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Hispanic vs. Latino: what’s the difference?

August 7th, 2013 ||

Hispanic vs. Latino: what’s the difference?

Many people use Hispanic and Latino as interchangeable words. They’re not. While there is a huge overlap between the two, they don’t mean the same thing and cannot be used as if they do. This is an easy mistake to make, and I do it myself every once in a while (often from laziness), but it’s important to note the differences.

Hispanic refers to language.
Latino refers to geography.

Basically, you are Hispanic if you and/or your ancestry come from a country where they speak Spanish. You are Latino if you and/or your ancestry come from a Latin American country.

But wait… isn’t that the same thing?
No, dear friend, it’s not.

Hispanic excludes the nearly 200 million Brazilians who, while accurately labelled Latinos, speak Portuguese. They are Latinos, they are not Hispanic.

Hispanic includes the nearly 50 million Spaniards (population of Spain) who could never be called Latinos.

When picking which one to use you have to know what you’re trying to say. For HispanicHouston.com we used language as the guide, and we ended up with Hispanic instead of Latino. A weird decision if you consider that we also decided not to have the site in Spanish. (But that’s another soapbox for another day.)

So, as a Mexican American, I am Hispanic and Latina. Brazilian Americans are Latinos but not Hispanic. And, Spanish Americans are Hispanic but not Latinos.

Is that clear as mud now?

NOTE: This is a soapbox moment, brought to you by too much caffeine and not enough sleep…

– Posted by Sandra Fernandez

Photo via Mikko Lautamäki at http://www.flickr.com/photos/22520648@N08/2185647163/.

About Sandra Fernandez

Sandra Fernandez is full-time Library communicator, tech enthusiast, book lover, and blogger. You can find her main blog at SandraSays.com and more of her writing at HispanicHouston.com. Follow her on Twitter, subscribe to her Facebook posts, or circle her on Google+.

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Trackbacks For This Post

  1. […] Spanish. They are quite proud of their romance language. Keep in mind, some discern the labels Hispanic versus Latino by language and geography as oppose to the old methods of choosing between Team Estevez and Team […]

  2. […] Spanish. They are quite proud of their romance language. Keep in mind, some discern the labels Hispanic versus Latino by language and geography as oppose to the old methods of choosing between Team Estevez and Team […]

  3. […] by default. (However, as Sofia’s mother is from a country based on Spain that would be a Hispanic parallel, not Latin@.) Arendelle in Frozen is based on Norway and its characters appear in Epcot’s Norway at […]

49 Comments

  1. Giovanni 11 months

    In that case, if everyone who speaks Spanish is hispanic, then would that make anyone who speaks English an anglo? I think not.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 11 months

      Are you challenging the definition of Hispanic or that of anglo?

      The modern official definition (per various dictionaries) is that “anglo” means a white English-speaking American who is not Hispanic. So, I guess just speaking English and being American isn’t enough, you have to be considered “white” but not “Hispanic.” I’m pretty sure that discounts me.

      The word Hispanic is defined in several dictionaries (and other sources) as being of Spain or of Spanish-speaking countries, especially Latin America. There are variations depending on which source you’re using. I haven’t found any that makes distinction for race, religion, country of origin, how long your family has been in the US, how long it’s been since your family has actually spoken Spanish, or anything else.

      Lastly, my sister-in-law speaks Spanish, but I’m not going to count her as Hispanic just because of it. Her family is traced back to Germany, which I think would disqualify her.

      Reply
      • Linda Dodson a de Pizana 3 months

        I’ll preface my inquiry/statement by saying I am 3rd generation born and raised in America. My parents raised me speaking English, but spoke to each other in Spanish. I was taught that I was a “Chicano”. I was told that my paternal grandparents were Espanoles. My maternal great grandmother was born and raised in Mexico and my maternal grandfather said that his parents were Espanoles.

        Statement: It has always been my understanding that individuals born and raised in Mexico are Mexicans, and individuals born in Central American are Latinos, menos los de Brazil.

        Today when someone ask me about my nationality, I say, I am Spanish American, my first language is English.

        Reply
        • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

          Well, yes, individuals born and raised in Mexico are Mexicans. But they are also Latinos (at least they are considered so in the US) and they are also Hispanic (also in the US). If you were born and raised in Honduras, you would be considered Honduran and Central American; but you would also be considered Latino and Hispanic (again, I am talking about language and designations used in the US).

