Monday, May 31, 2010

Seventeen and Race

Today's post addresses race, which I understand is a sensitive topic for a lot of people. I put this post together a while ago, but have been hesitant to post it, if only for the fact that I am not that well versed on the subject of race. The town I live in is 95.24% White, so I am not exposed to much discussion about race in my daily life. Any conversation on the subject that I get to observe typically takes place on the internet, which is not necessarily the best place to learn anything, especially a thing that is likely to upset people if addressed clumsily.

That said, I feel like this post is honorable in its intentions. I ask you all to please look at the post for the issue it is trying to explore, and not to crucify me if I have made any offensive missteps in the way that I address it. Instead, feel free to post feedback and constructive corrections in the comments, or email them to me. As a young person with limited exposure to discussions of race, any respectful feedback that could broaden my horizons would be much appreciated.

In selecting models and actresses to photograph, lots of people have recognized that mainstream print media disproportionately showcases white women. Recently, this pattern has been called to the forefront of the blogosphere with the publication of the whitewashed "Young Hollywood" issue of Vanity Fair. Over at Jezebel, Dodai wrote a great article on the controversy. This piece from Racialicious (and its comments section) makes some interesting points as well.

I wondered to what degree this pattern of whitewashing held true for teen magazines like Seventeen. Teen mags often do better in the race department than their adult counterparts, including women of a variety of races and even offering some pretty level-headed advice on interracial dating. Still, out of curiosity, I wondered exactly how the racial content of Seventeen broke down. So I counted!

There are 332 faces in this month's issue of Seventeen. I counted a face as a head with at least one visible eye. That is, backs of heads and disembodied mouths or eyes were not included in my data. I researched the races of the models and celebrities that I could identify. Those whose race I could not determine with reasonable certainty I've excluded from my data, making for 319 surveyed faces.

I thought it would be an interesting exercise to compare the race content of Seventeen with the most recent Census Bureau estimates of race demographics in the U.S. Personally, I don't think its reasonable to expect an entirely equal distribution of race in every issue, but it does seem reasonable (and logical) to expect that a modern magazine would have a race breakdown that is similar to the race breakdown of the country in which it publishes, in this case, the United States.

I'm actually surprised at how close Seventeen came to having a breakdown comparable with the United States statistics. Noteworthy, though, are Seventeen's underrepresentation of people of Hispanic ethnicity, and their inclusion of more biracial and multiracial people percentage-wise than live in the U.S. Anyone have any thoughts on why this might be?

Thought it might also be interesting to look at the racial breakdown of males and females in the magazine. It seems like Seventeen's idea of female beauty is more varied, while the races that are considered attractive for males are extremely more limited.

I also separated the data by faces in Seventeen produced content, and faces in advertising content. There didn't seem to be any significant difference in the racial breakdown between these two categories of pages, except for the exclusion of Hispanic models in the advertisements.

Overall I was pretty surprised at how inclusive Seventeen was. Obviously, there is some room for improvement, but I would venture to say that Seventeen is better at including people of color than most other publications of its kind. Otherwise, I have no real conclusions to draw from this data. What does everyone think?

P.S. Expect some fluffy fashion and beauty posts for the rest of the week, as this Friday is my PROOOOOM.


  1. Very interesting and maturely written analysis.

    Keep up the good work! I love this blog

  2. If you have time, I'd like to see the breakdown of the inclusion of minorities with respect to immediately recognizable celebrities, such as Queen Latifah or Lucy Liu (does she still appear in magazines or is she passe now?), versus a model in a fashion story or "normal" girls featured in other Seventeen-produced content.

  3. The multi-racial/bi-racial advertising thing is interesting. I believe it's because if a woman is "racially ambiguous" she appeals to more readers, and is more likely to sell products, because more people can relate to her.

    I get all of my information from this awesome advert:

  4. I'm bummed that there are not more Latinas represented in Seventeen magazine. Especially because of the growing Latino population in our country and the fact that it is the 3rd largest race in the US according to that race breakdown chart. Thanks for this analysis and for pointing this out.


  5. In response to the opening of this blog bost, race should not be a "sensitive subject". I am extremely tired of society. Why am I not allowed to call somebody black? Rican? I am white? I don't believe in being "politically correct". I guess society hasn't evolved enough for this feel good b.s. to still be in existance. Why is it that we feel so bad to call somebody for what they are? Negative connotations are always attatched to race, I think we, as a society, need to get over it.

