The Hispanicisation of America
The law of large numbers
The role of Latinos in American society is growing inexorably, with big political implications for the future
SWEEPING his hand in all directions, from the Mormon Temple to Utah’s State Capitol and the Great Salt Lake, Tony Yapias, the director of the Proyecto Latino de Utah and a leading Hispanic activist in the state, cannot suppress a smirk. “This was Mexico,” he says. In 1847, when the Mormon pioneers arrived, “no one asked Brigham Young for his papers.”
But today, Mr Yapias says ruefully, it is the Mexicans and Chicanos (American citizens of Mexican ancestry), as well as other Latinos such as himself (born in Peru), who tend to be asked for papers. And the Americans doing the asking are likely to be “Anglos”, as non-Hispanic whites are often called. This, certainly, is the tenor of SB1070, an Arizona law passed this year (but partially blocked by a federal judge) that aims to get tough on illegal immigrants, and of similar legislation likely to pass in states such as Utah.
Mr Yapias captures the complicated role of Latinos in America. They, their culture and their language were a big part of America’s past. They were then marginalised for a century and a half, when Anglos dominated American society and culture. And they are now bound to play a big role in America’s future. In 2009 there were 48.4m Hispanics in America, almost 16% of the population. By 2050, estimates the Pew Research Centre, Hispanics will be 29% of the population and whites will be a minority at 47%. In cities and in schools, whites will become a minority a lot sooner.
Read the full story here: The Economist
- Readers Write: Republicans can win Hispanic vote; divorcing my bank (csmonitor.com)
- Which Hispanics identify as white? | Gene Expression (blogs.discovermagazine.com)