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HISPANIC AMERICANS. CHAPTER 9. Hispanic Population. More than one in eight people in US are of Spanish of Latin American origin By 2005 41.9 million Latinos, outnumbering 39 million African Americans Generally urban dwellers 91% live in metropolitan areas compared to 78% of Whites.

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Hispanic Population

  • More than one in eight people in US are of Spanish of Latin American origin

  • By 2005

    • 41.9 million Latinos, outnumbering 39 million African Americans

  • Generally urban dwellers

    • 91% live in metropolitan areas compared to 78% of Whites


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Latino Identity

  • Panethnicity

    • The development of solidarity between ethnic subgroups

  • Hispanic or Latino

    • Collective term is subject to debate

    • Latino more common in the West

    • Hispanic more common to the East and the term used by federal government

      • Actions of the dominant group have an impact in defining cultural identity to some degree


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  • 24% prefer to use panethnic names

  • Among US born Latinos

    • Move away from using native country as means of identity

    • 46% first use or only use “American”

    • 29% use parent’s country of origin

  • Contrasts with foreign-born Latinos

    • 21% use American

    • 54% use national terms of reference

  • Name issues or “language battles” distract group’s attention from working together


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  • Income and education does not appear to influence Hispanics’ perceptions

  • Younger generation think more in pantethnic terms

  • Ethclass

    • Merging of ethnicity and class in a person’s status

    • Identity is complicated as they move economically and socially further from their roots


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The Economic Picture Hispanics’ perceptions

  • Median income increased over past 25 years

  • Gap remains between Latinos and Whites

  • Latino household earns 70 cents for every dollar earned by Whites

  • Low wealth is characteristic of Hispanic households

    • Likely to earn less annually and have fewer financial resources to fall back on


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  • Poverty rate reflects pattern in income Hispanics’ perceptions

  • Beginning of 2006

    • 21.8% below poverty level compared to 8.3% of Whites

    • Typical Latino income in 2005 was over $10,000 behind typical 1972 White household

  • Situation difficult to predict

    • As a group, poor Latinos are more mobile geographically

    • Half send money abroad to help relatives

      • Puts a strain on supporting themselves in the US


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The Growing Political Presence Hispanics’ perceptions

  • Federal law requires bilingual or multilingual ballots in voting districts where 5% of voting-age population does not speak English

  • Voting turnout was poor

    • Many were ineligible – non-citizens

  • 2004 election

    • 53% Democrat v. 44% Republican

    • Stand against Republican support favoring reducing legal immigration, limiting welfare benefits to legal immigrants, and eliminating bilingual education


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  • Evidence indicates younger Hispanics becoming more conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

  • Factors that elicit support from politicians

    • Rapidly growing population

    • Higher proportions of voter registration

    • Higher participation in elections

    • Less commitment to a single political party

  • Resent the fact that existence is rediscovered during election years

    • Little interest in between except by Latino officials


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The Borderlands conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

  • Borderlands

    • Refers to the area of a common culture along the border between Mexico and US

  • Notion of separate Mexican and US cultures obsolete because of

    • Legal and illegal immigration

    • Day laborers crossing the border to go to jobs in the US

    • Implementation of (NAFTA) North American Free Trade Agreement

    • Exchange of media across the border


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  • Maquiladoras conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

    • Foreign-owned companies that establish operations in Mexico yet are exempt from Mexican taxes and are not required to provide insurance or benefits for workers

  • Multinational companies found even lower wages in China

    • Over 40% of the 700,000 new maquiladora jobs created in 1990s were eliminated by 2003

  • Immigrant workers have significant economic impact on home countries

    • Remittances or migradollars estimated at $20 billion in 2005


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  • Homeland Clubs conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

    • Typically are non-profit organizations that maintain close ties to immigrants’ hometowns in Mexico and other Latin nations

    • Collect money for improvements in hospitals and schools

    • Some states in Mexico began matching-funds programs

    • Work of over 1,500 hometown clubs in US or Mexican communities reflects blurring of border distinctions


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Cuban Americans conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

  • Cuban settlements in Florida date back to the early nineteenth century

    • Where small communities organized around single family enterprises

  • 1960 census – 79,000 Cuban born in US

  • 2005 – more than 1.4 million Cuban born in US

  • Increase followed Fidel Castro’s assumption of power after 1959 Cuban revolution


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  • Three significant influxes of immigrants through the 1980s conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

    • 1st - About 200,000 came during the first three years after Castro came into power

    • 2nd – Freedom Flights; 340,000 refugees between 1965 and 1973

    • 3rd – 1980 Mariel boatlift is most controversial – “Freedom Flotilla”

      • Castro used President Carter’s invitation to send prison inmates, patients from mental hospitals, and addicts

      • Marielitos

        • Implies that refugees were undesirable and remains a stigma in the media and in Florida


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  • Wet Foot, Dry Foot Policy conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

    • Refers to government policy which generally allows Cuban nationals who manage to reach the US (“dry foot”) to remain while those picked up at sea (“wet foot”) are sent back to Cuba

  • Cuban refugees have special advantage over other refugees in terms of public opinion

    • 2000 – Elian Gonzalez

  • Issue of communism still overshadows attitudes about US relationship with Cuba


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The Present Picture: Cuban Americans conservative and likely to consider Republican candidates

  • The influence of Cuban Americans

    • Miami area

    • In Urban centers

  • Generational relations among Cubans

    • Generational clash between cultures (parent and child)

  • Inter-ethnic relations between Cubans and other Hispanic’s at times have been strained


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  • Long-range perspective of Cubans in the U.S. depends on several factors

    • Most important – events in Cuba

      • Refugees proclaim desire to return if communist regime is overturned

    • Cuban Americans have selectively accepted Anglo culture

  • Split between original exiles and their children

    • Children more concerned with Miami Dolphins than they are with Havana


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Central and South Americans several factors

  • Central and South Americans came from

    • historically different experiences and times

    • culturally diverse backgrounds

  • Unlike racial groupings in US, use Color Gradient

    • Describing skin color along a continuum from light to dark

    • Another indicator of the social construction of race


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  • Central and South Americans do not form a cohesive group language

  • Do not naturally form coalitions with

    • Cuban Americans

    • Mexican Americans

    • Puerto Ricans

  • Immigration has been sporadic and influenced by

    • US immigration laws

    • Social forces in the home country

      • War and persecution

      • Economic deprivation


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Central and South Americans: languagePresent View

  • Two issues clouding recent settlement

    • Many are illegal immigrants

      • Citizens from El Salvador, Guatemala, and Colombia are outnumbered only by Mexican nationals

    • Brain Drain

      • Immigration to US of skilled workers, professionals, and technicians

      • Experience high unemployment compared to Whites

      • Better educated than most Hispanics


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  • Colombians language

    • Close to half million in US

    • Rural unrest in 1980s triggered large-scale movement to US

    • Success found in catering to other Colombians

    • Many obliged to take menial jobs and combine income of several families to meet high cost of urban life

    • Colombians of mixed African descent face racial as well as ethnic and language barriers


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  • Future of Central and South Americans in the US? language

    • Could assimilate over generations

    • Alternative is being trapped with Mexican Americans as a segment of the dual labor market

    • Encouraging possibility is that they retain an independent identity while establishing an economic base


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QUESTIONS language


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