Zimmerman.jpg

Zimmerman the “white Hispanic.” Reuters and NY Times play Hunger Games

hunger_games.jpgOh, the vagaries of categorizing humans.  What opportunity for trickery it brings!

In the Hunger Games, the media hypes a contest that pits people from different “districts” against one another in a fight to the death.  While it is the government that forces the contest, the media inflames passions and supplies a false sense of righteousness to lead people to the fight.  The districts are as arbitrary as race – they have no innate need to fight.

Reuters and the New York Times have reality imitating art when they refer to George Zimmerman, the Florida man who shot Trayvon Martin, as a “white Hispanic.”  The goal, it is apparent, is to start a fight pitting “black” people against “white” people when those groups also have no need to fight.

Both Reuters and the New York Times violate their own internal style guides by calling Zimmerman, a man of Peruvian descent on his mother’s side, a “white Hispanic.”

The New York Times Style Guide says of the word Hispanic:

When a more specific identifier is available, – Cuban, Puerto Rican or Mexican American – use it. 

Reuters has the same rule in their style guide:

Be more specific where possible, such as Cuban or Mexican.

By their own standards, Reuters and the Times shouldn’t refer to Zimmerman as Hispanic at all since “Peruvian” is available.

The Times style guide makes clear that “Hispanic” is not to be referred to as a race, but their reporting on Zimmerman clearly ignores their rule.

The Reuters’ guide states:

Take care when reporting crimes and court cases.  The race of an accused person is not usually relevant.

Take care indeed.  What a more wonderful world it would be were media to follow that rule, Reuters included.  Unfortunately, media never waits for a race-specific fact to emerge before reporting on race.  The mere evidence of a shooter and a person shot being of different skin colors is enough for media to trigger the Hunger Games.

Some may suggest the idea of calling him a “white Hispanic” refers to the combination of Zimmerman’s father being white and his mother Hispanic.   Not according to Reuters.  Here is a sentence offered straight from their style guide as correct:  “Obama will be the first black US President.”   They reject calling Obama the first “white black US President,” or even just another white President for that matter.

The term “white Hispanic” is also a misnomer if guided by US Census data.  According to the census, people of Hispanic heritage are categorized as “white.”   Therefore Reuters and the New York Times are referring to Zimmerman by the redundancy “white white.”

Of course one relies upon the US Census for categorizing people at great peril. Our government recklessly combines and separates race and ethnicity with no scientific rhyme or reason.   According to the US Census, Thai and Lao are separate “races” despite their overlap, but Peruvian and Colombian are not, likely because of theirs.  There is a complete ignorance of biology and sociology in the US Census.

Here is another twist.  Many Peruvians are Amerindian and have no lineage to Spain.      Amerindians are, under the traditional system for categorizing race, not “Caucasian.” They are either Mongoloid or their own separate race.  That would mean Reuters and the Times would more properly call Zimmerman a “Mongoloid Hispanic” or simply “Hispanic’ instead of a “white Hispanic.”

Thanks to advances in genetics, there is a debate about whether races separately exist from a biological standpoint.  Science is leaning toward there being only one race, albeit with observable adaptations that differ in humans based upon geography.

Think of what happens to “racism” if biologically we are all the same race.

We all grew up with the understanding that there were three major races -  Caucasoid, Mongoloid and Negroid, with a few others going in and out of fashion like Amerindian, Malaysian and Australoid.   It was understood that the 3 major races had certain genetics which led to different traits like bone structure and hair thickness.

As genetics and anthropology have moved forward it appears “race” may not meaningfully exist.  Scientifically we are all classified as “homo sapiens.” Genetically, there are more variations in people geographically close to one another (say, between two Africans) than there are variations in people far from each other (say, between an African and a European).

The differences in appearance of people may have more to do with Darwinian adaptation; like protective pigment in human skin diminishing the further removed people are from the equator (as in Nordic Europe).  Those people farther from the equator also have different resources at their disposal, so they develop different foods, music and customs.  Over time it can be realized that they look different, eat different, dance different and act different than people from other places.  However, sharing the same genetics, and eventually the same consanguinity, Nordic Europeans are not really a “different race” than Africans (I know…I know…  I can’t say “different race” when I’m arguing race doesn’t exist.  Bad science dies hard).