  6. I agree with you. Unfortunately I don't think that we have reached that point as a society, and I wouldn't want to offend anyone who has different standards of acceptability than I do.

    But yeah, overall I agree that getting over the negative connotations to race is ultimately the most "sensitive" answer.

  7. I always thought that mixed-race was simply a way for them to include the "exotic" without being too Other. I remember a cover story on a teen magazine once (totally don't remember which one) with beauty tips from four different girls - one Black, one Asian, one Latina, and one White. However, all of the non-White girls looked mixed-race - as if one parent was White. I remember thinking what a cop-out that was, pretending to celebrate differences while really whitewashing them - as if the only way to be a pretty woman of color was to have White features and smooth hair.

    Anyway, I'm a high school teacher, so I spend all day every day with teenaged girls. I wish they were half as self-aware as you are! I'm looking forward to reading the rest of your experiment.

  8. I think that it's hard to know right away if a model is Latina. Speaking as a Latina myslef, if you say me you would think I was African American. I think that when most people think Latina they think 'tan' or something and thats all they look for (not saying you did that, but perhaps some of the models were multi-racial or Hispanic but they don't fit the American idea of what a Latina looks like).

    I think more than doing a model search for diversity, the content should be explored. It's rare for Seventeen to have articles about hair and makeup that can apply to African Americans or darker skinned people whose hair is not smooth and straight.

    This is a really cool project idea (I found out about it via I Heart Daily) and I'll definitely be following it :)

  9. I love this blog! I've been an avid reader of Seventeen since I was 12 (I'm now 21). I'm now caught up on all of your posts. I like how you address the fun stuff as well as the more serious stuff (like this post!).

    What I find very interesting about this post is how close Seventeen comes to representing the US.

    However, I'm a natural dirty blond with green eyes and light skin. If you looked at me, you would never guess that I am half Latin -- my mother is Mexican and Puerto Rican while my father is of Finish and Irish decent. I just happen to look more like my father's side of the family. I consider myself bi-racial, I grew up speaking Spanish fluently until I was about 8 and identify with certain aspects of the Mexican and Puerto Rican cultures. I've found it annoying my entire life that you have to LOOK bi-racial to BE bi-racial. I not sure if I have a point to this comment, but I felt like putting my random thoughts here!

    Anyways, keep it up! I look forward to your discoveries and thoughts.

  10. To add to the conversation on multi-ethnicity...
    Previously the census and other such surveys to determine ethnic distribution only permitted subjects to select one race - meaning multi-ethnic people were sorely underrepresented. Because there has been such a rise in mixed ethnicity marriages and births, the census has begun to adjust (although many other surveys have not)and yet many mixed people still go undocumented due to their decision to check only one box (ex: President Obama reported himself as "Black" on the 2010 census although technically he is half Black, half white.)
    Although it is a good trick to attract readers with ambiguously ethnic/exotic faces, it is a fact that the multi-ethnic pool is a quickly expanding, young, ideal target audience. I also agree with MissAttitude in that it is hard to know right away if a model is Latina.

    Great post! Keep it up.

  11. Race is a stupid subject to write about without pissing anyone off, don't worry about it. Too often it seems that people want to make discussions on race disscusiions on culture. Writing about something as factual as this supported by reaserch, rather than sematics or whatever doesn't need an apology.

  12. What a spectacularly thoughtful look at race, and an excellent and aware research method. I love it, and it gives me hope for your generation, without (hopefully!) sounding too patronizing. :)

  13. i, for one, liked your little preamble to the article. when people give flack about "oversensitivity" and "political correctness," it always makes me bristle a little bit. i'm a gay white-hispanic man who faces comparatively little prejudice and discrimination in his day-to-day, and my policy on it has always been that people are free to say what they'd like, be it PC, prejudiced, bigoted, thoughtful, or thoughtless. but when the options exists to be a jerk to as few people as possible by choosing your words thoughtfully and filtering your thoughts selectively, why wouldn't you? given the option between "be an asshole" and "don't be an asshole," the choice seems fairly evident.

    people who complain about "political correctness" are most often people whose greatest argument amounts to "a world where i must think everytime i speak is the worst thing i can imagine." and really, they should have been doing that anyway.

    i salute the deftness and sensitivity of your post and the general awesomeness of your possumness. keep fighting the good fight.

  14. Recent studies have indicated that people perceive biracial faces to be more beautiful than single-race faces. I'm not sure if this is a cause or effect of beauty/lifestyle magazines' frequent inclusion of racially ambiguous models, but perhaps that answers your question in part.


