Latino vs Hispanic vs Latinx Explained - blog thumbnail
OSIC (Department of Organizational Strategy, Initiatives, and Culture)
Latino vs Hispanic vs Latinx Explained - blog banner

The difference between Latinos and Hispanics and how they are not interchangeable.

By now you have probably heard the terms Hispanic and Latino used interchangeably. But is there an actual difference between these two terms? And why do some people say Latinx?

Hispanic

Prior to the 1970s, the US Census Bureau classified Latin American immigrants as white. Through this controversy and the lack of data to prove this group was under-resourced, Latino activists lobbied for a new identity category that would encompass this community. Thus, the term Hispanic was born.

Hispanic refers to people from Spain or Spanish speaking origin. For example, Hispanic would include people from Spain and not Brazil where Portuguese is predominantly spoken.

Latino

The term Hispanic has been highly rejected due to its ties with Spain, which colonized much of Latin America. Thus, the term Latino is used as an alternative to Hispanic.

Latino refers to people of Latin American descent living in the United States. This term includes Brazilians and excludes people from Spain.

Latinx

In recent years, the term Latinx has gained popularity. Latinx is the gender-neutral or non-binary term for Latino/Latina and pushes back on the gendered language to be more inclusive.

Key Takeaways

  • Think of the term Hispanic tied to the Spanish language. Hispanic excludes Brazilians, who predominantly speak Portuguese.
  • Latino is tied to a geographical region, much of what was colonized by Spain.
  • Latinx is a more progressive term that is gender-neutral.  

How do you choose to identify?


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

The Department of Organizational Strategy, Initiatives, and Culture (OSIC) was established in 2017 to oversee YES Prep functions which speaks to organizational development and cultural foundation of YES.