Imagine, for a moment, that you a white physician. A man, who you have never previously met, has made an appointment with you. You see that his sir name is “Garcia”. Being a bit old-fashioned, you greet the new patient in the waiting room and address him in Spanish. Is it far fetched to envision this Mr. Garcia as being a fourth generation American whose only language is English? Is it far fetched to envision this Mr. Garcia as being offended that you assume, based merely on his sir name, that he is more comfortable with Spanish than English?
Let us take this thought experiment a bit further by replacing Mr. Garcia with Mrs. Yokomuro and you have addressed her in Japanese. The situation would be awkward indeed when she explained to you that even her grandmother was not fluent in Japanese and how dare you be so prejudiced!
But, apparently, it is perfectly alright for the central government to assume that Hispanics are native Spanish speakers. As justification for asking about Hispanic ethnicity on the census, the government offers us this:
Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino or Spanish origin?
Asked since 1970. The data collected in this question are needed by federal agencies to monitor compliance with anti-discrimination provisions, such as under the Voting Rights Act and the Civil Rights Act. State and local governments may use the data to help plan and administer bilingual programs for people of Hispanic origin (emphasis mine).
They don’t even bother to say “Hispanics”, which might imply “Spanish speaker”. Instead they use the term ” Hispanic origin”, which includes even those whose families have been in the U.S. for hundreds of years.
This is just one example, out of many, of government hypocrisy; preaching to us the evils of stereotyping while doing the exact same thing themselves.