Cultural Competency in
Evaluation for Hispanics
AIA Web Conference on Culturally
October 13, 2009
Richard C. Cervantes, Ph.D.
Behavioral Assessment, Inc.
Hispanic or Latino?
What is an “ethnic identification”?*
Ethnic identifiers are widely used in
Ethnic identifiers have significant meaning
within cultural groups
Knowledge of the meaning and symbolism of
ethnic identifiers can influence participation in
evaluation studies and in the interpretation of
*see definition worksheet
Hispanic or Latino?
Commonly used ethnic identifiers for this cultural group include:
CUBAN/ CUBAN AMERICAN
What about Race
How is race different from ethnicity?
Hispanics are considered by the US
census to be “white” in terms of race
Hispanics from most Latin American
countries also have high proportion of
racially black populations
Mixed race also prominent among
There are commonalities among many Hispanic
Customs and Practices
Family and other cultural values
Ties to country of origin, especially among
Despite immigration status, Hispanic groups
vary in terms of the degree to which
traditional cultural values are retained AND
the degree to which current cultural values
and practices are assumed
Acculturation is not uni-directional, but can
vary along culture of origin AND host culture
at the same time
Within group and within family variation in
acculturation is common, yet not well
understood in terms of risk/protective factors
How should we operationalize
race and culture?
Local community context and definitions first
need to be understood before designing
Immigration policy and enforcement needs to
be considered in data collection methods
(e.g. emphasis on anonymity, law
Focus groups, key informant interviews can
provide valuable information
How do community participants describe
Key demographic ethnic and racial identifiers must be
included in evaluation protocols
Specific detailed data on participant ethnic and racial
identity will assist in interpretation of findings
Identifiers need to be understood and sometime
explained by evaluators
Ethnic identifiers need to be broad and should relate
to country of origin, as well as, US Census categories.
Specific categories can later be collapsed or
aggregated, while identifiers that are too general
may not be useful in data analysis phase
Country of origin item and length of residence will
allow for richer description of participants
Primary language(s) spoken at home also provide
information on family acculturation
“Other” response categories for both race and ethnic
identifiers is highly recommended
“Other” write in identifiers can later be aggregated by
qualified evaluator/researches if necessary
Spanish language forms should always be available
Analysis and reporting
Aggregate findings using simple racial or ethic
identifiers may not be appropriate
Reliability checks on outcome measures for
use with distinct ethnic groups should always
Sub-group analysis should be conducted
wherever sample size allow
Data needs to be reported out in terms of
program effects for distinct racial, ethnic and
“Identity with or membership in a particular racial, national, or cultural group and
observance of that group's customs, beliefs, and language.”
Use of the word ethnicity for Hispanicity only is considerably more restricted than its
conventional meaning, which covers other distinctions, some of which are covered by the
"race" and "ancestry" questions. The distinct questions accommodate the possibility of
Hispanic and Latino Americans' also declaring various racial identities (see also White
Hispanic and Latino Americans, Asian Latinos, and Black Hispanic and Latino Americans).
In the United States since its early history, Native Americans, African-Americans and
European-Americans were classified as belonging to different races. For nearly three
centuries, the criteria for membership in these groups were similar, comprising a person’s
appearance, his fraction of known non-White ancestry, and his social circle.
But the difference between how Native American and Black identities are defined today
(blood quantum versus one-drop) has demanded explanation. According to anthropologists
such as Gerald Sider, the goal of such racial designations was to concentrate power,
wealth, privilege and land in the hands of Whites in a society of White hegemony and
privilege (Sider 1996; see also Fields 1990). The differences have little to do with biology
and far more to do with the history of racism and specific forms of White supremacy (the
social, geopolitical and economic agendas of dominant Whites vis-à-vis subordinate Blacks
and Native Americans) especially the different roles Blacks and Amerindians occupied in
White-dominated 19th century America.
Race Fact Sheet
The following definitions apply to the 2000 census only.
"White. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of Europe, the Middle East, or North Africa.
It includes people who indicate their race as 'White' or report entries such as Irish, German, Italian,
Lebanese, Near Easterner, Arab, or Polish."
"Black or African American. A person having origins in any of the Black racial groups of Africa. It includes
people who indicate their race as 'Black, African Am., or Negro,' or provide written entries such as African
American, Afro American, Kenyan, Nigerian, or Haitian."
"American Indian and Alaska Native. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of North and
South America (including Central America) and who maintain tribal affiliation or community
"Asian. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian
subcontinent including, for example, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Japan, Korea, Malaysia,
Pakistan, the Philippine Islands, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Vietnam. It includes 'Asian Indian,' 'Chinese,'
'Filipino,' 'Korean,' 'Japanese,' 'Vietnamese,' and 'Other Asian.'"
'Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander. A person having origins in any of the original peoples of
Hawaii, Guam, Samoa, or other Pacific Islands. It includes people who indicate their race as 'Native
Hawaiian', 'Guamanian or Chamorro', 'Samoan', and 'Other Pacific Islander'."
"Some other race. Includes all other responses not included in the 'White', 'Black or African American',
'American Indian and Alaska Native', 'Asian' and 'Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander' race
categories described above. Respondents providing write-in entries such as multiracial, mixed, interracial,
or a Hispanic/Latino group (for example, Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban) in the 'Some other race'
category are included here."
"Two or more races. People may have chosen to provide two or more races either by checking two or
more race response check boxes, by providing multiple write-in responses, or by some combination of
check boxes and write-in responses."