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Who is Hispanic?

July 28, 2011

I had to share this with you. With a slight sense of humor, Juan Aceves (an audio ingeneer) explains how, in the most simplistic way, we come to define who is Hispanic or not. Anyone that does strategic planning for Latinos must have ran into this dilemma before. Enjoy!

Who’s Hispanic? Anyone who says they are. And nobody who says they aren’t.

The U.S. Census Bureau uses this second method. Here’s a quick compilation done by The Pew Center on how it works.

Q. I immigrated to Phoenix from Mexico. Am I Hispanic?
A. You are if you say so.

Q. My parents moved to New York from Puerto Rico. Am I Hispanic?
A. You are if you say so.

Q. My mom is from Chile and my dad is from Iowa. I was born in Des Moines. Am I Hispanic?
A. You are if you say so.

Q. I was born in Argentina but grew up in Texas. I don’t consider myself Hispanic. Does the Census count me as a Hispanic?
A. Not if you say you aren’t.

Using this criteria for defining a group of people that belong together, essentially a “culture,” is like painting a sunset with a broad brush and only black and white colors, and could lead to the belief that Hispanics are a homogeneous group.

However, when it comes to advertising, connecting with the Hispanic consumer in a relevant way, finding what these cultures do have in common, has always been a multicultural task.

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