[Marxism] Roediger & Zweig: exchange on race & class: Latinas/os, why some "self-identify" as white?

Carl Webb carlwebb at gmail.com
Wed Dec 13 16:26:34 MST 2006

As an Afro-Latino I'd guess some Latinas/os identify as white because
they are mostly of European heritage.  Likewise those Latinas/os of
Asian or Middle Eastern heritage would identify as such also.  Is it
possible to acknowledged that patterns of oppression faced by
Latinas/os could vary greatly depending on race and class?


On 12/13/06, Mike Friedman <mikedf at amnh.org> wrote:

> "It seems perverse to insist that Hispanics who identify themselves as
> white be excluded from that identity by analysts of race because many
> Hispanics are poor," Zweig states. Zwig, who correctly notes that
> Latinas/os labeled as "white" are disproportionately poor, can't seriously
> be implying that Hispanics (light-skinned or not) are not subject to
> racism, can he? But, if he isn't then he must recognize that not
> "analysts," but a racist social order are objectively denying Hispanics
> the status of "white," and that his statistical manipulation is but a
> shell-game. He, in effect, reverses cause and effect. One question he
> might ask himself is that, given real acknowledged patterns of oppression
> faced by Latinas/os, why do some "self-identify" as white? Could it have
> something to do with the aforementioned negative portrayals of Latinos and
> Blacks? Could it have something to do with real inequality, which is then
> ATTRIBUTED to some defficiencies on the part of the oppressed? Could it
> have something to do with one's aspirations in this racist society for
> one's children?
> He then reaffirms his confusion -- no his *obfuscation*: "Given the mixed
> racial experience of Hispanics in their home countries, and in their
> self-identification here, Roediger's desire to acknowledge the "highly
> racialized poverty of Latinas/os" seems to me a wrong approach to the
> clarity that might emerge from a more nuanced understanding of *white
> people* [emphasis added -- MF] in this country." How kind of Mr. Zweig to
> consider Hispanics as white, How white of him.
> Michael Friedman
> Ph.D. Candidate in Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior
> City University of New York
> Molecular Systematics Laboratory
> Department of Invertebrate Zoology
> American Museum of Natural History
> 79th Street and Central Park West
> New York, NY 10024
> Office: 212-313-8721
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