Difference Between Hispanic and Latino

Hispanic vs Latino

Hispanic and Latino are frequently used to refer to roots or cultural origins of a person. Hispanic means of Spanish origin, though it has come to represent several cultures that were once a part of the Spanish Empire. Latino is another term that is used to refer to a person who is Spanish speaking or is from any of the Latin American countries. Latina or Latino are somewhat similar and come from Latin American. There is a lot of confusion between Hispanic and Latino in US, because of commonality in these two terms. Either of the two terms can be used to describe a person of Spanish culture whether he or she comes from Cuba, Mexico, South America, or Spain. Let us find out in this article, if there are any differences between Hispanic and Latino.

The combined term Hispanic or Latino was coined by the government of US to broaden the definition of a person from just Hispanic in 1997. Hispanic or Latino was introduced in an attempt to cover all ethnic groups living in the US having Spanish ancestry or those who spoke Spanish at home. However, the term did not include Brazilians, and surprisingly includes many races instead of just one. This means we can have blacks of Spanish origin, as well as, whites of Spanish origin in this classification.

Despite ‘Hispanic or Latino’ having been accepted as a category, there are sociologists and anthropologists who are not sure if these two terms can be used interchangeably as they feel that these are culturally and ethnically, two different groups. Hispanic is a broad term that contains all Spanish speaking people. Since such people come from both hemispheres and often have nothing else in common apart from Spanish language, it is hard to find any commonality between these communities. Latino, on the other hand, is a word in Spanish language that means Latin, but in the American context and language, it has come to refer to a shortened version of a Spanish word latinoamericano. This word is used to refer to people or communities of Latin American origin.

What is the difference between Hispanic and Latino?

Thus, it is clear that Hispanic should be used to refer to a person of Spanish origin living in America. What this implies is that a native of Spain living in US is a Hispanic, but not a Latino. Latino on the other hand, refers to people of Latin American origin residing in US. So the use of the term Hispanic or Latino in US to broaden the category of people speaking Spanish language is not correct technically, though it does not make much of a difference to people of Spanish origin and those who come from Latin America as the common denominator between all such diverse groups is Spanish language.