Letters to the Editor: 'Mestizo,' 'Chicano,' 'Raza' — how U.S. census forms can identify Latinos

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FILE - This Sunday, April 5, 2020, file photo shows an envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a U.S. resident in Detroit. On Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020, the U.S. Supreme Court stopped the once-a-decade head count of every U.S. resident from continuing through the end of October. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)
An envelope containing a 2020 census letter mailed to a resident of Detroit on April 5, 2020. (Associated Press)

To the editor: I choose "other" on the census form when asked what race I am. ("'Other' as the nation's 2nd-largest race? Latinos and the 2020 census may make that happen," Opinion, April 29)

Why? because I am 100% Kaqchikel, an indigenous member of the Maya family. Other U.S. Latinos choose "other" because they are Mestizo; that's someone of mixed race, especially of indigenous and European blood. In Latin America, mestizos represent the largest racial group.

In addition to adding "Mestizo" to future census forms, many U.S. Latinx people, like me, identify as "Raza," and others embrace "Chicano." To be Chicano, you are of Mexican American heritage or indigenous roots.

When I greet someone with "Raza," they light up with pride.

Luis Alfredo Vasquez-Ajmac, Redondo Beach

The writer was an advisor to the U.S. Census Bureau in 2010 on boosting Latino participation.


To the editor: Laura E. Gómez stated that the previous administration rejected a proposal by Census Bureau officials to make "Latino" a race option in the 2020 census. I'm shocked, shocked, that a common-sense, analytically based change was blocked by those fine, fair-minded policymakers.

The change in the list of race identities would have resulted in a more accurate picture of our country's population and a more equitable distribution of government resources.

How about a do-over on the census? Congress should order a new one, with the recommended changes to the list of racial groups. Scrap the 2020 results and let the 2022 census reflect the real numbers.

Maybe when people aren't afraid, they will come out of hiding. Then we would have at least a chance for a fairer, less disparate society.

Pamela Clark, Ontario

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.