race and ethnicity are really just constructs

I thoroughly enjoy Lisa Wade’s Sociological Images blog. In a recent post, she discusses how race definitions have changed over time, and how we ended up labeling white/black/Asian as races and Latino/Hispanic as ethnicity. Over the history of the Census, the race question has at times included “free” status, mixed race, and specific countries of origin. And Wade writes,

“Part of the reason we have the “Hispanic” ethnicity question is because Mexican Americans fought for it.  They thought it would be advantageous to be categorized as “white” and, so, they fought for an ethnicity category instead of a racial one.”

Fascinating, eh?