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The Difference between Hispanic and Latino

Date: 
05/10/2021
Author: 
Nicki Lisa Cole, Ph.D.
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Hispanic and Latino are often used interchangeably though they actually mean two different things. Hispanic refers to people who speak Spanish or are descended from Spanish-speaking populations, while Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America.

In today's United States, these terms are often thought of as racial categories and are often used to describe race, in the way that we also use White, Black, and Asian. However, the populations they describe are actually composed of various racial groups, so using them as racial categories is inaccurate. They work more accurately as descriptors of ethnicity, but even that is a stretch given the diversity of peoples they represent.

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