The Necessity of Forging a Hispanic Nation

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First, what does that mean, to forge a Hispanic Nation. Well, there are two definitions of forge which could be applied to this topic. First, to forge "could" mean, to move forward in a slow and steady manner. Alternatively, forge "could" mean a sudden burst forward. Thus, in forging a Hispanic Nation, first it's important to decide which forge is applicable.

If the idea of the sudden rush forward is your first instinct, reconsider. You cannot make substantial, permanent progress in a quick dash. Speed is not of issue as anything created too quickly can be broken apart just as quickly. Therefore, slow and steady.

Now what is a Hispanic Nation? As a Columbian, Dominican, Puerto Rican - do you "belong" in the Hispanic Nation? What about the Mexican, Salvadorian, Equidorian? The Hispanic Nation is ALL inclusive, it is not biased and elite. Whosoever desires to become, becomes. Simple. As in this nation, the United States, all who desire to become, become, such should be the Hispanic Nation. But why? What is the point than in creating this Utopia?

First we must ask, is the Hispanic truly a minority?

Throughout the history of the United States the Hispanics have been classified as a minority, but in actuality, they are not. Amassed, the many different peoples who make up the blanket term, Hispanic, the numbers nullify the claim that the Hispanic is a minority. Minority: A racial, religious, political, national, or other group regarded as different from the larger group of which it is part.* But look at
the makeup of the United States, "12.5 percent of respondents to the 2000 Census identified themselves as Hispanic, up from 9.0 percent in 1990, making them one of the fastest growing demographic groups in the United States. The "Hispanic ethnicity" category on the Census includes Mexicans (7.3 percent of the total U.S. population in 2000), Puerto Ricans (1.2 percent), Cubans (0.4 percent) and a host of other Latin and South American ethnicities."** This, apparently, does not make Hispanic a minority. You must keep in mind that the Census does not offer Hispanic as a race, but instead lumps it together as "other race" leaving a sketchy, at best, value to the census. Further, it must be noted that illegal immigrants would not have filled out the Census given the distrust and fear associated with releasing personal information to any official.

So now, what reasons could there possibly be to forge such a nation? First of all, as a Hispanic in today's society it is all too apparent that America looks upon the Hispanic as nothing more than a laborer or a criminal. How often are we assaulted with such derisive remarks as "that lazy Mexican - all he does is get drunk and steal jobs from real Americans" (hmmmm, first, if he's so lazy how does he get the jobs, second, if he's drunk how does he keep the job, and third, what "real"
American wants to be stuck busing tables, washing dishes or getting below union pay for working his ass off on a construction site.) Who hasn't heard that "those Columbians and their damn drugs - that bunch of convicts" but hey, even IF the Columbian is selling just WHO THE FUCK IS BUYING - if you said "Real Americans" you'd be right. The stereotype of today's Hispanic leads to a self fulfilling prophecy of lower educational standards. In a study done for a thesis I had written, it was proven that the Hispanic person is, by far, viewed as the least academically gifted among a group consistinug of Hispanic, African American, White American, and Asian. Why is this? If the educators do not recognize the Hispanic student as academically viable as other students in their class, will they lavish the same attention upon them as their more "gifted" students.

[Future posting from Sociology paper's examination of self-fulfilling prophecy].

Is it any wonder that our young men and women turn to the streets to find unity, alliances, support, understanding and comfort - or numbing - once realizing their place in this society? How can we expect our young men and women to stay away from the streets and all of the perils which accompany it if they have no other place where they can be accepted? The loss of our young people, their addictions to drugs and violence, their loss of opportunity to achieve through education, their hopelessness and anger - this is the only "gift" which America offers the Hispanic youth.

As the numbers rise of Hispanic people, fear among non-Hispanics also rise. If they cannot out-gun than they must outwit - and thus far, we've allowed them to do that. We have lived in the shadow of a society which would keep us in darkness, as the light would shine upon our ability to control, change and empower our people. We have believed their lies, perhaps not about ourselves but our brothers. They have pitted one Hispanic society against the other in order to
break our numbers. They have manufactured a belief in us that we are not all brothers and sisters - but separate portions of a MINORITY in this country. We do not embrace the Brazilian along with the Costa Rican, we do not reach our Puerto Rican hand out to our Mexican sister. We have bought into the lie that they are not like us; however, American power brokers know better. By their own hand they write us as Hispanic - as one people. In their own Census we are "other race" a faceless, nameless herd of cattle which they seek to keep penned up for their own use. They have fooled us in the past, but can do that no more.

How do real Americans, and let's cut to the chase here, white American's, view people of Hispanic origin. Do they offer the same opportunities, the same justice? The following statistics show American justice as a plague on the Hispanic people.

There are 283,000 Hispanics(1) in federal and state prisons and local jails, making up slightly over 15% of the inmate population.(2)

Nearly 1 in 3 (32%) persons held in federal prisons is Hispanic.(3)

As of 2001, 4% of Hispanic males in their twenties and early thirties were in prison or jail - as compared to 1.8% of white males.(4)

Hispanics are the fastest growing group being imprisoned, increasing from 10.9% of all State and Federal inmates in 1985 to 15.6% in 2001.(5)

From 1985 to 1995, the number of Hispanics in federal and state prisons rose by 219%, with an average annual increase of 12.3%.(6)

