The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

(BLS, URM status, non-traditional, GLBT)
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vanwinkle
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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:20 pm

Rocketman11 wrote:I thought latin american origin was "Latino"? But I agree Hispanic is a culture not a race, like Mexican.


In the U.S. "Latino" and "Hispanic" have become interchangeable. On the HLS app, for example, it asks, "Are you Hispanic/Latino?" Then it asks a race question separately. Thus you can look at the Hispanic/Latino answer as referring to either race or culture depending on how the applicant wishes to use it. They could check that box alone, or also check "Native American" or "White" or anything else appropriate.

Keats
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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Keats » Fri Nov 06, 2009 3:52 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Keats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
Keats wrote:To answer the original question, "Mexican" refers to a nationality and "Hispanic" refers to a culture or ethnic origin. You could be Mexican but not Hispanic, Hispanic but not Mexican, or neither, or both.


Bolded is wrong. If you're Mexican, you're Hispanic.



I'm not sure why you think that. Mexico is home to large numbers of indigenous peoples who do not speak Spanish and are not descendants of Spanish-speaking ancestors. They are not Hispanic.


Because Hispanic in the U.S. means anyone of Latin American origin.



What do you mean "in the U.S."? If you mean "according to the U.S. Census Bureau" or something like that, then for all I know you could be right. But that doesn't excuse you from being culturally sensitive.

We're not the first to quibble over the specific meanings of these terms, and to most people, sure, they're perfectly interchangeable. But the distinctions, however slight, aren't meaningless, especially to the people these terms describe. Hispanic does not mean anyone of Latin American origin. It just doesn't. Ask a Haitian if he is or considers himself to be Hispanic, just because he's from Latin America. When you're discussing ethnicity and cultural origins, I agree with you that the definitions should be fluid. If a Mexican with no Spanish ancestry wants to consider himself Hispanic, that's fine and I'm in no place to disagree. At the same time, if he's proud of his own indigenous culture and wants to claim it exclusively, you're probably going to offend him deeply by insisting that he's Hispanic for no other reason than because he's Mexican.

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vanwinkle
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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:05 pm

Keats wrote:What do you mean "in the U.S."? If you mean "according to the U.S. Census Bureau" or something like that, then for all I know you could be right. But that doesn't excuse you from being culturally sensitive.


I mean by the U.S. Census Bureau, and on many applications including law school applications. Since OP was originally concerned about the definitions due to applying to law school, I figured the way law schools view Hispanics and Mexicans was the most important thing to respond with.

I don't see anything I'm saying as being culturally insensitive. I'm giving the definitions that anyone applying to law school in the U.S. is typically allowed to use. If someone's offended by those definitions, then they should be accusing the government and academic system, and by American pop culture which often responds the same way, of being culturally insensitive.

Keats wrote:We're not the first to quibble over the specific meanings of these terms, and to most people, sure, they're perfectly interchangeable. But the distinctions, however slight, aren't meaningless, especially to the people these terms describe. Hispanic does not mean anyone of Latin American origin. It just doesn't. Ask a Haitian if he is or considers himself to be Hispanic, just because he's from Latin America. When you're discussing ethnicity and cultural origins, I agree with you that the definitions should be fluid. If a Mexican with no Spanish ancestry wants to consider himself Hispanic, that's fine and I'm in no place to disagree. At the same time, if he's proud of his own indigenous culture and wants to claim it exclusively, you're probably going to offend him deeply by insisting that he's Hispanic for no other reason than because he's Mexican.


But what you're speaking of is how individuals see themselves. That can be so subjective that it's impossible to pin down a single effective definition of who is and who isn't Hispanic, because different people from the same country and background may identify differently. I know this point better than anyone; I mark myself Hispanic and my younger brother has always considered himself white, even though we were raised in the same house and by the same parents at roughly the same time.

This is exactly why both the U.S. government and academic institutions use such an overly broad and inclusive definition of Hispanic--in order to allow the inclusion of anyone who defines themselves as such and is actually from a nation that was Spanish-settled and is on the American continent.

I'm not demanding that anyone consider themselves anything. In fact, since applications are self-reporting, if someone chooses to not identify as Hispanic then they can do that. I can see where a misunderstanding might have arisen--I did not mean to imply that all people from Latin American nations must always identify as Hispanic, only that they all can identify as such.

