Hispanic, Latino and Latinx: What’s the difference, and why it matters
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This year’s Hispanic Heritage Month has been marked by tireless efforts from both Republicans and Democrats to woo the large and diverse voting bloc ahead of the November election.

However, with their outreach comes debate over who exactly they are addressing: Latino, Latinx or Hispanic voters?

The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used synonymously in the U.S., with the term “Latinx” used as a gender-neutral alternative to the latter. While views on what the terms mean exactly can vary, filmmaker and journalist Andrew Padilla says the significance is not with semantics, but the actions that are supposed to come after.

“I think that we know what we’re comfortable with,” Padilla said on CBSN Tuesday. “The issue is when folks try to communicate to our communities by using one of these terms as opposed to a real dedicated and developed relationship with us.”

According to Merriam-Webster, the terms are defined as the following:

  • Hispanic: People that originate from Spanish-speaking countries
  • Latino: People who descend from Latin-American countries — but whose language isn’t necessarily Spanish
  • Latinx: A gender-neutral, pan-ethnic label
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    A December Pew Research poll found 61% of bilingual Spanish and English speaking adults surveyed identified with the term “Hispanic,” while 29% preferred to be called “Latino.” Just 4% of people identified as “Latinx.”

    Padilla said the preference against the gender-neutral term does not reflect a negative sentiment, but rather a lack of familiarity.

    Continue on to CBS News to read the complete article.

    These Latinos made a mark in our communities and nation. We lost them in 2020.
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    Portraits of Rudolfo Anaya, Naya Rivera, Silvio Horta and Miriam Jimenez Roman.

    By Raul A. Reyes for NBC News

    2020 has been a year marked by grief and loss, but it is in the spirit of remembrance, not sadness, that we highlight the lives of several Latinos we said goodbye to this year. From Hollywood to Washington, from academia to the armed forces, these are just a few of our “familia” who enriched our communities, our lives and our nation before leaving us.

    RUDOLFO ANAYA, 82, a “godfather” of Chicano literature. Anaya is best known for his novel “Bless Me, Ultima”

    (Image Credit – NBC News)

    (1972), a coming-of-age story set in 1940s New Mexico. “Ultima” follows the relationship between a young boy and a curandera (healer) who comes to live with his family. A bestseller at a time when U.S. Latinos were rarely depicted in mainstream fiction, it has become one of the most acclaimed works in the Chicano literary canon. “Ultima” inspired generations of Latino writers, and it was adapted into a play, an opera and a film.

    Books like ‘Ultima’ are part of our personal reading history. Because they are taught in schools, we don’t forget seeing ourselves on the page for the first time,” writer and critic Rigoberto González said. “Seeing names like ours, and figures that are familiar to us, is powerful.” González said he believes “Ultima” will continue to have longevity in libraries and schools and on bookshelves.

    Anaya, a prolific author who wrote mysteries, children’s books and travel chronicles, received the National Humanities Medal from President Barack Obama in 2016 for his “pioneering stories of the American Southwest.”

    NAYA RIVERA, 33, actress and singer. Condolences poured in from around the world when news broke of the drowning death of Rivera in July. “As a Latina, it’s rare to have rich, complex characters reflect us in media,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., tweeted. “Naya worked hard to give that gift to so many.”

    Rivera performed throughout her childhood, but it was her role on TV’s “Glee” (2009-15) that catapulted her to fame. Rivera, an advocate for the LGBTQ community, for immigrants and for women’s rights, earned three American Latino Media Arts Awards for her acting and singing. In 2016 she released her memoir, “Sorry Not Sorry: Dreams, Mistakes, and Growing Up.”

    “She was the rare Afro-Latina on network TV, and when her character came out as gay, it was a historic moment for LGBTQ representation in prime time,” entertainment journalist Jack Rico said. Pointing out that 22 percent of Latino millennials identify as LGBTQ, Rico called Rivera’s portrayal of cheerleader Santana Lopez “groundbreaking,” saying it paved the way for queer characters on shows like “One Day at a Time” and “Vida.”

    Rico said he believes Rivera died on the cusp of another career resurgence. “I could see true stardom in her. When people die young it really hurts, because we lose them and also their potential,” he said. “She was a guiding light for all of us struggling for more diversity and representation.”

    Read the full article at NBC News.

    Why people are split on using ‘Latinx’
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    Depending on which corners of the internet you inhabit, you might have come across the term “Latinx.”

