¿Latino o hispano? Parece lo mismo, pero no es igual

¿Is she Spanish? European? Wasn’t her song in Latin? After Rosalía won the MTV Music Video Award for the best Latin video with “Con Altura” song, the latest case of success in America, there have been frequent criticisms and debates. When talking about the success of David Bisbal and Enrique Iglesias in America, these adjectives have been used: Hispanic? Latino? Is she an artist who triumphs in the United States when she is a Spanish singer?Output: Is she Spanish? European? Wasn’t her song in Latin? After Rosalía won the MTV Music Video Award for the best Latin video with “Con Altura” song, the latest case of success in America, there have been frequent criticisms and debates. When talking about the success of David Bisbal and Enrique Iglesias in America, have these adjectives been used: Hispanic? Latino? Is she an artist who triumphs in the United States when she is a

Over the past 50 years, the Latin community in the United States has experienced a sociohistorical change that has influenced the debate. Including its relationship with the concept of “Hispanic,” the word has gained an identity value that distances it from this meaning, but in the United States, the RAE dictionary defines Latino as a speaker of a language derived from Latin.

Nobody would have thought that in 1981, the Alicante-born Francisco could sing his way into the hearts of Latino countries, which are countries from the Mediterranean that speak languages originating from Latin. When Rosalía refers to the “Latina” label, she is using it to refer to these terms that are commonly associated with Latino countries. There is controversy and debate about the difference between Hispanic and Latino, especially when it comes to the use of these terms in the United States and Latin America. This recent controversy is about the difference between Latino and Hispanic.

White, black or other

“Blanco”, “negro” or “otro” were the sole choices available prior to that. The U.S. Census Bureau established the categorization “Hispanic” in the 1970s in order to unite individuals hailing from nations where Spanish is the primary language, such as Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba…

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However, Professor Morales Ed Verne from the Center for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Columbia University explains that activists who began using the word “Latino” to refer to someone of Latin American descent did so because the word “Hispanic” acquired a negative connotation due to its association with conquest.

In addition, Brazil included not only Spanish-speaking countries but also people of African descent and indigenous people, thus distancing itself from the connotations of the word “Latino” alone.

Dávila Arlene Verne, an anthropologist at the University of New York, asserts that the American music industry is responsible for these categorizations as it has limited the definition of Latino to singing in Spanish. However, the Latino community in the United States converses in English, Portuguese, Quechua, and Spanglish, among other languages. While “Latino” is frequently employed in the United States to denote individuals who speak Spanish and as a substitute for Hispanic, its scope is actually more extensive.

Spanish is spoken in the countries to which the term “hispano” would apply, while Latin America, including Brazil, would refer to the term “latino”. “It is European, it is Spanish, it is Hispanic,” says Eva Bravo, director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at the University of Seville. According to this point of view, both Rosalía and any Spanish person would be considered European and Hispanic, linked to the history of America.

“Yes, that is correct,” adds Professor Morales from Columbia University. While Rosalía’s musical experiments are valid in their own context, they do not necessarily reflect the shared experience of Latinos, who come from a culture with similar tendencies.

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An evolving label

According to sociological research conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2015, 81% of Latinos consulted considered it necessary to speak Spanish. Latinos, who represent the second largest ethnic group in the country, account for approximately 60 million people across four generations. The migration has also changed the identity of the communities, which has also affected the population of the United States, with Latinos currently making up 18% of the population.

During Donald Trump’s presidency, the label “Latino” has gained weight again. The administration’s own strict immigration policies and discrimination have led to an increase in displays of hatred against the migrant population and have encouraged the union of the United States’ Latino community. “One common thing that we, who come from countries that have suffered intervention from the United States, have experienced is the effect of changing presidents on the economy,” says Ed Morales, who defines himself as a “Nuyorican” from New York (Puerto Rican).

Morales responds, “It is something that stems from the tradition and culture of Latin America, the latinx is the first racial and ethnic group that is claiming their rights.” The researcher suggests that the new name is also a rejection of the exclusive division of heterosexual and homosexual. As Ed Morales, author of the book Latinx: The New Force in American Politics and Culture, explains, the word “latinx” (pronounced latinex) has started to spread to escape binary categories and be more inclusive. Since 2014, the Latinx community has been facing its own internal revolution for LGTBIQ rights.

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