          If you were are from Brazil, you are Brazilian, you are Latino but you are not Hispanic (because you don’t come from a country that speaks Spanish).

          About you… you are absolutely Hispanic. As for the rest… Spanish American vs Mexican American vs Latino… you have enough of a mix you can pretty much call yourself any of them. But you’re always going to find someone who’ll question it.

          Tks for the comment.

          Reply
        • elizabeth 4 weeks

          This is true. Mexicans are not Latinos.

          Reply
      • santiaguero 2 months

        Curious.. so then how are most Spanish speaking Latin americans Hispanic? Believe it or not in many Latin american countries Spanish blood is not the norm, even other European blood predominates as is the case of Uruguay… also in certain countries as Bolivia most people are of predominate or full Indigenous blood.. so they’re Hispanic but your sister in law isn’t or am I understanding wrong? I’m Cuban and of full Spanish ancestry and in Cuba a German Latino would be seen as Hispanic before an afro-Latino or Mestizo Latino.. this is because Hispano is used to refer to white Spanish speakers (the same way anglo is in the US even to people who don’t have English blood). actually seeing mestizos refer to themselves as Hispano surprised me when I was in the US

        Reply
        • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

          The way “Latino” and “Hispanic” is used in the US has nothing to do with bloodlines. It doesn’t designate whether you are catholic or Jewish, white or indigenous, whether you can trace your family three or four generations back to Spain or France or even Africa. In the US, you are Latino if you/your family comes from a Latin American country; you are Hispanic if you/your family comes from a Spanish-speaking country. I wrote this article because most people use the two terms interchangeably, when they aren’t the same thing.

          I’m not an expert in language worldwide. All this article covers is how the two words are used in this country. The way “Hispano” and “Latino” are used in other countries, in other languages, is often very different. I’m learning a lot through the comments on this.

          Thanks for contributing to the conversation.

          Reply
      • Rey Quintero 2 months

        Thanks for clearing that up for me sandra. Ironically i couldnt sleep either and thought of the differences because ive been asked the same question on what the differences are, and found myself not knowing fully the correct answer.with all that being said ive learned something new today and by the way…i like your style;) keep it up. Your fellow hispanic american Rey.

        Reply
        • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

          Thank you!

          Reply
          • pepelvis 2 months

            Imho, i think all of you are americanos or Americans. I don’t understand what’s the point of trying to refer to the ancestors and making it all so difficult. My parents are Korean and I was born and raised in Africa but Spanish territory ruled under European laws, and I consider myself as European.

          • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

            I know a lot of people who would agree with you.

  2. WHITE HISPANIC: Zimmerman, Cruz Et al by T. Better Baldwin | Global Grind 10 months

    […] Spanish. They are quite proud of their romance language. Keep in mind, some discern the labels Hispanic versus Latino by language and geography as oppose to the old methods of choosing between Team Estevez and Team […]

    Reply
  3. WHITE HISPANIC: Zimmerman, Cruz Et Al by T. Better Baldwin | JUAN MONEGRO 10 months

    […] Spanish. They are quite proud of their romance language. Keep in mind, some discern the labels Hispanic versus Latino by language and geography as oppose to the old methods of choosing between Team Estevez and Team […]

    Reply
  4. Monk 8 months

    If this is entirely accurate, this is very Helpful. Thank you

    Reply
  5. Veronica 8 months

    I consider myself to be mexican-american When people ask me what i am I say i’m hispanic. I wasn’t born in the u.s but I was brought here at a very young age. I was 7 years old now im 24. Is it okay for me to say that im hispanic.

    Reply
  6. Ivonne 8 months

    Veronica, i think your last sentence was intended to be a question?

    If it was, please don’t feel the need to ask for permission. Of course it’s ok for you to say you are Hispanic, be proud! I’m in your same situation (brought to the U.S. at the age of 2) and I claim it all!
    Yes, I am Hispanic, Latina, and Mexican American. THey all mean a slightly different thing but they they all make up who I am.

