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An interesting and encouraging poll of Latinos

Timothy Kincaid

October 3rd, 2012

I get truly irritated by “polls” that refuse to provide the original questions, the selection methodology, the margin of error, or anything else from which to judge if they have meaning. So a new “survey for NBC Latino” of 400 Hispanic Americans by Zogby is driving me nuts. They tell us nothing about the methodology or how those “surveyed” were selected, but they do provide that “Participants were surveyed between August 31 and September 4 and the results have a -/+4.8 percentage point of error.”

I say all that so as to preface that I place no reliance on this report. However, it is good news and probably not altogether surprising news to those who live in a high-Latino density location.

In 2008, Hispanic voters supported Proposition 8 with numbers (53%) that very nearly mirrored the public vote as a whole (52%). And as polls show us that the public position on marriage equality has significantly changed since 2008, it would seem reasonable that the shift in Hispanic Americans has followed the national trend.

Another finding that is interesting is that 74% of American Latinos identify as being “American” while another 19% identify as being both American and as “Being from my home country” (only 4% chose “home country” alone). While these numbers were a little bit higher than I expected, they don’t come as much of a surprise. Being Mexican-American or Salvadoran-American appears to me to be rapidly taking on the cultural relevance of being Italian-American or Irish-American (or may have already to a large degree done so), culturally interesting but not exactly the most defining characteristic.

But I simply refuse to believe one of their reported findings: by 56% to 28%, Latinos prefer burgers over tacos. Burger over tacos? No way!

I did a quick informal survey of my office co-workers. Oddly enough, my very multi-cultural office doesn’t have any Latinos currently working here but the results came out this way:

Burgers: the American born Japanese lady and Vietnamese guy.
Tacos: the coworkers born in Israel, Norway, England, and the Philippines. And me.

Comments

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Jim Burroway
October 3rd, 2012 | LINK

Can I be a part of the poll?

Burgers.

But I don’t know how to properly score it, because my favorite burger is from a local restaurant called BK’s, which is a Mexican restaurant (or, more accurately, a border restaurant) that specializes in Sonoran-style hot dogs. Which, by the way, are out of this world. But when I don’t get hot dogs, I go for their burgers.

By the way, nobody at BK’s eats tacos, although I think they might have them on the menu. What I learned from my summer exchange in Mexico is that tacos are not food. They are snacks that you make from leftovers. Or they are just an easy way to wrap up meat in tortillas when you are on the go. So I’m not the least bit surprised by the finding that Latinos prefer burgers over tacos. Makes perfect sense.

Lucrece
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

I hate tacos and Mexican food in general. I’m a Paula Deen kind of spic.

Michael C
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

I find tacos difficult to eat. The shells always break down the middle and fall apart.

Maybe I’m just doing it wrong.

Timothy Kincaid
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

Michael C

Don’t use the crunchy Taco Bell type of tortillas. Unless you have fresh tortillas, lightly fry the corn tortillas you get in the store in vegetable oil just until they are soft and warm (don’t over fry or they get first leathery and then turn hard and crunchy like a tortilla chip. Make sure your oil is hot first or you’ll end up with a tortilla with the consistency of a wet paper towel.

Or save yourself the trouble, come to LA, and hit up ANY of the hundreds of Mexican food trucks.

Timothy Kincaid
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

And… I have a recommendation.

For a snack, fry up a corn tortilla, spread it with peanut butter while its still hot, and roll it up. It sounds disgusting but it’s delicious.

Michael C
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

You’re right, Timothy. That does sound disgusting.

Priya Lynn
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

Michael said “I find tacos difficult to eat. The shells always break down the middle and fall apart.”.

I use the crunchy Taco bell tortillas that Timothy recommended against. To help stop the breakage problem, cook the hamburger/sauce but leave it with a bit of moisture in. I take 4 tortillas, fill them with hamburger first, then cheese and sauce. 1 minute or so in the microwave on medium power and they’re at eating temperate and the moisture from the hamburger seeps into the bottom of the shell making it flexible so it usually won’t break when you eat it.

Although I like tacos quite a bit, hamburgers are still my favourite.

Michael C
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

Things like blue cheese, foie gras or fried egg would be horrible in a taco. That is why I think I’ll stick with hamburgers. Mind you, I wouldn’t put all of those things together on a burger…

Timothy, given your odd ideas of when to use peanut butter, have you tried the Elvis burger?

