Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Hispanic, Latino or Just American?

I recently read a tweet which is asking whether you are Latino or Hispanic. This long-time questions plagues organizations, businesses, entrepreneurs and everyone in-between. So which one are you? According to the Census that doesn't even matter. First let's set some things straight.

Hispanic is a term that originally denoted a relationship to the ancient Hispania. During the modern era, it took on a more limited meaning, relating to the contemporary nation of Spain. And there's a handful of people which don't like that we're being coined one culture. However, due to the popular use of "Latino" in the western portion of the United States, the government adopted this term as well in 1997, and it was used in the 2000 census. And according to a Wikipedia quote, "Neither term refers to race, as a person of Latino or Hispanic origin can be of any race."

Just recently, there was an Associate Press article which asked where are our Latino leaders. The writer quoted me with, ""When you're in Colombia, you're a Colombian. When you're in Puerto Rico, you're a Puerto Rican. When you're in the U.S., you're a Latino or Hispanic." And it's true. No one in Colombia would tell you they are Hispanic/Latino. People who call themselves Latino or Hispanic should look at the region they live in. East coast? West coast? Southern Florida? I'm sure everyone looks at this issue differently.
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