Are Portuguese and Brazilians Hispanic?

If someone from Portuguese or Brazilian heritage had to fill out a census form, what would they call themselves? That is the one-million dollar question that the Portuguese American Leadership Council of the United States (PALCUS) wants us to answer.
According to PALCUS, the U.S. Census Bureau is looking into whether to offer Portuguese as a choice on the 2020 Census (Portuguese is not among the ethnicity lists on the Census forms). Currently, many Portuguese and Brazilians just say “other” on their forms and write in Portuguese or Brazilian and choose Hispanic or some other combination.

The term Hispanic was adopted by the Census Bureau on their forms in 1970 and it was used for the first time in the 70s by Government agencies seeking to classify people of Spanish origin. Not all who speak Spanish are content with the Hispanic classification, especially those in the Caribbean and Central and South America. As you know, Brazilians, who do not speak Spanish, are Latinos, but Portuguese who share the Iberian Peninsula with Spain may not want to be called “Latino” or “Hispanic.” And the U.S. Department of Labor also allows people to self-designate as a Hispanic, if they are Portuguese, and it cannot be contested.

Wikipedia defines “Hispanic as an ethnonym that denotes a relationship to Spain or, in some definitions, to ancient Hispania, which comprised the Iberian Peninsula including the modern states of Andorra, Portugal, and Spain and the British Crown Dependency of Gibraltar. Today, organizations in the United States use the term to refer to persons with a historical and cultural relationship either with Spain and Portugal or only with Spain.”

Then again, the United States government does not offer a uniform definition of Hispanics. The Department of Transportation recognizes Portuguese as Hispanic, as does the Small Business Administration, but the Census Bureau still does not. And in 2020, it will recognize the Portuguese and Brazilians as something, but just what remains to be seen.

PALCUS President Fernando Rosa says that “As of now, we have no classification.” He continues:“We either are falling into the white category, the black category or the Hispanic category. At this point, the Census (Bureau) is trying to revise the definition and we are hoping we will fall into a category where people are comfortable.”

What do you think? Click here to take PALCUS survey.

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One Response to Are Portuguese and Brazilians Hispanic?

  1. Wladek says:

    Brazilians are Brazilians, South Americans, Lusophones and not Latinos or Hispanic.

    The way they are labeled most of the time in the US is totally wrong. If Brazilians are “latinos” because of the language root then you will have to include French, Portuguese, Romanians and Italians. Brazilians do not feel comfortable to be called latinos or hispanic as suggested, this is non sense at all.

    Why Canada, Quebec, specifically is not part of Latin America? Good question eh? Brazilian culture has nothing to do with Hispanic or the so called “latino” culture. Very distant from such cultures.

    Brazil does not have Hispanic roots, Brazil is a multicultural country that speaks Portuguese Language, same as in Portugal. In 1990 an agreement between all Lusophone nations was signed to keep the grammar and orthography the same. Is becoming a reality, even though some old school writers, specially in Portugal still use the previous orthography.

    If accent is an excuse between Portugal and Brazil this is another non sense. Within Brazil there are many different accents but is within the Portuguese language. There is no Portuguese dialect.

    Just as an example in regards to ethnicity. You will find that in Brazil you have descendants of Portuguese (the biggest group), Ukrainians, Poles, Germans, Dutch, Italians, Russians, Austrians, Lebanese, Armenians, Koreans, Chinese Japanese and many others that I am not listing. Hispanics are in a very small number when compared with all the other ethnicities. Even Americans fled to Brazil during the Civil War. Also not to mention several ethnic groups from Africa, mostly in the the Northeast area of the Nation.

    Again, Brazilians are not Latinos, they are Brazilians, a Multicultural Lusophone Nation.

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