The Mexican who does not wish to identify as Hispanic does not have to. However, anyone who wishes to identify as Hispanic that is from Mexico may do so, and if it were not based on self-identification the individual would be classified as Hispanic under the definitions used by the Census Bureau and most academic institutions. It's the same thing with my brother and I; we'd both be labeled Hispanic by someone choosing it for us. Yes, he can choose to be white if he wants to identify that way, but the definition is so broad that it offers inclusion to him and to anyone else of Latin American origin.

To put this another way: They would likely be identified as Hispanic on their birth certificate if they were born here and their parents said they were from Mexico. That may offend them as an adult, and they may never identify with it again their entire lives, but that just may be what gets put down there, because of the broadness and inclusiveness the definition is often given here.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Keats » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:29 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
Keats wrote:To answer the original question, "Mexican" refers to a nationality and "Hispanic" refers to a culture or ethnic origin. You could be Mexican but not Hispanic, Hispanic but not Mexican, or neither, or both.


Bolded is wrong. If you're Mexican, you're Hispanic.



This is exactly where the misunderstanding arose: the implied imperative that all Mexicans must self-identify as Hispanic. But I think you see my point and I see yours. We seem to be in good shape on everything else. Let's hope OP is still following this thread and the discussion has been, in one way or another, illuminating.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Fri Nov 06, 2009 4:58 pm

Keats wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
Keats wrote:To answer the original question, "Mexican" refers to a nationality and "Hispanic" refers to a culture or ethnic origin. You could be Mexican but not Hispanic, Hispanic but not Mexican, or neither, or both.


Bolded is wrong. If you're Mexican, you're Hispanic.



This is exactly where the misunderstanding arose: the implied imperative that all Mexicans must self-identify as Hispanic. But I think you see my point and I see yours. We seem to be in good shape on everything else. Let's hope OP is still following this thread and the discussion has been, in one way or another, illuminating.


Yes, I was talking about how things are seen through the eyes of the law school. My main point was that if you identified as "Mexican", they will see you as Hispanic. The broad definitions that are used to define "Hispanic" on applications are different, I acknowledge, from how people see themselves and what categories they may wish to be put into based on that. I think we're pretty much in agreement now.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby mhernton » Sat Nov 07, 2009 12:55 pm

PoorOrpheus wrote:
mhernton wrote:
PoorOrpheus wrote:
mhernton wrote:So Puerto Ricans are hispanic but not Latino.


That's news to me. How are Puerto Ricans not Latino?



If you reread my original post, it explains it very well.


I read your explanation, but I disagree with your facts. Let me re-phrase my question: How is Puerto Rico not a Latin American country?


Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and the Philippines are not in Latin America. The descendants of each are not Latin American, but because of the language and cultural influence they are considered hispanic.

In the U.S. the term Hispanic (Hispano) gained acceptance after it was picked up by the government and used in forms and census to identify people with Spanish heritage. Hispanic is not a race but an ethnic distinction, Hispanics come from all races and physical traits. The term Hispanic is merely a translation of the Old World word Hispania (Latin) or Hispano (Spanish).

Latin America is a geographic location. People from Latin America are all Latin but not all are Hispanics. Brazilians speak Portuguese, which makes them Latin but not Hispanic. Dr. Lorenzo LaFarelle explained that in the 20's and 50's the term "Latin American" became very popular. Back then people of Mexican descent born in the United States preferred to be called Latin Americans since they were not actually born in Mexico, they felt the term Mexican did not exactly fit them. Besides that often the term Mexican was used with a derogatory note. In 1928 in the Corpus Christi - Laredo area a group of Hispanics spearheaded LULAC (League of Latin American Citizens) to help combat discrimination and prejudice and to help Hispanics acculturate.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Cupidity » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:09 pm

I have heard that Mexican is one of the more desirable variations of Hispanic, so I'd find a way to reference it. IE: Bigger boost than Puerto Rican

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby peeker82 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 1:24 pm

"Hispanic" only means Spanish-speaking. it doesn't equate to Latin American. People from Spain are also hispanic. People from Brazil (also Latin American) are NOT Hispanic. However, in the US there is the common misconception that Hispanic and Latino (aka Latin American) are the same thing. Hispanic does NOT reflect culture, neither does Latin American, just that in the US all people from Latin America tend to get grouped or categorized as "Hispanic" or "Latino". But this only reflects origin. Cultures from Venezuela, to Mexico, to the Dominican Republic vary greatly.