Accordingly, “race” is now seen as a red herring.  The taxonomically correct “homo sapiens” encompasses us all without distinction.

Ethnicity is different than race, and it may be all we have left scientifically if we are going to make human distinctions (must we always make human distinctions?  If you are race-baiting media, then you have a reason to do it).

Ethnicity is more of a social construct than one of hard science.  While part of ethnicity has to do with tracing a genetic lineage (thus the connection to the old concept of race) much of ethnicity has to do with emotional ties to a society, or kinship.   It is why a native Aruban will patriotically tell you he is Dutch, or I, despite my vowel-laden surname, will tell you ethnically I’m an American.

What is left then of Reuters and the New York Times calling Zimmerman a “white Hispanic?”  “White” is not a scientific term for a race.  Neither is Hispanic.  Hispanic is an ethnicity.  Yet this fellow was born and raised in Florida, so his ethnicity is really American, just like the young man he shot. 

The only fair identifier of Zimmerman would be to say that he is an American with an ancestral line that leads to Peru on his mother’s side, but none of it appears to have anything to do with his shooting Trayvon Martin.

  1. EJHill

    We are stuck with this stuff as long as we continue to reward the grievance industry.

    Human beings sitting around classifying other human beings is even more distasteful in a democracy than it is in a dictatorship. Why are the “intellects” of Harvard, Yale, Washington and the nation’s newsrooms discussing race like the Nazis classified Aryan pureness with their Jewish “blood charts?”

  2. Paul A. Rahe
    C

    An elegant post.

    One quibble. Hispanic is not an ethnicity. It is an invention of the folks who brought us affirmative action. There were no Hispanics when I was young. There were Cubans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Spaniards, and they did not identify with one another.

    I suspect that even today Cuban-Americans would be no more likely to back a Mexican-American candidate than an Anglo, and vice-versa.

  3. wmartin
    Paul A. Rahe: An elegant post.

    One quibble. Hispanic is not an ethnicity. It is an invention of the folks who brought us affirmative action. There were no Hispanics when I was young. There were Cubans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Spaniards, and they did not identify with one another.

    I suspect that even today Cuban-Americans would be no more likely to back a Mexican-American candidate than an Anglo, and vice-versa. · 1 minute ago

    That’s why all the talk among Republicans about how Marco Rubio will appeal to “hispanics” is wishful thinking. Mexicans don’t care about Cubans in Florida.

  4. wmartin

    In thsi post, I think you are basically saying that race does exist while claiming that it doesn’t. You even say at one point that people geographically separated in their evolution will “act different.” This is true, but if we go that far we might as well just say that race exists.

  5. Tommy De Seno
    C
    Paul A. Rahe: An elegant post.

    One quibble. Hispanic is not an ethnicity. It is an invention of the folks who brought us affirmative action. There were no Hispanics when I was young. There were Cubans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Spaniards, and they did not identify with one another.

    I suspect that even today Cuban-Americans would be no more likely to back a Mexican-American candidate than an Anglo, and vice-versa. · 33 minutes ago

    Point taken.  The more I researched the topic the mukier the waters became.

  6. Tommy De Seno
    C
    wmartin: In thsi post, I think you are basically saying that race does exist while claiming that it doesn’t. You even say at one point that people geographically separated in their evolution will “act different.” This is true, but if we go that far we might as well just say that race exists. · 22 minutes ago

    I’m trying to separate out the claim that races are biologically different, which seems to be falling by the wayside the more genetics we learn, from the claim that ethnicities are different, which seems to hold true.

    Not easy for a layman like me, and I apologize if I’m being less than clear.

  7. Valiuth
    Paul A. Rahe: An elegant post.

    One quibble. Hispanic is not an ethnicity. It is an invention of the folks who brought us affirmative action. There were no Hispanics when I was young. There were Cubans, Mexicans, Peruvians, Spaniards, and they did not identify with one another.

