Hispanics

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Hispanics are often referred to as the fastest growing minority group in the United States. The Texas Credit Union site provided the following statistics. There are 38.8 million people of Hispanic origin residing in the U.S. By 2007, the number of Hispanics in the U.S. is expected to reach 50 million (http://www.tcul.coop/Demographic_Information.html). Hispanics are defined as those who claim a Spanish speaking country as their or their ancestor's country of origin. Thus, the designation of Hispanic is one that crosses racial barriers and is instead a description of language and background. There are those of all racial backgrounds that consider themselves Hispanic (Cafferty 2000). With that in mind, as I interviewed Ms. Adelina Winston about the relationships between Hispanics and other groups, I asked her whether or not conflicts existed in those relationships. She stated that in her experience, that was not the case. The more stringent racial lines of Caucasian and African-American prevailed, and most people were interested in learning which group out of those two she identified with, rather than seeing her background as a separate group. Therefore, she felt more readily accepted by both of those major racial groups.

There are many myths and stereotypes that exist about Hispanics. One of those is that Hispanics are mainly rural people, probably stemming from the perception that most work on farms. In actuality, the opposite is true. In 1990, 90% of Hispanics lived in urban areas (Cafferty 2000).

Another myth is that most Hispanics are immigrants. This is untrue as well. A little over 33% of Hispanics are immigrants. The rest have been born in the United States. A fact to remember when considering this is that all Puerto Ricans are American citizens, as Puerto Rico is an American territory (Cafferty 2000). However, due to distinct Spanish culture of Puerto Rico and the adjustment experiences of Puerto Ricans who come to the United States, it can be justified that Puerto Ricans have an immigrant-like encounter when coming to the United States (Zambrana, 1995).

Many believe that all Hispanics have large families with many children. While it is true that more Hispanic families have three or more children when compared to Caucasian or African-American families, it cannot be considered a statistical fact that this is true for all Hispanic families. It is also true that most Hispanic families have both a mother and father in the home, with approximately 66% of homes having both. This is down from 78% in 1970 ("Trends", 2001) Among Caucasian families, the percentage is 75%. In African-American homes, the number is 36% (Cafferty 2000). However, in defiance of disproving this as a myth, Ms. Winston grew up as one of eleven children, with five brothers and five sisters, a large family in anyone's view.

Yet another myth about Hispanics is that they do not value education. While this may seem to be true because of the comparably low rate of high school graduation and higher education attained by those of an Hispanic background, there are many factors that cause this to be the case. The fact that many Hispanics are young contributes to the fact that many are not yet well-educated (Morales, 1993). Many Hispanics are faced with the unenviable choice of deciding between helping to support a family in poverty or finishing school. Education becomes the priority of those that can afford it. Survival always comes first. Hispanics often face a language barrier that makes education extremely difficult. Coupled with a lack of understanding from the mainstream culture, school simply becomes too hard. It is not that the value is not seen; it is instead that the price is too high (Cafferty 2000).

Some believe that Hispanics prefer blue-collar work. This is also not substantiated. The high rate of Hispanics in blue-collar work simply reflects the opportunities available to those who do not speak the language of the mainstream...
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