General Question

kelly's avatar

Which is correct: Hispanic or Latino?

Asked by kelly (1908points) January 21st, 2008

I thought only someone from a country that had had Spanish rule is called Hispanic. All other spanish speaking country residents would be Latino. Is this correct?

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1 Answer

artemisdivine's avatar

best answer i found was…

Though often used interchangeably in American English, Hispanic and Latino are not identical terms, and in certain contexts the choice between them can be significant.

Hispanic, from the Latin word for “Spain,” has the broader reference, potentially encompassing all Spanish-speaking peoples in both hemispheres and emphasizing the common denominator of language among communities that sometimes have little else in common.

Latinowhich in Spanish means “Latin” but which as an English word is probably a shortening of the Spanish word latinoamericanorefers more exclusively to persons or communities of Latin American origin. Of the two, only Hispanic can be used in referring to Spain and its history and culture; a native of Spain residing in the United States is a Hispanic, not a Latino, and one cannot substitute Latino in the phrase the Hispanic influence on native Mexican cultures without garbling the meaning.

In practice, however, this distinction is of little significance when referring to residents of the United States, most of whom are of Latin American origin and can theoretically be called by either word.·A more important distinction concerns the sociopolitical rift that has opened between Latino and Hispanic in American usage. For a certain segment of the Spanish-speaking population, Latino is a term of ethnic pride and Hispanic a label that borders on the offensive. According to this view, Hispanic lacks the authenticity and cultural resonance of Latino, with its Spanish sound and its ability to show the feminine form Latina when used of women. Furthermore, Hispanicthe term used by the U.S. Census

via http://www.thefreedictionary.com/Hispanic

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