In my previous post, I blogged about my research into the Hispanic market and the conclusion that came about from the gathered information and interviews that I did. I received a comment that became a very interesting discussion from a colleague of mine named Mari D. González. She is the founder, intercultural communications and market research consultant of IXMATI Communications.
In my paper I expanded my research into Hispanic target marketing to include countries of Latin America. I continued labeling both Spanish speaking groups, both living in the United States and outside in Latin America, as Hispanics. I assume from my part that the Hispanic label is but one of many labels that identify Spanish speaking people and groups. Including Hispanic, there’s Latino and Latin American. Then you get down to the more specific labels such as Puerto Rican, Cuban-American, Chicano, Caribbean, etc. As one can see there is so much diversity in labeling because Latinos are so diverse in origin, history, and culture.
Mari pointed this out to me in a comment that she posted. She was bothered by the label “Hispanic” and she was right to be so. Mari cleared the difficulty by explaining that the label “Hispanic” was created by the US government for socio-political purposes while “Latino” is a more acceptable label becuase it defines more of the community and culture. Being from Mexico herself, Mari rejects being called Hispanic because it should not be a category used outside of the United States. Mari commented, “I’m bothered by the way the label ‘Hispanic’ was used to speak of people in Latin America. Hispanic as a term was coined by Nixon to categorize and ‘other-ing’ people in the U.S. who did not fit the box for black, white or Native American. ‘Hispanic’ as a label should not be used to name people inside the geography of Mexico, Central and South America.”
I can understand her viewpoint and I’m in full agreement, although some marketing and advertising agencies here in the United States maybe unaware of this information. Here’s another example: Brazil, a country that is of Portuguese descent rather than Spanish, definitely would not apply as Hispanic becuase they are not “Spanish speaking” but rather Latinos because of their origin from the Iberian region in Europe.
I would like to thank Mari in pointing this out to me. As a Puerto Rican, I also find it a challenge on how I should be identified. During a social conversation, I would get asked the question “Are you Hispanic?” Normally I would say yes because I’ve become accustomed to that title but then I would finish it off by saying “but I was born and raised in Puerto Rico.”
If you want more information on this, I recommend that you check out Mari’s blog post on this same issue. The information is more specific and you should have a deeper understanding of why we “Latinos” are given so many labels.
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