Some groups in South America, however, consider the use of the word mestizo offensive because it was used during the times of the colony to refer specifically to the mixing between the conquistadores and the indigenous people.
Today, the mixes among races and ethnicities are diverse, so it is considered preferable to use the term "mixed-race" or simply "mixed" (mezcla).
The concept of miscegenation is tied to concepts of racial difference.
In Portuguese-speaking Latin America (i.e., Brazil), a milder form of caste system existed, although it also provided for legal and social discrimination among individuals belonging to different races, since slavery for blacks existed until the late 19th century.
Intermarriage occurred significantly from the very first settlements, with their descendants achieving high rank in government and society.
In Spanish, Portuguese and French, the words used to describe the mixing of races are mestizaje, mestiçagem and métissage.
These words, much older than the term miscegenation, are derived from the Late Latin mixticius for "mixed", which is also the root of the Spanish word mestizo.