Study: Some align more with blacks
By John Moreno Gonzales
July 15, 2003
Hispanics who identify themselves racially as black take on economic
and social characteristics that more closely mirror those of African-Americans
than of other Hispanics, according to a study on the often overlooked
group released Monday.
The findings by the Lewis Mumford Center
of SUNY Albany said that the nearly 1 million black Hispanics
identified by the 2000 U.S. Census are more educated than other
Hispanics, less likely to be immigrants and less likely to speak
a language other than English.
Yet their economic performance
is worse, with a lower median household income than other Hispanics,
as well as higher unemployment and poverty rates.
John R. Logan,
the author of the study and director of the Mumford Center, attributed
the economic disparity between black Hispanics and other Hispanics
to the "very strong color line in the United States."
structure here is that when people decide who to hire, or to rent
to, when it comes right down to it, race does make a difference,"
The most intense concentration of black Hispanics in
the United States was by far in the New York metropolitan area,
with 9.2 percent of Hispanics calling themselves black, according
to the census.
The national origin of black Hispanics was largely
Dominican and to a lesser extent Puerto Rican, with Cubans and
Central Americans also showing significant numbers of Hispanics
who identified themselves racially as black.
36, who lives in Garden City and is a instructor at the Westbury
Language Center, said her black skin and Latino heritage has led
to little direct segregation.
"But when I am with Caucasian
people they look at me differently," said the English as a Second
Language teacher from Costa Rica. "They are asking themselves
'How come a black girl is Spanish?' And they can't understand
The study found that 28 percent of black Hispanics were
immigrants, compared with 41 percent of all Hispanics. Sixty-one
percent of black Hispanics spoke a language other than English
in the home compared with 79 percent of all Hispanics. The mean
education level of black Hispanics was 11.7 years, compared with
12.5 for non-Hispanic blacks and 10.5 years for all Hispanics.
median household income of black Hispanics was $35,000, closer
to the $34,000 of non-Hispanic blacks than to the $38,500 of all
Their unemployment rate was 12.3 percent, compared
with 11 percent for non-Hispanic blacks and 8.8 percent for all
Hispanics. Their poverty rate was 31.5 percent, compared with
the 29.7 percent of non-Hispanic blacks and 26 percent for all
Black Hispanics tend to marry non-Hispanic blacks
at a higher rate than they do other Hispanics, the report said.
Nearly half the black Hispanic children had a parent who is a
Pearsall married Milton Pearsall last year,
an Army warrant officer who is African-American. "African-Americans
are a little more open to accept me because I look like them,"
Rosina Pearsall said.
Faced with such a mixture of racial backgrounds,
the report also found that Hispanics are increasingly choosing
to not identify themselves as either black or white. In the 1980
Census, only 33.7 percent of Hispanics chose to forgo any racial
classification. In 2000, 47.4 percent did not choose a race.
acknowledged, however, that the bulk of Hispanics may not call
themselves white or black simply because they factually are neither.
The dominate Hispanic group in the United States, those of Mexican
heritage, are often of both Spanish and indigenous blood and their
skin is neither black nor white.
© 2003, Newsday, Inc.
To see the full Mumford Center report, "How Race Counts
for Hispanic Americans": http://mumford1.dyndns.org/cen2000/BlackLatinoReport/BlackLatino01.htm
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