The Consortium on Race, Gender and Ethnicity held an event on the State of Hispanic Race and Ethnicity Nov. 9 in the Stamp Student Union. The half-day conference focused on the implications of combining the race and ethnicity categories in the 2020 Census.
The moderators and panelists included professors from different universities, as well as government and polling officials.
“The distinction between race and ethnic or national origin is real,” said Nancy López, Director and Co-founder of the Institute for the Study of Race and Social Justice at the University of New Mexico.
“There are well documented social inequalities related to physical appearance variations among Hispanics in Latin America, the Caribbean, and the United States,” she said.
According to López, combining race and ethnicity would make it impossible to identify race for many respondents, particularly because many white, brown and black Hispanics would be grouped together.
Jessica Peña, a 27-year-old doctoral student at the University of Maryland intern at the U.S. Census Bureau, is a self-described Afro-Dominicana. Peña said she checks multiple boxes when answering questions of race.
“[I] feel like the concept of race and ethnicity can be understood as indifferent,” Peña said. “I can be viewed as Latina, but from my personal experience, I am most racialized as black.”