So what race are Hispanics? They can be Asian, Black, Pacific Islander, White, Native American, or any combination of two or more of these. The Latino community is nothing short of a genetic kaleidoscope. The answer to the question is, "Any of the above." Even the Census Bureau has stated that "Hispanics can be of any race, any ancestry, any country of origin."
Each one of the racial categories mentioned above "shares certain distinctive physical traits." When you begin to look closely at the Latino community as a whole, you begin to notice that you simply can't organize it by race; there's just too many of us who don't fit the finite number of races. Most of us fit in the last category, "a combination of two or more races." Yes, many of us are "mestizos" or of mixed racial ancestry. Still, there are some pure bred White, Black or Asian individuals who identify themselves as Latinos.
So the question now is, what are Hispanics? The best way to categorize them is as an ethnic group. An ethnic group is defined as "a group of those who hold in common a set of traditions that distinguish them from others ... such as a sense of historical continuity, a common ancestry, place of origin, religious beliefs and practices, and language." Please note that when defining an ethnic group, it is done not by a rigidly defined set of characteristics that you can't move away from, but as a combination of several traditions, which at the end of the day define a particular outlook in life, a state of mind, a way to interpret and respond to outside situations and stimuli.
Let's see how some of the characteristics of the Latino ethnicity intertwine.
With all this in mind, I'm sure you are now asking, "Who is Hispanic?" A recent Pew Hispanic Center report that emerged around the commotion about whether or not Sonia Sotomayor was the nation's first Hispanic nominated to the Supreme Court put it quite clearly: "You are if you say so."
Through my years living in the U.S. I've met and befriended many persons who neither physically or through heritage fit the "Latino stereotype," yet their state of mind, their outlook in life is much more Hispanic than that others I've met who "genetically" look Latino. The former, to me, are Hispanics.