    “Latinx” has emerged as an inclusive term to refer to people of Latin American descent, encompassing those who don’t identify as male or female or who don’t want to be identified by their gender. It’s been used by journalists, politicians, corporations, colleges and universities. In 2018, it even made it to the dictionary. But among the people “Latinx” is intended to describe, few have heard of the term — let alone use it. In a new survey, researchers found that only about one in four adults in the US who identify as Hispanic or Latino have heard the term “Latinx,” while just. (Image Credit – Mary Mckean for The Red & Black)                 3% say they use it to describe themselves.

    The findings, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, the signal just how complex identity is for people categorized as Hispanic or Latino.
    “This reflects the diversity of the nation’s Hispanic population, and the Hispanic population of the US thinks of itself in many different ways,” Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew Research Center, told CNN. “‘Latinx’ is just one of those many dimensions.”
    ‘Latinx’ is more common among younger Hispanics

    In the US, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used to refer to people of Spanish-speaking or Latin American origin. Though they’re often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” refers only to people from Spanish-speaking countries, which includes Latin America and Spain. “Latino” refers to people with roots in Latin America, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, but excludes Spain.

    Those two terms describe a very broad group of people and don’t always align with the ways that those populations identify themselves.
    Read the full article at CNN.

    The findings, published Tuesday by the Pew Research Center, signal just how complex identity is for people categorized as Hispanic or Latino. “This reflects the diversity of the nation’s Hispanic population, and the Hispanic population of the US thinks of itself in many different ways,” Mark Lopez, director of global migration and demography research at Pew Research Center, told CNN. “‘Latinx’ is just one of those many dimensions.”

    In the US, the terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” are often used to refer to people of Spanish-speaking or Latin American origin. Though they’re often used interchangeably, “Hispanic” refers only to people from Spanish-speaking countries, which includes Latin America and Spain. “Latino” refers to people with roots in Latin America, which includes Portuguese-speaking Brazilians, but excludes Spain. Those two terms describe a very broad group of people and don’t always align with the ways that those populations identify themselves.

    Continue to the full article at CNN News.

    The ‘Mexican Beverly Hills’
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    How a former white enclave became an aspirational suburb for Latinos in Los Angeles.

    I was having dinner at some fancy beach-side eatery in early March when someone said they had just moved to Downey, a Southeast Los Angeles suburb 12 miles south of downtown. The other Latinos at the table oohed. “You finally made it,” someone said. “To the Mexican Beverly Hills.”

    In many ways, that is what Downey represents. It’s hoity-toity, gilded and more conservative than surrounding neighborhoods — a status-marking place where the average household income, at $88,000, is significantly higher than in other areas in Los Angeles with a similar

    (Photo credit – June Canedo for The New York Times) 

    ethnic makeup. In East Los Angeles, which is also predominantly Latino, the average income is $56,000, according to census data. (If you’re wondering, the average income in Beverly Hills is $191,000.)

    It’s the kind of place where many people feel entitled enough to not wear face masks despite coronavirus infection spikes, where many homes featured “Thank you, Downey PD” banners at the peak of the George Floyd protests — but where an overwhelming majority of its citizens voted for President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. over President Donald J. Trump. (With a vote of roughly 2 to 1 for Mr. Biden, Downey voted more conservatively than Los Angeles County as a whole, which voted for him 3 to 1.)

    Continue reading at The New York Times.

    Who is Hispanic?
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    Hispanic family seated on couch together smiling

    Debates over who is Hispanic and who is not have fueled conversations about identity among Americans who trace their heritage to Latin America or Spain.

    The question surfaced during U.S. presidential debates and the confirmation of Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court. More recently, it bubbled up after a singer from Spain won the “Best Latin” award at the 2019 Video Music Awards.

    So, who is considered Hispanic in the United States? And how are they counted in public opinion surveys, voter exit polls and government surveys, such as the 2020 census?

    The most common approach to answering these questions is straightforward: Who is Hispanic? Anyone who says they are. And nobody who says they aren’t.

    The U.S. Census Bureau uses this approach, as does Pew Research Center and most other research organizations that conduct public opinion surveys. By this way of counting, the Census Bureau estimates there were roughly 60.6 million Hispanics in the United States as of July 1, 2019, making up 18 percent of the total national population.

