No one is against the improvements within the low-income communities, especially the Latino community. One exception is those who currently profit by exploiting disadvantaged communities. During this 2017 Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 to October 15) it is appropriate to examine the determinants which permit continual development going forward. These determinants include: a) Education levels attained, practiced and shared; b) social status; c) civic involvement (especially in local government) and economic issues, especially access to capital.
Education levels attained by Latinos professionals enabled them to move into middle class neighborhoods where they often continued to experience a feeling of not belonging there’. These experiences were often the result of trying to assimilate and acculturate in neighborhoods which did not include them because of white supremacy values being subtlety practiced by local residents. The inclusion of all of us into the American Dream has not yet happened. Today, several groups which practiced their racist attitudes have become public because they have sensed they have a champion in the White House in President Trump who used pejorative terms and bullying tactics during his campaign and even after his installation as President of the United States of America.
The education of Hispanics, especially Mexican-Americans, Chicanos, and Latinos lacks historical content presenting the Hispanic perspective. The lack of this factual historical information makes the Latino unable to justify and defend their being American’. A recent factual summary of Hispanic involvement was published by Raoul Lowery-Contreras entitled “Hispanic Heritage Month—WHY?” (This item is posted on EO’s website: <www.el-obsevador.com>).
The Hispanic historical role in the establishment of the United States of America as a sovereign nation is not taught in public schools. This, along with certain nationalistic practices, is what results in my stating that the Latino community in America is a marginalized community’. Just what is a marginalized community’? It is a cohort whose expectations and goals are defined and influenced by others who promote white is right supremacist values. I experience this many times today when certain Anglo individuals reveal I never expected you to have a B.Sc. Degree in Chemistry’. This statement reveals their bias that Mexican-Americans are not able to learn to be chemists. The same sort of low expectations is projected upon women (especially with regards to math and technology) as well as other ethnic groups.
If one assumes that American capitalism provides all the opportunity to play on the same level field of competition, that is simply not the case at all. Several Silicon Valley firm’s employee demographics do not reflect the demographic composition of the community in which their corporation is located. Some of this is due to the simple human tendency to associate with others who you already know. Until recently, many elite universities were “lily-white” and historically Stanford initially had its own quota for admission of women as students. Affirmative Action and Title 9 changed all of that.
Access to higher education was dramatically improved for all by the post-World War II GI Benefits Act. Even so, Dr. Hector Garcia of Texas founded the American GI Forum to counteract the refusal of the local White community to allow the burial of a Congressional Medal of Honoree who was of Mexican-American heritage, in its local National Cemetery. That Latino GI ended up being interred at Arlington National Cemetery per actions of Congressman L.B. Johnson.
Red-lining was used by mortgage lenders to ensure that certain high value communities were not available to ethnic communities, both Latino and African Americans. The use of “covenants” is now illegal per federal law enacted by the U.S. Congress.
Recently the Stanford Latino Business Action Network conducted a study which established that Latino small businesses had little or no access to capital. EO experienced over its 36-year history receiving no SBA insured bank loan. EO’s business plans were funded using equity loans and personal credit card loans. This still is happening as established by this recent study.
The lack of capital to underwrite small business ventures impairs the development of the American domestic economy. Understand that creativity and innovation do not happen in corporate boardrooms where the focus is on capturing market share and profits which are distributed to shareholders as dividends. Hispanic entrepreneurs are well advised to become very fiscally literate. It would be good if the Latino community knew more about becoming business stakeholders and owners by investments in stocks and bonds. Too many rely upon their employee pension plans to provide for their retirement.
Social networks are another determinant of inclusion favoring success. Today’s Artificial Information (AI) and Information Technology (IT) are making it easier for individuals to communicate using smart electronic devices’. Do take note of the reality that these devices have enabled the public to photograph and/or assemble videos of events. Too many police involved shootings have been video-taped by the public who now realize that many incidents police reports do not reflect what was photographed. The development of body worn cameras by law enforcement officers has resulted in a dramatic decrease in incidents reported as complaints by the public.
Changes are happening in law enforcement, the justice system, business practices; access to housing; education; job re-training; and many more. The most important determinant to change is that of local government. Voting rights must not be impaired in any manner. Likewise, for social services, behavioral health services, and rehabilitation services.
The ultra-conservatives must not be allowed to restrict access to health care; to privatize Social Security Administration; and to neglect the Veteran’s Administration Hospitals and related veteran services.
Latino citizens must register to vote in numbers equivalent to their demographics: Low voter turnout is what favored Trump’s election as President; being stoic and silent only encourages those special interests which invariably work to burden the people with taxes while increasing the subsidies and tax credits provided to business.
Do take time to assess your own situation as a Hispanic. If there is anything you can do to improve your social, education, and personal wage-earning capability, formulate a plan to do that using resources already available to you. Communicate your values, morals and ethics which have always been coupled with Good Samaritan Stewardship’.
Why does this nation have a National Hispanic Heritage Month’? It is because Hispanics have been involved, contribute to and supportive of this American nation since before the 13 original states agreed to become the United States of America. The U.S. Constitution contains the ideals which are being violated and redefined by the current administration. If you want to experience American ideals then you must participate as a voter to elect those who reflect your values, morals, and ethics. That is what is required to continue to improve Latino social and economic influence.