Now, as for the purpose of Law School applications, Mexican and Puerto Rican count as URM's, any other country from Latin America does not.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby PoorOrpheus » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:18 pm

mhernton wrote:
PoorOrpheus wrote:I read your explanation, but I disagree with your facts. Let me re-phrase my question: How is Puerto Rico not a Latin American country?


Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and the Philippines are not in Latin America. The descendants of each are not Latin American, but because of the language and cultural influence they are considered hispanic.


I agree with you that the Philippines are not in Latin America. But to lump PR and the DR in with the Philippines doesn't make any sense to me. PR, DR, and Cuba are part of Latin America.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Renzo » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:24 pm

Cupidity wrote:I have heard that Mexican is one of the more desirable variations of Hispanic, so I'd find a way to reference it. IE: Bigger boost than Puerto Rican


I can only assume you don't mean sexually. Because of you do, PR>>>>>>>>>>>>> bigger "boost" than MX.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Sat Nov 07, 2009 2:28 pm

peeker82 wrote:"Hispanic" only means Spanish-speaking.


This is most certainly not what Hispanic means by any definition. It has nothing to do with what language you speak. You can not know Spanish and still be Hispanic.


peeker82 wrote:However, in the US there is the common misconception that Hispanic and Latino (aka Latin American) are the same thing.


It's not a misconception, it's how the word is used and meant in the US. There's no requirement that a word mean exactly what it originally meant. "Hispanic" has come in the US to mean people of Latin American origin and to be interchangeable with "Latino". Given this, I've seen dispute on whether in the US a Spaniard from Spain should indicate as "Hispanic" or not. If the definition being used is the "Latin American origin" one, then no, a Spaniard is not Hispanic, in spite of the fact that under other definitions of the word he would be.

peeker82 wrote:Hispanic does NOT reflect culture, neither does Latin American, just that in the US all people from Latin America tend to get grouped or categorized as "Hispanic" or "Latino". But this only reflects origin. Cultures from Venezuela, to Mexico, to the Dominican Republic vary greatly.


Yes, exactly, it reflects origin. That is the definition that Hispanic/Latino has in the US in an official capacity, regardless of the fact that cultures vary widely among different Hispanic/Latino groups.

peeker82 wrote:Now, as for the purpose of Law School applications, Mexican and Puerto Rican count as URM's, any other country from Latin America does not.


This is correct. However, other Hispanic/Latino applicants may get special consideration as minorities even though they are not URMs.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby peeker82 » Sat Nov 07, 2009 3:44 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
peeker82 wrote:"Hispanic" only means Spanish-speaking.


vanwinkle wrote:This is most certainly not what Hispanic means by any definition. It has nothing to do with what language you speak. You can not know Spanish and still be Hispanic.


As any English dictionary will attest, "Hispanic" means "of or relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, esp. those of Latin America"...

you're right that you can not know Spanish and be Hispanic. It's not necessarily about knowing Spanish, Spanish-speaking descent counts. But this is where it starts to get blurry, when you start asking how many generations back count? 1? 2?

on a side note, the root of the word is "Hispania", referring to the Spanish Iberian peninsula.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby mhernton » Sun Nov 08, 2009 1:19 pm

PoorOrpheus wrote:
mhernton wrote:
PoorOrpheus wrote:I read your explanation, but I disagree with your facts. Let me re-phrase my question: How is Puerto Rico not a Latin American country?


Puerto Rico, The Dominican Republic, and the Philippines are not in Latin America. The descendants of each are not Latin American, but because of the language and cultural influence they are considered hispanic.


I agree with you that the Philippines are not in Latin America. But to lump PR and the DR in with the Philippines doesn't make any sense to me. PR, DR, and Cuba are part of Latin America.