    Keep up the good work, Jamie! I'm here via Jezebel's profile of your project; I hope to see you as an intern (or contributor) on their masthead soon.

  15. Not that I think that the Latin@ population is represented sufficiently in mainstream magazines, but I find the number under "Hispanic" suspect. This is probably because it is difficult to tell who is "Hispanic." I have gotten confused for being "white" (which upsets me), although I am brunette, short, curly-haired, etc (e.g., stereotypes). But I have aunts who are blond with white skin. I wonder if those women would have been caught in your enumeration. Actually being able to guess correctly someone's race and/or ethnicity happens less often than people think.

  16. I just wanted to thank you for having the guts to write about this subject. As a woman of color it's nice to see anyone anywhere talking about race in an honest, intellectual, mature and straight forward manner without being dismissive or patronizing. Unfortunately, race will probably always be a big deal in this country because America was founded and built on the racial oppression of others, and the result of that still exists. Discussing race without getting defensive and afraid is what will help in making that part of life easier to deal with for everyone.

  17. I'm curious to know how you determined a model to be Hispanic. I assume that you looked for stereotypical markers of looking Hispanic, ie - short stature, heavyset figure, curly hair, tan skin, etc. But if my assumption is incorrect, I apologize and please feel free to correct me.

    I'm glad some people have already addressed this but I'd just like to reiterate: Hispanic is not a race, it's an ethnicity. This means that, because of the colonialist history of Hispanic cultures, the racial makeup of someone who is Hispanic can be white, black, indigenous, or a mix of any and all. This does bring up an interesting point in and of itself though that few of the models seem *obviously* Hispanic - few fit the stereotyped, accepted view of what white America thinks Hispanics look like. This would suggest that the "typical Hispanic" is not considered aesthetically beautiful in American culture, and that makes me sad.

    Otherwise, really great analysis! Loved the graphs and loved the sensitivity with which you addressed this issue. Keep up the good work :-)

  18. Does anyone remember when Greek Irish and Scottish were considered different to the "White race." America is a huge melting pot mixed of different backgrounds and ethnicities. Have you ever met anyone who was just German or JUST Polish 2nd gen in America? How about half Italian half Greek? Can anyone honestly tell what background most "white" people are from? I think white and black and asian are very limiting in their labels, as people are getting more and more mixed and the more people think they are just ONE RACE, is pure ignorance.

  19. I was also surprised that seventeen did a relatively good job in reflecting our actual racial diversity. But knowing that people of color are represented, HOW are they represented? Is there the one token black girl hanging out with an all-white crowd? Interracial relationships? Are they in the ads for makeup and clothes, or in photos shot to accompany advice articles? Do they blend in or stand out? Or is there no difference in the way different races are represented?

  20. Not 100% sure why you refer to Hispanic/Latin@ people as "white"... I know that census questions and polls often ask if one is White (not-Hispanic) but I've never seen it referred to White (Hispanic)... The only explanation I can think of is Spaniards, or white-appearing Latin@s.

    White to me means possessing white privilege, which clearly (hello Arizona), Hispanic/Latin@s do not.

    Just my thoughts there.

  21. I think the author mentioned that she chose to research the racial background of the 319 people she counted. She excluded those she could not identify to research.

    I may have misunderstood, but if I did not this would cut down on the possibility of "misidentifying a Hispanic person a tan white person" and throwing off her stats.

    Incidentally I didn't realize until the age of 27 that Spanish people were not "Hispanic." Then a friend pointed out that "Hispanic" referred to the mixture of Latin Colonials with Native Americans.

    It's interesting to me that Hispanic women would be underrepresented. I think about the stereotypes and one of the stereotypes we have about Hispanic women is them being beautiful and passionate. But another stereotype is "voluptuous." Which hasn't been popular in magazines for a loooong time. *shrug* Who knows.

    Racial discussions ... *sigh* so stupid. Race is more about context (cultural context) and self identification than anything else. As someone pointed out there are a lot of people who get a "white pass" now that didn't 60 years ago.

  22. I didnt read through all the comments so maybe this is redundant.

    I am white and when i had an asian girlfriend, my dad just said something like "oh thats ok, mixed kids a cute". (to this day i hope he didnt really mean that we should have kids :) )

    And i think it boils down to that.

    For a lot of people people of mixed races are good looking, maybe even better looking then the majority of their own race.

    A friend who studies biology once tried to explain that to me with the enhanced genepool mixed kids create so we are drawn biologically to people who look diferent then we do but not so much and so on ... sounded a bit weird to me :)

    But i do think that you can cover two races at the same time with pictures of "mixed" people.

