Race, ethnicity, and Hispanismo in a triangular perspective: The "essential Latina/o" and LatCrit theory

Francisco Valdes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The central theme of this Article is the questionable, character and consequences of Hispanismo, a racial and ethnic ideology that prevails among Latina/o communities worldwide and that is promoted directly by Spain despite its problematic nature. Hispanismo is problematic for at least two reasons: first, because it perpetuates colonial-era attitudes and power relations within Latina/o communities and between such communities and Spain, and second, because it fails to serve the social justice interests of Latinas/os in the United States and globally. These problems result because identification with Spain is not a route to acceptance in a society like the United States and in other Anglocentric cultures, which traditionally regard Spain as inferior, even though European. Consequently, even successful identification with "white" Spaniards is compatible with continuing subordination by Anglo American elites. And, even to the extent that some Latinas/os in the United States or elsewhere succeed in identifying themselves with European Spain, this identification will do considerably less to benefit diverse Latinas/os because cultural and phenotypic reasons make it difficult, if not impossible, for many Latinas/os to link with Spain or to identify with a Eurocentric construction of identity. The point is not to devalue or reject the Spanish heritage of some Latinas/os out of hand, but to interrogate, challenge, and relativise it so as to tranquilize the racially and ethnically subordinating aspects of Hispanismo's practice as a form of social identity and cultural politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)305-313
Number of pages9
JournalUCLA Law Review
Issue number2
StatePublished - Dec 1 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Law


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