NewsWorldOPINION | Latino diversity will manage to prevent...

OPINION | Latino diversity will manage to prevent excesses like the ones we see today


These are the best movies to celebrate Hispanic Heritage month 0:54 Editor’s Note: Jorge G. Castañeda is a contributor to CNN. He was Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico from 2000 to 2003. He is currently a professor at New York University and his most recent book, “America Through Foreign Eyes,” was published by Oxford University Press in 2020. The views expressed in this comment They are solely the author’s. You can find more opinion pieces at (CNN Spanish) — The Hispanic heritage in the United States is becoming more powerful, omnipresent and… diverse every day. The numbers are well known and there is no point in repeating them here. Why bore the reader with statistics that only reflect the impressions that anyone can collect in the streets, schools, construction sites, hotels, the immense neighborhoods of innumerable megalopolises, in universities and flower shops, in shops and in public transport. I would like to briefly comment on the three attributes mentioned: potency, omnipresence and diversity.
The Hispanic community in the United States has acquired a power over the last 20 years that perhaps had not been clearly contemplated before. It is, of course, a political force. There are more and more Hispanic voters, more Hispanic elected officials at all levels, more and more Hispanic public employees at all three levels of government. Simply, due to arithmetic inertia – that is, the sum of the new migratory flows and the naturalizations of those who arrived before – these figures will continue to grow. But, in addition, the strength of the Hispanic presence is not limited to the political sphere. It is also an economic force that, although difficult to measure, seems to have already reached considerable dimensions. In Mexico, it used to be said that Mexican and Mexican-American GDP in the United States exceeded that of their country of origin. What we do know is that the Hispanic presence in the richest and most populous states in the country –California, Texas, Florida, Illinois and New York–, as well as in the most dynamic ones –such as Arizona– is growing. Therefore, the number and size of Hispanic-owned businesses must also grow, both in absolute and relative terms. However, the Hispanic heritage in the United States has perhaps its greatest effect on the culture. A series of expressions of Hispanic culture – which, as we will see, is much more diverse than a single word can reflect – is present in almost the entire country, even where the Latino community is relatively small. Gastronomy, language, music, sports, literature: all these expressions of Hispanic culture have already made the crossover, that is, their incorporation into traditional American culture without losing their origins or their special characteristics. In the long run, this manifestation of Hispanic heritage will surely prove to be the most transcendent, the one with the greatest impact. Along with power, the pervasiveness of Hispanic heritage is one of its defining traits today. For a long time, the Hispanic presence in the United States was concentrated in a few spaces: states like California and Texas, and cities like Miami, New York and Chicago. Today, although these towns retain their Latin flavor, and have even increased it, the Hispanic community extends to many more regions of the United States. The number of Mexicans, in particular, has multiplied to many cities or states where 30 years ago there were practically none. This is the case in states such as Nebraska, Georgia, North Carolina, Nevada, Iowa, Arkansas and Wisconsin. It’s easy to follow the path of expansion. Simply by seeing where the Mexican government opens new consulates, one can understand to which places, different from those before, migrants from the neighboring country arrive. The new flows of Central Americans, Ecuadorians, Venezuelans and now, again, Cubans are not necessarily concentrated in the same regions as before. Those leaving Puerto Rico have headed in recent years to the Orlando area of ​​Florida, for example. Ecuadorians have arrived in New York, and not only in Los Angeles. Likewise, the dispersion of the Hispanic presence has brought a national extension of the most well-known Latin expressions. Univision, Goya and MLS, for example, are already present throughout the United States; they are an integral part of the entire landscape of the United States. This brings us to the third characteristic of Hispanic heritage that we want to highlight. Diversity occurs within each nationality, and of course, between them. Mexicans, who still make up half of all Hispanics—first, second, or third generation—in the United States, are increasingly diverse. If before they came mostly from the rural areas of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Michoacán and Zacatecas, today many emigrate from urban areas such as the capital or from rural regions in other states: Puebla, Oaxaca, and Chiapas. They are of more varied ages – not just young people – and with a growing proportion of women. New waves are joining the Hispanic community in the United States. Venezuelans represent the most well-known recent flow, but again Nicaraguans, Cubans and Haitians are arriving. They bring with them their idiosyncrasies, similar to those of the Mexicans or Central Americans of the 80s and 90s of the last century, but with their differences. In the same way, the newly arrived Central Americans are different from those who fled the civil wars in El Salvador and Guatemala, and the ongoing economic crisis in Honduras. But the diversity is not limited to the origin. The Hispanic community has seen its heterogeneous political leanings sharpen as well, in recent years. Cubans were always more conservative and Republican, Mexicans more Democrat, but this has changed. Various sectors of Mexican origin in Texas have opted in recent years for the right of the electoral spectrum, while presidential candidates such as Barack Obama were able to win not only in Florida, in general, but in Miami-Dade County in particular. The electoral homogeneity of the Hispanic community has cracked, although this is more true in some regions than in others. The same happens with the opinions that we could call cultural or social of that community. His views on abortion, same-sex marriage, education, health and taxes have been scattered. There is no longer an ideological uniformity, as there was in part before. This gives the Hispanic presence greater wealth, but also, perhaps, less political or electoral influence as a bloc. The Hispanic heritage is beginning to “Americanize” in a sense: it increasingly reflects the plurality or heterogeneity of American society as a whole. This month, the Hispanic heritage has much to celebrate, although it must also lament the mistreatment, sometimes cynical and inhuman, of which hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans who come to the United States seeking opportunities are victims. Over time, the power, omnipresence, and diversity of Latinos will succeed in preventing excesses like the ones we see today. Not much is missing.



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