Latino vs. Hispanic 2 Replies My husband sent me a link to this cute comic by Terry Blas, on the difference between the terms “Latino” and “Hispanic”. Share this:EmailTweet
The terms Hispanic and Latino are – in my opinion – erroneous terminology to categorize those of us who originate from Mexico, Guatemala, Peru, Ecuador, etc. and inclusive the Caribbean.
In order to elaborate, I think it is first important to analyze and define these terminologies.
Latino originates from Latin: the language, culture, and peoples who originate from Europe, the Mediterranean, precisely Rome and Italy. Inclusively it can be expanded to that that developed and expanded from that same root – Spain, France, Portugal, Romania, etc.
Hispanic originates from the region, culture, and Latin peoples (read previous paragraph) from Hispania (Spain) and its diaspora (people that transported, immigrated, invaded, and established itself. In this continent, but did not originate here).
Both of those populations described above are foreign to this continent. They are European, Caucasian, White: they have no link, claim, or roots – either genetic, social, cultural, or claim to these lands prior to 1492. They are peoples whose cultures originated from elsewhere, and identify with Spain as “la madre Patria”.
Lets return to and reiterate my first phrase that indicates that these terminologies are erroneous to categorize those of us who ORIGINATE from Mexico, Guatemala, Bolivia, etc. We are not European, Caucasian, White nor are we immigrants, invaders, or transplants.
We originated in this continent. Genetically, we descend from native races. Our cultures and civilizations – Canjobal, Zapotec, Quechua, Mixtec, Nahuatl, Purepecha, Mixe, Kiche, Aymara, Yucatec, Huastec, Kekchi, Kakchikei, Zoque, Mixtec, and many hundreds more – developed and flourished independent of any European, Latin, or Spanish influence. Although after 1492 our cultures have adapted and have been influenced by various foreign stresses throughout the centuries, and our races have mixed, our cultures and traditions are rooted in our millennial old pre-Columbian/pre-Hispanic heritage. The root of who we are is here, not in Europe.
The Black/African presence and influence in the Caribbean during the Colonial Era – the time when our modern culture of “mestizaje” began to forge – was more numerous than that of the European/White inclusive in Colombia, Mexico, and many parts of Central and South America where it is officially not recognized. Why is it that we prefer to identify with the European aspect?
Now, with no intention to exclude or offend, if you are Argentinian, Uruguayan, Costa Rican, Paraguayan, Chilean or among the minority of Cubans, Mexicans, Puerto Ricans, Salvadorans, Guatemalans, Peruvians, Dominicans, etc., that do claim to be of European origin, and do not descend from any Indigenous/Native and/or African heritage, and perceive yourself set apart, then all this does not pertain to you.
By taking on the Latino/Hispanic label, we are denying the existence, presence, and heritage if an entire continent. It is cultural genocide. Politically, by taking on these foreign labels, we are being robbed and denied our natural and legitimate claim to these lands, we are converted to foreigners.
I believe that in order to classify us correctly, first we must clarify if we are asked for our race, nationality, ethnicity, or cultural heritage, for each is very different. Second, there must be a clear definition and explanation of what is meant by each. Third, instead of trying to find one label that bundles us all together, allow all individuals to identify themselves and respect it.
Yuri, thank you for your thoughtful comment. Names are indeed powerful. For another example, please see the comments on my earlier post about the terms Spanish andCastilian.