There is a fair amount of inconsistency in measuring Hispanic jail and prison populations, as they are frequently counted in conflicting or contradictory methods; e.g. Hispanics measured racially as black or white and not as a distinct group. It is commonly suspected that the actual number of Hispanics incarcerated is higher than what is accounted for by reporting agencies. Likelihood of Incarceration Hispanic men are almost four times as likely to go to prison at some point in their lives as non-Hispanic white males, but less likely than African American males.(7)

In some regions Hispanic male arrestees are the least likely to have their cases dismissed, followed by black males, Anglo males, and females of all ethnic groups. (8)


Despite equal rates of drug use proportionate to their populations, Hispanics are twice as likely as whites, and equally as likely as blacks, to be admitted to state prison for a drug offense.(11)


Of all federal prisoners, Hispanics are half as likely as whites to have ever received treatment for substance abuse and also less likely than blacks (H19%, B25.7%, W39.5%). The numbers are also disproportionate for state prisoners (H33.8%, B36.6%, W51.8%).(12)

Ethnicity and the Criminal Justice System

Hispanic defendants in the federal court system are about one-third as likely as non-Hispanic defendants to be released before trial (22.7% vs. 63.1%).(13)

Despite a public perception that Hispanic immigrant communities are riddled with crime, studies show the involvement of Hispanic immigrants in crime is less than that of U.S. citizens.(14)

Hispanic federal inmates have a lower education level than both whites and blacks.(15)

Hispanic Women Prisoners

In New York, Hispanic women are 14% of the state's prison population but constitute 44% of women sentenced to prison for drug offenses.(20)

Hispanics in the U.S.

A study from the National Survey of America's Families found far reaching racial and ethnic disparities in the U.S.:

1. Hispanics are significantly more likely to be low-income (61% of Hispanics, 49% of blacks and 26% of whites).

2. Hispanics are less likely to receive child support (40% for Hispanics, 48% for blacks and 58% for whites).

3. Hispanics are most likely to report being in fair or poor health (33% for Hispanics, 23% for blacks and 20% for whites).

4. Hispanics are more likely to have uninsured children (29% of Hispanic children, 19% of white children and 16% of black children).

5. Hispanics experience rates of housing hardship that are twice as high as that for whites.

6. Across all income groups, Hispanic non-elderly experience food problems at a rate nearly twice that of white non-elderly. (21)

So what promise does the current standards and viewpoints espoused by white America offer one of the Hispanic culture? It holds none, thus, why should the Hispanic man and woman continue to survive on what society allows it? It is time that the diverse Hispanic population unite and show that they are no longer willing to be shackled by the antiquidated ideas of a society who has not fully evolved from the ignorant times of our forefathers. It is time to demand that we are
recognized as the strong and intelligent leaders which we are rather than the servile Hispanic, outnumbered and outeducated, from the past.

Our voices have grown over the last 50 years and through the Hispanic media can continue to grow. As we see the uninvolved Midwest decide for us who becomes President, as we allow our brothers and sisters to be exploited through descriminatory hiring practices, discrimination in property ownership, discrimination in achieving credit and business loans, we must revolt. The time has come for the "good little Hispanic American" to go ON STRIKE. Take our dollars away from those who seek to exploit us and instead use them on Hispanic owned enterprises. Raise our voices in classrooms and refuse to accept the whitewashed history of this country and our place within it. Defend our brothers and sisters creating equitable legal assistance and educational opportunity. This, and only this, will forge our Hispanic Nation and give us back the pride which white America seeks to rob of us.
1 The term "Hispanics" refers to persons who may be of any race whose native tongue is a form of Spanish.
2 Beck, A.J., Karberg, J.C. & Harrison, P.M. "Prison and Jail Inmates
at Midyear 2001," April 2002. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
3 Federal Bureau of Prisons Population Count; June 2003
4 Ibid.
5 Harrison, P.M. & Beck, A.J. "Prisoners in 2001," July 2002.
Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
6 Mumola, C.J. & Beck, A.J. "Prisoners in 1996," June 1997.
Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
7 Bonczar, T.P. & Beck, A.J. "Lifetime Likelihood of Going to State or
Federal Prison," March 1997. Table 9. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
8 Spohn, C., Gruhl, J., & Welch, S. "The Impact of the Ethnicity and Gender of Defendants on the Decision to Reject or Dismiss Felony Charges." Criminology, February 1987, 25(1): 175-191.
11 Ditton, P.M. & Wilson, D.J. "Truth in Sentencing in State Prisons," January 1999. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
12 Mumola, C.J. "Substance Abuse and Treatment, State and Federal Prisoners, 1997," January 1999. Washington, DC: Bureau of Justice Statistics.
13 Compendium of Federal Justice Statistics, 1999, Washington, D.C.: US Department of Justice, May 2000
14 Hagan, J. & Palloni, A. "Sociological Criminology and the Mythology of Hispanic Immigration and Crime." Social Problems, November 1999, 46(4): 617-32.
15 Jackson, K. (1997). "Differences in the Background and Criminal Justice Characteristics of Young Black, White, and Hispanic Male Federal Prison Inmates." Journal of Black Studies, 27, (4), 494-509.
20 Mauer, M., Potler, C. & Wolf, R. "Gender and Justice: Women, Drugs, and Sentencing Policy," 1999.
21 Racial and Ethnic Disparities: Key Findings from the National Survey of America's Families, 1997.

*Excerpted from The American Heritage Dictionary of the English
Language, Third Edition Copyright 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Electronic version licensed from Lernout & Hauspie Speech Products
N.V., further reproduction and distribution restricted in accordance
with the Copyright Law of the United States. All rights reserved.

**Census 2000 analyzed by the Social Science Data Analysis Network (SSDAN).

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