    Behind the impressive precision of this official Census Bureau number lies a long history of changing labels, shifting categories and revised question wording on census forms – all of which reflect evolving cultural norms about what it means to be Hispanic or Latino in the United States today.

    Has the Census Bureau Changed the Way it Counts Hispanics?

    The first year the Census Bureau asked everybody in the country about Hispanic ethnicity was in 1980. Some efforts took place before then to count people who today would be considered Hispanic. In the 1930 census, for example, an attempt to count Hispanics appeared as part of the race question, which had a category for “Mexican.”

    The first major attempt to estimate the size of the nation’s Hispanic population came in 1970 and produced widespread concerns among Hispanic organizations about an undercount. A portion of the U.S. population (5 percent) was asked if their origin or descent was from the following categories: “Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, Central or South American, Other Spanish,” and “No, none of these.” This approach had problems, among them an undercount of about 1 million Hispanics. One reason for this is that many second-generation Hispanics did not select one of the Hispanic groups because the question did not include terms like “Mexican American.” The question wording also resulted in hundreds of thousands of people living in the Southern or Central regions of the US being mistakenly included in the “Central or South American” category.

    By 1980, the current approach – in which someone is asked if they are Hispanic – had taken hold, with some tweaks made to the question and response categories since then. In 2000, for example, the term “Latino” was added to make the question read, “Is this person Spanish/Hispanic/Latino?” In recent years, the Census Bureau has studied an alternative approach to counting Hispanics that combines the questions that ask about Hispanic origin and race. However, this change did not appear in the 2020 census.

    Source: Pew Research Center

    The story of Joseph De Castro: The first Hispanic to ever win a U.S. Medal of Honor
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    A reenactment photo of the Civil War

    By Nigel Thompson of Al Dia News

    It is estimated that up to approximately 10,000 Hispanics served throughout the course of the American Civil War.

    From Mexican-Americans in the South and West, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and immigrants from Spain and Portugal, they found themselves on either side of the battle.

    In the case of Joseph De Castro, the son of a Spanish father and American mother from Maine and the first Hispanic to ever win a Medal of Honor, he enlisted in the Union Army’s volunteer forces at 16 years old.

    He was born on Nov. 14, 1844 outside of Boston, Massachusetts. Not much is known of his early life, but his father passed away of tuberculosis in 1858, when De Castro was 14.

    This had a profound effect on the adolescent, as the next time he appears in records, it is as an inmate of the State Reform School in Westboro, near Worcester, MA in 1860, at 16.

    “He apparently became a handful,” wrote Historian Darlene Richardson in a Facebook post about his life on the VA Boston Healthcare System page.

    His time at the Westboro Reform School was also likely filled with more trauma, as an 1860 investigation of the facility in the summer of that year revealed the cruel treatment of boys in the institution’s care.

    “Older boys, like Joseph, were often confined to dark, dirty cells for weeks at a time with only bread and water for sustenance,” wrote Richardson.

    De Castro was released after the investigation and only three months after the start of the Civil War, he joined the Union Army on July 12, 1861.

    He was initially a private in the 19th Massachusetts Infantry, but rose to a corporal over time and became a color-bearer for his regiment. In other words, De Castro was the flag-bearer every time the regiment went into battle, and it is where his heroism would be best remembered.

    The 19th Massachusetts fought in a number of historic battles throughout the Civil War, including the Second Manassas, Antietam and Fredericksburg.

    But it was at the Battle of Gettysburg that De Castro would earn his Medal of Honor.

    The story goes that during the battle, De Castro separated from his unit amid Pickett’s Charge — ordered by Confederate General Robert E. Lee on the forces of Union Major General George G. Meade.

    Continue on to Al Dia News to read the full article. 

    How Columbus Day became Indigenous Peoples’ Day in over 130 US cities
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    Indigenous Peoples' Day art

    It took Christopher Columbus about nine weeks to reach the New World from Spain — and his critics more than half a century to start convincing US cities to ditch the holiday honoring the moment.

    In 1992, Berkeley, Calif., became the first city to replace Columbus Day with Indigenous Peoples’ Day — and now, nearly 30 years later, there are more than 130 cities and 15 states that have either followed suit or chosen to mark both.

    “It’s become a trend,” said Baley Champagne, a tribal citizen of the United Houma Nation, to NPR last year, after successfully lobbying Louisiana’s governor to make the switch to Indigenous Peoples’ Day.

