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The Politics of Hispanic Identity

The federal government officially recognizes "Hispanic"—an artificial and arbitrary concept devoid of ethnic, racial, cultural, or linguistic meanings—as a legitimate collective identity for two reasons. Domestically, it is to create a "Hispanic nation" within the United States, to inflate the numerical size of that "nation," and to have all members of that "nation" eligible for affirmative action programs. Internationally, it is to legitimize "Hispanic" power in the 18 Spanish-speaking countries in the Western Hemisphere by recognizing the population of each as a homogenous "ethnic" group, thereby denying the existence of non-Hispanic peoples and enabling the suppression of their languages, cultures, and religions.

Achieving the domestic objectives, which virtually guarantees the realization of the international one, required rewriting the history of the United States. As George Orwell recognized in Nineteen Eighty-Four: "Who controls the past controls the future; who controls the present controls the past." According to this historical revisionism, a significant Mexican population lived in what is today Texas and the Southwest of the United States before the arrival of the Americans; Mexican-Americans have always been loyal to the United States; and the status of Mexicans and Mexican- Americans in the United States has historically been more...

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