Hispanic, Latino, Spanish — even Wikipedia can't make up its mind about how to refer to the more than 17 percent of Americans whose ancestry or sense of community stems from a connection to or colonization from Spain. So, what is the difference between being Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish, and how can we talk about these culturally distinct, ethnically diverse groups of people inclusively and without making broad and often incorrect generalizations? YouTube personality Kat Lazo of TheeKatsMeoww and Bustle asked New Yorkers this very question — and let's just say a lot of people got kind of confused.
It is important to mention that it is often impossible to tell someone's ethnicity, nationality, and heritage from their appearance alone. We would not refer to all Asian-American people as "Chinese," and we would never assume that all Arab-Americans shared a common cultural heritage. Even if a person is correctly identified as Hispanic, or has a Spanish-speaking familial history, there are plenty of linguistic differences, dialects, and words that are specific to countries and geographic regions.
Do you think you'd be able to explain the difference between being Hispanic, Latino, and Spanish? Check out this video to further explore the ways we talk about people and their origins in a global society.
Want to see more? Make sure you visit Bustle on YouTube.