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Latine and Latin American Heritage Month

National Hispanic Heritage Month

Browse this virtual display from the JKM Library to access fiction, nonfiction, and biographical eBooks, digital academic and local resources, films, documentaries, music, and more to celebrate and commemorate Latinx and Latin American Heritage Month.

According to the dominant narrative, "[each year, Americans observe National Hispanic Heritage Month from September 15th to October 15th, by celebrating the histories, cultures, and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central and South America. The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15th and ending on October 15th... The day of September 15th is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16th and September 18th, respectively."

However, there is increasing resistance to this definition from numerous Latine activists and scholars who don't see themselves fully represented by it. The JKM Library respects these voices and identifies the month accordingly as Latine and Latin American Heritage Month. Below you will find some quotes and links to articles that examine these issues. We invite you to read these resources as you consider the importance of Latinx peoples in the U.S. and the Americas. And please reach out to us if you have any questions!

Hispanic vs. Latino vs. Latinx

  • "The term Hispanic dates back to the 1850s and refers to Spanish cultural heritage, mostly predicated through language. The terms Latino and Latina, popularized in the early 20th century, refer to ancestry in Latin American countries. Unlike Hispanic, the term Latino eschews Spanish ancestry, which could exclude people of Brazilian or Haitian origin. In recent years, the term Latinx has been adopted to embrace a gender-neutral alternative to Latino." Jorge González-Hermoso and Robert Santos, "Separating Race from Ethnicity in Surveys Risks an Inaccurate Picture of the Latinx Community."
  • "For us, Latinx/e is important to use because it encompasses those who within Latin American cultures have been marginalized and put down by rigorous gender binaries, machismo, and colonization. Latinx/e pushes beyond gender binaries and acknowledges the intersecting identities of our incredibly diverse community. Latinx/e includes men, women, gender non-conforming, non-binary, trans, queer, agender and gender-fluid folks in our communities. For us, these are not exclusionary terms; they open the door for all the ways folks would like to be identified." El Centro, Colorado State University
  • "Frances Negrón-Muntaner, a leading scholar on Latino studies and a professor at Columbia University, observed that Latinx “is in part a generational response. That in only a few years it has reached this level of visibility is significant and indicative of its political reach. It also points to multiple other phenomena: that political time has accelerated, Latinx communities are more diverse than ever, and several groups—women, young people, L.G.T.B.Q., Afro-Latinos, among others—are politically rising. These groups, who have been largely considered marginal in Latinx politics by other groups (men, middle class, white), are redefining what is politics and who are political actors.” The Latinx population is increasingly young and diverse: nearly two-thirds are millennials or younger; about half are younger than eighteen. Roughly a quarter identify as Afro-Latino, Afro-Caribbean, or of African descent. Of all U.S.-born Latinos (who make up more than eighty per cent of the population aged thirty-five and younger), about forty per cent have a non-Latino spouse." Graciela Mochkofsky, "Who Are You Calling Latinx?"
  •  "...Hispanic Heritage Month seems to have lost its sheen. Many of us bristle at the persistence of the term “Hispanic,” given its connection to Spain and colonization. Those with African and indigenous roots often feel left out of conversations and celebrations under that label. And while the time period, Sept. 15 to Oct. 15, is significant because seven Latin American countries celebrate their independence in that span, this association presents a complication: When dozens of countries’ traditions are meant to be represented, are any of them actually getting their due?" Isabelia Herrera, "Does Hispanic Heritage Month Need a Rebrand?"
  • "People often tell me that “Latinx” doesn’t make sense grammatically or linguistically. My reply is that it does because the nonsensical of the “X” is the same nonsensical of living at the intersections of settlement, anti-Blackness and femicides. However, I want to remind us that the “X” in Latinx is one of the interventions that queer, trans, feminist, Black and Indigenous Latinx subcultures have developed to begin addressing the four wounds of Latinidad and force us to see ourselves in all of our complexity, history, and to hopefully, imagine a future." Alan Pelaez Lopez, "The X in Latinx is a Wound, Not a Trend."

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