The Breakdown: What’s the difference between Latino and Hispanic? What the hell is “Latinx?” What is

September 15 — October 15 may be officially called “Hispanic Heritage Month” but please don’t call me Hispanic because I’m Afro-Latinx. What’s that? Let’s break it down.

On the difference between Latino and Hispanic

I love the comic created by Terry Blas where he illustrates how Latino is a term telling you about Geography and Hispanic is a term that is telling you about Language. Latino means from Latin America. Latin America refers mostly to everything below the U.S. including the Caribbean. Hispanic means from a country whose primary language is Spanish but not every country in Latin America speaks Spanish.

However, even this distinction can bring up different nuances. As Élida Bautista, PhD, Director of Inclusion and Diversity at University of California, Berkeley, Haas School of Business, explains:

While I’ve seen it used widely, I think the Geography vs. Language categorization doesn’t fully hold up. For one we need to include people whose origins are from the U.S. southwest and trace their heritage from when these states were part of Spain or Mexico. And just to complicate it a little more, English speaking countries in the Caribbean are not typically referred to as Latin American (cuz they’re not of a Latin-language origin) and neither are Francophone ones though they are technically a “Latin” language country. However, non-Spanish speaking countries in Central & South America (Surinam, Brazil, Belize, etc) are usually included in the perceived “Latinx” community. are usually included in the perceived “Latinx” community. We’re a complicated pan-identity :D.

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