All Articles Tagged "Hispanics"
Probably, like most of you, I’ve been watching the republican primaries with the peripheral interest of a circus sideshow. As Gingrich, Santorum and Romney duke it out, I’ve heard such alienating phrases as, “I want African American people to demand paychecks, not food stamps,” (Gingrich), ”I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money,” (Santorum), and Romney’s flub about not caring about the unemployed–never mind that blacks make up 12 percent of that group. And to put icing on the cake, a recent report indicated that 29 percent of republicans from the Deep South think interracial marriage should be illegal, and it appears none of the presidential hopefuls have chosen to disabuse them of this notion. Surprise, surprise.
All this pandering to the extreme right wing of the party has backfired because the ignorant comments, Freudian slips, and allusions to swipe at women’s hard-won reproductive rights impacts not only blacks, but other minorities and white soccer moms. Rick Santorum’s recent comments about how Puerto Ricans should speak better English is just another on a long list of buffoonish remarks aimed at minorities. Santorum single-handedly managed to offend both Hispanics and black people part of the African diaspora.
But it looks like republicans don’t too much like it when “off color” remarks are thrown in the other direction. At a recent fundraiser for President Obama, Robert DeNiro joked about America not being “ready for a white First Lady.” Newt Gingrinch was outraged, OUTRAGED!! He said DeNiro’s comments were inexcusable, and wanted the president to apologize for DeNiro; I guess because an apology from the mega-star wasn’t sufficient for Mr. Gingrinch.
Republicans have essentially given up trying to win “the black vote,” so there seems to be little self-editing happening. Lenny McAllister, senior contributor at Politic365.com and radio host of “Get Right with Lenny McAllister” (www.LMGILIVE.com), and frequent guest on CNN, says that the recent antics in the republican party aree less about alienation, and more about a failure to connect. “There hasn’t been a concerted effort to reach minorities [in the republican party] for 40 years.”
McAllister, who is a member of the group, Hip Hop Republicans, worries that this continued failure to connect will prevent republicans from leading a more diverse America, and the country continues to “brown.”
But there’s good news for Obama fans: Although McAllister thinks the president should get a “C-” for his first term, he still predicts a narrow win against Mitt Romney, whom he believes will be the single man standing after the republican primary. Who do you think will win the republican primary?
Christelyn D. Karazin is the co-author of “Swirling: How to Date, Mate and Relate Mixing Race, Culture and Creed” (to be released May 2012), and runs a blog, www.beyondblackwhite.com, dedicated to women of color who are interested and or involved in interracial and intercultural relationships. She is also the founder and organizer of “No Wedding, No Womb,” an initiative to find solutions to the 72 percent out-of-wedlock rate in the black community.
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Yesterday, Bank of America’s Countrywide Financial unit agreed to pay a record $335 million to settle civil charges that it discriminated against minority home buyers.
Countrywide Financial was accused of charging African Americans and Hispanics higher interest rates and fees and directing some to more expensive subprime mortgages between 2004 and 2008– before they were acquired by Bank of America. An investigation found a widespread pattern of discrimination against more than 200,000 people in more than 180 geographic markets across 41 states and the District of Columbia.
“These allegations represent alarming conduct – by one of the largest mortgage lenders in this country, during the height of the housing market boom,” U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said in a statement.
The Justice Department said the money will be used to compensate victims of Countrywide’s discriminatory mortgage loans from 2004 through 2007. Their civil rights division also has about 20 other open investigations into financial institutions accused of discriminatory practices against minorities buying homes.
What do you think about the settlement?
Brande Victorian is a blogger and culture writer in New York City. Follower her on Twitter at @be_vic.
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By Charlotte Young
A new Alabama immigration law has some parents afraid to send their children to school. According to the Christian Science Monitor, a judge upheld several parts of Alabama’s strict new immigration law, which includes a section on public school enrollment.