    We’re bringing awareness that we’re not going to allow someone like that to be glorified into a hero because of the hurt that he caused to indigenous people of America,’’ she said of Columbus. “I think it’s long overdue.’’

    Shannon Speed, a Chickasaw Nation citizen and director of UCLA’s American Indian Studies Center, was more blunt to the outlet.

    “Today we understand that while [Columbus] was an explorer and credited with being one of the first Europeans to arrive in the Americas, we now know a great deal about the history and the way that he and his people behaved when they came to this continent — which included pillaging, raping and generally setting in motion a genocide of the people who were already here.

    “That’s not something we want to celebrate,” she said. “That’s not something anyone wants to celebrate.”

    When President Franklin D. Roosevelt made Columbus Day a federal holiday in 1934, it’s likely he had no idea the controversy he would create.

    The annual holiday was set for the second Monday in October, traditionally feted with parades largely organized by Italian American groups.

    But indigenous people — furious at seeing the Italian explorer elevated to hero status while representing the brutal European conquering of their ancestors — fought back against the holiday.

    Continue to the New York Post to red the full article. 

    In ‘Siempre, Luis’ a look at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s biggest inspiration — his father
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    Luis and Lin-Manuel Miranda together at a premiere

    When Luis Miranda arrived in New York City from Puerto Rico in the 1970s, he looked like many young students of his time, with his jeans and shaggy hair. In the Big Apple, though, he realized that not everyone wanted people like him. Instead of culture shock, he experienced discrimination. “It didn’t matter if you were a janitor or a PhD student,” Miranda recalled, “what they saw was Puerto Rican, some brown person, some brown kid. Not a real American.”

    Miranda went on to become an activist, a government official, a political consultant, and a loving father to three children—including his son, Lin-Manuel Miranda, creator of the Broadway smash, “Hamilton.” Now the older Miranda, who has long been a behind-the-scenes player in Democratic politics, is in the spotlight in a new documentary, “Siempre, Luis,” debuting October 6 on HBO and HBO Max.

    A camera crew spent a year following Miranda around, capturing his family life, political work, heath issues and humanitarian efforts. Watching the film, Miranda told NBC News, was an emotional experience for him.

    “What comes to mind is how many great people I have met and known throughout my life; people who either convinced me that I had to join their fight, or I convinced that they had to join me, and together we have moved forward,” he said. “It was a reminder of how many people have helped me, (and) that I didn’t have time to thank them all.”

    Luis A. Miranda Jr., 66, was born in the town of Vega Alta in Puerto Rico. A sharp student, he headed for New York City in the 1970s to continue his graduate work, inspired by—of all things—the character played by Debbie Reynolds in the 1964 movie musical, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown.”

    In Nueva York, Miranda became an advocate for the city’s Latino residents, who were then predominantly Puerto Rican. By the 1980s, Miranda was a special advisor to Mayor Ed Koch, eventually becoming the Director of the Mayor’s Office for Hispanic Affairs.

    In 1990, Miranda founded the non-profit Hispanic Federation, and has also been a key Democratic political consultant, working on U.S. Senate campaigns including Hillary Clinton’s as well as Rep. Adriano Espaillat’s, D-NY, who became the first Dominican American in the U.S. Congress.

    Miranda has been a champion of his son’s ambitions as well. When a young, struggling Lin-Manuel received an offer for a full-time teaching job, his father advised him to follow his dreams instead. He helped promote his son’s off-Broadway musical “In The Heights” until it became successful and transferred to Broadway.

    In fact, the younger Miranda credits his Dad as being part of his inspiration for “Hamilton”—Founding Father Alexander Hamilton also arrived in New York from the Caribbean—he was from the island of Nevis. “When I was playing him, I was just playing my father,” said Lin-Manuel.

    “Siempre, Luis” highlights the devastating impact that Hurricane Maria had on Puerto Rico in 2017, and in the documentary, Miranda cries as he recalled the destruction. “For me, Puerto Rico is this untouchable, perfect place,” he says in the film, “that all of a sudden, doesn’t exist anymore.” A central focus of the film is the lengthy process, that was not without controversy, by which Miranda and Lin-Manuel bring a production of “Hamilton” to the island as a way of raising funds for Puerto Rico’s recovery.

    Continue on to NBC News to read the complete article. 

    Photo by Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Acura

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