A Quick Breakdown Of The Difference Between Hispanic, Latino And Spanish

The words “Hispanic,” “Latino” and “Spanish” all have different meanings, and Kat Lazo is here to clear it up.

In a video from Bustle, the YouTube personality, who frequently discusses feminism and social norms in her videos, took to the streets of New York to ask people if they knew the difference before giving her explanation. Spoiler: not many people did.

(Note: The Venn Diagram in the video incorrectly identifies Brazil, French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Haiti, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy and Saint Martin as places that share the characteristics of both Latino and Hispanic populations. In fact, Brazilians would fit within the most widely accepted definition of “Latino,” but not “Hispanic.” Many argue that the French-speaking country of Haiti and territories of French Guiana, Guadaloupe, Martinique, Saint Barthélemy also belong to the region of Latin America, but their populations are not Hispanic. Saint Martin is a predominately Dutch-speaking Caribbean island with a sizable French-speaking minority, so most of its population is neither Latino nor Hispanic.)

Luckily, Lazo explained how the terms differ. In short, “Hispanic” focuses on Spanish-speaking origin. This means Spain is included, but Brazil is not because Brazilians speak Portuguese. “Latino” refers to people of Latin American origin. This includes Brazil and excludes Spain.

“Hispanic is basically based on whether you or your family speak the language of Spanish whereas Latino is focusing more on geographic location, that being Latin America,” Lazo said in the video.

One man on the streets of New York helped Lazo with her explanation when he talked about his experience with the term “Spanish.” “I hate when people call me Spanish because I’m not,” he said. “If you’re Spanish it’s because you’re from Spain.”

It’s important to note that just because people speak Spanish, it doesn’t mean they’re Spanish. It’s a language, and it’s also a term referring to nationality.

And there you have it. They may just be three words, but they pack quite a meaningful punch.

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