I understand it doesn't make sense to you, geographically PR, DR, Cuba are part of the Caribbean not Latin America. Brazil is part of Latin America. Brazilians are considered Latino but not Hispanic. PR, DR, Cubas, Phillipino are considered Hispanic but not Latino. I can't really explain it any better than that. If you don't agree you don't agree, but the census bureau does agree. My mother and grandmother do not consider themselves Latino. People outside the culture can label us any way they choose to. I consider it rude to look at Asians and assume they are all Chinese, just like I consider it rude to look at people of Hispanic descent and assume they are all Latino.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby PoorOrpheus » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:03 pm

mhernton wrote:I understand it doesn't make sense to you, geographically PR, DR, Cuba are part of the Caribbean not Latin America. Brazil is part of Latin America. Brazilians are considered Latino but not Hispanic. PR, DR, Cubas, Phillipino are considered Hispanic but not Latino. I can't really explain it any better than that. If you don't agree you don't agree, but the census bureau does agree. My mother and grandmother do not consider themselves Latino. People outside the culture can label us any way they choose to. I consider it rude to look at Asians and assume they are all Chinese, just like I consider it rude to look at people of Hispanic descent and assume they are all Latino.

Latin America includes some Caribbean countries. Being part of one doesn't exclude the other.

You use the Census bureau to bolster your argument but then claim that "people outside the culture" are going to label us anyway they choose...which is it? Although my family doesn't use Hispanic or Latino often, they do use those terms interchangeably. So that's what I'm going to go with.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Sun Nov 08, 2009 2:41 pm

peeker82 wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
peeker82 wrote:"Hispanic" only means Spanish-speaking.


vanwinkle wrote:This is most certainly not what Hispanic means by any definition. It has nothing to do with what language you speak. You can not know Spanish and still be Hispanic.


As any English dictionary will attest, "Hispanic" means "of or relating to Spain or to Spanish-speaking countries, esp. those of Latin America"...

you're right that you can not know Spanish and be Hispanic. It's not necessarily about knowing Spanish, Spanish-speaking descent counts. But this is where it starts to get blurry, when you start asking how many generations back count? 1? 2?

on a side note, the root of the word is "Hispania", referring to the Spanish Iberian peninsula.


I was contesting your statement that it means "Spanish-speaking". You've admitted now that it doesn't. Defining Hispanics as people from "Spanish-speaking countries" is a kind of cheap fast way to define the word, so I don't like it, even though it's a little more accurate.

Also, while the root of the word is "Hispania" and that is where the word originally came from, words evolve and change in meaning. Here it has become a word that more often indicates Latin American origin. In some places "Hispanic" does include people of Spanish national origin also, but in some places in the U.S. it doesn't.

From the U.S. Census Bureau:

Persons of Hispanic origin, in particular, were those who indicated that their origin was Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, or some other Hispanic origin. It should be noted that persons of Hispanic origin maybe of any race.


From Intel Corp.'s Diversity Classifications and Definitions portion of their employment guide:

A US citizen of true born Hispanic heritage, from any of the Spanish-speaking areas of Latin America or the following regions: Mexico, Central America, South America and the Caribbean Basin only.


From the Columbia Law School application:

person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin, regardless of race


From the Penn Law app:

Hispanic or Latino (including Spain)


They actually had to clarify they include Spain, because some groups define Hispanic not to. UCLA gets around it this way:

Hispanic, Latino, or of Spanish origin


Then later below one of the boxes to check is "Other Hispanic, or of Spanish origin". Kept separate there, in two different places UCLA says Hispanic or Spanish origin.

There have even been court cases about this kind of thing. See Jana-Rock Construction v. NY State Department of Economic Development, 438 F.3d 195 (2nd Circuit, 2006). Plaintiffs were Spaniards who sued the state of New York because New York's definition of Hispanics did not include Spaniards. The claim was that the United States includes Spaniards in their definition and since New York participates in a federal program they should use the same definition. Plaintiffs lost.

The crux of that argument was whether Spaniards were part of the protected class of "Hispanics" which deserved special consideration due to prior discrimination. This is essentially what in many government/academic questions what asking whether you are "Hispanic" is really about, and why it's not at all consistent whether Spaniards are included in their definition of "Hispanic". It's an affirmative action question, and for that matter at least some institutions want to consider Hispanics of Latin American origin and Spaniards separately.

