May 20, 2012
Mary A Mc Gehee
Discrimination and Hispanics in America
Racial discrimination commonly refers to unfair or unequal behavior upon on individuals due to their race or ethnicity. Racism has been practiced for decades. Exerting superiority or supremacy over a race of individuals is the attempt of racial dominance. Despite the increasing population in the United States, Hispanic Americans find racial discrimination a reality in their lives. Migration rates have been on a dramatic climb over the past several decades resulting in a significant growth in diversity being experienced. The migration of the various cultural groups, including the Hispanic cultures, has not been readily accepted by the current populations of the United States, causing social inequality. This social inequality both in the past and present has led to discrimination, segregation, and stereotyping of the Hispanic American populations, particularly the Puerto Rican Americans, despite being from a United State Territory. What is Hispanic?
Hispanic is a term coined by the United States. It was established in the 1970’s by the government “in an attempt to identify a diverse group of people among the population with a connection to the Spanish language or culture” (U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany, 2008, Para 2). Despite the stereotypic classifications of Hispanics, the Hispanic community is a mixture of numerous groups. These groups include individuals from different countries in Latin America including Puerto Rico, Mexico, Cuba and Brazil (U.S. Diplomatic Mission to Germany, 2008). Not only a diversification by country, but the Hispanics also have a diverse array of cultures, beliefs, political views, and religions. The Migration of Puerto Rican Americans
The Island of Puerto Rico was discovered in 1493 by Christopher Columbus. Puerto Rico was impoverished; much of the population was struggling in agriculture or mining. African slaves were introduced into the island as an added workforce for mining and farming in the attempt to revitalize the island’s industries. This introduction of new cultures diversified their culture further. During the height of the poverty levels, the nation was relinquished to the military of the United States in the early 1900s, becoming a territory of the United States. The United States Congress later passed legislation that made the population of Puerto Rico citizens of the United States. Following World War II, the continued poverty combined with overpopulation of the island, compelled many Puerto Ricans to migrate to the United States in search for better opportunities. This migration continues today. The Resident Commissioner of Puerto Rico voiced his concern of the state of the island: “the Island’s current status does not enable the people of Puerto Rico to fulfill their potential for social, economic and political development. This is not only a political problem; it is also manifested in Puerto Rico’s chronic economic underperformance” (Fortuño, 2007, Para 3). Racial Discrimination
Often many minorities attempting to avoid discrimination reside in neighborhoods that are predominantly their ethnicity or is culturally diverse to have a safety net of common culture around them. This safety net is not always the case. The following is a prime example of such discrimination. In 1994, the Ramos family; a Puerto Rican/black man and his Puerto Rican wife relocated to a racially diverse neighborhood where they were welcomed by most. There was a neighbor in particular, a 27 year old white woman who was not so welcoming (Gleick, 1994). The Ramos family reported in a lawsuit that this neighbor went to their home, not to welcome them but to say: “her family would not allow spicks and niggers to live in the neighborhood" and recommended that the Ramos family to move...