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Hispanic American Diversity

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Hispanic American Diversity

At some point in time in your life you have heard the terms Latino or Hispanic. What was the first thing that came to your mind? There are many different types of Latinos and/or Hispanics in the United States today. In 2003, 37.4 million Latinos reside in the U.S., outnumbering 34.7 million African Americans (Ramirez and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Each of these types has similar cultures and customs, but is uniquely different. No one person can be so sure of which of these ethnicities one belongs to, unless you already know the person.

Mexican Americans are the most populated Latino/Hispanic group in the United States. As of the census in 2003 they make up 66.9% of the Hispanic population in the U.S. (Ramirez and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Although they are often thought of as lazy or your average everyday border jumper, the Mexicans offer a lot to the U.S. that they do not get credit for. There are many jobs that get done by Mexicans, which the average American would never do. In California, where the majority of the United States gets its produce from, Mexicans are the ones out there picking the crop. Granted the non-Hispanic Whites are the owners of these companies, but they are not out there harvesting their crops. Mexicans are spread all through the states, but the majority of them stay in the southwest regions.

According to the census in 2003, Central/South Americans make up the next largest groups of Latinos in the United States with 14.3% (Ramirez and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Although they are classified by others as Latinos, this group of people has a variety of diversity amongst them. Those coming from this region have little in common other than where they are from and the language they speak. For example, immigrants from Brazil speak Portuguese, those from French Guyana speak French, and those from Suriname speak Dutch (Ramirez and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). So, as you can see, we as Americans would label these people as Hispanics or Latinos, even though they do not speak a word or Spanish. Something unique about this region is the way that people are placed. A color gradient is used in this area, to tell what region of South or Central America they are coming from. A color gradient is the placement of people among a continuum from light to dark skin color rather than in distinct racial groupings by skin color (Ramirez and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Could you imagine if the United States did that with the non-Hispanic White population? Would they all be in the same category?

In 1940, 88% of the Puerto Rican people lived in New York City. By 2000, that number has dropped to less than a third (J. Logan and de la Cruz 2003 Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Puerto Ricans in the United States tend to be more English-language oriented, with 39% English-dominant, 40% bilingual, and 21% Spanish-dominant (Brodie et al. 2002; Bureau of the Census 2003a:158 from Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Today, most Americans, when they hear Puerto Rican, they think of baseball. There are an abundance of Latino ball players in the Major Baseball League in modern times. Not all of them are of Puerto Rican decent, but again, they get grouped into the Latino race, no matter where they are from.

Third in numbers only to Mexicans and Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans are a significant ethnic Hispanic minority in the United States (Racial and Ethnic Groups Chapter 9). Following Fidel Castro's reign of power in 1959 the Cuban population has grown tremendously. The Cuban community has always been very tight and prosperous. They have the leading college completion rate of all the Latino groups in the U.S. The majority of them came during the anti-Castro movement as refugees to the United States. They were generally well educated, had managerial or professional



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