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False cognates: on the diversity and shared experiences within the Latino community

Every presidential campaign is accompanied by news reports that attempt to frame existing realities as new developments or special insights. One prominent recurring story is about the fact that more and more Latinos are voting for Republicans. This realization then leads a journalist—who is usually not Latino—to attempt to pin down why that is, and to explain what exactly the “Latino vote” is. But the term “Latino” is capacious, encompassing people from dozens of countries and territories who don’t necessarily speak Spanish and might have had the border cross them instead of the other way around. How could there possibly be a singular, unchanging Latino vote?

In this episode of the podcast, web editor Violet Lucca speaks with Héctor Tobar, a novelist and veteran journalist who went on a 9,000-mile road trip across the United States to visit a variety of Latino communities. Tobar’s reporting complicates received wisdom about what it means to be Latino, and revels in the diversity—political and otherwise—of the identity.

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August 2021

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