  23. I've seen some studies finding that racially ambiguous people are closer to "average" and thus more conventionally attractive. I think it all boils down to that, not to marketing for multiple races at once.

  24. @Another Teenage Feminist - Actually, she was technically right to include Hispanic with "white." In terms of census and those types of analytical measures, white is a race and Hispanic is an ethnicity. You could be a white Hispanic or black Hispanic, but it seems much more common for Hispanics to identify white/caucasian as their race.

    I agree that this is, like most categorizations, overly simplistic and doesn't reflect many people's experiences.

    Personally, I tend to avoid the term "Hispanic" anyway as I feel that Latina more accurately reflects who I am. My family left Spain for Mexico in the 1500's.

  25. First of all, kudos to you for this project and for taking on the issue of race.

    I spent much of my time as a young woman poring over issues of Seventeen and feeling a lot of conflict--inadequacy, underrepresentation, but also inspiration and seduction by the images.

    A few thoughts about race in the magazine:

    -Important as it is to count the faces and the disembodied features (like hands, etc.), it is also important to consider the subject position of people of color. So for instance, my experience is that in most spreads the main subject is white with the girls of color positioned to the side, often without, say, a romantic interest or the major covetable item (like an 'it bag' or other prop).

    -In terms of makeup and haircare tips, you might also want to consider whether people of color are treated as abnormal and whether the content treats whiteness as the center of normality. For instance, I find that usually articles about haircare start with 'fine, thin, straight hair' and move towards 'ethnic/curly hair'. Likewise, makeup stories tend to start with the palest subject and move towards the darkest. This essentially situates whiteness as prememinent and color as 'other' or lessor, though it seems inclusive at first glance.

    -In terms of the girls of color do they skew more heavily towards white Western ideals: large eyes, small nose, paler skin, longer hair?

    -How many writers of color are on the masthead, if you can find out?

    -Are issues that disproportionately affect girls of color integrated into the content of the magazine (for instance, skin concerns like keloids, hyperpgimentation or care of curly kinky hair as opposed to concerns about the best bronzer to wear) or are they ignored / segregated?

    I think those questions will add to your picture of race in Seventeen.

  26. The discrepancy you highlight in regard to the the percentage of multi-racial people in the US and the percentage of multi racial people represented in the magazine is probably a fluke. If you were to research all the issues of Seventeen in a given year for that data, it would probably even out. Whoever concerns themselves with the representation of race in the magazine probably looked at the same pie chart you did about the breakdown of race in the US, and it's followed closely in the magazine, as an analysis of your research testifies. The difference in percentage is so small that it's probably not significant. If it means anything at all, it may be due to the fact that a multi racial or racially ambiguous person covers more bases, so to speak. It's sort of a "two for the price of one" type thing.

  27. doorstopper, the reason discussions about race seem to always turn into discussions on culture is because race is how you categorize me, while culture is how I identify myself. For instance, I am Asian. But, what is Asian? Does Korean=Filipino=Indian? The continent of Asia never united under the same language, customs, values, government, etc., whereas my culture has.

    For me, topics of race will always be a little sensitive because I am a minority. Minorities often become defined in an extremely generalized way by our "race." Instead being characterized as intelligent or hard-working, I will invariably be characterized by society as Asian and all the stereotypes that come with that (kind of like that gay friend you always tote around as being your "gay friend"). On the other hand, the White majority has the privilege of being more than their race.

    So to the commentors who find political correctness to be a minor annoyance or seem to think I need to get over it, i.e. I am oppressed because I choose to feel oppressed, perhaps you need to check your privileges that even allow you to think like that.

  28. very well written! also i think "Taylor" hit the nail on the head with the idea of thinking before speaking.

  29. Hi Jamie, I find your posts to be well-balanced as you try to look at things from different angles - so don't be hesitant to write about a topic just because people might react oversensitivity to it - it is usually precisely these issues that get the emotions running that need addressing. And you write well too, so keep it up!

  30. Statistical interlude: One possible culprit for the diminished diversity in the male photos is the sample size. I would imagine, though do not know, that females are portrayed more prevalently in the magazine, which would increase the likelihood of a diverse representation.

    Also, kudos on the disclaimer. Coming from a very homogeneous, at least in appearance, small town I have had similar trepidations regarding the subject, and it is always nice to feel in good company. You have mastered my only tactic, which is courtesy, but apparently you cannot please everyone even with politeness.

