Americans include peoples native to North America as well as those who came to
America as early colonists. These colonists settled mainly in the area of the Western and
South Western United States. After these early colonists, Hispanic people have continued
to immigrate to America. The original Hispanic Americans were the America Indians
who lived in North America before the earliest recorded colonies. Hispanic peoples also
immigrated here from Mexico, Puerto Rico, Cuba, Spain and other Latin speaking
countries. Manual Herrera Mata (my father) once said, “Being an American Hispanic in
the military in 1956 was hard. In my time most people in the military were prejudice
towards Hispanics and African Americans.” He also stated, “The two ethnic groups had
to band together as family to survive the harshness of discrimination.” Well, times have
changed since 1956. Programs teaching diversity awareness have helped alleviate
prejudice and racism issues. Although such issues still exist towards American Hispanic
today, it is not done openly as it once was in the past. This essay will talk about how
Hispanic Americans still face prejudice and segregation today. It will also address the
ways in which affirmative action has been an effective aid to Hispanic Americans and
Most Hispanic communities are considered to be in poverty. With most Hispanic
Americans being classified as poor, education is becoming a problem within those
communities. Prejudice and segregation towards the Hispanic Americans is becoming
very apparent in regards to education.
Today, Hispanic American students are experiencing higher rates of segregation in
school systems than are any other group of students. A recent report of the Harvard
Project on School Desegregation to the National School Boards Association
describes the changing patterns of segregation and poverty since 1968. The study
found that segregation by race is strongly correlated with segregation by poverty;
and the study provides national data demonstrating that both African American and
Latino students are much more likely than white students to be in schools that are
segregated and poorly funded. Education Government (1996).
Statistics have proven that Hispanic American students are often held back in school.
Part of the problem is that there are not enough resources to help Hispanic Americans
with the language barrier.
One of the most controversial issues in the education of Hispanic children is
language. The reason for this controversy is primarily political, rather than
educational, and reflects a public misunderstanding that bilingual and English-as-
a-Second-Language education methods are somehow a threat to American culture
and values. In fact, the General Accounting Office (GAO) indicated in 1994 that
"the bilingual method" is the most effective for non-English speaking children.
Education Government (1996).
Hispanic Americans are still faced with prejudice and segregation in an open manner in
regards to poverty and education. Poorer communities do not have the tax base to invest
in better curriculum and higher wages for teachers. The degraded standards of education
create a vicious cycle where people are stuck in lower paying jobs that maintain poverty
in the community. Better education means better jobs, more tax money, and increased
funding for developing the community.
Affirmative action is one method politicians have chosen to improve the standard of
living for minorities. The affirmative action plan gives minorities a better chance at
landing good jobs. The plan has met with some success but has also increased...