Happy Hispanic Heritage Month! September is important as independence is celebrated in Mexico, much of Central America and in Chile. That is why Hispanic Heritage Month was created in 1968, as Hispanic Heritage Week. In 1988, the celebration expanded to 31 days, from September 15 to October 15. The word Hispanic is embraced by some with heritage from Spain, from the former Spanish colonies or from south of the Texas border. However, more recently many people with this heritage prefer the terms Latino/Latina or Latinx (la-teen-x) to describe themselves. (Latinx is a word that does not specify gender.) Our nation owes a great debt to its Hispanic/Latinx people as a map of who claimed which territories in the 1800s will show.
A quote that a number of Mexican-Americans have used to talk about their families’ histories in the US, including Actor Eva Longoria is, “We didn’t cross the border, the border crossed us.” As a 9th generation Texan she exemplifies that statement. In 1748, her family settled in what is now south Texas. That land was claimed by the Spanish and later by Mexico. Eva’s great-great-great-great grandfather, Pedro Longoria, was born in northern New Spain (what we call Texas). How many people in the US can trace their ancestry back that far? In 1845, Texas became a state. Longoria’s family was already established near Corpus Christi for nearly a century.
Eva Longoria uses the terms Mexican-American or Texican to identify herself. I was interested to hear her explain in an interview, that in Texas, people use the term Hispanic; in California Latino or Chicano; and in New York people use the name of their families’ ancestral country of origin.
For a treat, check out these “Tiny Desk” Online concerts of Hispanic musicians:
Gracias for visiting Fake Flamenco! I appreciate your comments. ¡Olé! –Rebecca
PS: Is Bebel Gilberto who’s from Brazil Latina or Hispanic? (Latina)