    I suspect that even today Cuban-Americans would be no more likely to back a Mexican-American candidate than an Anglo, and vice-versa. · 30 minutes ago

    True indeed Hispanic seems to have its origin in the same mentality that created the concept of a Germanic race. Which is to say they all (expect of Brazillians) share a common language. This is a product of expansive Spanish colonialism, not because of any biological necessity. It would be the equivalent of declaring that French, Italians, Romanians, Spaniards, and the Portuguese are all part of a Latin race. 

  8. DocJay

    The only way to really determine someone’s lineage is to pull down their genes. The race issue is a joke in this country and the liberals practice racism as much as the klansmen they try to make all convervatives out to be.

  9. Valiuth
    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin: 

    I’m trying to separate out the claim that races are biologically different, which seems to be falling by the wayside the more genetics we learn, from the claim that ethnicities are different, which seems to hold true.

    Not easy for a layman like me, and I apologize if I’m being less than clear. · 0 minutes ago

    I think the best example to consider with respect to race is to think of the common dog. While the morphology of the common dog varies greatly (st. bernard v terrier) genetically they are all the same species. Their divergent shapes are the result of selective inbreeding generated by humans. Now it is good to remember humans are not inbred like dogs thus our morphological differences are very minor. Much the distinctive racial characteristics may be also explained by the “Founder Effect”.

    The main problem with genetically distinguishing the human races is that there is a lot of interbreeding between different human populations. Thus any genetic divergence that might have been created by isolation is being wiped away by globalization, and our high mobility. 

  10. Tommy De Seno
    C
    Valiuth

    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin: 

    I’m trying to separate out the claim that races are biologically different, which seems to be falling by the wayside the more genetics we learn, from the claim that ethnicities are different, which seems to hold true.

    Not easy for a layman like me, and I apologize if I’m being less than clear. · 0 minutes ago

    I think the best example to consider with respect to race is to think of the common dog. While the morphology of the common dog varies greatly (st. bernard v terrier) genetically they are all the same species. Their divergent shapes are the result of selective inbreeding generated by humans. Now it is good to remember humans are not inbred like dogs thus our morphological differences are very minor. Much the distinctive racial characteristics may be also explained by the “Founder Effect”.

    The main problem with genetically distinguishing the human races is that there is a lot of interbreeding between different human populations. Thus any genetic divergence that might have been created by isolation is being wiped away by globalization, and our high mobility.  · 0 minutes ago

    It is fascinating. 

  11. wmartin

    There is a lot of recent evidence that exactly the opposite is happening, and humans are becoming more and more different , and at an accelerating pace.

     “Our study denies the widely held assumption or belief that modern humans [those who widely adopted advanced tools and art] appeared 40,000 years ago, have not changed since and that we are all pretty much the same. We show that humans are changing relatively rapidly on a scale of centuries to millennia, and that these changes are different in different continental groups.”  

    Human races are evolving away from each other,” Harpending says. “Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity.”

    The increase in human population from millions to billions in the last 10,000 years accelerated the rate of evolution because “we were in new environments to which we needed to adapt,” Harpending adds. “And with a larger population, more mutations occurred.”

    http://unews.utah.edu/old/p/120607-1.html

     

  12. Tommy De Seno
    C
    wmartin: There is a lot of recent evidence that exactly the opposite is happening, and humans are becoming more and more different (with racial differences becoming more pronounced), and at an accelerating pace.

     

    Are they “racial” differences or “ethnic” differences, the later being adaptations within the race?

  13. wmartin
    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin: There is a lot of recent evidence that exactly the opposite is happening, and humans are becoming more and more different (with racial differences becoming more pronounced), and at an accelerating pace.

    Are they “racial” differences or “ethnic” differences, the later being adaptations within the race? · 1 minute ago

    I just added a quote:

    “Human races are evolving away from each other,” Harpending says. “Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity.”

  14. No Caesar

    The bottom line is that “race” in the liberal/left world seems to be defined by a handful of external body characteristics, primarily skin color, hair and facial features, modified by the “one drop” rule of the antebelum slave state days when it is expedient.   Using this, their own definition, liberals and the left are the racists of the modern world, e.g. they group people and treat them differently according to these external characteristics, modified by “one drop” as is convenient.  The Democrat party is the home of liberals and the left, which naturally leads to the conclusion that it is the home of racists.   But that’s been case since the beginning of the Democrat party, hasn’t it?  The claimed reason for their racism may have changed, but its presence has not. 

