On June 20th, 2020 Quebec’s National Assembly declared the month of October Hispanic Heritage Month. This coincides with Canada’s Latin American Heritage Month Act, which was sanctioned by Parliament in 20198. Both acts recognize the many contributions of both Hispanic and Latin American individuals to the social, economic and political development of the province and the country. The McGill Library is joining the celebrations with our October book display, which features books and films written by Hispanic and Latin American authors. You can view the physical display on the main floor of the Redpath Library or check out our online version.
Hispanic and Latin American: Is there a difference?
While many people tend to use terms like Hispanic, Latin American, Latino/a, or Latinx interchangeably, they represent different cultural or ethnic origins. Here is a quick primer:
Hispanic: A person of Spanish or Spanish-speaking origin or ancestry. This includes Spain as well as Spanish-speaking countries in Latin America.
Latin American: A person from the Latin American region regardless of language.
Latino or Latina: In English North America, a person of Latin American origin or ancestry living the USA or Canada. The term was adopted by the community as a rejection the word Hispanic for the latter’s connection to Spain and Spanish colonization.
Latinx: A gender-neutral option for Latino and Latina.
There are even more descriptors individuals in these communities may prefer to use. Some would rather identify with their country of birth or ancestry and choose to use terms like Boricua (from Puerto Rico) or Chicano (Mexican-American). Others choose descriptors that reflect the intersection of their ethnic and racial identities like in the case of Afro-Latinas, Afro-Caribbean, Latinasians (Latin Americans of full or partial Asian descent) or Indigenous Latin Americans.
Below is a video that better explains the complexities on these identities: