A minha mãe nasceu em São Paulo, Brasil. Ela se mudou para os Estados Unidos quando ela tinha três anos de idade. My mother was born in São Paulo, Brasil. She moved to the United States when she was three years old. Even though she's lived in Massachusetts for nearly 46 years, Brazilian pride runs deep in her veins and I'm pretty sure her heart beats to the rhythm of Samba drums.

My whole life, I’ve been very aware of where my mom’s family came from and how much our heritage and traditions meant to us. Family is everything. World Cup games are not to be taken lightly. When the Brazilian National Anthem plays, you stand with your hand on your heart. And speaking Portuguese is something you should at least try, although you may totally fail. I could go on. One thing that has never been clear, and everyone seems to have an opinion, is whether or not we are considered “Latino/a.”

Townsquare Media
Townsquare Media

Let me explain: Brazil is part of South America. However, it is the only Portuguese-speaking, let alone non-Spanish-speaking, country in South America. One typically thinks of someone from a Spanish-speaking country when thinking of Latino/a. Because of this, no one in my family can agree on how to place Brazilians.

This never really affects my everyday life, but I recently tried filling out the 2020 US Census for the first time and the question of my ethnicity/origin came up. "Is Person 1 of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin?" It was like trying to apply to colleges all over again. I didn’t know how to answer, and Google just confused me more than I already was.

After some basic research, I did find one article written by The Editors of Encyclopaedia Britannica that suggests that the word “Hispanic” applies to people who speak Spanish or may have descended from Spanish-speaking countries. Latino refers to people who are from or descended from people from Latin America. By this definition, Brazilians are Latino/a simply because of geography.

I cannot be the only one in this situation. If one (or both) of your parents is from Brazil, but you were born here in the states, how will you answer this question when you fill out the 2020 US Census?

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