Thursday, April 5, 2012

Are you Hispanic, Latino or American?

That's the question that always seems to come up. Latinos living in the United States at times struggle with identity issues...I know I do. Why? Because society tends to put you in a box a.k.a. the Census. Depending on what part of the country you live, you're also categorized into other cultures. Live in Florida? You're all Cuba. Live in Philadelphia? You're all Puerto Rican. Live in Texas? You're all Mexican.

A recent Pew Hispanic Survey says, "A majority [of Hispanics] (51%) say they most often identify themselves by their family’s country of origin; just 24% say they prefer a pan-ethnic label." What's more interesting is that Hispanic is preferred over Latino. In Philadelphia, I've heard a good number of colleagues/friends prefer Latino since it embraces all cultures. Things are quickly changing. The older generation of Latinos versus the new-aged Latino is a battle that will go on for a while.

My favorite results from the survey find that 38% of all respondents are Spanish dominant, 38% are bilingual and 24% are English dominant. Among U.S.-born Hispanics, more than half (51%) are English dominant. Cue brand new English-language media geared towards the new-age American Latino. Our culture is changing. And although I do not want our language to be forgotten, I do want America to embrace this new trend. The new-age Latino is different.
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