Friday, June 4, 2010

Discrimination of Hispanic’s in America

Discrimination is an act that many individuals have partaken and are the victim or have thought to be the victim of. Various social and ethnic groups have dealt with discrimination throughout history and their effects can be felt in the work place, education system, and homes. Discrimination against Hispanics is ever increasing with the increasing Hispanic population throughout the nation. The following are accounts from individuals who wish to remain nameless, events, research and statistics of positive and negative aspects which have caused discrimination of Hispanics and which can be carried to other ethnic and social groups, more which Hispanics are becoming the targets and victims.

At one point in time, you or someone you know may have been or thought to have been the victim of discrimination. According to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, discrimination can be defined as “treatment or consideration of, or making a distinction in favor of or against, a person or thing based on the group, class, or category to which that person or thing belongs rather than on individual merit” (Merriam, 1991) . As the population grows there is one ethnic group that is becoming more and more discriminated upon, Hispanics.

According to the Census Bureau, the Hispanic population will double in population by 2020 as it is the fastest growing ethnic demographic in the nation. It is not surprising that discrimination amongst this group is occurring. Steve Bates, a writer for, wrote that “31 percent of approximately 3,000 Hispanics have experience discrimination including employment related bias, and not being hired based on their race”. According to the his research finding from the Pew Hispanic Center (P.H.C.), this is a situation that not only happens to Hispanics but other ethnic and social groups as well. Discrimination in the work place comes from preconceived notions and racial stereo types of Hispanics, one of which is that Hispanics are lazy. One hand on account of a Ford Plant Supervisor attest that the factory/plant in Mexico was ran more efficiently and their output product came with less defects compared to their American counterpart. Though there is no research of other stories it gives light to the hard work that Hispanics put into their product and overall work. To say that any sort of ethnic or social group puts an unproven and ignorant spin on racial discrimination and stereotypes. For example, in the last few years with the War on Terror, many men and women in the armed forces have been ousted from their positions because of their sexual orientation and in no way is it relevant or give an excuse to why they have been ousted and discriminated against. This situation only illustrates how one group of individuals can be discriminated upon so easily by a dominant group.

Though some of these individuals may be native born and assimilated into mainstream society there is those individuals new to the American Culture, immigrants. According to the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) there were 12,600,000 legal permanent residents with the leading country of origin being Mexico with 3,390,000 legal residents. The D.H.S. defines legal immigration as “all people who were granted lawful permanent residence; granted asylee status; admitted as refuges; or admitted as non-immigrants for a temporary stay in the United States” (DHS Office of Immigration, 2009). Then there are those who enter the US illegally, or as we know them as “illegal’s”. The D.H.S. reported 791,568 apprehensions through the Border Patrol and of those apprehended individuals from Mexico lead the charts (DHS Office of Immigrations Statistics). Today the immigration topic is a large controversial conversation with both its pros and cons that is effecting hundreds if not thousands of individuals, families and companies. Some of the discrimination comes from preconceived notions that illegal’s come from the language gap and put many Hispanic and non-Hispanics alike at a disadvantage when trying to assimilate. In an article in the ‘American Journal of Economics and Sociology’ by Jin Haum Park, states that those immigrants whose English speaking skills are not adequate are put at a earning disadvantage compared to those who know or are fluent in English.

At a recent student sponsored program at Eastern Michigan University, a discussion of the ABC program “Latino’s in America” the topic of immigration was brought up. There were comments said that all illegal’s must be deported with the only context behind their argument is that illegal immigration is wrong. The trend of creating and making a certain group the outsider is still apparent even with educated people. Though these students offered their opinions on the subject they still are attributing to discrimination against a group of people.

Discrimination is not only limited to the work place illustrated above. Language, according to bates and the P.H.C., is one of the leading causes of discrimination. Throughout many Hispanic children’s school experience, especially those first generation attending American public schools have a discrimination of language. They are taught that Spanish, many times being their first language, or Spang-lish, a combination of English and Spanish, is wrong to speak. You would think that such tactics do not exist or were thrown out with such barbaric tactics as the hitting of the hands if a child spoke Spanish in the class room but no. As recent as 2005,The Washington Post reports an incident where 16 year old Zach Rubio, was suspended for two days after a staff member and the principle of Endeavor Alternative School overheard him Speaking Spanish. The principal was quoted in a ‘discipline referral’, “This is not the first time we have [asked] Zach and others to not speak Spanish in school”. Language discrimination can cause the majority, or insiders, to think that the individual and group of people are not well educated enough. Though English is widely spoken throughout many countries, there are still some who are not well versed in English. Restrictions of language can also cause social restrictions. There is a nationwide program entitled English as a Second language, or ESL classes, where children whose first language is not English are separated from their fellow classmates and brought to a different class room away from the language they are recommended to learn. This discrimination from the mainstream American Culture may cause some Hispanic youth to act out in ways that maybe negative to themselves. Hispanics are amongst the highest ethnic group to drop out of high school, college, to join a gang, and teen pregnancy. Though there are many factors that may attribute to each individual child, discrimination amongst first generation Hispanics attending public schools is a contributing factor. The Pew Hispanic Center (PHC)reported that ‘the enormous growth in the number of Hispanic youth due to immigration and high birth rates, the number of Latino 16-19-years old dropouts grew dramatically, from 347,000 to 529,000 between 1990 and 2000. However, the dropout rate for native born Latinos declined over that period from 15.2 percent to 14.0 percent”.

Discrimination amongst ethnic groups including Hispanics will continue. We have seen how discrimination can affect children which may cause them to act out in a manner unbefitting to society at an early age. Discrimination can lead to misconceptions of a particular group of people wither they be an ethnic or social group that can cause divides in communities and organizations such as schools and work places. Though completely eliminating such prejudices is near to impossible a general understanding of certain individuals and a basic understanding of Hispanic immigrants must be made to bring about social change and understanding. This I believe will reduce the amount of discrimination towards Hispanics and bring about social change that is needed since the nation is always in continuous change. The Hispanic population will continue to grow and current and future generation must adapt to the social culture as to become further assimilated to the American Culture better to better their situation and for future generations.

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