Starting on Thursday, schools must check the birth certificates of students who enroll in Alabama schools for the first time. If no birth certificate is presented or if officials decide that the child is not in the US legally, then the parent or guardian must produce other documentation or sign an affidavit which deals with the citizenship status of the student. If no document is produced, school records will then mark a student as “enrolled without birth certificate.”
“This will have an incredibly chilling effect on children and on parents,” Mary Bauer, a key opponent and the legal director of the Southern Poverty Law Center, told the CS Monitor.
As the law will require government officials to report illegal immigrants, Bauer believes that it will also force school and government officials to play the role of immigration agents as well.
While Alabama’s interim superintendent of Education Larry Craven assures that “no student should be denied enrollment for not providing a birth certificate,” illegal-immigrant parents have already declared they plan to leave.
Dawn DuPress Kelley, the principal of Greenwood Elementary Schools told the CS Monitor that the new regulations make her uncomfortable, as they put pressure on her to report student immigration status and destroy the trust she’s established with parents.
“We’ve been having to troubleshoot today to offer encouragement…and let them know that the best place is to have their child in school,” she said to the CS Monitor.
Opponents have tried to use the 1982 Supreme Court case Plyler v. Doe to challenge the constitutional merit of the Alabama law. In the case, the Supreme Court ruled that all children in the US have the right to a free public elementary and secondary education, regardless of their citizenship status. However the judge ruled Wednesday that the plaintiff’s stance did not show that Alabama’s new immigration law “posed a concrete threat of injury to them.”
“If the federal government had done its job by enforcing its own immigration laws, there would be no need for Alabama – or other states – to pass a law such as this,” Robert Brentle, the governer of Alabama said in a statement. “I will continue to fight at every turn to defend this law against any and all challenges.”
(AP) — More than half of all people sent to federal prison for committing felony crimes so far this year were Hispanic, a major demographic shift swollen by immigration offenses, according to a new government report released Tuesday. Hispanics already outnumber all other ethnic groups sentenced to serve time in prison for federal felonies. Hispanics reached a new milestone for the first time this year, making up the majority all federal felony offenders sentenced in the first nine months of fiscal year 2011, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission.
On the heels of reports that America has more minority than white babies for the first time, the Gerber baby food company has decided to revise its iconic logo. The infant that has represented its brand for decades will be expanded from being a single Caucasian tot into a rainbow of kids of multiple hues. Gerber has recognized that changing racial demographics require new marketing tactics, demonstrating a growing trend in diversifying that will extend to politics and eduction. More on the impetus behind this evolution from ABC News:
“The idea where we had a white, middle-class population that we talked about in the 1950s and 1960s, that’s disappearing,” said William Frey, a demographer with the Brookings Institute.
The new generation is still in the cradle, but as the infants grow up America will start to look very different.
Already, the trend lines are becoming clearer: Older Americans are whiter. Younger Americans are more non-white.
Most of the change is being driven by a surging Latino population with a much higher birth rate than any other ethnic group. It is further bolstered by legal immigration.
In fact, 50% of the growth in America’s population between 2000 and 2010 was due to the rapid population expansion of Latinos. At close to 50 million, Latinos are now the largest minority group in the U.S., outpacing African-Americans at 38 million. Whites are still in the vast majority, representing 72% of the population and 223 million — but times are changing.
When today’s crop of babies reach maturity near the year 2042, researchers theorize that America’s majority population will be absolutely non-white — but with Latinos leading the change. This means our tradition of seeing race in terms of “black and white” must be questioned. Just as Gerber is changing it’s longstanding image to include more races, blacks and whites must learn to see cultural relations in this country in a multi-faceted light.
Many whites have resisted accepting Latinos as “real” Americans, as numerous anti-immigration campaigns nationwide illustrate, but African-Americans might be stubborn as well. Can blacks adjust to the idea of no longer being the most prominent minority group? That is the inevitable question. How we answer it will have serious implications for blacks politically and socially leading up to 2042.
Losing our power as the main minority will feel difficult, but as there is no choice we should plan to work with Latinos as their political clout swells. This is a piece of cultural capital worth investing in.
