The unwelcome guest

My life as an US non-legal resident


Austin, Texas, USA
November 16
I live in Austin, the place I call home, with my domestic partner and three cats: Tiger (red tabby), Mischief (fat calico) and Queequeg (smoky golden and black maine coon). I'm learning to write English while blogging so please be patient with my mistakes.


Austinstranger's Links
APRIL 9, 2010 9:38AM

How the U.S. census stole my Latin heritage

Rate: 3 Flag

Two weeks ago we received in the mail the questionnaire for the census. It's better than last time, when race and ethnic ancestry were somewhat a blurry territory. Now the census bureaucracy recognizes that you can be of Latino origin but of any race:  White, Asian, American-Indian, Black, or mixed race. 

After giving it some thought, I decided that I was Latino. Of course I am Latino, being of Portuguese origin. All the people who speak Latin-derived languages, such as French, Italian, Spanish, Romanian, Catalan and Portuguese are Latinos, right? That's why all those countries down South are called Latin America.

"Not so", says the census. Today a friend send me an e-mail with news. Brazilian-Americans are not seen by the census as Latinos. The word "Latino" and the word "Hispanic" are used as synonyms; because we don't speak Spanish, we are non-Hispanic -- thus we are not Latinos!

 "As employed by the Census Bureau, Hispanic or Latino does not include Brazilian Americans,[3][4][24] and specifically refers to "Spanish culture or origin";[3][4] Brazilian Americans appear as a separate ancestry group.[25] The twenty-eight Hispanic or Latino American groups in the Census Bureau's reports are the following:[4][26][27] Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Dominican Republic; Central American: Costa Rican, Guatemalan, Honduran, Nicaraguan, Panamanian, Salvadoran, Other Central American; South American: Argentinian, Bolivian, Chilean, Colombian, Ecuadorian, Paraguayan, Peruvian, Uruguayan, Venezuelan, Other South American; Other Hispanic or Latino: Spaniard, Spanish, Spanish American, All other Hispanic. "

(source Wikipedia) 


Última flor do Lácio, inculta e bela,
És, a um tempo, esplendor e sepultura:
Ouro nativo, que na ganga impura
A bruta mina entre os cascalhos vela...

Amo-te assim, desconhecida e obscura.
Tuba de alto clangor, lira singela,
Que tens o trom e o silvo da procela,
E o arrolo da saudade e da ternura!

Amo o teu viço agreste e o teu aroma
De virgens selvas e de oceano largo!
Amo-te, ó rude e doloroso idioma,

em que da voz materna ouvi: "meu filho!",
E em que Camões chorou, no exílio amargo,

O gênio sem ventura e o amor sem brilho! 

Olavo Bilac - Poesias -1888 



The last flower of Lazio, uncultivated and beautiful,
you are, at the same time, splendor and sepulcher:
native gold, that in impure minerals
the brute mine amid gravel hides...
I love you like this, unknown and obscure.
Tube of high resonance,  simple lyre,
You have the rumble and the hiss of the storm,
the longing and tenderness of a lullaby!
I love your rustic vigor and your fragance
of virgin woods and large ocean!
I love you, oh rude and painful language,
from which I heard of maternal voice "my son!"
from which Camões cried, in bitter exile,
the genius without fortune and the love without brilliance!


1 - Portuguese is referred to in the poem as the last flower of Lazio, the region of Italy where Latin language and civilization originated, thus the place from which all the romance languages came from.

2 - Camões is Portugal's equivalent of Shakespeare, who wrote in the 16th  century. 

3 - The translation of the poem was by me. 

More info about Brazilian Portuguese: 

Your tags:


Enter the amount, and click "Tip" to submit!
Recipient's email address:
Personal message (optional):

Your email address:


Type your comment below:
Only our government would declair that not all Latin Americans are Latinos!
Very interesting and loved the poem! thanks
thank you Lou, Caroline and Kathy!