Are You Using These Terms Correctly?

Should Hispanic, Latinx, and Spanish be used interchangeably?


Hispanic Network Magazine

To answer the question above, no, they shouldn’t be. I constantly hear people say things like “I love Spanish music”, not knowing that they’re actually talking about music from Spain but thinking that they’re just talking about Latin music in general. Hispanic, Latino/a/x, and Spanish are commonly incorrectly used as the same word, even though they mean different things.

Although very similar in terms of where they are in the world, these three words do not represent the same thing. Hispanic refers to someone originating from a Spanish-speaking country or who speaks Spanish. Latino/a is originating from a Latin American country (anywhere in Mexico, Central America, South America, and the Caribbean). Latinx is used when referring to something or someone Latin and gender-neutral. Spanish means originating from Spain. Latinx and Hispanic are ethnicities and Spanish in a nationality, when not referring to the language itself.

So, for example, you can be from Spain which makes you Spanish and Hispanic, but not Latinx. Or, you could be from Brazil which makes you Latinx, but not Hispanic or Spanish.

If you didn’t know this, you’re not the only one! When asked if they knew what the difference was, here is how NAI students replied.