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"Latino?" "Hispanic?" The historic struggle to name Latin Americans in the U.S.A.

It’s hard to define individual identity. For example, if you're Spanish speaking, what do you call yourself? Latino? Hispanic? Something else? Berkeley professor G. Cristina Mora dug into the  history of what Spanish speakers were called in America in her new book 'Making Hispanics: How Activists, Bureaucrats and Media constructed a New American.' It tells the story of how and when Spanish speakers in America got their own ethnic category on the US census, and what that iconic moment led to. G. Cristina Mora joined Hana Baba in studio, and Mora told her that story.

G. CRISTINA MORA: Today if we say Hispanic, it's unsure where the Spaniard himself sits. Some might guess that he'd be included, but Latino seems to exclude this person much more... I think that the words that we use matter. I think that to be conscious of connections to history and connections to politics matter.

  To listen to the full interview click on the audio player above. 

Hana Baba is host of Crosscurrents, KALW's weeknight newsmagazine that broadcasts on KALW Public Radio in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Ben was hired as Interim Executive Director of KALW in November, 2021.