Hispanic Heritage Month

Posted on Posted in History, Society

by Arturo V. Leon II

Today is the first day of Hispanic Heritage Month. It marks the 47th year that the United States Government has officially recognized a dedicated time of year to honor its Hispanic Population. President Lyndon B. Johnson proclaimed a Hispanic Heritage Week in 1968. In 1988, under President Ronald Reagan, a 30 day period was marked starting on September 15th and ending on October 15th of every year.

Since 1988 Americans have been [barely] celebrating Hispanic Culture, although they have used this month to wonder, “What is the difference between a Latino and a Hispanic?”

The Lionize Podcast will be posting once a day on Hispanic Heritage Month [#HispanicHeritageMonth on twitter]. Today’s post is a simple, Welcome to Hispanic Heritage Month. Or…bienvenidos a la mes del Herencia Hispana.

So let’s tackle the common questions one at a time:

Q: Why September 15th and not the 1st?

A: Well…the running joke is that Hispanic folks show up late and leave later. But that’s racist. So don’t repeat it. The real answer is the events that take place within the 30 day span of 9/15-10/15. For example September 15 is the independence day for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, AND Nicaragua, while the 16th is the independence day of Mexico, and the 18th is the independence day of Chile. Finally, Columbus Day falls on 10/12 which is just inside that 30 day window.

A few notes…a prize if you can ID all those countries on the following map:


 Maybe you should have paid more attention in Geography. But that’s ok, we’re here to help you on Day 1 of Hispanic Heritage Month.

Spanish map


Does that help? Of course it does. There will be pop quiz after this month so study up! Second note, Chris Columbus is a monster. But we’ll cover that toward the end of the month. Last note, did you read those dates and think, “Wait May 5th isn’t Mexican independence day!?” Nope. It’s not. But don’t worry we’ll cover that on May 5th. Until then use Google.

Now back to the questions!

Q: What is the difference between Latino and Hispanic?

A: Generally, a person can be referred to as Latino if they come from “Latin America” which comprises of the Lower North America [i.e. Meixico], Central America, the Caribbean, or South America. A person is Hispanic if they are of Spanish [i.e. from Spain] origin. So some Hispanics are not Latino, some Latinos are not Hispanic, how ever some Latinos are in fact Hispanic. For example a Spaniard that is born and raised in Spain is Hispanic but do not ever call them Latino. A Cuban who’s family origins are from Spain is both Latino and Hispanic. But, a Cuban who’s family origins are Taino [Native Cuban] and African is NOT Hispanic, rather they are JUST Latino. Got it? No. Well you’re figure it out.

Q: What is the difference between Latino and Latina?

A: Latinos are males and Latinas are female. Even thought everybody knows that thanks for asking. Maybe some one didn’t.

Q: Why do you keep saying Latino? That is sexist.

A: I hear you on that one. Much like in American culture, when referencing a group of people the masculine term is sometimes applied, however in Hispanic Culture it is widely accepted as grammatical rule of thumb rather than a sexist use of language.

Q: I still feel that’s sexist. Can you do something about it?

A: No. However, take comfort in knowing that, while yes, the Latino Culture has a LOT of work to do in how chauvinistic it is, and the culture is dominated by strong patriarchal figures, women rule the roost. The mother is the queen of the house and no one, and I mean no one, has more pull in a Hispanic house hold than mom.

Thanks for reading day 1.

Here’s a message from the White House on Hispanic Heritage Month.

until tomorrow, goodnight.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *