Professional race-baiters like Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton, who want to divide us along ethnic and racial lines, have invented a new subcategory to further Balkanize the American people: "white Hispanics."
They needed this new category in order to turn the controversial Trayvon Martin case into a black vs. white "hate crime." For those who have been living on Mars, Martin was the unarmed 17-year-old black youth who was shot to death by a "white Hispanic" named George Zimmerman, who has a white father and a Peruvian mother. That means he's in the same category as my adult Mexican-American children, who had a Mexican mother and a "white" father - "white" in quotes because I'm a strange mixture of English, Norwegian and Syrian ancestors, and classified myself as "American" on the last census.
Although no one really knows what happened in the Trayvon Martin case, Jackson and Sharpton have logged a lot of TV "face time" by leading marches designed to exacerbate racial tensions while even more radical race-baiters put a bounty on Zimmerman's head. Earlier this month, a special prosecutor in Florida filed second-degree murder charges against Zimmerman, a 28-year-old Neighborhood Watch volunteer.
So how do Hispanics feel about being judged by their skin color? After all, if there are white Hispanics, logic dictates that there must be brown Hispanics and black Hispanics, too (for example, most Cubans are black and most Costa Ricans are white). And if that's true for Hispanics, then it must also be true for African-Americans. President Barack Obama had a white mother. Does that make him a "white" African-American? I have African-American friends of all shades of brown and black. Reductum al absurdum. Where does this reverse racism stop?
Are my precious little 7-year-old twin grandsons "white Hispanics" because they have a Mexican-American mother and a fair-skinned father? Or are they just regular, sweet American kids? And after all is said and done, does their ethnicity really matter? I don't think so.
And neither do many Hispanic-Americans. A new poll by the respected Pew Hispanic Center reveals that only one-fourth of those polled regularly use the terms "Hispanic" or "Latino" to describe themselves, while more than 20 percent of them are simply "American." Good for them! The remaining 80 percent tend to identify with their countries of origin, which is especially true for Cubans, Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. So politicians should be careful when they lump all Hispanics together as a voting bloc. Most Cuban-Americans are conservative Republicans, while many Mexican-Americans are liberal Democrats.
"Latinos have not fully embraced the terms Hispanic or Latino when it comes to describing themselves," said Mark Hugo Lopez, a principal author of the Pew report. That will come as a surprising revelation to race-baiters and politically correct politicians, but not to those of us in bicultural families. Perhaps I'm old-fashioned, but I still believe in a colorblind, "melting pot" concept of American society. Long live "E pluribus unum" - out of many, one people. Americans.
• Guy W. Farmer of Carson City isn't a hyphenated American.