viernes, agosto 21, 2015

On the Definition of Hispanic, Latino and believe or not...Spanish

These terms have different meaning in the U.S.A. and the rest of the world

Let me cut to the chase because it's late and I want to go to sleep.

In the U.S.A. this is the definition used by the Census Bureau (source):

"Hispanics or Latinos are those people who classified themselves in one of the specific Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino categories listed on the Census 2010 questionnaire -"Mexican," "Puerto Rican", or "Cuban"-as well as those who indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin." People who do not identify with one of the specific origins listed on the questionnaire but indicate that they are "another Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin" are those whose origins are from Spain, the Spanish-speaking countries of Central or South America, or the Dominican Republic. The terms "Hispanic," "Latino," and "Spanish" are used interchangeably.
Origin can be view as the heritage, nationality group, lineage, or country of birth of the person or the person's parents or ancestors before their arrival in the United States.
People who identify their origin as Spanish, Hispanic, or Latino may be of any race. Thus, the percent Hispanic should not be added to percentages for racial categories."
Again, that's in the U.S.A. and you may want to take this issue with the Census Bureau if you disagree.  

In the rest of the world here are the definitions, from the Royal Spanish Academy dictionary (my translation to English)

Latino: Native peoples of Europe and America in which languages derived from Latin are spoken.
Growing up in the Dominican Republic this is the definition of "Latino" that I was taught at school.  Anyone who speaks Spanish, Portuguese, French, Italian and Romanian is Latino.

  1. Means "Spanish" (Hispanophile, Hispanic American)
  2. Of or pertaining to Hispania (The Roman name of the Iberian Peninsula)
  3. Spanish (used also as a noun)
  4. Of or pertaining to the countries of Hispanic America
  5. Of or pertaining to the people of Hispanic American origin living in the U.S.A.
  6. Person of that origin living in the U.S.A.

Again, growing up in the Dominican Republic this is the definition that I was taught at school.  I personally never identified as "Hispanic" and can't recall ever hearing anyone identifying himself/herself this way, even know I was aware that the term would be accurate.  Like most people in Latin America I identified by my country of origin (Dominican).

  1. A native os Spain
  2. Of or pertaining to that country in Europe
  3. Common language of Spain and many nations of America, also spoken in other parts of the world.

I was surprised that in the U.S.A. the term "Spanish" is applied to someone like me or certain aspect that are characteristic of my country or Latin American culture.  In more than one occasion I've heard Americans refers to certain Latin music (such as "Salsa" or "Bachata") as "Spanish music".  

I was surprised to find out that the U.S. Census uses that term to refer to somebody like me, even though I've used that term exclusively to refer to people from Spain or to the language I speak.

It's 1:00am in Maryland, and it's time for me to go to sleep.  I just needed to get this off my chest and reply to the nonsensical explanation of this topic posted by Vox.

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