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HISPANIC…LATINO…OR…?

There are many articles that address the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino”, trying to help people understand the terms, their origin and their correct or acceptable use.  There is an article in the “Notes from the newsroom on grammar, usage and style section” of The New York Times today (June 9th) entitled “Hispanic? Latino? Or What?” that tries to address the topic and explain the terms and their use.  There are some good points in the article, but it is also a bit confusing.

The term “Hispanic” was coined by the Census Bureau to categorize those citizens who come from Spanish-speaking countries and their descendants.  The term “Latino”  is technically a term to describe people from Latin America.  Both terms have become more generic in describing the overall population segment that hail from Spanish-speaking countries.  While they are fine  terms to describe the larger group, they don’t apply well to individuals.  We think this is the point the Times article was trying to make.  Depending on where you are in the country,  one term is preferred over the other.

The bottom line is that there is no simple solution or application of either term and that being specific is usually the best way to minimize confusion.

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4 Responses to “HISPANIC…LATINO…OR…?”

  1. ovajoqo_437@yopmail.com says:

    Hiya from Argentina! I have found your url on askjeeves. Handful content! Angela S. King x

  2. bigmanoncampus says:

    Hey I liked the article, keep up the great work!

  3. Markus Holmes says:

    Love the blog! Great articles make for an awesome read! keep it up!

  4. The article you reference was interesting in that the subject matter came up partly as a result of Judge Sotomayor’s nomination to the Supreme Court. I was interested to learn that if confirmed, she must be referred to as the “first Hispanic justice,” but should not be referred to as the first Latino justice because the wording is awkward and cannot be referred to as the first Latina justice because it changes the meaning. Perhaps Hispanic and Latino are not interchangeable?