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UNITED STATES: Hispanic Population

Ed Simmen forwards a long memo from Joe Torres, Director of Affirmative Action at San Francisco State University, whose job is to promote affirmative action, which many now view as no longer necessary. At many universities faculty members have been appointed and students admitted not because they were the best qualified but because of affirmative action. Another abuse concerns the granting of contracts. I know a wealthy lawyer who qualifies as a Hispanic simply because he has a Spanish name.

The memo from Joe Torres is based on study by the firm Strategy Research Corporation (SRC), released during a conference on trends and opportunities in the U.S. Hispanic market

The memo boasts that by 2025 the US will have the second largest Hispanic population in the world, second only to Mexico's. It uses "Hispanic" and "Latino " interchangeably. This would include a wide range of people, including those born in the US, "naturalized" citizens (stange, that use of the word nature!), resident aliens, and illegal immigrants. In terms of origin, it would include Spaniards, Cuban Americans, Mexicans, etc, and possibly Portuguese and Brazilians, who are usually considered "latino". They have in common a "Latin" language (Spanish, Portuguese, and, for the Haitians, French and creole), except for people from the English-speaking Caribbean, who now, according to the official definition, are Latin Americans. It is all very confusing. A Spanish-speaking black would be considered Hispanic or latino, but what about the Basques? Tim Brown can tell us whether the Basques in Nevada consider themselves Hispanic or latino. No one at Stanford thinks of Provost John Etchemendy (who comes from Navada) in those terms, The catch-all labels have their use. They are a device to get political and economic clout.

The memo ends the statistical account with the remark: "Because most Hispanics learn to speak Spanish before English, nearly 40 percent of this population said they remain more comfortable communicating in Spanish and understand ads in Spanish better than in English, although another 40 percent indicated they felt equally as comfortable and responded as well to ads in either language. These are signs of the traditional process of cultural assimilation. Hispanics are accepting some elements of American culture while rejecting others,"

In all of this there is no mention of the US body politic or its health. This is just like the pronouncements of groups like La Raza. Where will this end? As the result of threats of a lawsuit by Hispanics, many states now require that tests for driver's licences be offered in many languages. Martin Luther King Day is a mixed blessing. It means that children, including blacks, get one day less of schooling, and it gives the Post Office an excuse to cancel service. Hispanics, who now outnumber blacks, are demanding that they have a national holiday too. One reason for the collapse of the Middle Ages was that work was hindered by the proliferation of saints´days. Ethnic holidays may have a similar effect. Fortunately businesses generally do not observe ethnic holidays , but government services, including the Post Office and schools do. This is an excellent argument for privatizing the Post Office. Then, like many stores, it would be open seven days a week, twenty-four hours a day. Just dreaming.

Ronald Hilton - 1/16/01