Social Question

Blackberry's avatar

Why are hispanic people singled out on surveys and forms (details)?

Asked by Blackberry (29356 points ) April 27th, 2012

For example, some form or survey will ask “Are you hispanic or of hispanic descent?”, and then it it will ask you your race.

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12 Answers

Charles's avatar

Annoying I know. Very common on job applications. I am ” Not of Hispanic Origin”.
Probably has something to do with ensuring no discrimination. An employer can say “We had X Hispanic applicants and we hired Y Hispanics…”.

sinscriven's avatar

Because the Spaniards screwed everyone on top of screwing them over. :D

Dutchess_III's avatar

Good question. On our enrollment form there is a place for race, with different options, including Hispanic, then there is a whole ‘nother section dedicated just to Hispanic. I don’t know why.

wundayatta's avatar

Race and hispanicity are federally mandated data components. You have to report this information to federal agencies, like the Labor Department and worker’s comp and unemployment.

In any case, no one is singled out. Hispanicity is a yes or no question. Race has a bunch of different answers. But in either case, it’s what you call yourself that matters. Unless you are in prison, no one else can tell you what race or hispanicity you are. You are the only vote that counts.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But why is it mandated, @wundayatta. That’s what we don’t understand.

iphigeneia's avatar

I assume it’s similar to the question “Are you of Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander descent?” that is regularly asked on forms in Australia. This is a group that has been identified as historically disadvantaged (because we did some really stupid, awful things to Aboriginal communities and they are still struggling with the consequences). Collecting this data helps to track what sort of progress, if any, is being made, what issues need more attention, and any other trends.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I would think that, in that case @iphigeneia, they would concentrate on asking if they were Native American.

wundayatta's avatar

It is a category that it is illegal to discriminate against. So data are collected to make sure illegal discrimination is not occurring. They call it a protected class. Like race, only it’s an ethnicity.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But why in TWO places for Hispanics, @wundayatta?

wundayatta's avatar

Sorry. I missed that detail. Two places? What two places?

Oh, I see. Well, I don’t think you are remembering correctly. There is race—that’s one issue. Then there’s whether you are hispanic or not. That’s another issue. Hispanic is not a race. Anyone who makes a questionnaire where Hispanic is a race is demented. They don’t know what they are doing. Or it is a mistake. There are two separate issues here. Any questionnaire that mixes up the two is wrong, as far as comparing to census data is concerned.

Dutchess_III's avatar

But they list “Hispanic” under race/ethnicity, and then again under a whole separate section just for Hispanics.

wundayatta's avatar

I’d have to see the survey to help figure this out. If they do it that way, then it is their own thing. That is not how it is done by the census. Perhaps this survey had an entirely different purpose and was unrelated to government activities. If that’s the case, then only the survey authors can explain it.

I can say I’ve seen an awful lot of poorly written and ignorant surveys in my career, so it is not beyond the realm of possibility that the people who did it didn’t know what they were doing.

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