Determining if a person is Latino or Hispanic. Discussion Question Word count 250-350
After watching the video “Latino or Hispanic”, determine if a person can be considered both Latino and Hispanic. Explain your answer.
After watching the documentary “Torn at the Border”, explain two ways that systemic policies create barriers for Latinx families who identify as immigrants.
After watching the video, “My Identity is a Superpower–Not an Obstacle”, describe three reasons why it is important to have positive cultural representation of Latinx Americans.
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You might think of Hispanic and Latino as terms used to describe racial categories, similar to the terms White, Black, or Asian. However, the groups that comprise Hispanics and Latinos are actually diverse in terms of race.
The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” refer to ethnicity, culture, and identity. They are groups based on shared culture rather than skin color, race, or other physical features. However, the groups are also broader than ethnicity, which can make the terms confusing.
Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or who have a background in a Spanish-speaking country. In other words, Hispanic refers to the language that a person speaks or that their ancestors spoke. Some Hispanic people speak Spanish, but others don’t.
For this reason, people who are Hispanic may vary in their race and also where they live or originate. For example, a person from the Dominican Republic and a person from Mexico might both call themselves Hispanic because they share in common a spoken language and a legacy of Spanish colonies.
In contrast, Latino refers to geography: specifically, people from Latin America including Central America, South America, and the Caribbean. Like being Hispanic, being Latino says nothing about your race; Latinos may be White, Black, Indigenous, Asian, etc.
However, it is important to note there is some discussion about whether people in the Caribbean actually identify as Latino in the case of non-Spanish-speaking countries.
For example, the majority of Haitians do not identify as Latinx despite being part of Latin America. Jamaica, an English-speaking nation, isn’t always included as being part of Latin America either, and Jamaicans do not tend to identify as Latino.
The Bahamas, Curaçao, and Dominica are also places that are occasionally lumped into Latin America but are not Latinx or Hispanic.
A person who is Latino may also be Hispanic, or not. For instance, while people from Brazil are considered Latino (because Brazil is a Latin American country), they are not considered Hispanic because Brazil is a former Portuguese colony, not a Spanish one.
People who are Black and Latino often identify as Afro-Latino, while other Black people of Latin American descent forego the Latino/Hispanic labels altogether.2
There are also differences in usage of the terms Hispanic and Latino by geographical region. While urban areas and those on the coasts tend to prefer Latino, rural areas in places like Texas and New Mexico are more likely to use the term Hispanic.3 However, there are exceptions to this tendency. For example, the word Hispanic is generally preferred and more widely used in Florida.