It doesn't matter that the original origin of the word was to mean the people of Hispania, it matters how the word is being used today, and it doesn't always include Spaniards.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Sinra » Wed Nov 18, 2009 6:22 pm

vanwinkle wrote:
This is correct. However, other Hispanic/Latino applicants may get special consideration as minorities even though they are not URMs.


See, you seem rather sure about this, yet nothing on this site or elsewhere has ever actually been able to verify this. I've gotten recruitment emails from some schools (based on GPA alone because I'm taking the lsat in December) asking me to apply and touting the Hispanic/Latino organizations. Now, I don't know if it means nothing at all but everything I've read from the schools themselves do not lend to this theory. The only thing that makes me think that people on TLS think makes it valid is simply that Mexican and PR are on two separate sections of every form for LSAC (and college for that matter). I don't know if it's true or not; but I cannot see how a law school would look at applicant 1 from Mexico and think that he's more of a URM than applicant 2 from El Salvador. I think the URM bump is broader than the TLS consensus. Anyway, my point was just that your statement sounded 100% sure, but we are not exactly sure this is the case correct?

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby vanwinkle » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:01 pm

Sinra wrote:
vanwinkle wrote:
This is correct. However, other Hispanic/Latino applicants may get special consideration as minorities even though they are not URMs.


See, you seem rather sure about this, yet nothing on this site or elsewhere has ever actually been able to verify this. I've gotten recruitment emails from some schools (based on GPA alone because I'm taking the lsat in December) asking me to apply and touting the Hispanic/Latino organizations. Now, I don't know if it means nothing at all but everything I've read from the schools themselves do not lend to this theory. The only thing that makes me think that people on TLS think makes it valid is simply that Mexican and PR are on two separate sections of every form for LSAC (and college for that matter). I don't know if it's true or not; but I cannot see how a law school would look at applicant 1 from Mexico and think that he's more of a URM than applicant 2 from El Salvador. I think the URM bump is broader than the TLS consensus. Anyway, my point was just that your statement sounded 100% sure, but we are not exactly sure this is the case correct?


I don't quite understand what you're saying you can't verify. You can't verify that MX or PR applicants are considered URMs but other Hispanics aren't?

This idea comes mostly from the Supreme Court case of Grutter v. Bollinger (288 F.3d 732, 2003), where it was decided that a law school's consideration of race does not violate federal law because it 1) serves a compelling state interest and 2) is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. The narrowly-tailored interest that was protected in that case was the underrepresented enrollment of a few specified racial groups. From the case:

Grutter v. Bollinger wrote:Both the Law School and the unsuccessful applicants presented expert testimony regarding the Law School's use of race in admissions decisions. Analyzing grids of the Law School's admissions data from 1995-2000, the unsuccessful applicants' statistical expert testified that the relative odds of acceptance for Native American, African-American, Mexican-American and Puerto Rican applicants were many times greater than for Caucasian applicants and concluded that members of these groups were “given an extremely large allowance for admission.”

According to the Law School's statistical expert, eliminating race as a factor in the admissions process would dramatically lower minority admissions. He predicted, for example, that if the Law School could not consider race, under-represented minority students would have constituted only 4% of the entering class in 2000, instead of the actual enrollment figure of 14.5%. Citing the experience of the University of California at Berkeley after the passage of Proposition 209, Dean Lehman echoed these predictions, testifying that he feared under-represented minority enrollment would drop to “token” levels if race and ethnicity could not be considered.


The case held that law schools have the right to take narrowly tailored measures to increase enrollment of under-represented minority groups as long as there were not quotas involved or seats reserved specifically for those students. Thus URMs cannot be "guaranteed" admission anywhere based on their race through quota, but their applications may be viewed with the additional interest of increasing student body diversity. Several times elsewhere in the case, the courts referred to "Hispanic" applicants without specifying groups, but in that one instance "Mexican-American and Puerto Rican" enrollment numbers were specifically named as a motivation for the Michigan program's necessity.

As a result, there are a couple reasons that schools may view MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanic applicants:

1) The courts often follow a canon of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius (the inclusion of one thing is the exclusion of the others). This general principle (which you'll learn about in law school) means that when something is specified it's for a reason, and if they specify one group only then they meant to leave out the other. This usually is applied to statutes, but I'm bringing it up just to introduce the legal mindset: If something isn't specifically allowed, then it could very well turn out to not be when the courts start looking it over.