  31. I really like your blog so far and I think it's a really interesting project. I also like that you bring out the ethnicity/racial issue, however, as a latina and as a psychology student I feel like I should make two small criticism. First, I agree with some of the previous comments in that it's hard to tell someone's ethnicity, this is specially true for hispanics as most of us are of mixed ancestry. Keep in mind that unlike the other ethnic groups, latinos didn't really exist 500 years ago. And the second comment is, that despite having very interesting data, you also need to keep into account whether it is statistically significant (which can be deceiving just by looking at it). However, it only takes simple math to determine this (once you get into university I'm sure it won't be too hard to get your hands on a book on behavioural statistics). I hope this helps!

  32. I agree with a lot of the comments here about your Hispanic numbers; after 12 years growing up on the east coast, I moved to the southwest and honestly, if I didn't know someone's last name, a lot of times I had no idea they were Hispanic. Which was kind of great; it illustrated just how illusory these divisions really are! But, I thought I should mention this.

  33. On the biracial thing - many magazines (and commercials) choose models and actresses who are 'racially ambiguous' because it makes it easier for a reader or viewer to identify with them.

    Here's a Kotex commercial about that.

  34. I appreciate this post and your interest in race. My first semester in college I took a course called "Exploring Whiteness to Combat Racism" which was an enriching experience. One of the books in which we read for the class which I recommmend is "Being White: stories of race and racism" by Karyn D. McKinney.
    I find your posts insightful and valuable,
    george e.

  35. I agree with the comments above that you addressed this very well and very clearly. Race is difficult to address, especially in America.

    As someone of mixed race, I have heard the same studies that people who are mixed or racially ambiguous are more attractive or more identifiable.

    But also to note that as generations go there is also a growing number of multiracial people in the US and we are under-identified, for the simple fact that in previous census' it wasn't always so easy to id multiple races or ethnicities. When the 2010 census results come out, it would be interesting to run your comparison again.

  36. @Anonymous from June 15

    You can't just say that most Hispanic people identify with the white/Caucasian race. You may feel so because you are originally from European roots, but for those who aren't, or who may be but view that as too long ago to relate to, Central/South America is a big enough continent to merit a category all its own. I personally really dislike the term Latina and would prefer the term Hispanic because I feel like Latina doesn't accurately describe anything other than something derived from the Latin language, which doesn't describe anything in Central or South America culturally. Whereas Hispanic is related to Hispano-hablante (meaning Spanish speaker) which is incredibly accurate and more to the point. (also not so sexualized by American culture?)

    As to the lack of Hispanic faces in mainstream American media, I have feelings about how it ultimately comes down to the fact that the growing population of Hispanic Americans is a recent development and although we are often talked about on the news and people are aware that the United States has an incredibly large Hispanic population, we are viewed as either illegal or very recent immigrants. Ultimately whenever questions of race, ethnicity, or minority vs. majority populations come into discussion in the States it is almost always and almost immediately reduced to blackness vs. whiteness, on both sides of that discussion. That is simply an older and more prominent issue in U.S history and it's going to be featured more heavily until other things come to pass.

  37. the pie chart breakdowns completely leave out the native americans as a racial demographic. not represented AT ALL and no one even notices...

  38. 1. very nice post :) 2. to the commenter who said people from spain are not hispanic, i am flabbergasted ... this person "learned this at 27", they have more learning to do. 3. another comment made a valid point about how asians who are so vastly different are all clumped together if you will and it does not reflect the "real picture" but that's the burden of being a minority 4. again kudos to you 5. when you say over 95% of ppl in ur town are white, are you including hispanics? 6. any way to number the comments?



  39. 'In response to the opening of this blog bost, race should not be a "sensitive subject". I am extremely tired of society. Why am I not allowed to call somebody black? Rican? I am white? I don't believe in being "politically correct". I guess society hasn't evolved enough for this feel good b.s. to still be in existance. Why is it that we feel so bad to call somebody for what they are? Negative connotations are always attatched to race, I think we, as a society, need to get over it.'

    lol this is such bullshit. of course YOU'RE not going to be offended by words with potentially racist connotations when you've never experienced racism firsthand. that is a privilege that YOU have and it's shitty (yet typical) of you, as a white person, to make the assumption that your views should reflect those of "society" on the whole.

    this is exactly why i hate southpark. i don't need a bunch of straight white males telling ME what i should and shouldn't find offensive, thanks.