Like many schools across the nation, lunch price increases and teacher layoffs are some of the issues that plague the Houston Independent School District (HISD). But the district’s minority students face an additional challenge—they are quickly and incorrectly placed in special education classes.
It’s an issue that Terry Grier, the HISD superintendent, knew would be a major concern since his first day on the job, he told Politic365.
Research conducted in the fall of 2010 by Grier’s administration, as well as an accompanying audit by Boston firm Thomas Hehir and Associates, compared HISD statistics with other school districts. The results were clear: there are 16,386 students classified as special education in HISD schools. Of this number, African American students are the overwhelming majority.
Grier believes that the district is also failing in properly assisting its Hispanic students. For instance, they are often ill-prepared in English classes during the early elementary years. As they face difficulties in middle and high school grades, these students must also fight against labels of English language deficiency and special education.
Placing substantial amounts of children in special education classes is a problem that has long haunted the minority community. Although the school system is quick to label minority children, they provide a slow response and approach to reversing their mistake.
According to published reports, early results from the U.S. Census Bureau suggest that the Hispanic population is officially the country’s second-largest group comprising 16.3 percent, or 50.5 million, of the U.S. population. This information, while interesting, raises a number of questions, such as who are these Hispanics, where do they come from, and more importantly, how does their new ethnic status in America determine their political and social clout?
Much like the Asian and African-American populations, (which have long been a thorn in the side of mixed-race identifiers, as well as newly immigrated blacks from Africa and the Caribbean Islanders), the Hispanic designation will undoubtedly face the same political, racial and social challenges.
The term “Hispanic” was first used to describe people from the Iberian Peninsula, also known as Hispania. Yet the Hispanic-identifier didn’t really take shape until the census in 1970 when it was used to define anyone from “Latin America,” as well as parts of the Caribbean. The use of the term itself is still heavily debated and is sometimes interchanged with Latino or Spanish. It has sort of become a cultural conundrum since it often lumps together folks regardless of national and cultural identity, religious affiliation and even race.
Consider the 2010 Census questionnaire when question eight asked whether a filer was a person of Hispanic, Latino, or Spanish origin. It then listed possible answers ranging from Mexican-American to Cuban to Spaniard. It might all seem harmless and interchangeable, however I personally know Puerto Ricans, some Dominicans and a few Mexicans that might snap your neck if you even dare confuse the three.
Politically speaking, although there is an appeal to treat Hispanics as a homogeneous group, Hispanics cannot be put into neat camps of Republican and Democratic voters. Cubans tend to lean more to the right whereas Mexicans lean more democratic. Among the Hispanic vote, 14 percent identified as Republicans, 54 percent as Democrats, 18 percent as independent and 7 percent as other.
For example, though Puerto Ricans may be sympathetic to the plight of immigration issues, as U.S. citizens, the vast majority of the group might not feel as personally impacted as Mexicans and other South American Hispanics. The same could be said for Cuban Americans, whose immigrant status has not necessarily compelled them to vote outside of the Republican Party.
And let us not forget about color. As question nine on the census demonstrated, Hispanics in this country are still expected to identify themselves by race. Full data information on the racial breakdown of this year’s census has yet to be released, but on the 2000 census, more than 50 percent of Hispanics chose white while only 2.7 percent identified themselves as black. An even smaller percentage chose American Indian.
According to reports, white and black Hispanics — as well as Hispanics who say that they are “some other race” — earn different levels of pay and reside in segregated neighborhoods based on the shade of their skin. Hispanics that describe themselves as white typically have higher incomes and the lowest rate of unemployment while black Hispanics typically have lower incomes and a higher rate of unemployment.
Hispanics have internal intra-racial and class distinction issues amongst themselves, which have existed prior to their arrival in this country. Now, these issues might only be accentuated in our so-called post-racial society as policymakers and researchers disregard all that and clamor to label and categorize Hispanics into one convenient pot.
Charing Ball is the author of the blog People, Places & Things.