American film producer Tariq Nasheed sparked a racial and ethnicity debate on Twitter after calling the police officer who shot a black man in Los Angeles late Monday a "white Hispanic." When Twitter users asked him what race was white Hispanic was, others came forward explaining that white Hispanic was not a made-up term but an actual ethnic identity.
Nasheed's comments followed Monday night's police shooting of the black man – identified as 29-year-old Dijon Kizzee by his family members – in South Los Angeles. Kizzee tried to flee the scene after being stopped by police officers for "code violations to his bike riding." Lt. Brandon Dean told CBS Los Angeles that the suspect punched one of the offices and dropped some clothes he was holding.
"The deputies noticed that inside the clothing items that he dropped was a black semiautomatic handgun, at which time a deputy-involved shooting occurred," Brandon reportedly said.
The shooting triggered protests in Los Angeles, where people gathered to condemn Kizzee's shooting. Nasheed took to Twitter to criticize the incident and said: "A white Hispanic race soldier shot a Black man in the back today in Los Angeles and killed him. This happened in the Hoovers on 109 & Budlong. This is that 'BLacK & bRoWn cOaLitiOn.'"
Who is a White Hispanic?
Twitter users slammed the 46-year-old producer accusing him of "stoking racial tensions." Many even said that there was no such thing as a white Hispanic. However, others explained that there are Hispanics who identify themselves as white. It is crucial to understand that race and ethnicity are two different things and Hispanic is an ethnicity they can be blacks, whites and Asians.
"Latinos have many different ways to describe their identity—including pan-ethnic terms like 'Hispanic' or 'Latino,' or the term 'American,' or terms that refer to their family's country of origin. Their choices vary among different Latino subgroups, with nativity and language usage the strongest predictors of identity preferences," Pew Research Center stated on its website.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, a Hispanic or a Latino is "a person of Cuban, Mexican, Puerto Rican, South or Central American, or other Spanish culture or origin regardless of race." In the 2010 U.S. Census, 53 percent of Hispanics said they identified themselves as white. Here are some messages on Twitter: