Students learn the difference between Hispanic, Latin(a) terms

Roberto Hodge, Multicultural Editor

Both of Chris Macias’ parents were born in Mexico. Growing up, his first language was Spanish, allowing him to become immersed within the Mexican culture. It is for this reason, Macias, the treasurer of Latin American Student Organization, sometimes interchanges the terms Hispanic or Latino(a) to represent himself. The differences of the two terms as well as their similarities will be the topic of discussion at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Taylor basement classroom.

“At home, my dad would say ‘speak Spanish’ because you’ll learn English in school,” Macias said.

Macias said the forum would be lead by Linda Scholz, a communication studies professor, who will explain the differences and historical aspects of the two terms and why they are interchanged so much.

“Those two terms are used so interchangeably, it sometimes gets hard to distinguish the differences between the two,” Macias said.

Macias said from what he understood, the term Latino(a) is used to represent those from Latin America, Central America and South America, while Hispanic would be for those coming from Spanish-speaking countries.

Macias said this event is important because people need to be politically correct when addressing someone, and it is easy to be incorrect when doing so. He said there is a way to address others without labeling them all into the same category even though they may be different. The goal is to help students learn to understand what the differences are between the two terms as well as the historical context.

People should not assume, it’s polite to ask how to properly address someone, but there is a certain way to go about it without sounding offensive. Knowing how to address someone correction can help build closer backgrounds, he said.

“Oh, you’re Mexican, right?” Macias said, “Not everyone is just Mexican, not everyone is Columbian. That’s where people can start to get offended.”

Roberto Hodge can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]