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  • Latino, Spanish or Hispanic?

    1 posts, 1 voices, 592 views, started Jan 20, 2009

    Posted on Tuesday, January 20, 2009


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      I have heard many people use the terms Hispanic, Latino and Spanish culture interchangeably. There are differences, even though the term Latino is gaining acceptance as a term to refer to Hispanics in the U.S. and vice versa.

      Differences? The truth is that the term Latin was created as an abbreviation of Latin America. In the U.S. the term “Latino" is commonly used to describe Hispanics but many do not realize that Latino people speak a Romance language (not only Spanish) and are born in Latin America.  

      Spanish people are only from Spain. Speaking Spanish is not enough to say you are from a Spanish culture.  

      What about Hispanics? The Hispanic people come from the countries that Spain colonized including those far away from America like the Philippines. We derive our name from the term "Hispania" which was the old name for Spain.  

      In the 1970's the U.S. federal government and under the Nixon administration created the term Hispanic to lump together people who have a connection to Spanish language or a culture from Spanish-speaking countries. The key was the language not the country of origin.  

      The word “Hispanic” was incorporated gradually and appeared in some of the 1980 Census forms. By 1990 all the forms from the U.S. census had incorporated the word “Hispanic” as an ethnicity option.

      What is interesting is that both terms -Latino and Hispanic fail to incorporate our indigenous roots, and our race is primarily a mix of Indian, European and black.


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