Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Decoding ethnic labels

Decoding ethnic labels: If you are of Latin American descent, do you call yourself Chicano? Latino? Hispanic?

As an undergraduate at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Carlos Hipolito-Delgado, PhD, knew instinctively that the ethnic labels his fellow students chose said something about their perception of themselves and their values.

"There was a very clear understanding that if you identified as a member of one group, you were not a member of the other groups," Hipolito-Delgado said. "If you called yourself Hispanic or Latino, then being called Chicano was a four-letter word."

Hipolito-Delgado, an associate professor in the School of Education & Human Development at CU Denver identifies himself as Chicano because he believes it's a way to recognize his indigenous ancestry. But his older brother identifies himself as Hispanic. His older sister identifies herself as Latina.

"We all grew up in the same house with the same parents," Hipolito-Delgado said. "But we all self-identify differently."