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Most of the time when we talk about identity, we talk about how our individual experiences shape how we see ourselves. This can also happen to a country as a whole.

What does it mean for people in Mexico to all be grouped as “Mexican?” Does it help or hurt such a culturally diverse country? And why doesn’t Mexico like to talk about race?

That’s some of what we asked Claudio Lomnitz. He is a historian, author and anthropology professor at Columbia University whose works looks at politics, history, race, and culture in Mexico.

He is the author of Death and the Idea of Mexico and The Return of Comrade Ricardo Flores Magón. Lomnitz also writes a column for the Mexican newspaper La Jornada.

Featured image of Claudio Lomnitz, courtesy of PEN America.