  40. Race (and ethnicity) is always a really interesting topic. You may not experience racism (firsthand) but you have probably experienced ageism and sexism so don't be afraid to talk about a subject like racism just because you are white and live in a very white town.

    I for one hate most women's magazines because they represent a small percentage of the actual population and they are more damaging to women then any other media outlet (at least in my opinion). The thing that infuriates me most about the under representation of non-white races in these magazines is that when they do pick women and men of color to be in the magazine they have "white" features. Even their white models have the typical "white" features. Try and find a model with brown hair and green eyes, it's almost impossible. Most of the models have blue eyes-which in real life is not that common.

    I noticed though that black models are popping up more and more into women's fashion magazines which is a step forward, but the lack of other races is 20 steps back. And where the hell are all the middle eastern models?? And no I'm not referring to stories about the Kardashian's because that doesn't count.

    I think that you should further this study with other teen magazines and women's fashion magazines and maybe even compare them to other countries mags.

  41. A lot of these comments already mention the complexity of representation: the 'whiteness' of facial features (thereby excluding physical traits unique to a race, that may define that race)- and also if these colored people are set as a prop or as the center of attn. This ties in to a lot of the subtlety in racism today, and I want to point out that despite the Seventeen statistics being representative of our population (per census), this is nothing for anti-racism. It is pure neutrality and it says a lot about how much farther this country has to go before it even recognizes racism as a problem. You were hesitant to write about neutrality, what does that say? There is nothing here anti-racist except for the fact that you even deigned to write about it. These statistics, in the end, will do nothing but to pacify and to justify oppression. Look at some of the early comments, they're already patting themselves on the back and all you've done here is, again, written about neutrality.

    Minorities are underrepresented, misrepresented (as the stereotyped prop vs. the fleshed-out main character). Minorites aren't even human at this point. When I say 'person' what comes to mind? What does this 'person' look like? Neutral representation of our races is not going to fix this problem.

    I'm not out to bite your head off :), it took me some time to figure out why this topic & some comments bothered me & it has nothing to do w/ your writing. It's fantastic that you're talking about it at all. It makes me sad that something like this causes you to hesitate. TALK, please. And listen. Don't limit yourself. No more silence.

    Keep it up. <3

  42. One more thing,

    Being Sensitive is not the same as Being Aware.

    Being sensitive is about fear, is about silence, and about ignorance.

    Being aware is understanding.

  43. wow this blog was very interesting. i was wondering what the race percentages of seventeen were ever since i started reading it. the results were somewhat of what i had guessed. even though seventeen magazine is better than most, i definetly agree that they have room for improvement. only 1% hispanic?! even though i had taken into account that i only saw one or two hispanic girls in the magazine i was still suprised how low the numbers where. i think the writers of seventeen magazine should look at this blog. i hope to see more women of color in the media some day.

  44. I have always wondered why they label hispanics as white and then there are white non-hispanics. Why not just hispanic?

  45. I've dated black and biracial men (who are far more populous in Florida than New Jersey) and never had any of the "cultural" issues people said I would. Instead I had the "racist fucking attitude" problem of people we'd encounter.

  46. I came accross this while I am supposed to be doing research for a paper that I am writing for a criminal justice class, based on race and perception of others. I had an opinion that may have just been changed. Now I got some thinking to do. Thank you.

  47. @ Anastasia
    There are a few reasons for that.

    - Even though Hispanics are perceived in USA as one "race", they aren't such in their home countries.
    - The "race" has a different meaning depending on the place/culture that discusses it.
    - The "race" that the US registers is mixed with a. culture, b. nationality and c. ethnicity.*

    * And the people themselves, when they come to a new place, might decide to identify themselves more closely with someone from their own culture (vs. the outside) even though they'd have many subsets within them.

    Not to mention that the Latin America whites, a big portion of which are of Spanish/Portugal heritage, are a bit physically different than the whites of the older North America, a big portion of which are of German/Irish/English/French/Norwegian/Swedish/Polish/Russian/Ashkenazi descent.

    As far as I know, the US Census Bureau gives options for subcategories for the Hispanic.
    Wikipedia is not perfect, but it is a good place to start with: Demographics of the US, Race and ethnicity, White Hispanic and Latino Americans, White Latin American.

    So - the USCB recognizes that they are or see themselves as different amongst themselves, but also recognizes that at the same time they might be lumped together in the eyes of the non-Hispanics.

    ** "Race" under the quote tags because, as this clearly shows, it is something that's not set in stone, and fluctuates depending on time, place and culture.

    Sorry for any mistakes/fuzzy spots, my English is not the best.

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