Crayola Doesn’t Make That One

I logged into MySpace today to find that they had begun listing AMBER Alerts on user home pages upon login. I took a look at the listing and noticed something.

Skin Color: Hispanic

We're a society that needs to categorize everything into easily digestible bits. Perhaps this is just one of our human characteristics. But the last time I checked, "Hispanic" wasn't a color. There is no listing for race under this child's description, and I suppose they would have put Hispanic under that listing had there been one. That wouldn't have been right either, as Hispanic is not a race, but an ethnic category.

Our skin colors range from the palest to the darkest. We may be of any race. This is something that I'm still amazed some people don't know. We are not all a certain stereotypical shade of brown. We are White, Black, Asian, and anything else under the sun. There is no one "Hispanic" skin color. It isn't a color to begin with. I wasn't sure if the designation there on the alert was a product of confusion or simple ignorance.

While I applaud the growing
inclusion of Latinos in the American collective awareness, there's
obviously still a great distance to go. Most people's images of us don't necessarily mesh with the reality of just how diverse a group we truly are. On television, we are either Ugly Betty or Dora the Explorer. What about someone like Edith González? Sammy Sosa? The range of Latino faces is so vast and rich.

The reason this got me to thinking was partly because it concerns a missing child. "Skin color:Hispanic" doesn't give a clue to what this child looks like. Who am I looking for? Is he light like me? Dark like Sammy Sosa? It's in the authorities' interest to get it right because it might help us find these kids with more accurate information.

The decrease in cultural ignorance would simply be a bonus.