The reality of Race & Racism Among Latinos …

7 min readMar 16, 2021
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There is a difference between using the terms Spanish, Hispanic and Latino.

Spanish is a language derived from Spain. “Spanish people” refers to people who are from Spain, just as English people are from England, and German people are from Germany. Hispanic refers to people who come from a Spanish-language background, while Latino is typically used to identify people who are from Latin America regardless of what language is spoken. In other words, you can be Hispanic and not be Latino, you can be Latino and not be Hispanic, you can even be Hispanic and not Spanish or you can be a combination of Hispanic and Latino if you choose to identify that way.

As most of us know Spaniards colonized most of Central and South America, as well as the Caribbean islands. In the Caribbean specifically they initially took ownership of the Natives that were already there, then eventually brought over Africans (as part of the slave trade). Unlike the British colonies, interracial mixing was not taboo. Most of the British colonial people came over as families (which is why they rarely intermixed), alternatively most of the Spaniards in the Caribbean were men, some decided to take Native or African wives. That’s how a good number of Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Dominicans became so mixed. Below you can see a diagram of how mixed people were categorized based on who their parents were.

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That being said. we must debunk the myth that “Latino/Hispanic” people are a mix of the 3 races. Yes, there are a good number of Latinos that can claim a significant mixture, but there is also a significant portion that can not make that claim. There are “Hispanic/Latino” people who have mostly (if not all) European ancestry, there are “Hispanic/Latino” people who have mostly African ancestry, and then there are also Latinos who are just a mix of 2 of the 3 races (i.e. European/Native, African/Native, European/African). So, as a whole, yes, we are a mixed people but, individually there are levels to the mixing.

The terms “Latino/Hispanic” can also be controversial to some. Contrary to popular belief, Latino/Hispanic is not a race. Latino is a term…


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