Hispanic vs. Latino vs. Spanish...

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    Jan 25, 2012 10:14 PM GMT
    Today I used the word Hispanic to describe my neighbor in a conversation in which I said "I have a lovely Hispanic family who lives next door."

    That is the word James, my neighbor, uses to describe himself, his family, etc.

    Later I was told (by a Mexican American woman (her words, not mine)) this was an an "insensitive" word.

    Some folks use the word "Latino" in the same context.

    On the East Coast, I have heard Puerto Rican and Cuban guys sometimes describe themselves as Spanish.

    What is the preferred word to describe for what situation?

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    Jan 25, 2012 10:24 PM GMT
    How anyone would find that "insensitive" or "offensive" is flat out absurd.

    Hispanic is a broad term but seems to often cause one to think of the more indigenous looks and racially mixed people who occupy lands colonized by the European Spanish from Spain (either natives mixed with spanish or natives spanish and African all mixed, the latter being a large portion of the "Mexican" composite).

    Latino typically conjures up the image of any hispanic person with a dark complexion and no anglo features.

    Spanish just means more or less white people from Spain or anyone in the colonized countries (Mexico, South America) who are of Spanish descent. A certain portion of the population in Spain, however, are mixed with early Moorish populations and therefore have dark complexions and aren't anglo Spaniards.


    The Hispanic/Spanish differentiation is perhaps somewhat similar to the growing usage of "British" and "English". British used to mean actual British anglo people, now "English" is displacing the term to specify the actual anglos and "British" is becoming more dominant as a nationality identification rather than a race like "American" or "Canadian".
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    Jan 25, 2012 10:29 PM GMT
    I think Spanish is only appropriate for someone who is a citizen of Spain or whose recent ancestry is from Spain.

    Hispanic and Latino/a seem to be used interchangeably regarding someone whose origins trace from a Spanish/Portuguese-speaking culture (most often Latin America). It is worth mentioning that Spain and Portugal were called Hispania during Roman times, hence where the Hispanic label comes from. The Greek name was Iberia (though the Iberians were a distinct culture in their own right before the Romans, Celts, and Visigoths).

    While there's no doubt many people in Latin America probably have some Spanish ancestry, many also do not. Latin America has been populated by immigrants from all over the world throughout history. One of my college friends was from Argentina of Serbian and Slovenian descent. However, she speaks only Spanish and English because her family had been in Argentina shortly after Yugoslavia became a socialist republic in the 1940s. She labels herself as Hispanic or Latina because she was born and raised with a common Latin American culture in Argentina and speaks the Spanish language. Even though she knows of her background, she's never thought of herself as Slovenian or Serbian because she's never been to former Yugoslavia nor do her parents speak either language.

    Besides, the original Latins of Italy no longer exist except for modern day Lazio (the region where they supposedly originated).
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    Jan 25, 2012 10:54 PM GMT
    That chick was just getting offended about nothing. Hispanic refers to everyone who basically speaks Spanish as their native language.

    The only way that word becomes offensive is if you accidentally use it referring to Brazilians (who speak Portuguese).
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    Jan 25, 2012 11:01 PM GMT
    Larkin saidThat chick was just getting offended about nothing. Hispanic refers to everyone who basically speaks Spanish as their native language.

    The only way that word becomes offensive is if you accidentally use it referring to Brazilians (who speak Portuguese).


    Which is interesting, because Portugal was part of Hispania along with Spain. So by history, Portuguese people and their descendants are Hispanic too. Although nowadays Hispanic is used most often to mean only Spanish-speaking.

    The Portuguese aren't even the largest ancestry group in Brazil. Italians are.
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    Jan 26, 2012 12:00 AM GMT
    Pocketnico is pretty spot on regarding to what the names refer.
    They're mostly a cultural designation for the people in the Americas that were once part of the Spanish or Portuguese empires.
    It is not a racial designation, as a Latino person could be white, black, Asian, Native American, Pacific Islander, or some multi-racial combination. It's a way for the government to identify Spanish speaking people who don't neatly fit into the other racial categories.

