Oboler, N. (1995) Ethnic Labels, Latino Lives : Identity and the Politics of (Re) Presentation in the United States. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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Oboler argues that the use of the ethnic label "Hispanic" in the USA has homogenized a diverse population of people with a variety of national backgrounds, classes, races, and genders. According to her the use of the label by government agencies, social scientists, the media, advertisers, and the public at large obscures the social and political experiences of immigrants from Central, South, and Caribbean countries. The label "Hispanic" is elusive, it is an umbrella term that is contested. There is no consensus on what does it mean to be Hispanic because the experience of spanish-speaking immigrants from south and central America, and the Caribbean is heterogeneous.

As a statistical construct, the term is problematic because there are so many differences among nationality groups, class, and education from people of Latin American descent.

Both latino and non-latino populations use the "Hispanic" label in a very broad sense, attaching different meanings depending of the perspective.

Very frequently,especially from official institutions and dominant perspectives, "Hispanics" are categorized as trouble population, perceived as a social problem: low income, unemployed, poor, associated with school dropouts, early pregnancies, drugs, and crime.

Other times, the label "Hispanics" constructs an active population of consumers, a market segment. And still other times, especially when its voting capacity is recognized, "Hispanics" are constructed as citizens.

Although he label "Latino" is a grassroots alternative designator, it stills homogenizes and stereotypes. In the 1990s the use of this term, meant that it was a conscious choice different to the imposed label Hispanic.

However, there are advantages in the use of an imposed umbrella term as "Hispanics" because it enables access to resources and making demands from an ethnic kind of policy. Under certain circumstances, such as the ones of inequality, the use of the term could be useful for political unity and for competing for resources.

In fact, different meanings have been associated with the term according to specific historical periods of time.

Oboler looks at the different meanings that the term "Hispanic" has had in the history of the USA and explains them in the context of a society that is segregated. Important historical contexts are the war against Mexico, the occupation of Puerto Rico, the decades after the WW II, the civic rights movement, and the post 1980s globalized world.

In Oboler analysis, US national identity and imagined community are important concepts for understanding the the construction of the term "Hispanic." According to her, Spanish language, is not part of the imagined community.

The emergence of the ethnic label "Hispanics".