“A Latinx? What’s that?”

If you’re using “Spanish,” “Mexican,” “Hispanic,” “Latino” or “Latinx” interchangeably, stop.

Source: Instagram
Dominique Dajer at a food and music festival, represented in front of a sign reading, “Colombia.”

What is Hispanic Heritage Month?

Hispanic Heritage Month is recognized in the United States and celebrates the history, traditions and cultures of people whose ancestors have come from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, Central and South America, by acknowledging the contributions they have made to the U.S.

Why is it celebrated September 15th-October 15th?

The significance behind September 15th is rooted from the five Latin American countries that received their independence: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Mexico and Chile’s anniversary of independence is celebrated on September 16th and 18th, respectively.

Identity: Terminology spans based on race, region, nation, or language

There are several terms that can be used to identify a person’s Latino or Hispanic heritage. You may have heard some people may reference one term, while others may use two or three.

Here’s a round up of ten commonly used terms and definitions that our Hispanic and Latino communities are using to identity with:

1. Latino / Latina

Refers to people based on geography — specifically Latin America, as explained by the Hispanic Network.

Introducing, X

2. Latinx

I promise we’re not talking algebra here. The only variable we’re solving for here is gender.

3. Afro-latino / Afro-latina / Afro-latinx

They are people of African descent in Mexico, Central and South America, and the Spanish-speaking Caribbean, and by extension those of African descent in the United States whose origins are in Latin America and the Caribbean,” as defined by the Afro-Latino Forum.

Source: August issue of Vogue Mexico — 12 year old, Afro-Latina model, Perseus Neal

4. Hispanic

Refers to those of Spanish-speaking countries. Thanks, colonialism!

5. Spanish

Adjective: Descendent of the country, Spain.

6. Indigenous

Not explicitly defined by The United Nations Forum for Indigenous Issues, they are categorized as communities that maintain pre-settler societies and traditions: “tribes, first peoples/nations, aboriginals, ethnic groups, adivasi, janajati” and by occupational and regional terms like “hunter-gatherers, nomads, peasants, hill people, etc.”


Acronym for “Black, Indigenous and People of Color.”

8. Chicano / Chicana / Chicanx

Margarita Berta-Avila, a professor at Sacramento State University, explains on an episode of NPR’s Code Switch, “You say Chicano, I say …”, that Chicano originally meant Mexican-American, but has expanded to specifically represent Mexican-Americans in support of the 1960s civil rights movement — when they began organizing for the liberation of their communities.

Source: NPR Code Switch — Chicano Park, San Diego by Adrian Florido

9. Colombia v. Columbia

Our country is spelled Colombia! Officially — la República de Colombia (the Republic of Colombia) is named after Christopher Columbus.

Source: Facebook group, “It’s Colombia, Not Columbia”

10. Boricua

Boricuas are commonly referred to Puerto Ricans and Puerto Ricans living in the continental United States. However, Josean Vargas, explains the history behind the Boricua community, who Tainos are, and colonialism’s part in his op-ed, Is Puerto Rican my Race?

What race are Hispanics and Latinos?

“Hispanic” nor “Latino” are not recognized as a race, but rather an ethnicity. The Hispanic Network shares that hispanics and latinos can identify as part of any race.


In this short clip published by NBC News - NUSA, young Latinos, Hispanics, and Caribbean-Americans share what they believe it means to be part of the Latino community, and how they project their cultural identity.

I’m a creative storyteller passionate about social justice. If you are too, follow me here: instagram.com/dominiquescrapbook | Editor at The Rosie Report

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store