    Hispanic seems to be acceptable to people on the east coast, but is not acceptable in the west coast.

    Hispanic is also more specific to people who trace their ancestry to Hispanola.
    Latino is supposed to refer to people from Latin America, though some people use the term more broadly to people who trace their lineage to any country whose language came from Latin, like Italian, French, or Romanian.


    Thank you, mocktwinkie, for your mock outrage.
    Larkin, maybe you should hand out brochures to people letting them know what they are and aren't allowed to by offended by.
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    Jan 26, 2012 12:22 AM GMT
    MolaMola, I thought you'd like to know that your handle is a Spanish slang term ;) The verb "molar" is a synonym for "gustar," so you can say "Me mola esa foto" in place of "Me gusta esa foto" (I like that pic).
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    Jan 26, 2012 1:46 AM GMT
    But it's also true that in New York at least, one hears people say "that Spanish guy" rather than "that Hispanic guy" or "that Latino guy." And most often the people who do so have Hispanic heritage. I don't think there's a monolithic perspective on the subject,
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    Jan 26, 2012 2:03 AM GMT
    I call myself "Hispanic", which to me implies that I come from "latino" descent. My grandparents were born in Mexico, but came to the US when they were very young. I have been born and raised in the US and can count the number of times in my hand that I have actually been to Mexico.

    First and foremost, I consider myself American. I don't like "Mexican" because that implies I am a Mexican citizen, which I'm not. I don't like "Mexican-American" either because that implies that I have a dual citizenship, which I don't. I'm OK with "Latino" because that's probably more a general term for latin-american descent, but that term can get misused. But if someone wants to put a label on me, then I'd prefer American.
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    Jan 26, 2012 2:09 AM GMT
    depends on who they are and where they are from. the term is actually far too broad to have any use...

    My family is from South America... we speak Dutch... and we refer to spanish speakers as Latinos....

    However, Argentinians do not call themselves Latinos

    Lots of islanders will say "Spanish" when they are refering to Spanish-speaking Caribbean people... as opposed to French and English speakers

    Finally, Latino was originally meant to include Brazil.. but in South America, we do not call them Latinos and reserve the term for Spanish Speakers

    In my country, we speak a Portuguese Creole.. we do not consider ourselves Latinos, because it is not Spanish.. but everyone to the north considers us Latinos as well the Brazilians

    Finally, very often the term is used to describe anyone from Central to South America, irrespective of the language we speak

    I never use the term Hispanic, but I have heard Latino's use it about themselves

    I have actually heard that, like the Argentinians.. many Mexicans do not consider themselves LAtino because they are in North America, not South America

    In short, the term, by itself, is entirely useless.. and they were meant for convenience, but they do not actually describe anyone *shrugs*
  • Webster666

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    Jan 26, 2012 2:41 AM GMT
    Mexican is from Mexico.
    Latin is from South America
    Hispanic is from Spain
  • araphael

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    Jan 26, 2012 3:02 AM GMT
    What the hell? I'm learning a new controversy in American society tonight (not that we don't already have enough regarding ethnicity). So there is a great disagreement among people about the use of hispanic, latino, or what? None of my friends I grew up with from Latin countries were sensitive about this, or at least they never said anything to me when we were growing up. I really need to learn this if this is a real, not created, issue of concern for people of Latin descent. Thanks for this thread discussion.
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    Jan 26, 2012 3:04 AM GMT
    That bitch should not be offended. Please, go back and ask her why she has her panties in a bundle....
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    Jan 26, 2012 3:05 AM GMT
    araphael saidWhat the hell? I'm learning a new controversy in American society tonight (not that we don't already have enough regarding ethnicity). So there is a great disagreement among people about the use of hispanic, latino, or what? None of my friends I grew up with from Latin countries were sensitive about this, or at least they never said anything to me when we were growing up. I really need to learn this if this is a real, not created, issue of concern for people of Latin descent. Thanks for this thread discussion.


