Latinos/as Hispanic Americans Sociology Help

Latinos/as (Hispanic Americans

The terms l.i1tino (for males). Latina (for females). and Hispanic are used  nterchangeably to refer to people who trace their origins to Spanish-speaking Latin
America and the Iberian peninsula (Cashmore. 1996). However. as racial-ethnic scholars have pointed out. the label Hispanic was first used by the U.S. government  to designate people of Latin American and Spanishdescent living in the United States (Oboler, 1995). and it has not been fully accepted as a source of identity
by the more than 44.3 million Latinos/as who live in Me United States today (Oboler, 1995; Romero. 1997; U.S. Census Bureau; 2009). Instead. many of the people who trace their roots to Spanish-speaking couutries think of themselves as Mexican Americans. Chicanos/as, Puerto Ricans. Cuban Americans. Salvadorans.  Guatemalans. Nicaraguans. Costa Ricans.Argentines, Hondurans. Dominicans. or members of other categories. Many also think of themselves as having a combination ofSpanish,'V-frican. and Native American ancestry. Mexican Amerfcans or Chicanos/as Mexican  mericans- including both native- and foreign-born people {)fMexican origin-are the largest segment (approximately two-thirds) of the Latino population in the United States. Most Mexican Americans live in the southwestern region of the United States. although more have moved throughout the United States in recent years.

Immigration from Mexico is the primary vehicle  by which the Mexican American population grew inthis country. Initially. Mexican-origin workers came to work in agriculture. where they were viewed as a readily available cheap and seasonal labor force. Many initially entered the United States as undocumented workers nUegal aliens"); however. they were more vulnerable to deportation than other illegal imrnirallts because of their visibility and the proximity of their counlry of origin. For more than a century. there has been a "revolving door" between the United Slates and Mexico that has been open when workers were needed and closed during periods of economic recession and high rates of U.S.unemployment. The early experiences of Mexican Americans in this country were not always positive. In fact. many have experienced disproportionate poverty as a result of internal colonialism. Following the Mexican-American War. the United State; seized land that had previously belonged to Mexico. and many formerly wealthy Mexican ranchers became impoverished farmhands. As sociologist Mary Romero (J ~97: 12) explains. The structure of opportunity for Chicanos ... is rooled in the history of westward expansion. thegeographical proximity and poverty of Mexico that facilitate continued immigration. and the historical labor functions of Mexican workers in the U.S. economy. Capitalist penetration of the Southwest dispossessed Chicanos of their land. created a cheap  labor force and brought about the eventual destructionor transformation of the indigenous social system governing the lives of the Mexican residents. Mexican Americans have long been seen as a source of cheap labor. while-ironically-at the same time. they have been stereotyped as lazy and nwilling to work. As has been true of other groups. when white workers viewed Mexican Americans as a threat to their jobs. they demanded that the "illegal aliens" be sent back to Mexico. Consequently. U.S. citizens who happen to be Mexican American have been asked for proof of their citizenship. especially when anti-immigration sentiments are running high. Many Mexican American families have  lived in the United  tates for four or five generations-they have fought in wars. made educational and political gains. and consider themselves to be solid U.S. citizens. Thus. it is a great source of frustration for them to be viewed as illegal immigrants or to be asked "How long have you been in this country?" Puerto Ricans When Puerto Rico became. a terr tory of the United States in 1917. Puerto Ricans acquired U.S. citizenship and the right to move freely to and from the mainland. In the 1950s. many migrated to the mainland when the Puerto Rican sugar industry collapsed. settling primarily in New Yorkand New  Jersey.Although living conditions have improved substantially for some Puerto Ricans. life has been difficult for the many living in poverty in Spanish Harlem and other barrios. Nevertheless. in recent years Puerto Ricans have made dramatic advances in education. the arts. and politics. Increasing numbers have become lawyers. physicians. and college professors. Cuban Americans Cuban Americans live primarily in the Southeast. especially Florida. As a group. they haw fared somewhat better than other Latinos/as because many Cuban immigrants were affluent profesCastro's 1959 Marxist revolution. This early wave of Cuban immigrants has median incomes well above those of other Latinos/as; however. this group is still
below the national av~rage. The second wave of Cuban Amerlcans, arriving in the 19705.has fared worse. Many had been released from prisons and mental hospitnls i morerecent nrrival¥ hnve developed thelr own ethnic   economic enclaves in Miami's Little Havana. and manyof the earlier immigrants have become mainstream professionals and entrepreneurs. Latinos/as and Sports Since the early 1900s. Latinos have played Major League Baseball, Originally. Cubans. Puerto Ricans. and Venezuelans were selected, for their light skin as well,as for their skill as players' (Hoose. 1989). Today. Latinos represent more than 20 percent of all major leaguers. If not for a 1974 U.S. Labor Department quota limiting how many foreignborn players can play professional baseball. this number might be even larger (Hoose, 1989). Recently, Latinos in sports have gained more rcc-ignition as books and websites have been created to describe their accomplishments. For example. the website Latino Legends in Sports was created in 1999 to inform people about the contributions of Latino and Latina athletes (see  Recently, the website has featured interviews with boxer John Ruiz, baseball Hall of Farner Tony Perez, and Olympic speed skater Derek Parra (Latino Legends in Sports. 2(07). Education is a crucial issue for Latinos/as, Because of past discrimination and unequal educational opportunities.  many Latinos/as currently have low levelsof educational attainment. Many are unable to attend college or participate in collegiate sports. which is essential for being drafted in professional sports other than baseball. Consequently. the overall number of Latinas/ os in college and professional sports is low compared
to the rest of the U.S.populatio n who are in this age bracket.

Posted on September 8, 2014 in RACE ETHNICITY

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