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'Latino, Si--Hispanic, No'

November 24, 1985

While I agree with Del Olmo regarding the political diversity of the Hispanic community, I do not agree with his support of the universal use of the term Latino in that community. In addition to growing up in an ethnically rich neighborhood in Los Angeles, half of my family, the maternal half, came from Mexico; my grandparents immigrated from Chihuahua to Texas in 1912 and to Los Angeles in 1923. Latino was not a term used by my Mexican/Spanish relatives, nor was it a common term used by my Mexican-American neighbors (in the 1940s and 50s).

Although the term Hispanic has been initiated by bureaucrats, in some ways it is more practical than Latino, especially when Latino leaves out Italians and French who also speak a language of Latin ancestry (and the Romanians).

Hispanic works for me because some of my relatives are Mexican and some are Spanish (all related), in fact one brother is Mexican and his sister is Spanish, born to the same parents? I have friends and colleagues whose ancestry is Mexican, Cuban, Puerto Rican, etc. I offend, irritate or annoy no one by referring to them as Hispanic (none of whom use the term Latino).

The only confusion I seem to cause is when I fill out a questionnaire: one-half Hispanic and one-half white. White is the term I have trouble with. Funny, some of my Hispanic relatives are as white as the "white" ones!

DIANA TERAN BLAISURE

Costa Mesa

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