    This is a rare case. I have never seen or heard of a Hispanic person being offended about being called Hispanic....unless he/she is NOT Hispanic to being with....icon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gificon_neutral.gif
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    Jan 26, 2012 4:00 AM GMT
    I use whatever term Cheech Marin uses. Ora le. icon_lol.gif

    But yeah, it varies by what area you're in and the age of the person. Chicano is sort of phased out, and used mostly by the older second generation Mexican Americans here in Southern California. The later generations go by Latino as a broad term. And the recent immigrants from Latin America don't give a fuck because political correctness is mostly an American concept. As long as you don't assume they're all from Mexico.
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    Jan 26, 2012 4:05 AM GMT
    And heaven forbid to label a Spaniard as Latino or Hispanic as many of them don't like to be grouped together with Latin Americans. They see themselves as something entirely separate from them.
  • JP85257

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    Jan 26, 2012 4:07 AM GMT
    Its just easier to refer to them as "brown folk." Do that to the bitch next time you see her and ask if thats fucking better.

    I hate people sometimes....

    Get the fuck over it lady.
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    Jan 26, 2012 4:12 AM GMT
    I personally don't care for any of these labels as they don't matter. I was born in Spain and speak the Spanish language, but my parents are born and raised Americans. My mom happens to be of Mexican and Spanish descent. I've lived most of my life in the United States and gave up my Spanish citizenship when I turned 18. I haven't been to Spain since my family left, but I still take interest in many Spanish-speaking cultures.
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    Jan 26, 2012 4:27 AM GMT
    My favorite ones are the Black hispanics that say they aren't Black they're hispanic... icon_lol.gif


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    Jan 26, 2012 4:28 AM GMT
    pocketnico saidI personally don't care for any of these labels as they don't matter. I was born in Spain and speak the Spanish language, but my parents are born and raised Americans. My mom happens to be of Mexican and Spanish descent. I've lived most of my life in the United States and gave up my Spanish citizenship when I turned 18. I haven't been to Spain since my family left, but I still take interest in many Spanish-speaking cultures.


    Why did you give up your citizenship?
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    Jan 26, 2012 4:31 AM GMT
    jmusmc85 said
    pocketnico saidI personally don't care for any of these labels as they don't matter. I was born in Spain and speak the Spanish language, but my parents are born and raised Americans. My mom happens to be of Mexican and Spanish descent. I've lived most of my life in the United States and gave up my Spanish citizenship when I turned 18. I haven't been to Spain since my family left, but I still take interest in many Spanish-speaking cultures.


    Why did you give up your citizenship?


    I had no reason to keep it. I haven't been to Spain since I was 5 years old. I have no ties there except some distant cousins my grandmother occasionally stays in touch with (I've never even met them). Also, it's not like I plan to get married anytime soon (if ever), so the fact that Spain has same-sex marriage doesn't even matter to me. I know an EU passport is a gateway to the rest of Europe, but so far I have no reason to haul my ass over there. Besides, it's not like Spain is faring too well economically these days. icon_rolleyes.gif
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    Jan 26, 2012 7:07 AM GMT
    While technically incorrect isn't "latin" an inoffensive generic term? As opposed perhaps to "latinos" or particularly "latinas," the latter of which was often painstakingly and irritatingly used by an overtly pc law professor of mine in the context of epidemiological analyses.
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    Jan 26, 2012 3:26 PM GMT
    ha ha ha...I hear this debate all the time. One of the side effects of colonialism...
    I agree with pocketnico and green hopper. It depends on who you ask and where.
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    Jan 26, 2012 5:05 PM GMT
    There are 20+ Spanish-speaking countries in the world and all of them are different from one another. Is it necessary to clump them all together? Try doing that with English-speaking nations; you'd think it'd go over well to group Americans, Canadians, Aussies, Brits, Irish, South Africans, and Kiwis as one cultural group because they all speak English?

    On another note, I hate how Spanish-language media refer to English-speaking people as anglosajones. As far as I know, Anglo-Saxons have not existed for centuries. Besides, many Americans aren't even of British descent! German is the largest ancestry group in the US.
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    Jan 27, 2012 1:47 AM GMT
    Why don't we just agree that Latinos, Hispanics, and Spanish people are the hottest fuckers around?