Difference Between Latino and Chicano

Latino vs Chicano

The difference between Latino and Chicano is that Chicano is more specific to the area of origin whereas Latino is more of a generic name that includes Chicanos as well. The words Latino and Chicano are commonly used in US to refer to ethnic groups to reveal their ancestry or origins. Chicano is the word that is used by native people to distinguish ethnic origins of a person or a group from native people. Latino is a generic term that refers to people of Latin American descent. There are some similarities in the two terms as Chicano is used to talk about people of Mexican origin mostly while Latino is a term that can be equally applied for Mexicans. There is a clear difference between these two terms as will be clear after reading this article.

Both Chicano and Latino, when they were used initially, faced opposition from ethnic groups residing in US and having Latin American origins because they considered these terms as derogatory and a way devised by locals to single out people of various ethnic affiliations.

Who is a Chicano?

Chicano was a word coined to refer to Americans of Mexican descent and it was deemed objectionable by these people when the term was first introduced. This was because people considered it as a derogatory, disrespectful term. It was considered to be of the same level as negro for black people. However, after a few years, they have accepted the term. Interestingly, older people might recall that Mexican people, when they migrated to US were referred to as Mexicanos first. Then, with time the name Mexicanos got shortened as Xicanos or simply Chicanos. Though, it is not a derogatory term anymore, it should only be used to refer to people of Mexican origin in the US. Still there are people belonging to the older generations who consider this as a disrespectful term. However, majority has accepted this as a term to refer to their origins. So, if your origin goes back to Mexico, then you are a Chicano.

Difference Between Latino and Chicano

Who is a Latino?

Latino too refers to the geography. However, Latino is not a term that is limited to one country as Chicano is. Latino 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 latino americano. Latino is a term that refers to all people who have origins in some Latin American countries. So, Latino is a term that is used to identify people who have origins in the Latin American region. So, if you are to be called a Latino, you origin should come from a Latin American country.

For example, if you come from Brazil, which is a Latin American country, then you are a Latino. Also, if you are from Mexico too you can use the term Latino to talk about yourself. This is because Mexico is also a part of Latin America. Since, Chicano refers to people with Mexican origin, if you are of Mexican origin you are a Latino as well as a Chicano.

Latino vs Chicano

What is the difference between Latino and Chicano?

• Definition of Latino and Chicano:

• All people of Mexican origin are referred to as Chicanos in US.

• Latino is a generic term used in US to refer to people having origins in any of the South American countries called Latin America.

• Connection between Latino and Chicano:

• All Chicanos are technically Latinos.

• Not all Latinos are Chicanos.

• Acceptance and Disputes:

• The word Chicano has come to be associated with ethnic pride today, though it was once considered derogatory by the Mexicans themselves.

• Latino is an accepted term and it too had some problems when it was introduced first.

As you can see, both Latino and Chicano are terms used to identify people with different cultural origins. Chicano refers to a person from one country, the Mexico while Latino refers to people from any Latin American country. A person with Mexican origin is a Chicano as well as a Latino. However, a person from Brazil is only a Latino. He is not a Chicano since his origins do not come from Mexico.

Images Courtesy:

  1. Chicanos by z2amiller (CC BY-SA 2.0)
  2. Latino by Wan Salman (CC BY 2.0)