    Reply
  7. The Ressurection of the Disney Princess | musings that are seldom 7 months

    […] by default. (However, as Sofia’s mother is from a country based on Spain that would be a Hispanic parallel, not Latin@.) Arendelle in Frozen is based on Norway and its characters appear in Epcot’s Norway at […]

    Reply
    • Elizabeth 4 weeks

      Sandra, I was born in the United States and raced in Mexico. My parents are from Mexico and I am very proud to say I am a Hispanic. In Mexico schools and the system teach us that Mexico is not a Latino country. We are Mexicans/Hispanics not Latinos. Latinos are from Central and South American Countries. I am sorry to tell you but you are wrong in labeling Mexicans as Latinos.

      Reply
  8. José Park 6 months

    Hola Sandra,
    me expresaré en español porque lo hablo mejor y sospecho, por su nombre, que no le será difícil entenderme.
    Me dirijo a usted para decirle que no estoy de acuerdo con lo que dice de hispanos y latinos. Latino también tiene un origen geográfico. Originalmente, latino es todo aquél que procede del Lazio (actualmente un barrio de Roma) que es donde nació el Latín o idioma Latino, vehículo de expresión del Imperio Romano, hace unos 2500 años. En mi humilde opinión, ustedes, los estadounidenses y por extensión el resto del mundo, usan el término latino de forma errónea, puesto que prácticamente toda Europa fue en su momento territorio romano y se hablaba su idioma, el latín. Así, podríamos decir que los británicos o egipcios podrían ser latinos, o incluso los judíos, ya que los romanos estuvieron en Oriente Próximo (Jesucristo, Poncio Pilatos…). El idioma de los rumanos es lo más cercano al latín que existe en el mundo y, sin embargo, no son considerados latinos, sino eslavos. Creo que todo es una simplificación muy poco acertada.
    Los hispanoparlantes del continente americano son, pues, hispanos o hispanoamericanos (hispanic) y latinos serían prácticamente el resto. El inglés de hoy en día tiene un 60% de procedencia del francés (idioma latino) y del latín en su léxico (no de su estructura gramatical), luego también, por ese hecho, tendrían que ser considerados latinos.
    Al pan, pan, y al vino, vino, que se dice en España. Esto es, los brasileños nos iberoamericanos y los francocanadienses son canadienses, los de Guadalupe y Martinica son caribeños.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 6 months

      Primerament, perdon por mi espanol. Es mi idioma “segundo” y no lo uso con la frecuencia que deberia..

      En Ingles, “Latin” significa del Latín o de origenes de esa area. “Latino” significa de origines de Latinoamerica, que es de geografia.

      Por supuesto, esta es una descripcion simple y el tema es mas complicado… yo solo queria explicar las diferencias entre las palabras “Latino” y “Hispanic” y porque no son la misma cosa.

      Reply
      • José Park 6 months

        Please, feel free to answer in English. I am fluent in your language but in terms of being accurate and deep in such a controversial matter I would rather prefer to express myself in spanish for is my first language and I wrongly thought yours as well.

        Reply
  9. José Park 6 months

    Para acabar, decir que la comunidad hispana se anime y se atreva a considerarse americana, puesto que sus países de origen conforman el continente americano, no sólo los Estados Unidos de América. Desde México a Argentina y Chile, todos son americanos y la coletilla hispano o latino no hace sino segregarles e impedir una emancipación y completa integración en la vida de los Estados Unidos.
    Recuerden, mejicanos, que ustedes estaban antes que los angloparlantes en todo el territorio al oeste del Misisipí. Simplemente, fueron expulsados de sus tierras. No es una cuestión de reclamarlas, pero sí que se consideren tan americanos como el resto y dejen de usar dicha coletilla.

    Reply
  10. Paul 6 months

    I’m dominican. I was wondering the difference between Hispanics and Latinos, and this page answered all my questions. Thank you!