The court in this case found that URM enrollment boosting is allowed as long as it's narrowly-tailored, and they talked about how the Michigan system was specifically tailored in increasing enrollment of those four specific groups. Thus it's clear the USSC finds that definition narrowly tailored enough, but it's not clear how much more broadly they'd allow before it stopped being "narrow". In fact, for all the court system knows, that's as broad as they intended and that's it.

This means that a school that adopted a broader system than Michigan could later be ruled unconstitutional even though Michigan's isn't. That's bad. Schools would want to avoid that if they could, and an easy way to do that is to adopt Michigan's model. If they follow Michigan's model as narrowly as possible in order to avoid getting in trouble, and they notice those four groups mentioned as the ones being benefitted by Michigan's model, then they'll tailor their URM program to those four groups.

Alternatively, schools could in fact broaden it to all Hispanics, but like I said, the broader they stretch it the more they come in danger of going beyond the USSC ruling.

2) The purpose of "under-represented minority" consideration is clear in its own language: It's to boost the enrollment of minorities who are under-represented. There are large numbers of Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the United States and low enrollment numbers relative to that large population. However, when you look at people from El Salvador who are U.S. residents (Salvadorian-Americans?) there aren't very many of them to have to "represent" through URM enrollment boosting.

For schools that differentiate between groups of Hispanics, there's a clearer incentive to boost Mexican-American and Puerto-Rican enrollment because of that. If they equally boost Salvadorians and all those Hispanics are competing for the same seats, then Salvadorian students would get into schools more and MX/PR students less. Ultimately the program doesn't do what it was meant to do: Boost the enrollment of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican students to reflect their percentage of the population better. What would end up happening is Salvadorian-Americans would end up over-represented and Mexican-American/Puerto-Rican applicants would remain under-represented.

Ultimately, no I'm not sure how any specific school will view general Hispanic enrollment. There are a few ways to easily predict (those few schools that don't ask what kind of Hispanic you are obviously have no clear way to boost MX/PR applicants more), but for the vast majority of schools there's nothing clear out there. It seems obvious enough that most schools divide what they ask into "Mexican", "Puerto Rican" and "Other" groups for a reason, and that reason is likely derived from the reasons I mentioned.

I can't say for sure that's what they're doing or why. However, I can look at is what data/precedent is available and what the public policy motives are for providing a URM consideration. It's from those two things that I feel I can safely say it's very likely those schools will consider MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanics.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Oblomov » Wed Nov 18, 2009 7:16 pm

el_gaucho wrote:You can be Jewish and Hispanic. Would you say that a Jew that is born and raised in a Latin American country is not Hispanic?

Of course he's Hispanic. Your friend included, because being Hispanic, even though most are Catholic, has nothing to do with religious affiliation. And definitely not racial.

Most people would have no reservations about calling a 5th generation Mexican-American who speaks absolutely no Spanish a Hispanic. Likewise, we shouldn't have reservations about calling a Jew a Hispanic.



By that logic, the friend would most certainly not be hispanic and would be an CE Jew.

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Re: The difference between Mexican and Hispanic

Postby Sinra » Thu Nov 19, 2009 11:41 am

vanwinkle wrote:
I don't quite understand what you're saying you can't verify. You can't verify that MX or PR applicants are considered URMs but other Hispanics aren't?

This idea comes mostly from the Supreme Court case of Grutter v. Bollinger (288 F.3d 732, 2003), where it was decided that a law school's consideration of race does not violate federal law because it 1) serves a compelling state interest and 2) is narrowly tailored to achieve that interest. The narrowly-tailored interest that was protected in that case was the underrepresented enrollment of a few specified racial groups. From the case:

Grutter v. Bollinger wrote:Both the Law School and the unsuccessful applicants presented expert testimony regarding the Law School's use of race in admissions decisions. Analyzing grids of the Law School's admissions data from 1995-2000, the unsuccessful applicants' statistical expert testified that the relative odds of acceptance for Native American, African-American, Mexican-American and Puerto Rican applicants were many times greater than for Caucasian applicants and concluded that members of these groups were “given an extremely large allowance for admission.”

