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Hispanic is a term taken from Hispanics, which in turn derived from Hispania. The term is used for people living in Hispania during Roman times. The word Hispanic is usually used to describe the culture and people usually governed or used to be governed by the Spanish. They are characteristically Spanish-speaking people with most of the people sharing Spanish heritage and culture, from food to preference of dress. They are more ethnically and linguistically diverse than other minority groups in the United States. These comprise of people from a lot of nationalities from Argentineans with strong European heritage to Dominicans with a predominantly black population. The Case Study Hispanic Nation talks about English-speaking people Mexican migrants in the US with the Hispanic origin and their influence on the US economy and culture. This growing ethnic group has its strengths, weakness, opportunity, and threats. So there is a need to identify them in detail, so a clear direction may be developed so that it can help Hispanics in the future.
Hispanics as any other ethnic group have some strength of their own. ‘Demographics’ is one of the main strengths of Hispanics. The number of the baby born to Hispanics in comparison to other groups is very high. This is the reason they are also called baby boomers. They are nearly 30 million in population that includes 8 million illegal immigrants in the United States. They have a population growth of about 3%, which is very high compared with others at just 0.8%. (Grover, Weintrab & Palmeri, 182)A large population in a democratic state like the United States of America means more power. They have now crossed African Americans to become U.S.’s largest minority group. This huge population has its effects on the economy.
Take for example half of all new workers past decade come from Hispanics. There are cultural changes also happening to their advantage like most under-18 or around in Los Angeles, Miami and San Antonio are changing as rap culture did way back in the 1980s of African Americans. Disposable income of Hispanics is at 29% in 2001 to $652 billion last year with Latino businessmen growing at a healthy rate of around 30%. There is an annual influx of around 400,000 immigrants which also adds to the demographics. They have another strong point that they are almost are car ride or bus ride from their native land Mexico, where the money goes back and forth. So they have fewer chances of failure because they can always go back. Due to their skin color, they face less racism in comparison to other ethnic groups like African Americans.
With all those strengths Hispanics also have weakness due to their culture and living style. Most of the Hispanics who came to America in the early years were poorly educated and Non-English speaking. This tradition doesn’t seem to change even after all these years. Still now almost 50% of the Hispanics don’t graduate from high school. Graduation rate stands at 57% which in comparison for non Hispanic whites is at 88% and African American at 80 %, which is very low. This is the reason they get low paying jobs mostly as day construction workers. This is what affects the family income which stands at $33000 in comparison to $42000, which is the national average. Another weakness is the slow pace of assimilation of the Hispanics into American society which is hurting their own interests. This is due to the fact that live in neighborhood eat and live in their native way. They enter in schools with little or no English language skills, which is national language of US. And this is the very reason they have less paying jobs. Failure to develop new skills due to linguistic problems also stops advancement in job and bleak job prospects. This less paying job is also for the reason that quite a most of them have crossed over with no documentation papers and legal identity. Another weakness is that 78% speak Spanish even if they know English, change of attitudes is needed.
The future has lot many opportunities for Hispanics. They are becoming driving force in US economy, politics and culture. Various companies revamping their product line to the culture of suite Hispanics and Latinos. They have now been recognized as the fastest growing consumer group in US. The slowing US population growth and birth rate along with graying people of United States has put upon trust on growing Hispanics. They are new considered as a key catalyst in economic growth. This growing population is forcing US to accommodate a second linguistic group of Spanish; such official recognition will be boon for next generation of Hispanics. Even Labor department and departments connected to social security are hiring Spanish language speaking administrators, for this obvious reason. Politicians are now reaching out to Hispanics for votes and representation. So Hispanics are better of than other ethnic groups and more than ever they have better opportunities than before. And chances of assimilation to American society are better and brighter.
Changing corporate attitude towards Hispanics is helping them by and large. As they try to tab into large Latino population they are hiring more and more Hispanics to sell products to their choice. Companies like Procter & Gamble have started to increase spending on advertisement related to Spanish products. For the very reason, to understand their cultural preferences and likes and dislikes, they are in turn hiring people from the origin. A famous example was addition of smell to detergents, as it has been found in survey 57% that Hispanics like to smell their purchases. This trend is now every where across all sections of products from healthcare to detergents to health insurance policies. Similarly some of the companies are changing linguistically to adapt to needs of Hispanics, like advertising in Spanish to teaching Spanish language skill to administrators and mangers, while some are even going all Spanish. And the consequence is that many Hispanic super stores are now coming up in the neighborhood. Companies like Univision through its cable channel tried to assimilate Hispanics by trying to teach them English speaking skills, but has also switched back to Spanish. This is an indication of Hispanic opportunities in the future to come.
Even after all the opportunities the future holds for Hispanics, there are many impending threats to their otherwise bright future. The huge influx of immigrants from Mexico as well as the baby boom has some undesired results. There is a common perception that Latino dominance in Texas and California might encourage separatism. One of the basic reasons being that, Hispanics live in communities follow their native culture of food or language, rather than try to assimilate with the Americans. Another threat is of the low skill set of the Hispanics and their ability to learn new skill for their advancement in future. This also affects their ability to earn. That’s the reason the are offered petty jobs like tendering gardens, floor cleaning, construction daily day jobs etc.
They are often at the lower end of salary structure and with lower bottom lines. Another reason for their low wage jobs is their education profile where only 57% do their graduation, so good white collar jobs will be impossible. Another threat is that their inability to assimilate in common stream American society. Cultures are often found to surrender native language and culture and melt in the middle class, when they move to new countries, like as German’s in 1800’s when they settled in Pennsylvania to Minnesota. In comparison with other immigrants, the Hispanics like to keep their native language four times more than other immigrants like Chinese, Filipino or Vietnamese, which is opposite to natural trends. This will be better if moved out of the barrios and assimilated in US main stream society. If they leave the neighborhood in to non-Hispanic neighborhoods marry non-Hispanics and melt into US society.
Changing demographics of Hispanics in American society brings up many challenges. Hispanics can not just dominate American society by population figures alone; they have to rise above it terms of education and jobs as well. Also there is need for the greater society at large that Hispanics assimilate and melt into American society for the betterment of Hispanics as well as United States of America. And with changing demographics America has to learn to live with diversity of different cultures as well.
Grover, R, Ariene Weintrab & C Palmeri. “Hispanic Nation: Case in the News.” Business Week. 2007. 181-184.