    Reply
  11. brasileiro 5 months

    English (I think so, sorry…):
    I’m Brazilian!
    Brazilians do not consider ourselves latinos.
    Latinos are those old Italians Laccio region, Italy today. It would be an honor if we were latinos as this ancient European people.
    This sense (Latin and hispanic) is effected by descendants of Anglo-Saxon Americans. We don’t call those who were born in the United States of America of Anglo-Saxon or Anglo-Americans, only: northamericans.
    For this reason we do not consider (ourselves) Hispanic, but Brazilian or South American.
    We are South American (then Americans, because the continent is called America! THAT IS A LATIN WORD) and we can also consider white.
    Southern Brazil has 80% of the white population with European ancestry/blood, as well as Argentina and Uruguay.
    A black man with African blood born in Brazil is not African American or African-brazilian; is Brazilian.
    An indigenous native born in Brazil is not indigenous to Brazilians; is Brazilian too.
    Gisele Bundchen is Brazilian and white, despite having German ancestry, doesn’t speak German and considers herself: Brazilian.
    A Brazilian is not defined by the genotype or phenotype or by blood and heritage, but by birthplace: Brazil.
    A Portuguese, Italian, French, Swiss, Belgian (blood French) also are white for us.
    Are not just those who have Anglo-Saxon or Germanic heritage (which the ancient Romans called barbarians, because they were not speaking Latin) are considered white.
    Some Americans can have to us Anglo-Saxon blood/ancestry, German, Italian, Portuguese, Polish, Bulgarian, Spaniard, Austrian, Russian, French and will be called northamericans and will also be white.
    A black or native Indian born in the USA will be for us an Northamerican or American: but not necessarily white.
    IE:
    Brazil is different from Latin. Brazil can be white, black, Indian, etc.
    American or North American doesn’t mean white: can have European blood, African, Asian, Arabic, including Anglo-Saxon or Germanic.

    En castellano (bien…Yo creo…)
    Yo soy brasileño.
    Los brasileños no se consideran latinos.
    Los latinos son los de la antigua regió llamada Laccio, en Italia hoy. Sería un honor si fuéramos latinos como este antiguo pueblo europeo.
    Este sentido (latino e Hispano) se efectúa por los descendientes de los anglosajones americanos. No llamamos a aquellos que nacieron en los Estados Unidos de anglosajónes o angloamericanos, sólo de estadounidenses.
    Por esso no consideramonos hispanos o latinos y si brasilenõs y Sudamericanos.
    Somos sudamericanos (entonces, americanos, porque el continente es llamado América que es una palabra LATINA!) y también podemos considerarnos blancos.
    El Sur de Brasil tiene 80% de la población blanca con ascendencia europea, como Argentina y Uruguay.
    Un hombre negro con sangre africano nacido en Brasil no es afrobrasileño; es brasileño.
    Un nativo indígena nacido en Brasil no es autóctona de Brasil; es brasileño.
    Gisele Bundchen es brasilenã y blanca, a pesar de tener ascendencia alemana no habla alemán y considera a sí misma: Brasileira.
    Un brasileño no es definido por el genotipo o fenotipo o por sangre y herencia, pero por lugar de nacimiento: Brasil.
    Un portugués, Italiano, Francés, suizo, belga (sangre francés) también son de color blanco para nosotros.
    No son blancos sólo aquellos que tienen sangre anglosajón y germánica (que los romanos llamaron a bárbaros, porque no hablaban latín).
    Algunos estadounidenses pueden tener para nosotros sangre/ascendencia anglosajona, alemán, Italiana, Portuguésa, Polaca, búlgara, española, austriaca, francésa y se llamará a norteamericanos y también serán blancos.
    Un indio nativo o negro nacido en los Estados Unidos será para nosotros un americano o estadounidense: pero no necesariamente blanco.
    IE:
    Brasil es diferente del latino. Brasil puede ser blanco, negro, indio, etc.
    Américano, norteamericano o estadounidense no significa blanco: puede tener sangre Europea, africana, asiática, Árabe, incluyendo anglosajón o germánico.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 5 months

      Thank you for your insights! This is interesting information. In Mexico (or at least in my part of Mexico), we consider ourselves Mexicanos, and even Latinos, but not necessarily Hispanos (or Hispanic). As someone who lives in the U.S., I see people use Hispanic and Latino as interchangeable words, when they’re not. But what you call yourself, the label with which you identify yourself, is something that doesn’t always coincide with what others use.

      All of my family is from Mexico, and we have very light-skinned members in all branches, with eyes that are brown, hazel, gray and even blue. To us, “white” has nothing to do with whether or not you are Hispanic (or Mexicano). My sister, who has dark-blond hair and pink-hued cheeks, has people ask her all the time if her last name is her husband’s (meaning that she can’t be Hispanic). And she laughs and says yes, it is, but hers is Fernandez.