Robert
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

the issue we have here is a misuse of the terms “hispanic” and “latino” which might explain the polls results. Hispanic refers to non Latin countries, such Spain and Portugal, whereas Latino refers to individuals from Latin American countries like Mexico Puerto Rico and the like.

The use of these phrases as interchangeable is wrong, they are not. They describe entirely different communities tha simply share the same language base due to colonization of the latin countries by the hispanic country Spain.

One should be more careful in the usage of these terms as they mean different things.

Timothy Kincaid
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

Michael C, I’m food adventurous, but I’m still holding off on the Elvis Burger. Can I claim my invention is the “Elvis Taco”?

Lucrece
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

That’s completely false, Robert. South and Central Americans define themselves Hispanic as well.

The Portuguese and those of such descent are not considered Hispanic, rather Ibero American.

A cursory glance at Telemundo or any local South American channel will enlight you as to what terms are actually used.

I personally prefer to be addressed as Hispanic since Latino carries heavy ethnic and racial stereotyping in the US, where Americans suddenly see all of us as Central American mestizos or South American mulattos, erasing the Asian (look at Peru with its heavy Japanese descendant population, or Cuba’s Chinese descendants) and European descended Hispanics.

Timothy Kincaid
October 4th, 2012 | LINK

I just found out that today is National Taco Day

Robert
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Lucrce,

When I lived in Spain I was told in no uncertain terms that they were not Latino, they were Hispanic and NOT LAtino. I lived there for over a year and was informed this by people from all different regions. And the definitions of Hispanic and Latino are in fact what I wrote. You have a different view, good for you.

Not to mention that the word hispanic comes from the word hispania the Iberian penninsula of Spain and the word originated in aprox 1548, and the word latino, by definition, is a person native or inhabitant of latin America, or of latin American origin. That word wasn’t invented until 1946.

Now, people can use a word any way they wish, but words do have actual meanings, and can be used erroneously to quell prejudice, much as you yourself suggest in your own idnetifying, you do it for reasons not related to the actual meaning of the word.

Trying to change the meaning of a word that’s been a classification of race since the 1500’s is awfully bold, you can say they mean other than what they do, but the dictionary and the scientific community would have to disagree.

I’ll stick with what my friends told me in Spain, and what my other friends have told me as well, and I’ll stick with the dictionary and the scientific community.

You can continue to say I am completely false, but looking up the words does help, and just because today some would rather call themselves one thing because the other “carries heavy ethnic and racial stereotyping in the US”, doesn’t mean the term is being used correctly.

Until you can change the actual long standing definitions of the words, I’ll hold to what I know.

Timothy Kincaid
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Until fairly recently, “Latin” in America also referred to people from oh-so-exotic Southern Europe. A “Latin Lover” in a silent picture was as likely to be Italian as Mexican.

Robert
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

The only reason I mentioned the difference in terms is that it would explain, perfectly, the reason Hispanics may prefer hamburgers to tacos. Tacos are indicitive to Latin America, not the countries classicly refered to as Hispanic countries, like Spain. Hamburgers are historicaly common in Hispanic countries, like Spain, whereas Taco’s are not. Tortillas are a common item in cultures that derived from native populations such as the Navajo or other “indian” (in the America’s version of Indians).

Lucrece
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Tacos are not remotely common in Venezuela, Argentina, Colombia, Chile, Uruguay as far as I’m concerned from personal experience. Mexico and some neighboring Central American people do not substitute for Latin America. Tacos outside of Mexico are as much an exotic cuisine for family outings for South Americans as they are for Spaniards.

Timothy Kincaid
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Robert,

In order for your distinction to “explain, perfectly, the reason Hispanics may prefer hamburgers to tacos”, there would have to be a very large Spanish-American population, large enough to skew the poll by more than a dozen points, AND NBCLatino would have to be using your terminology when they conducted the poll.

Neither are true.

NBCLatino was just using the terms interchangeably. I think that was pretty obvious from the first sentence in their series of stories on the survey:

“This is the first of four stories on Hispanic attitudes as captured by a survey of 400 U.S. Latinos.”

Blake
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

I thought tacos were a tex-mex bastardization; wouldn’t that make them American?

Priya Lynn
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

How do you say “Taco” in Spanish?

BrianQTD
October 5th, 2012 | LINK

Just a side note: the “scientific community”–most of it, anyway– is very skeptical that racial/ethnic categories have useful biological meaning. I was a bit puzzled by the appeal to science.

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