What Does It Mean To Be Latino?

Latinos are more diverse than you may think.

As demographics in the United States shift and the Latino population continues to grow, the conversation about Latinos also grows louder. But what does it mean to be Latino?  

On Thursday, HuffPost Live discussed the breadth of the Latino experience and the incredible diversity within the community.

"We're not just short, bronze-skinned [and] dark-haired,"  said HuffPost Latino Voices editor Carolina Moreno. "We represent all of the world's diversity. We can be Asian Latinos, Afro-Latinos, fair-skinned blonde Latinos."

Moreno recently spearheaded Latinos Break The Mold, a HuffPost interactive photo project that showcases the diversity within the community and includes personal narratives about the Latino experience in the U.S.

Freelance journalist Janel Martinez was one of the Latinas featured in the project. And while she is fiercely proud of her Afro-Latina heritage, Martinez told HuffPost Live she experienced an "identity crisis" growing up. 

"For me, it was always a level of where do I fit into the equation as a black woman, which I totally embrace that identity, but [also] as a Latina," she said. "And growing up not necessarily having that terminology, a lot of my peers asking me, 'You are Latina? But why are you black? How can you possibly be both? And how can you be American, how can you be Latina, how can you be black?'"

HuffPost producer Carly Figueroa and HuffPost assignment editor Marcos Saldivar, who also shared their stories in the photo project, joined the conversation and discussed their unique experiences. Figueroa explained why she consistently felt compelled to prove her Cuban identity and Saldivar described the duality of his experience as a Mexican-American.

Watch a clip from the conversation on Latino identity above and the full HuffPost Live segment here.

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