(Ethnicmajority, Clifford Tong) The new 2010 census shows significant population growth in both the Hispanic and Asian communities, but this is only part of the story. The Hispanic population has reached 50 million, one out of every six Americans. What is interesting is where that growth is occurring – in the rural areas. Hispanics in North Carolina rose 111% over the last decade, for instance. African Americans are also moving in droves out of cities to suburban and rural communities.
And yet Hispanics continue to be under-represented in politics, boardrooms, media, etc. while being hammered on the immigration front. But the challenges aren’t just political. Consumers tend to speak with their wallets. I found it very interesting that all of the best selling baseball jerseys are for white players, despite the fact that the sports’ best players are Latino.
Mainstream America may be diverse in numbers, but not in attitude. The UCLA student’s YouTube video rant against Asian Americans is just the latest example debunking President Obama’s ideal that we are “one America”.
But significant challenges face the Hispanic community today. Less than half earn high school degrees and one in eight graduate from college. According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Preganancy, 52 percent of Latina teens get pregnant at least once before age 20.
In the meantime, Hispanics continue to be made a scapegoat for the economic recession by Republicans trying to make illegal immigration a political wedge issue. That can work as long as Hispanics face the aforementioned challenges and lack the political and economic clout to fight back. You have to be encouraged by the battle over union collective bargaining in Wisconsin, which showed that Americans are increasing rejecting political battles to encourage class or race warfare. These are issues for all Americans, not just some Americans.