      Thanx for the comment!

      Reply
      • brasileiro 5 months

        For us brazilians, mexicans are northamericans and you speak a modern latin language. Mexicans speak castilian strictly, no spanish (from Castilla la Mancha in Spain. You can speak castilian, galician, basque and catalan in Spain!). I’ am Brazilian, but i lived in Spain.
        Hispanian (old) is Spain and PORTUGAL! togheter (modern). There is not Hispanic today. It’s historical wrong for us.
        We are bigger than USA (not considered Alaska), but we are 200 millions in Brazil and we only speak portuguese, modern latin language. We are not hispanic (from Portugal), neither latino.
        Who is from Quebec-Canada (speaking french, modern latin language) is latino (or latinamerican) for you? They live in America and speak a modern latin language too: french. They are canadians and northamericans.
        Anglo-saxan is an old german tribe/people. The modern anglo-saxan (northamerican/USA, canadians/except Quebec) speak english. Then, are they germanic?
        Jamaicans speak english. Are they anglo-saxan? They are jamaicans!
        We have a other connotation in Brazil. The color skin, eyes, hair, language: these things not define a brazilian or american, but birhtplace. The brazilian culture is different.

        Para nosotros, brasileños, mexicanos son norteamericanos y hablan una lengua latina moderna. Los mexicanos hablan castellano terminantemente, no español (de Castilla la Mancha en España. Puedes hablar castellano, Gallego, Vasco y catalán en España!). Soy brasileño, pero vivía en España.
        Hispanian (viejo) es España y Portugal juntos (moderno). No hay Hispania hoy. Esso no es correcto historicamente para nosotros.
        Somos más grandes que los E.e.u.u. (no considerado Alaska), pero somos 200 millones en Brasil y sólo hablamos portugués, moderno lengua latina. No somos hispanos (de Portugal), ni latino.
        ¿Quién es de Quebec-Canadá (de habla francesa, moderna lengua latina) es latino (o Latinoamericano) para usted? Ellos viven en America (continente) y también hablan una lengua latina moderna: francés. Ellos son los canadienses y norteamericanos.
        Anglo-saxan es una antigua tribo/pueblo germánica. El anglo-saxan moderno (estadounidense/EEUU, canadianse/excepto Quebec) hablan inglés. Entonces, ¿son germánicos?
        Los jamaicanos hablan a Inglés. ¿Son anglo-saxan? Son jamaiquinos.
        Tenemos una otra conotación en Brasil. Color de la piel, ojos, cabelo, lengua: son cosas que no definen un brasileño o americano, pero donde nasció. La cultura brasileña es diferente.

        Para nós brasileiros, mexicanos são norteamericanos e falam uma língua latina moderna. Os mexicanos falam castelhano terminantemente, e não espanhol. Español (de Castilha la Mancha na Espanha). Você pode falar castelhano, Galego, Vasco e catalão na Espanha!). Sou brasileiro, mas vivi na Espanha.
        Hispania (velha) é Espanha e Portugal juntos (moderno). Não há Hispania hoje. Isto não é correto historicamente para nós.
        Somos maiores que os EUA (não considerado Alasca), mas somos 200 milhões de pessoas no Brasil e só falamos português, moderna língua latina. Não somos hispânicos nem latinos.
        Quem é de Quebec (de fala francesa, moderna língua latina) é latino (ou latino americano para você? Eles vivem na América (continente) e também falam uma língua moderna latina: francês. Eles são canadenses e norteamericanos.
        Anglo-saxão é um antigo povo/tribo germânico. O anglo-saxão moderno (norteamericano/EUA, canadense/exceto Quebec) fala inglês. Então são germânicos?
        Os jamaicanos falam inglês, são anglo-saxões? São jamaicanos.
        Temos uma outra conotação no Brasil. Cor de pele, ojos, cabelo, língua: são coisas que não definem um brasileiro ou americano, mas seu lugar de nascimento. A cultura brasileira é diferente.

