For the purpose of this argument, Hispanics and Latinos are used interchangeably.
One of the monumental American values that are represented in the Declaration of Independence is equality (US 1776). To this day, the United States has yet to fulfill this fundamental principle especially for minority groups like Hispanics. Hispanics are not given an equal treatment of opportunities in the workforce, the educational setting as well as public spaces. The fact that inequality is present in our country shows that there is room for improvement in the way that Hispanics are being treated.
Hispanics make up the majority of the United States workforce at a whopping 66.1%. (Labor). According to CNN News, the estimated percent of the U.S. population that is made up of Hispanics is 18.1%, and “in 2016, Hispanics made up 11% of the electorate, up from 10% in 2012.” This means that there is a drastic growth in the Hispanic population; likewise, they will only continue to make contributions to the U.S. economy. One would think that since they make up a vast majority of the labor force, they would be compensated with fair wages. In 2017, the median household income was about $61,372, but the median Hispanic household income was only around $50,486 (Fontenot). The gap between incomes along with discrimination and many other factors adds to another issue that Hispanic families face: insufficient funding for higher education (Ortiz).
Although some Hispanics want to pursue higher education, they are unable to because they don’t have the essential resources like money. The National Center for Educational Statistics says, “Among full-time, full-year undergraduate students, 88 percent of Black students, 87 percent of American Indian/Alaska Native students, and 82 percent of Hispanic students received grants in 2015–16. These percentages were higher than the percentages for White (74 percent) and Asian (66 percent) students.” Latino students are more likely to need education loans than White and Asian students; consequently, if a Latino student wants more education, more loans are required which results in high debt. Expanding on this idea, it shows that the vast Hispanic student population is in greater need of financial aid that is mostly due to the fact that their low-income family can’t provide as much financial assistance as much as a White family would for kids. According to a report by The Education Trust, “Fewer than a quarter of Latino American adults had a college degree in 2016, less than half the rate of white Americans.” This report indicates the extensive division of success between Americans and Latinos; the gap explicate the idea that Latinos are not getting the equal treatment of opportunities in educational settings, and therefore, less likely to flourish. Adding on to that, in 1965, the U.S. Congress limited the entry of Hispanics/Latino immigrants to America with an immigration quota of 12,000 people. This proves that Hispanics weren’t even given an equal opportunity to enter the U.S. Fortunately,
While there are numerous articles that present the idea that Hispanics are not receiving equal opportunities, there are also sources that claim the very opposite: Hispanics are getting equal opportunities. For instance, the rate at which high school graduates go to college increased from 22 to 37 percent between 2000-2015; not only did the college-going rate grow, but the undergraduate enrollment also soared to about three million (Field). These stats illustrate the success that Hispanics are achieving compared to before which could be the results of government/federal programs, thus, proving that Hispanics are indeed receiving equal treatment of opportunities.
Detailed reports over detailed reports show that Hispanics are being treated far from equal; as a result, Americans still need to advance in achieving one of our founding principles: equality. And yes, while American has accomplished in establishing equality to a certain extent— especially among the minority groups which includes Hispanics— it is evident that America doesn’t currently live up to its standards that were proposed in founding documents such as the Declaration of Independence.
Field, Kelly. “More Hispanics Are Going to College and Graduating, but Disparity Persists.” PBS, Public Broadcasting Service, 14 May 2018, www.pbs.org/newshour/education/more-hispanics-are-going-to-college-and-graduating-but-disparity-persists.
Fontenot, Kayla, et al. “Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017.” Income and Poverty in the United States: 2017, 16 Apr. 2019, www.census.gov/library/publications/2018/demo/p60-263.html.
“Labor Force Participation Rate of Hispanics at 66.1 Percent in 2017.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 25 Sept. 2018, www.bls.gov/opub/ted/2018/labor-force-participation-rate-of-hispanics-at-66-point-1-percent-in-2017.htm?view_full.
MacDonald, Victoria María. “Demanding Their Rights: The Latino Struggle for Educational Access and Equity.” National Parks Service, U.S. Department of the Interior, www.nps.gov/heritageinitiatives/latino/latinothemestudy/education.htm.
Marcus, Jon, et al. “Behind the Latino College Degree Gap.” The Hechinger Report, 7 Feb. 2019, hechingerreport.org/behind-the-latino-college-degree-gap/.
Massey, Douglas S. “The New Latino Underclass: Immigration Enforcement as a Race-Making Institution .” Stanford Center on Poverty and Inequality, web.stanford.edu/group/scspi/media/_media/working_papers/massey_new-latino-underclass.pdf.
Nasser, Haya El. “Number of Hispanic Students More Than Double in 20 Years.” The United States Census Bureau, 16 July 2019, www.census.gov/library/stories/2017/10/hispanic-enrollment.html.
Ortiz, Vilma, and Edward Telles. “Racial Identity and Racial Treatment of Mexican Americans.” Race and social problems vol. 4,1 (2012): 10.1007/s12552-012-9064-8. doi:10.1007/s12552-012-9064-8
Paul, Kari. “Hispanic Workers Continue to Make Significantly Less than White Workers.” MarketWatch, 3 July 2018, www.marketwatch.com/story/hispanic-workers-continue-to-make-significantly-less-than-white-workers-2018-07-03.
Rodriguez, Cindy Y. “Hispanic or Latino? Why Their Identity Is so Complicated.” CNN, Cable News Network, 3 May 2014, www.cnn.com/2014/05/03/living/hispanic-latino-identity/index.html.
“Table 3. Median Usual Weekly Earnings by Age, Race, Hispanic or Latino Ethnicity, and Sex.” U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 16 Sept. 2015, www.bls.gov/webapps/legacy/cpswktab3.htm.
“The Crisis in the Education of Latino Students.” NEA, www.nea.org/home/17404.htm.