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I am retired from government, law enforcement, politics and all other pointless endeavors. I eat when I am hungry and sleep when I am tired.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Am I the only one to notice that Sonia Sotomayor while being heralded as a Latina breakthrough candidate seems awfully white? I do hope that Isn't a bad thing to say, that is, accuse someone of being a Caucasian. I mean no disrespect. It just seems to me that if I were introduced to her as say Mrs. Stephanopolus, or Ms. Emanuel I wouldn't doubt it for a instant.

To be frank, Ms. Sotomayor is what we used to call a Mediterranean. Perhaps somewhere in her family tree there may have been a African or Carib, but not lately. So what's the big deal?

The deal for me is that there simply is no definition of a Hispanic that makes the least sense. I know. I tried to get one while in government.

While conducting operational audits for the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs I came across a Black American woman who had a Hispanic name and who was carried on the roles of our grantee as a Hispanic employee. Now this was only significant because the grantee needed to avoid discrimination but had an almost totally black workforce. So this woman constituted a significant portion of the "Hispanic" work force. When I inquired of my coworkers why she should be counted toward the racial mix of the grantee, I was met with a rather shrill warning that it was not for me to define people. So this woman who spoke no Spanish and who had her Hispanic name entirely by virtue of having once been married to a Hispanic man, was allowed to stay on the books as a Hispanic.

I then when to the Office of Hispanic Affairs to see what they had to say about who is, and is not Hispanic. They weren't very helpful. I did learn however that people from Spain were definitely not Hispanic, nor were people from Portugal. As Europeans they were not thought needy enough. I asked if people from the Canary Islands were Hispanic. They weren't sure. They didn't think Portugese arriving from Angola or Mozambique were really Hispanic either. They were sure that immigrants from South America were Hispanic. But when I asked if Dr. Mengela would be considered Hispanic if he were to present himself directly from Paraguay, I was encouraged to leave. So it seems that anyone with brown eyes from anywhere but Spain can be Hispanic if they feel like it.

Despite my Green eyes I tried this out in a half hearted way. The Name Meehan is reputed to come down from Meleseus, the King of Celtiberia. Doesn't this qualify me as an Hispanic of sorts? Nope, I'm too white.

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