        Reply
  12. satanos 3 months

    but like all spaniards spanish speaking people from (latin america) are afraid and never aknoweledge that the romans conquered spain for 6 centuries and it was them (THE ROMANS) who introduced their language (LATIN) to spain and erased from HISPANIA as they the ROMANS called the peninsula themselves not because it was named as such by so called native people of spain because even before the ROMANS named it HISPANIA It was called as IBERIA but by the GREEKS 3 centuries before the ROMANS. so all of you spanish speakers all full of ignorance and being proud of a lanaguage that isn’t even native of spain let alone from (LATIN AMERICA) and never accept the fact that eve most commonly used personal names in spanish language come from the GREEKS, ROMANS ,GERMANIC HEBREW and ARABIC origins, because all those people made what spain became as a nation for the first time for the past 500+ years by mingling all together those different cultures and languages foreighners brought to spain and the those became in the late 1400s as the CASTILIANS later in the 1500,s as the ESPANOLES=SPANISH CONQUERORS that conquered what is now called LATIN AMERICA along with the portugusese.

    Reply
  13. satanos 3 months

    but like all spaniards spanish speaking people from (latin america)ans spain ,you are afraid and never aknoweledge that the romans conquered spain for 6 centuries and it was them (THE ROMANS) who introduced their language (LATIN) to spain and erased other languages from HISPANIA as they the ROMANS called the peninsula themselves not because it was named as such by so called native people of spain because even before the ROMANS named it HISPANIA It was called as IBERIA but by the GREEKS 3 centuries before the ROMANS. so all of you spanish speakers all full of ignorance and being proud of a language that isn’t even native to spain let alone from (LATIN AMERICA) and never accept the fact that even the most commonly used personal names in spanish language come from the GREEKS, ROMANS ,GERMANIC HEBREW and ARABIC origins, because all those people made what spain became as a nation for the first time for the past 500 years by mingling all together those different cultures and languages foreighners brought to spain and the those became in the late 1400s as the CASTILIANS later in the 1500,s as the ESPANOLES=SPANISH CONQUERORS that conquered what is now called LATIN AMERICA along with the portugusese.

    Reply
  14. Phil 3 months

    Here’s a great video we just created about this exact topic – the history of the word Hispanic, how it came to be, and the difference between Hispanic and Latino: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ocxUDGl4dNE

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 3 months

      Tks for sharing this. I need to check out the book.

      Reply
      • Mike 2 months

        I’m Italian and French and the other half is Portuguese. What am I? Oh, I was raised in the states and born in Montevideo, Uruguay in case that changes anything, oh and raised in Jersey.

        Reply
        • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

          Interesting mix. You probably can call yourself Latino or Hispanic if you wanted — born in a Latin American country where they speak Spanish. You might be able to say that your family is European. I don’t honestly know. What do you usually say when people ask you where you’re from?

          Reply
          • Elizabeth 4 weeks

            Sandra let me tell you that I think you are mistaken. Mexicans are Hispanics. We are not Latinos. We are taught in our country that Latin American and Central American are Latinos, not Mexico

          • Sandra Fernandez 4 weeks

            Yes, I went to school in Mexico too. In Mexico, the word Latino does not apply to Mexicans because Mexico considers itself part of Norteamerica, not Latinoamerica (which really means Centroamericanos and Suramericanos).

            In the US, the word applies to everyone who comes from a Latin American country; in the US, Mexico is considered part of Latin America. So, in the US, Mexicans are Latinos.

            And I am not the one labeling anyone, just explaining the difference between the words Hispanic and Latino, which many people erroneously use as if they were the same thing. They are not the same.

            I think this conversation alone proves that this issue is more complex than just these two words, though.

            Thank you for this comment. I really appreciate getting all of these insights and reminders that words don’t mean the same thing throughout the world.

  15. Scott 2 months

    How would this rule apply to food. I was in a Walmart the other day. One shelf was labeled Latino, the next Hispanic, and the third went back to Latino again. Was Walmart just trying to cover all their bases?

    The Hispanic food did not seem to be labeled in Spanish and more than the Latino food did.

    Just curious about your take on that.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 2 months

      Honestly, just means that they are using what sounds best to their salespeople… IMHO.

      Reply
  16. mtones 1 month

    I am American by birth. My parents were from Spain. I went back there with them when I was very little and did not return to live in the US again until I was in my twenties. What do I consider myself to be? an American.

