examination that goes beyond black and white and accurately assesses racism and bigotry in this country.”

  3. ronnie brown says:

    more highlights…

    “But no one wants to discuss the racial attitudes among other people of color toward African-Americans. The subject is TABOO (emphasis mine) Although not the usual suspects, Latinos are just as vulnerable to the drug of superiority as whites.”

    “Why doesn’t anyone discuss racism against African-Americans by non-whites? Possibly because too many Americans share President W. Bush’s intellectual modesty and have no clue to the HISTORY OF OTHER CULTURES AND THEIR TREATMENT OF BLACKS (emphasis mine) When Bush met with Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso a couple of years ago, he asked: Do you have Blacks too?” unaware that Brazil was home to more Blacks than any country in the world outside of Africa.

    “More importantly, Americans need to recognize how Latin America views its Blacks. Many Latinos see Blackness as a liability in this country, perpetuating the long-standing racism in South America. In Peru, Blacks are still being used as ornamental images, chauffeurs, valets and servants. And Blacks in Brazil are still considered marginal members in society.

    Most Americans, and even many Mexicans don’t realize that s significant fraction of the Mexican population once looked markedly African. Yet Mexico seems to have “racial amnesia” that at least 200,000 Black slaves were imported to Mexico from Africa. By 1810, more than 10 percent of the population was considered at least part African.”

    “In countless other Latin American countries, Blacks are shut out of government positions of power and Black faces are omitted from news programs and magazines. This lack of racial diversity in their homelands in many ways is perpetuated in their behaviors and attiudes toward African-Americans in this country.

    It is naive to think that a change in geography will bring a shift in a deep, insidious racial consciousness that continue to define Blacks as inferior. Too much is still skin deep in their minds.”

    Meanwhile, we distract ourselves with superficial diversity. We hold ethnic festivals featuring food, dance, and music IGNORING THE DEEPER POLITICAL AND RACIAL IMPLICATIONS WITHIN THESE CULTURES. (emphasis mine) RACIAL ATTITUDES AND BEHAVIORS AMONG ETHNIC GROUPS ALSO NEED TO BE STUDIED (emphasis mine)

    We are too comfortable with our compulsive dependence on white views of Black people. Non-white groups are becoming the new majority and will soon secure more positions of authority and opportunity. WHY SHOULD THEY BE ABSENT FROM THE BAROMETER OF WHERE WE ARE IN THIS COUNTRY AS IT RELATES TO UNDERSTANDING RACE RELATIONS AND CIVIL RIGHTS FOR ALL AMERICANS??” (emphasis mine)

    Sharon Woodson-Bryant is a Wave columnist and can be reached at

  4. Jeff says:

    this has definitely been one of the most interesting, enlightening, and intense convos yet on this blog.

    continue please, but please do so with respect for each other.

    here’s another article link via tamara (also via ronnie), from la times, circa 2002:

    The Great ‘White’ Influx

    Regardless of color, two-thirds of immigrants choose that designation on census replies. For some, it’s synonymous with America.

  5. Anonymous says:

    quick note before i forgot. i only read half of the la times article. but that actress kinda did what the Sheens did. Back in the day, when Martin Sheen was trying to get into Hollywood, he changed his name from Ramon Esteves (sp?) to Martin Sheen cuz the “others” category did not get much love in Hollywood. I don’t know why Charlie Sheen did it but his brother Emilio kept his name.


  6. ronnie brown says:

    I appreciate that you appreciate (the intensity of the convo)…but i’m waiting for you to finally throw your two cents in…I would hope that you would keep this topic front and center long enough so that other Asians and Latinos would weigh in. The sphere of influence you and Oliver have in your respective communities is such that you can put out a wide call to invite others to this blog.

    As far as i’m concerned, this is the question of the hour. All of the panels, symposiums and conferences held over the last few years dealing with race, culture, and coalitions must eventually end up HERE…to ignore this issue is NOT an option!

  7. Jeff says:


    not ignoring, but absorbing! i agree this is the question of the minute. i’m actually thinking about this day and night. i’m returning to ucla to talk at the asian am commencement, and the things that brought me there in 1992 are the same things that are pressing today. so ronnie, i’m taking my time, true, but trust that i’m the furthest thing from ignoring this.



  8. Anonymous says:

    just came across this article and since we onthe topic of people of color all latinos are not colored people if you look at many of their countries they have large amounts of europeans there like brasil, argentina, ecuador, and chile and puerto rico 80% of puerto rico is white(spanish origin) so why is it that blacks look at puerto ricans and other latinos thats not black as brothers and why do black americans need asians?

    people always talking about the institution of america but look at the institution of where these immigrants come from its ironic when they get here and hang around blacks they are no longer spanish or white just cause they are from puerto rico people need to realise that latin america has asians, africans, europeans and mixed people.

    i don’t see puerto ricans as the same as i unless they are afro-boricua nothing against white ones or ones that say theyt are taino but facts are facts.

    one thing i don’t understand is how white-hispanics/latinos who migrate here automatically qualify for aid/assistance cause and they are a minority simply cause they came from latin america that don’t sound right esp if they are some kind of white in origin only! people who come from germany don’t get those opportunities so why should white hispanics?

    latino is not a race but an ethnic origin there are black ones white ones asians ones middle eastern ones an etc

  9. Anonymous says:

    Latino is not a race, it is an ethnic origin. The ethnic designation “Latino” will, I believe, shatter the institution of race because it definitely defies it. There are Mestizos (people that are of mixed Spanish and Indigenous descent). But then there are Mestizos with blood other than Spanish or Indigenous, say African, or other European or other Asian. Or a Mestizo might be 65% European and 35% Indigenous or vice versa. There are people of European descent in EVERY Latin American country. There are people of African (pure or mixed) descent in some countries, namely Guatemala, Honduras, Brazil, Venezuela, Cuba, the Dominican Republic. There are Middle Easterners, Asians, Europeans, and mixes of all kinds.

    My Argentine friend who was raised here in the U.S. acknowledges he is a person that is of fully European ancestry (Basque, German and English), but that his ethnic designation is Latino.

    Argentina is WHITER than the U.S.

    I think that differences within the Latino community (that was created in the U.S., btw), should be looked at and acknowledged but only to serve the purpose of unification.

Previous Posts

Feed Me!






Come follow me now...


We work with the Creative Commons license and exercise a "Some Rights Reserved" policy. Feel free to link, distribute, and share written material from for non-commercial uses.

Requests for commercial uses of any content here are welcome: come correct.

Creative Commons License