Are all mammals land dwellers? Do all mammals give birth to live young? Do all birds fly? Do all animals with lungs live on land? Do all living creatures depend on the sun for survival? Are all planets rocky? Are the Basques Spanish or French? The answer to all these very basic questions is NO.
Today, we’d like to answer that same question, which has been recently asked in a different way, with the same answer: NO.
We’re bringing this up today because on the “Newser” website (like many other American media) has just published an AP article by Suzanne Gamboa (evidently of Basque heritage) analyzing the concept of “Hispanic” in the US according to how members of the US House of Representatives are classified and how they classify themselves. Congressman John Garamendi (D-CA3) doesn’t feel that he’s Hispanic, because he defines himself as “Basque”.
The truth is that the concept of “Hispanic” in the US is wide and broadly applied. It can be applied equally to a blond, blue-eyed Galician and to a Guatemalan who’s family has always lived there, meaning it’s not an ethnic concept. It’s equally applied to a person whose cultural origins are from Castile, or Portugal, or Catalonia, so neither does it apply to cultural or linguistic origins. As far as Basques are concerned, if a Basque-American whose origins are from north of the Pyrenees can’t be catalogued as Hispanic, neither can one whose origins are from south of the Pyrenees. The Basques on both sides of the mountains come from the same culture, and they are neither Hispanic nor French. They’re Basques.
Newser -5/2/2013 – USA
Differing views on whether House members with Portuguese, Basque heritage are Hispanic
There is no dispute about the Senate, which has three Hispanic senators. The House, however, is another matter. The House Press Gallery, an administrative office of Congress that helps media and House officials get the data and background they need, counts 33 Hispanic representatives in the 113th Congress, not including delegates. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute, a nonprofit affiliated with the caucus, puts the number at 31. The National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials tallies 28. The conflicting numbers on Capitol Hill illustrate just how elastic Hispanic identity can be.
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