chapter  2
30 Pages

Theory and Research on Racial and Ethnic Minorities: Hispanic Americans

The term Hispanic is widely used by social scientists to refer to a very diverse group of people who share a history of Spanish colonialism in the American continent. Hispanics in the United States include people whose national origin is Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, as well as countries in Central and South America (Tienda & Ortiz, 1986). The term Hispanic is also used to refer to people with links to Spain or Mexico who have been in the United States for many generations (mainly in Arizona, New Mexico, and Colorado), and who consider themselves of Hispanic origin even though they do not identify with any specific country in Latin America. This last group is commonly referred to as "Other Hispanics" (Bean & Tienda, 1987). The label Hispanic, however, is not universally accepted by the population of Latin American origin in the United States. Currently its use is debated among social scientists, many of whom would prefer a wider use of the term Latino to refer to this multiethnic group (Calderon, 1992; Gomez, 1992).