According to the Law School's statistical expert, eliminating race as a factor in the admissions process would dramatically lower minority admissions. He predicted, for example, that if the Law School could not consider race, under-represented minority students would have constituted only 4% of the entering class in 2000, instead of the actual enrollment figure of 14.5%. Citing the experience of the University of California at Berkeley after the passage of Proposition 209, Dean Lehman echoed these predictions, testifying that he feared under-represented minority enrollment would drop to “token” levels if race and ethnicity could not be considered.


The case held that law schools have the right to take narrowly tailored measures to increase enrollment of under-represented minority groups as long as there were not quotas involved or seats reserved specifically for those students. Thus URMs cannot be "guaranteed" admission anywhere based on their race through quota, but their applications may be viewed with the additional interest of increasing student body diversity. Several times elsewhere in the case, the courts referred to "Hispanic" applicants without specifying groups, but in that one instance "Mexican-American and Puerto Rican" enrollment numbers were specifically named as a motivation for the Michigan program's necessity.

As a result, there are a couple reasons that schools may view MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanic applicants:

1) The courts often follow a canon of construction, expressio unius est exclusio alterius (the inclusion of one thing is the exclusion of the others). This general principle (which you'll learn about in law school) means that when something is specified it's for a reason, and if they specify one group only then they meant to leave out the other. This usually is applied to statutes, but I'm bringing it up just to introduce the legal mindset: If something isn't specifically allowed, then it could very well turn out to not be when the courts start looking it over.

The court in this case found that URM enrollment boosting is allowed as long as it's narrowly-tailored, and they talked about how the Michigan system was specifically tailored in increasing enrollment of those four specific groups. Thus it's clear the USSC finds that definition narrowly tailored enough, but it's not clear how much more broadly they'd allow before it stopped being "narrow". In fact, for all the court system knows, that's as broad as they intended and that's it.

This means that a school that adopted a broader system than Michigan could later be ruled unconstitutional even though Michigan's isn't. That's bad. Schools would want to avoid that if they could, and an easy way to do that is to adopt Michigan's model. If they follow Michigan's model as narrowly as possible in order to avoid getting in trouble, and they notice those four groups mentioned as the ones being benefitted by Michigan's model, then they'll tailor their URM program to those four groups.

Alternatively, schools could in fact broaden it to all Hispanics, but like I said, the broader they stretch it the more they come in danger of going beyond the USSC ruling.

2) The purpose of "under-represented minority" consideration is clear in its own language: It's to boost the enrollment of minorities who are under-represented. There are large numbers of Mexican-Americans and Puerto Ricans in the United States and low enrollment numbers relative to that large population. However, when you look at people from El Salvador who are U.S. residents (Salvadorian-Americans?) there aren't very many of them to have to "represent" through URM enrollment boosting.

For schools that differentiate between groups of Hispanics, there's a clearer incentive to boost Mexican-American and Puerto-Rican enrollment because of that. If they equally boost Salvadorians and all those Hispanics are competing for the same seats, then Salvadorian students would get into schools more and MX/PR students less. Ultimately the program doesn't do what it was meant to do: Boost the enrollment of Mexican-American and Puerto Rican students to reflect their percentage of the population better. What would end up happening is Salvadorian-Americans would end up over-represented and Mexican-American/Puerto-Rican applicants would remain under-represented.

Ultimately, no I'm not sure how any specific school will view general Hispanic enrollment. There are a few ways to easily predict (those few schools that don't ask what kind of Hispanic you are obviously have no clear way to boost MX/PR applicants more), but for the vast majority of schools there's nothing clear out there. It seems obvious enough that most schools divide what they ask into "Mexican", "Puerto Rican" and "Other" groups for a reason, and that reason is likely derived from the reasons I mentioned.

I can't say for sure that's what they're doing or why. However, I can look at is what data/precedent is available and what the public policy motives are for providing a URM consideration. It's from those two things that I feel I can safely say it's very likely those schools will consider MX/PR applicants differently than other Hispanics.



You have completely cleared my confusion on this matter. I wasn't questioning that you were right; I just did not understand the specific difference in how different Hispanics are viewed. After countless threads on here I was always still left with "no one seems to actually be sure" but now I'm clear. Thank you! Your explanation is perfect.




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