Above is an excerpt from “You Say Latino,” a comic artist Terry Blas created to define and talk about common confusion around the identity terms “Latino” and “Hispanic.” Emphasizing that the terms are not the same, and therefore not to be used interchangeably, he uses his personal experiences growing up in what he calls a bicultural household (his father is from Utah in the U.S., and his mother is from Ameca Meca, Mexico), and traveling in different parts of the U.S. and Mexico. He explains that “Latino” is about geography and being from Latin America, whereas “Hispanic” is about language, and being from a country whose primary language is Spanish. He uses being from Brazil, a Latin American country whose main language is Portuguese, and Spain, not a Latin American country, but whose main language is Spanish, as examples illustrating how the Latino and Hispanic identity terms describe different things. The comic ends with a reference to a young Terry understanding the difference between Latino and Hispanic, but wanting to know the difference between the terms “queer” and “gay.”
In the opening story, Terry Blas explains that his mother said to him that he was not Mexican because he was not born in Mexico. Do you agree with this statement? Do you have to be born and/or raised in a country in order to identify with it? What’s the difference between how you self identify, and how people treat you based on your physical appearance? How does this differ across social, national, and cultural contexts?
How does the author of this comic strip define “Latino” and “Hispanic”? Have you heard people use these terms interchangeably? How does your school, city, or government categorize people based on these terms? Are these racial categories? What’s the difference between race, ethnicity, and nationality?
How is religion described in the personal narrative of the main character of the comic? How does this identity intersect with the other identity categories?
How is sexuality and being gay and queer addressed in this comic? What stereotypes are referenced?