The concepts of race and ethnicity are mutually independent in the Office of Management and Budget's and United States Census Bureau's definitions. Thus, every American is identified by both a race and an ethnicity. The distinction made by government agencies for those within the population of any official race category, including White American, is between those who report Hispanic or Latino backgrounds and all others who do not. In the case of White Americans, these two groups are respectively termed "White Hispanics" and "non-Hispanic Whites", the former being those who report ancestry from the people of Spain or Hispanic Latin America, and the latter consisting of an ethnically diverse collection of all others who are classified as White Americans that do not report Hispanic backgrounds.
Mexican Americans compose the majority (64%) of all Hispanic and Latino Americans, and similarly, Mexican Americans who identify themselves as "white" comprise the majority (59% in 2000) of all "White Hispanic or Latino" Americans. The second largest number of Hispanics identifying themselves as "white" are Puerto Rican Americans, and Cuban Americans are the third largest; these three U.S Hispanic groups by national origin compose the overwhelming majority of Hispanic and Latino Americans self-identifying as "white" in the US census.
|White Hispanics by National Origin, 2000|
|Hispanic Origin Group||White Population||Percentage|
|"Spanish" and "Other Hispanic"||2,534,786||44.8|
Some Hispanic or Latino American groups, such as Mexican Americans and Chilean Americans, predominantly identify as "white", in contrast to the actual racial profiles of their individual countries and the people from these countries that tend to migrate to the United States. For example, the official racial make-up of the population of Mexico is 9% white, 60% mestizo (a mix mainly of indigenous and Spanish), and 30% indigenous, with the people in the upper-class mainly european/white. Most of the immigrants to the United States from Mexico are of the mestizo group, yet half of all Mexican Americans define themselves as "white" in the US census.
|White Hispanics by State, 2007 ACS|
|State||Population||% of State||% of Hispanics|
Because of the intermarriage between Hispanics and white non-Hispanics, many "white Hispanics" are also of these two ancestries, including some of the people shown in this article. Actual white Hispanic ancestry would by primarily Spanish, ultimately. The largest other white Hispanic ancestries are Italian, German, Portuguese, French, Irish, British, Polish, Lebanese, and Russian.
Since the early days of the movie industry in the U.S., when white Hispanic actors are given roles, they are usually cast as non-Hispanic Whites. Examples include such actors as Jose Ferrer, Benicio Del Toro, Frankie Muniz, Andy Garcia, Joanna García and Cameron Diaz. Most Americans may not be aware that American movie legend Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino) was Hispanic, or that the actress who played "all-American" Gilmore Girl Lorelai Leigh "Rory" Gilmore — Alexis Bledel — is also Hispanic.
Others accuse the U.S. Hispanic media, as well as the Latin American media, of over-representing White Hispanics while under-representing the non-White population, amid claims that telenovelas or soap operas do not reflect the color spectrum of Hispanics and Latinos.
The term Hispanic has historically been misconstrued to refer to race or physical appearance. In general, Hispanics are assumed to have traits such as dark hair and eyes, and tan or brown skin. Many others are viewed as physically intermediate between whites, blacks and/or Amerindians. Even though the U.S. Census Bureau and the American Community Survey have taken measures to rectify this, all Hispanics and Latinos are collated into a Census-designated "ethnicity" regardless of individual ethnic backgrounds. As such, Hispanics have also been included in Affirmative Action programs regardless of race or ethnicity.
The White Fight: White Americans Must Embrace Racial Justice as Their Own Cause If We Hope to Achieve Widespread Equity
Apr 01, 2011; Fifty years ago, hundreds of young white and black Americans united to desegregate buses across the South. These Freedom Riders,...
Are most white Americans racist?: A sociology professor says biases are 'drilled into our heads' almost from birth.
Dec 04, 2006; Byline: Linda Shrieves Dec. 4--When comedian Michael Richards unleashed a verbal rant at two African-American hecklers in a...