Most people are used to hearing Hispanic and Latino, some default to Spanish and others are now getting accustomed to the term Latinx. It can be confusing, but we’ll help you sort it out.
Though some of those words could be used interchangeably, they all have distinct differences to properly address the Hispanic and Latinx community at large. To avoid misusing them, we broke down easy ways to remember the difference.
Latino and Latina refer to people whose origin or ancestry is in Latin America -- this excludes Spain. This term is based on geographic location, which is what separates it from the terms Hispanic or Spanish.
Spanish people aren’t Latino, but Brazilians are.
REMEMBER: If they’re from Latin America, they’re Latino or Latinx
Since Spanish is a gendered language, in the societal push for a gender-neutral term emerged the word Latinx. The x replaces the masculine “o” or feminine “a” in Latino and Latina to be more inclusive to those of Latin heritage who are gender non-conforming or queer. The term has been adopted by the Merriam-Webster dictionary.
This term is gaining some steam now in 2020. The term, like Latinx, is meant to be gender-neutral but easier for Spanish speakers to say. Latinx, pronounced La-TEEN-ex, is harsher sounding compared to the romance-language influenced La-TEEN. Some scholars believe Latine is easier to implement into language, but it isn’t as widely accepted as Latinx.
REMEMBER: If they’re from Latin America and prefer a gender-neutral term, consider Latinx or Latine
This term is more language based as opposed to geography. Hispanic refers to people of Spanish-speaking descent, encompassing countries from Latin America and Spain.
This time, Spaniards are considered Hispanic but Brazilians are not since they speak Portuguese.
REMEMBER: If they speak Spanish, they’re likely Hispanic
Though people often refer to Spanish as a language, it’s also a nationality. Anyone from Spain is Spanish, but just because someone speaks the language doesn’t make them Spanish.
REMEMBER: If they’re from Spain, they’re Spanish. If they’re not from Spain -- they’re not Spanish.