Latinos


Valery Pozo still gets angry thinking about it. It was about a decade ago, and the immigrant communities in her hometown, Salt Lake City, were on edge because of recent immigration enforcement raids in the area. Pozo's mother, an immigrant from Peru, was on the sidelines at her son's soccer game when another parent asked whether she was "illegal."

"To me, that was clearly a racist question and a racist assumption," Pozo recalled.

But her mother saw it as a harmless comment, despite Pozo's best efforts to convince her that it was something bigger.

About a third of Latinos in America say they've been personally discriminated against when it comes to applying for jobs, being paid equally or considered for promotions — and when trying to rent a room or apartment or buy a house. Slightly more (37 percent) say they've personally experienced racial or ethnic slurs because of their race or ethnicity.

This viral video out of Hollywood raises an interesting question: What does racism look like from one Latino to another?

In the 1970s, the nation's Latino advocacy groups had grown fed up with the U.S. Census Bureau. During its 1970 population count, the agency had made a half-hearted attempt to quantify the number of Latinos and Hispanics living in the United States.

In an attempt to reach a younger and more diverse audience, the largest and most well-known Latino advocacy group in the U.S., the National Council of La Raza, renamed itself this month. The new name, UnidosUS, was announced at the group's 2017 conference in Phoenix. This has caused a rift in the U.S. Latino community — some see it as shedding a dated name, but others see it as leaving a legacy behind.

Roberto Koltun / Miami Herald

COMMENTARY

South Miami teacher Jorge Cast has his enemies of the people all neatly figured out – including the mainstream media.

“My family came from Cuba, and they taught me something very basic,” Cast told WLRN last Saturday at a rally in Tropical Park in support of President Trump.

“When the media tells you something is white, you believe it’s black. When they tell you it’s right, you believe it’s wrong.”

It's been a tense week for immigrants and people of color throughout the country, but there was some good news in California: a new study by the advocacy group National Council of La Raza points out that the state's Latinos, as a group, are doing much better in many areas.

It was billed as a "listening session," a chance for Latino leaders from across the country to sit down with members of President-elect Donald Trump's transition team and talk about the issues important to them and to their constituents.

Willie J. Allen Jr. / WMFE

The City of Orlando has been recognized for its united response to the Pulse nightclub tragedy. But if you talk to the Latino community, not everyone feels the response was harmonious. So they’re taking action.

It’s a Thursday night. A small group is seated around a conference table at the Proyecto Somos Orlando building on Orange Blossom Trail. Christopher Cuevas stands in front of a screen that projects a big rainbow-colored letter “Q” with the word “Latinx” in the middle. Latinx is a gender-neutral alternative to the words “Latino and Latina.”

This year, Disney premiered its first Latina princess: Elena Castillo Flores, better known as Elena of Avalor. She sings and plays guitar, she goes on adventures, rules her kingdom and has her own highly rated animated TV show.

As a child, Francisco Ortega lived in rural Tijuana, Mexico, 100 miles south of where he lives with his family now.

"We were so poor, but I used to say my mother kept the best dirt floors ever," he told his 16-year-old daughter, Kaya during a recent visit to StoryCorps. "They were the cleanest dirt floors in the planet.

There's been lots of chatter on social media and among pundits, warning that the treatment of immigrant kids and English language learners is going to "get worse" under a Donald Trump presidency.

Some people on Twitter are even monitoring incidents in which Latino students in particular have been targeted.

But I wonder: When were these students not targeted? When did immigrant students and their families ever have it easy?

Latinos are by far the fastest growing chunk of the U.S. school population. A new report by the National Council of La Raza gives a fascinating snapshot of this fast-growing population.

Here are some highlights:

Demographics

  • Over the last 15 years, Latino enrollment has significantly outpaced that of whites and African-Americans.
  • Latinos under the age of 18 now total 18.2 million, a 47 percent jump since 2000.

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