Election year latinidad

Scholars struggle to understand why/how umbrella terms like Latino or Hispanic work or don’t work. Many have come to the conclusion that these global denominators do not speak to how most Latinos would self-identify. However, they have become useful tools, whether for political reasons (‘Hispanic’ was introduced for census purposes by the Nixon administration) or for economic reasons (‘Latino’ saw its rise in the mass media as a way to sell to our complex demography).

Yet here, in the election year, in bids for unity and political power, we see the use of the term Latino to invite different groups to join forces. See, for example, this screenshot from the end of the video:

obama video outtake
obama video outtake

You can see here the Latino population of various states (which, let’s just admit it, have very DIFFERENT kinds of Latino populations, with very different histories). In addition, the chalking includes Nica(ragüenses), Venezolanos, Costarricense, PR (Puerto Rico), Cuba. All of these are both named and subsumed under the larger “Latinos somos.”

Only in an election year can you get these groups to the same table!


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