Latino or Hispanic?

Yasmin Sustaita, MVC writer and photographer

Many people are confused on which term to identify or describe and classify themselves, friends, family or others. People don’t know whether to use Latino, Hispanic, or Latinx/Latine. Some labels may have a different response, like Latinx being gender inclusive for all while Latino/Latina is more male/female based. So how does one figure out which terminology to use?


Latino/a is terminology used to describe people with ancestry revolving around Latin America. According to world population review, people who are considered Latino include: Agrentinans, Bolivians, Brazilians, Chileans, Colombians, Costa Ricans, Cubans, Domincans, Ecuadors, El Salvadors, Guatemalans, Haitians, Hondurans, Mexicans, Nicaragua, Panamanians, Paraguay, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, Uruguay and Venezuelans. Latino, unlike Hispanic, classifies Brazil in their umbrella while leaving out Spain, while Hispanic is the other way around, as they exclude Brazil, but include Spain. The term Latino came from the Latin American term, Latinoamericano.


On the other hand, Hispanic is terminology used to describe people descended from a Spanish speaking population/country, or a person who speaks Spanish natively. People classified under the Hispanic category include: Argentinans, Bolivians, Chileans, Colombians, Costa Ricans, Cubans, Dominican Republicans, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemaleans, Hondurans, Mexicans, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peruvians, Puerto Ricans, Spaniards, Uruguay, Venezueleans, and people descended from Equatorial Guinea. 

The Hispanic terminology, according to, dates back to when people only could identify via the Spanish origin or white on their census. This frustrated people of Latin American descent because it inhibited them from proving their community needed resources to help them with things like job training. Around the 1960s and 70s, people of the Census Bureau finally came up with the term Hispanic to categorize Latinos. However some people believed and still believe that Latino should be used as a substitute for Hispanic. 


On an added note, some people, mainly Latinos, do not like using the term Latinx to describe all Latinos. The Latinx term, according to CSU, came from people of the LGBT+ community and feminists. Latinx and Latines refer to people of Latin American descent who are of gender neutral identity. Tons of people within and outside of the Latin American, and LGBT+ community have mixed feelings about the term(s). On one hand, some feel that the term stands to move against past machismo and exclusion of their gender identification. On the other hand, some people believe the term has anglicized the Latino term, and in that way, has also done the same thing towards the Spanish language as a whole. 


Back in December of 2021, Hispanic and Latino civil rights organizations here in the US as well as Congressman Ruben Gallego, said they will no longer be using the Latinx/Latino term as it has offended some and failed to be approved or accepted by a wide population of people. With that in mind, people believe in total that the term is just a tool to be inclusive for others.