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"Hispanic" vs "Latino" Article, CNY Latino, 2004

Hispanic vs. Latino

Hispanic vs. Latino

Onondaga Historical Association, OHA_B1_303
Document Description
Newspaper article "'Hispanic' vs 'Latino'" by Cristina Granados, in English and Spanish, printed in the March 05, 2004, issue of "CNY Latino."
What did Hispanic Trends, Inc. want to find out?
What were the results of the poll?
Why were the results surprising?
Why has the “Hispanic” vs. “Latino” issue sparked so much debate?
How does Sandra Cisneros identify herself?
Why does the term “Hispanic” make her “skin crawl”?
Why is Zachary Gonzalez comfortable with the term “Hispanic”?
Do you agree or disagree with Rick Dovalina’s view of this controversy?
Which way do you think the author of this article leans?
Historical Challenges
Organize a “Hispanic” vs. “Latino” debate in your class. Divide into two groups: pro-Hispanic and pro-Latino.
a) Each group should select a spokesperson and present three to five arguments to support the exclusive use of one of the terms.
b) At the end of the debate, a secret poll should be conducted and the results posted to show which term was preferred by the class.
Interdisciplinary Connections
Science: Research the early science on classifying people by race. How is race different from ethnic group? How does this relate to the Hispanic/Latino debate?


Historical Context
The term “Hispanic” is often used interchangeably with the term “Latino.” The term “Hispanic” was used in the 1970 Census as a generic term to include all people who came from, or who had parents who came from, Spanish-speaking countries. The term “Latino,” on the other hand, is a Spanish-language term that has increased in usage. Some Latinos/Hispanics feel strongly about which term they prefer.  Some insist they should be known by their national origin; others vary their usage depending on context.

Those who prefer “Latino” say that it is more culturally neutral and racially inclusive of all groups in Latin America. Those of indigenous, African, European, and mixed origins are called Latinos, as are Brazilians, whose language is Portuguese.

However, those who prefer the term “Hispanic” argue that it is a more universal term used by most U.S. government agencies, while “Latino” is a regional term more common where there are large numbers of native Spanish speakers.

Adapted from: “What It Means To Be Latino” by Dr. Clara E. Rodríguez,
Essential Question
Why do governments label immigrant populations?
Check for Understanding
Summarize the main idea of this article and explain why there was a debate over the correct term to use for this immigrant population.