    I find the entire discussion of “Hispanic” vs. “Latino” completely lame and rediculous, and nothing more than yet another example of the US government attempting to once again slap census labels on entire groups of people with vastly different ideologies, cultures, races, and heritage under one umbrella for the sake of data collection. I breeds intolerance, racism and every other negative I can think of where pride in ethnic tradition is concerned.

    In Spain, an “hispano” is NEVER considered a Spaniard- who is, on their terms, a caucasian European that speaks Castellano (the other word for Spanish language :P). “Hispanos” are typically considered to be those people who are born of Spanish and Indian heritage in a South American nation. End of Story. Many people in Spain laugh about the use of terms like “Latino” as well since by DEFINITION in any other non-US context “Latino” may refer to a person/place/tradition, etc that originates from the Latin – ROMAN heritage. Which accurately speaking from a historical perspective would technically cover way too many nations to list, considering the swathe of what was once the Roman-occupied, Latino-speaking world.

    The insistance to label onceself by ancient history is truly sad and should stop. It is one thing to discuss your heritage. It is another to constantly adhere to the notion that you must label yourself as this or that in order to count yourself part of some subculture you feel necessary to align yourself with for the sake of an identity by which to distinguish yourself from others. Be a HUMAN BEING, and nuture your traditions but please stop labeling people into camps.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 4 weeks

      You write that “In Spain, an ‘hispano’ is NEVER considered a Spaniard” but “are typically considered to be those people who are born of Spanish and Indian heritage in a South American nation.” What about those who don’t have any indian heritage but are born in a South American nation? Are they also considered Hispanos (in Spain)?

      Reply
  17. Katy 4 weeks

    Thank you for explaining it so clearly! As a (neither Latin@ or hispanic) person this has always confused me. And as an author with a Latin@/Hispanic character it was something I sorely needed to know. =)

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 4 weeks

      I’m glad I could be of some help. Are you currently writing a book or have you already written it?

      Reply
  18. Lisa D. Sparks 3 weeks

    Excellent distinction:

    “Hispanic excludes the nearly 200 million Brazilians who, while accurately labelled Latinos, speak Portuguese. They are Latinos, they are not Hispanic.

    Hispanic includes the nearly 50 million Spaniards (population of Spain) who could never be called Latinos.”

    I’m neither but live in a Hispanic/Latino world in Miami.

    Reply
  19. Lisa D. Sparks 3 weeks

    These sometimes confusing distinctions can also be made about people of African descent or those considered a part of the African Diaspora. I’m not a fan of the term African American as it leans heavily towards anything African being relevant only in light of Americans. Xenophobia 101.

    I prefer the term black because it allows for regional and national distinctions: black Caribbean, black Jamaican, black African, and then of course, black American.

    That’s a good stop gap. For me, these distinctions really suck and I know one day we’ll have a mocha-colored panacea free of racial and national distinctions.

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 3 weeks

      Lisa, thank you for that comment. Labels can help identify commonalities between segments of the population. Often, however, they are misused and allow for cliches and stereotypes. And they are often just wrong.

      Reply
  20. cheryl 3 weeks

    If born in Argentina then grew up in states, is that Latino?

    Reply
    • Sandra Fernandez 3 weeks

      According to the way it’s defined in the US, you are both Latina and Hispanic.

      Reply
  21. Lorie 3 weeks

    For whom it may concerned, Latin or Latino are the same thing. These are the people who are Latin or Latino: Italians, French, Spanish, Portuguese and Romanians who are Europeans or of Europeans decent. All of them were conquered by the Romans who started this whole thing. Because of that these people spoked Latin and after centuries of speaking and going through changes they developed their own languages based on Latin. Just like in Canada, USA, Central American and South America became known as Latin (USA) and Latinos in Latin countries. seventy-five percent of Argentineans are Latino-Italians, like the pope, the rest are from Spanish, Indians and other Europeans decent. So, Italians, French, Portuguese, Spanish and Romanians are Latino. People borned in USA are Latin-Americans. In other words we are multiracial countries, because whether you are Canadian, or anyone in the continents of the Americas most of the population are mixed. If you are Italian and married to a French, congratulations you are Latin or Latino if you are from a Latin Country. Congratulations again you are part of the largest group of people in the Americas.

    Reply

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