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Hispanic / Latinx Health Care: Home

Hispanic / Latinx

Hispanic / Latinx

In the United States the terms "Hispanic" and "Latino" (or "Latina" for a woman; sometimes written as “Latinx” to be gender-neutral) were adopted in an attempt to loosely group immigrants and their descendants who hail from Latin America. The terms are often used interchangeably, though the words can convey slightly different connotations. It is important to clarify that the categories refer only to a person's origin and ancestry. A Latino/a or Hispanic person can be any race or color.

Latina / Latino / Latinx: (Latina = woman, Latino = man, Latinx = gender-neutral) refers to anyone born in or with ancestors from Latin America and living in the U.S. (including Brazilians). 

Hispanic: "Hispanic" is generally accepted as a narrower term that includes people only from Spanish-speaking Latin America, including those countries/territories of the Caribbean or from Spain itself.

Spanish: refers to either the language or a person from Spain. 

With this understanding, a Brazilian could be Latino and non-Hispanic, a Spaniard could be Hispanic and non-Latino, and a Colombian could use both terms. However, this is also an imperfect categorization, as there are many indigenous peoples from Spanish-speaking countries who do not identify with Spanish culture and do not speak the dominant language.

Hispanic American, Latinx American, Mexican American, and More!

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Additional Terminology

Hispanic: Someone who is a native of, or descends from, a Spanish-speaking country.

Latino / Latina (Latinx): Someone who is native of, or descends from, a Latin American country.

Chicano / Chicana (Chicanx):.Someone who is native of, or descends from, Mexico and who lives in the United States.  
The term became widely used during the Chicano Movement of the 1960s by many Mexican Americans to express a political stance founded on pride in a shared cultural, ethnic, and community identity.

Immigrant: Someone who comes to a country to take up permanent residence

Undocumented Immigrant: someone who resides in a country without proper documentation. 
Terms to avoid:

  • Illegal immigrant / aliens: illegal refers to unlawful acts, the term illegal should not refer to a person.
  • Undocumented workers: This term belongs to the school of thought that says that undocumented immigrants should be accepted into this country because they are hardworking. The vast majority are (they have no choice; people who cross borders to make less than minimum wage tend to be), but there are undocumented immigrants who do not fall into this category, such as children, the elderly, and the severely disabled, and they, too, need advocates.
  • Migrant workers: A migrant worker is simply someone who regularly travels in search of short-term or seasonal work. Many migrant workers are documented (quite a few are natural-born citizens), and many undocumented immigrants are not migrant workers. The migrant workers' movement certainly overlaps with the immigrants' rights movement, but it is not the same movement.

Dreamer: (often also spelled “DREAMer”) refers to an immigrant youth who qualifies for the Development, Relief, and Education for Alien Minors (DREAM) Act. These are young people who are American in every way, except on paper. They have grown up in this country and consider themselves to be American, but lack the documents to fully participate in the country they call home.

DACA: Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) and allows applicants to legally work, while being protected from deportation. DACA status must be renewed every two years, which means it does not provide permanent protection.

Native Born: Someone born in the United States, regardless of citizenship or immigration status.

POC: People of Color

BIPOC: Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.  We use the term BIPOC in this resource to identify opportunities that are not specifically for Black people, but Black, Indigenous, and People of Color.