This term, she argues, is designed to literally whitewash a subordinate culture. Puerto-Rican American activist Roland Roebuck would agree with her. In an interview on National Public Radio, Roebuck said "For me, Hispanic refers to white, Spanish-speaking individuals. So the whiter you are, the more inclined you will be to identify yourself as Hispanic" (Martin). Of course, there are also those who find the term Latino offensive because it is not specific enough in its description.
One of the possible reasons for this opinion of the term Hispanic can be traced back to the word's etymology. According to Granados, "The word Hispanic is derived from the word Espana, the country that led the conquest of the New World and whose language and culture has dominated Latin America." In essence, the term Hispanic then is a constant reminder of the genocide of the Latin American people by the Spaniards. "The word Latino traces its roots back to ancient Rome and some say it's more inclusive, encompassing Latin American countries such as Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, and others." The term is a reminder that the Spanish language originated in Latin, along with the other romance languages such as French and Italian. It is a unifying term rather than a reminder of war and bloodshed.
The Latinos believe that their term is less offensive because it was one that the group chose instead of a label that was thrust upon them. Whether this is accurate or not is a matter of perception. Indeed the debate over which term is the correct one: Hispanic vs. Latino is a matter of perception. Demographer Maria Aysa said in an interview about the differentiation of labels that, "There are Latinos who don't speak Spanish, and Spanish-speakers who aren't LatinoThe definitions go beyond language. it's about ethnicity, identity and political muscle" (Grech). From an analytical standpoint, it makes a good deal of sense that certain people of Mexican descent would identify with one label more than another depending on the culture they belong to in this country as well as the culture their predecessors held in the generations before that.
From the research done, there are understandable arguments on both sides of the issue. To those who identify themselves as Latino, the term Hispanic is a disgraceful one, reminding the minority that the larger culture will always have dominance over the minority. To others, the term Hispanic identifies them because it harkens back to their home language, or the language of their family members. The more appropriate term will be dependent not on the ruling class, but on the ruled. Those who prefer one term should be honored, as should the people who prefer the other. The best thing to keep in mind is that some people might not understand what these terms are not as interchangeable as the American society makes them appear to be.
Beretto, Holly." Cuts, by Budget. "Cultural Uniqueness: Hispanic vs. Latino | USARiseUp.
Cubias, Daniel. "Hispanic vs. Latino: What's in a Name?" Latino Like Me.
Granados, Christine. "Hispanic vs. Latino." Hispanic Magazine. Dec 2000.
Grech, Dan and Jose Maya. "Episode 4: Hispanic vs. Latino."
"Hispanic vs. Latino." Hispanic Culture Online Resource. Web. 02 Dec. 2010.
Martin, Michel and Lee Hill. "Latino' V. 'Hispanic' Debate Stirs Listeners: NPR." NPR:
National Public Radio: News & Analysis, World, U.S., Music & Arts: NPR. Web. 02 Dec. 2010. .