  15. Tommy De Seno
    C
    wmartin

    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin: There is a lot of recent evidence that exactly the opposite is happening, and humans are becoming more and more different (with racial differences becoming more pronounced), and at an accelerating pace.

    Are they “racial” differences or “ethnic” differences, the later being adaptations within the race? · 1 minute ago

    I just added a quote:

    “Human races are evolving away from each other,” Harpending says. “Genes are evolving fast in Europe, Asia and Africa, but almost all of these are unique to their continent of origin. We are getting less alike, not merging into a single, mixed humanity.”· 4 minutes ago

    I read it.  It just isn’t clear to me that the authors are considering that there is one race and then adaptations, as opposed to starting with more than one race.

    They may have a starting line that accepts the common view of “races” without challenging that part of it.

    That isn’t so they are wrong – they may actually agree.  Their paper just doesn’t seem to go that far back.

  16. Tommy De Seno
    C
    No Caesar: The bottom line is that “race” in the liberal/left world seems to be defined by a handful of external body characteristics, primarily skin color, hair and facial features, modified by the “one drop” rule of the antebelum slave state days when it is expedient.   Using this, their own definition, liberals and the left are the racists of the modern world, e.g. they group people and treat them differently according to these external characteristics, modified by “one drop” as is convenient.  The Democrat party is the home of liberals and the left, which naturally leads to the conclusion that it is the home of racists.   But that’s been case since the beginning of the Democrat party, hasn’t it?  The claimed reason for their racism may have changed, but its presence has not.  · 5 minutes ago

    Edited 3 minutes ago

    Very well said.

  17. wmartin
    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin

    Tommy De Seno

    .

     

    I read it.  It just isn’t clear to me that the authors are considering that there is one race and then adaptations, as opposed to starting with more than one race.

    They may have a starting line that accepts the common view of “races” without challenging that part of it.

    That isn’t so they are wrong – they may actually agree.  Their paper just doesn’t seem to go that far back. · 17 minutes ago

    I am not sure I quite understand your own definition of race. Like, for example, when you state that Nordic Europeans and Africans “share the same genetics.” Well, since we came out of Africa we all have the same deep ancestry, but the differences are massive, and imo fully justify the two being called different races of the same species. And according to the Cochran and Harpending research, Nordic Europeans and Africans are becoming even more different, rather than more alke.

  18. Tommy De Seno
    C
    wmartin

    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin

    Tommy De Seno

    .

    I read it.  It just isn’t clear to me that the authors are considering that there is one race and then adaptations, as opposed to starting with more than one race.

    They may have a starting line that accepts the common view of “races” without challenging that part of it.

    That isn’t so they are wrong – they may actually agree.  Their paper just doesn’t seem to go that far back.

    I am not sure I quite understand your own definition of race. Like, for example, when you state that Nordic Europeans and Africans “share the same genetics.” Well, since we came out of Africa we all have the same deep ancestry, but the differences are massive, and imo fully justify the two being called different races of the same species. And according to the Cochran and Harpending research, Nordic Europeans and Africans are becoming even more different, rather than more alke.

    Here is a debate between two scientists that may clear it up.

    Science is trending toward one race with clines that create disparities in physical appearance.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/does-race-exist.html

  19. wmartin
    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin

    Tommy De Seno

    wmartin

    Here is a debate between two scientists that may clear it up.

    Science is trending toward one race with clines that create disparities in physical appearance.

    http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/does-race-exist.html · 30 minutes ago

    I think the proponent of the idea that there are distinct races makes the stronger case in that article.

  20. DocJay

    Tommy, I just examined a former ACC football player who is half black as well as a very smart conservative.  I showed him your article and told him he’s now white/black.   His comment was that he suddenly felt morally superior.

Want to comment on stories like these? Become a member today!

You'll have access to:

  • All Ricochet articles, posts and podcasts.
  • The conversation amongst our members.
  • The opportunity share your Ricochet experiences.

Join Today!

Already a Member? Sign In