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Fermanagh's avatar

Timid Streaker

Many people almost always seem to identify someone's ethnicity based on their looks, which usually is an accurate way to do so, but sometimes it's only semi-accurate, if you grant it that there is such a thing when it comes to ethnicity.

In the U.S. for example (even here in Wisconsin, pfft) when many people see another person who has darker skin and who looks like they could very well be of Mexican descent, why do those people usually refer to that person as being Mexican? "He's Mexican", "She's Mexican", "They're Mexican".

First of all, even if that person is indeed of Mexican descent, that doesn't necessarily mean that that person is a Mexican National, which is what the word "Mexican" implies, just as the words "American", "Russian", "Irish", "Canadian", "British", and "Australian" and so forth do. Even if someone says "Mexican" with the intention of refering to a person as being of Mexican descent, and not necessarily being a Mexican National, why don't they just say "Mexican-American"?

Second of all - these identifications being based on looks alone - said person may not even be Mexican; they could be Brazilian, or Puerto Rican, or Cuban, or Ecuadorian, or Columbian, or of some other similar ethnic background. Most likely to be Mexican, you say? Not necessarily. I've met more people from Ecquador and Brazil than I've met people from Mexico, even though I do live in the upper mid-west. Why not use "Hispanic", if you are unsure? Yes the criteria may be vague, but its connotations serve brevity well, don't they?

Also, what about surnames? Can people even recognize the respective ethnic origins of surnames anymore? To some extent, most likely, but do people know how to recognize a Jewish person, or an English person, etc.? Can people tell the difference between a Scottish surname and an Irish surname (even though a few are shared with origins too deep for common knowledge)? Etc. Etc.

Im droning on. There is alot I've left out here, and this is complicated stuff so the OP certainly isn't full-proof, so to speak, but I hope you take my meaning.

Discuss.
Pseudo-Onkelos's avatar

Adored Admirer

I was under the assumption that "Mexican" is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same with "American".
People have mistaken me for being middle eastern, but then again people don't look at the names of others to make a guess because they've lived in a sheltered life for 15-17 years.

I respect you for bringing that up.
i get mistaken for being a slav

but i am really scandinavian
Fermanagh's avatar

Timid Streaker

Pseudo-Onkelos
I was under the assumption that "Mexican" is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same with "American".

It's both. Just like the Scottish and the Irish; both nationalities, and both ethnicities. America, too, is a nationality as well as an ethnicity. The tricky part with America, however, is that the ethnic aspect to Americans is commonly known to be a hybridization of other ethnicities.
Camera Stellata 's avatar

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I suppose its because of the idea of the Mexican immigrant is referenced so much in US pop culture, which may itself be because, in spite of your anecdote, Mexicans do make up the vast majority of Hispanics in the US (cite)
Pseudo-Onkelos's avatar

Adored Admirer

Fermanagh
Pseudo-Onkelos
I was under the assumption that "Mexican" is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same with "American".

It's both. Just like the Scottish and the Irish; both nationalities, and both ethnicities. America, too, is a nationality as well as an ethnicity. The tricky part with America, however, is that the ethnic aspect to Americans is commonly known to be a hybridization of other ethnicities.


Citation needed.
Fermanagh's avatar

Timid Streaker

Pseudo-Onkelos
Fermanagh
Pseudo-Onkelos
I was under the assumption that "Mexican" is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same with "American".

It's both. Just like the Scottish and the Irish; both nationalities, and both ethnicities. America, too, is a nationality as well as an ethnicity. The tricky part with America, however, is that the ethnic aspect to Americans is commonly known to be a hybridization of other ethnicities.


Citation needed.


I don't have one. I'm sure you can find one, though. Perhaps you'd be interested in Crevecoeur's "Letter III. What is an American".
Pseudo-Onkelos's avatar

Adored Admirer

Fermanagh
Pseudo-Onkelos
Fermanagh
Pseudo-Onkelos
I was under the assumption that "Mexican" is a nationality, not an ethnicity. Same with "American".

It's both. Just like the Scottish and the Irish; both nationalities, and both ethnicities. America, too, is a nationality as well as an ethnicity. The tricky part with America, however, is that the ethnic aspect to Americans is commonly known to be a hybridization of other ethnicities.


Citation needed.


I don't have one. I'm sure you can find one, though. Perhaps you'd be interested in Crevecoeur's "Letter III. What is an American".


I'm sure I could, but I'll be honest with you. I am not really interested. I don't mean to offend you. I'll take your word, though. 3nodding
Avgvsto's avatar

Anxious Knight

Wow i don't give a s**t. Seriously though, where do you find the time to think about this stuff?
And this, my friends. Is why I say "Latino" or "Hispanic" while describing about fifty percent of my co workers.
Fermanagh's avatar

Timid Streaker

Avgvsto
Wow i don't give a s**t. Seriously though, where do you find the time to think about this stuff?

Oh, it takes hardly any time at all. I'm familiar with proper language as it concerns this kind of thing, so everything in the OP and more was clear to me in less time than it took to type it all out.

Ignorance of mouth is outward evidence of ignorance of mind, y'know. That's why I actually give a s**t about the way people talk.
Avgvsto's avatar

Anxious Knight

Fermanagh
Avgvsto
Wow i don't give a s**t. Seriously though, where do you find the time to think about this stuff?

Oh, it takes hardly any time at all. I'm familiar with proper language as it concerns this kind of thing, so everything in the OP and more was clear to me in less time than it took to type it all out.

Ignorance of mouth is outward evidence of ignorance of mind, y'know. That's why I actually give a s**t about the way people talk.
So you're saying that being able to successfully play around with semantics in order to put your petty thoughts above someone else's displays your intelligence. Do you really think that when i say a girl is mexican i must inherently mean something that i didn't imply because of the literary context? Do you ever talk to people?
Avgvsto's avatar

Anxious Knight

Heimdalr's avatar

Mega Noob

We Do Not Kneel
i get mistaken for being a slav

but i am really scandinavian

I'm scandinavian and always thought you're a slav

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