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awomanscorned's avatar

At the risk of sounding totally ignorant.... Latin vs Hispanic? Which do you use?

Asked by awomanscorned (11261points) October 21st, 2010

A coworker and i were discussing this today and it made me feel totally stupid because I’m Mexican and both words work for me I feel, but what’s the proper word to use? I’m thinking Latin is for anyone from Latin America? But, I dunno. You tell me.

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25 Answers

Nullo's avatar

I only ever use ‘Latin’ when I’m talking about the language. I’ll use the country name if I know it/it is applicable.

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GracieT's avatar

I’ve always used Hispanic for people from Spain and Latino/a for people in the Americas. If I’m wrong, please correct me. I am Caucasian, and don’t mean to be incorrect!

cazzie's avatar

Spanish… in any sense is not Latin….. I’m confused. Someone should ask Dan Quayle…...

Nullo's avatar

@noelleptc You can call yourself Marie Antoinette if you’re so inclined. :D

Really, though, both terms work.

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Blueroses's avatar

Great question. Both terms assume that you’re speaking to someone with European ancestors. When I traveled in Mexico, I met people who considered themselves “pure” descendants of the Mayans who really resented being called either. But you can’t win. If you refer to the area as they would… nobody else in the world will know what the hell you’re talking about.
Also, here in the western states, it’s often assumed that somebody who speaks Spanish is Mexican when he/she could very well be Dominican, Puerto Rican… etc.

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WestRiverrat's avatar

Either is currently acceptable. I try to use the country of origin when I reference the area my friends are from.

@noelleptc I just pulled a german chocolate cake from the oven. just waiting for it to cool so I can frost it.

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DrasticDreamer's avatar

It’s going to vary from person to person, but one word is grounded in ethnicity while the other is grounded in race. However, this is still controversial – because more and more, people don’t hold to the belief that there even are different races. That said, I found a site that tries to describe it. But, again, it’s still going to vary, sometimes widely. All in all, I say call yourself whatever you’re comfortable with.

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Brian1946's avatar

From my unqualified perspective, you’re Mexican because you say you are, and you’re also a Latina because you live in or are a citizen of a country that’s part of Latin America.

According to , Hispanic means “of or relating to the people, speech, or culture of Spain or of Spain and Portugal” or “of, relating to, or being a person of Latin American descent living in the United States; especially : one of Cuban, Mexican, or Puerto Rican origin”.

If I’m not mistaken, Latin America includes Mexico, and all countries in Central and South America.

BTW, my wife is Peruvian.

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Joybird's avatar

I use Hispanic unless I know the persons origin of birth or their ancestry and then I use that instead switching to Spainish, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Mexican etc.

CaptainHarley's avatar

I would think either Hispanic or Latino would be acceptable, but it would help if you just tried to call everyone by their first name rather than some racial or cultural misnomer.

Austinlad's avatar

Living in Texas, I hear and use Hispanic more than Latin.

Blueroses's avatar

A little off topic but my favorite accent is hispanic gay…. (ch)oh (ch)honey.. we can feex that tr(rrr)agic loook.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

It’s been a source of confusion for me too. I’ve always thought Hispanic referred to anyone who’s first language is Spanish, regardless of country origin. I’ve associated Latino/as with people from Central and South America. Americans with with ancestors from other countries often call themselves Hispanic, as in “not anglo” but American first. It’s all weirdness.

anartist's avatar

Hispanic derives from the Spanish colonies of Hispaniola and Hispaniola was named by Christopher Columbus. Further settlements in the Americans by Spaniards became part of a larger region called Hispania. Hispanic would not be applicable to European Spanish-speaking peoples. Both terms apply to Latin America. Latina and Latino seem primarily to have the added quality that they are gender terms.
But, hey, Marie Antoinette is cool. How do you say “let them eat cake.” in Spanish?

Blueroses's avatar

hee hee @anartist . I think if the aboriginals were thinking in Spanish for a translation of a French sentence… it would be something like… Espero que se estrangule.

Spanish speakers tell me if I’m wrong.

anartist's avatar

@Blueroses haha
well Marie certainly choked [so to speak]

OpryLeigh's avatar

I use latina a lot when talking about women but usually use hispanic when talking about men.

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