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Demographic, political and Cultural Revolution

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In his book, "Ola Latina", Jorge Ramos, journalist and newscaster for the Univision channel, says that a demographic revolution is also a cultural, political and a social revolution. The growth and influence of the Latin community, is changing in a significant way the structure, the power and the way of life within the United States. From here on nothing can be oblivious to the Latin presence. The future of the United States and the growth of the Latin community are deeply entrenched.

To be Latin, implies a specific way of being and thinking and this new ways are changing the destiny of the United States and the way to do politics in the country.
One does not have to be an expert to understand that Latinos have sufficient power to influence in a significant way an election and to choose the next president of the United States.
The Hispanic vote can easily decide a close election because the political power of the Latino voters lies in deciding the outcome of elections in states where the electoral votes are high. It is easy to argue that Latino votes in Florida, decided the presidential election in 2000 in favor of G.W. Bush and that the Hispanic votes in Florida, Colorado, Nevada and New Mexico re-elected the president in 2004.
In 2008, the massive Latino votes, gave Senator Barak Obama, the great victory as president of the United States.
This political power as the Latino population grows and more Latinos become United States citizens and exercise their right to vote, will take a bigger dimension, carrying with it the ability to influence and transform the political outcome in all regions where there is a Latino population.
From here forward, the Latino voting power is a filter through which every major political decision has to pass and any politician that ignores the opinion or the needs of the Latin community will run the risk of being ignored by the Latin community at the voting booths.

Different from other immigrant communities that make up the population of the United States, Latinos keep connected to their culture and to their countries of origin. Latinos keep this connection thanks to the geographical proximity of their countries, thanks to the technological advances like cellular phones, electronic mail, faster airplanes etc., that bridge the gap and stretch the ties that we keep with our culture and our countries. Another factor keeping us connected is the need to send money to relatives and their dependency on our financial help, which in many cases represent a substantial source of income for individuals and for the native country.

The fast population growth, as explained before, due to the high birth rate and the immigration rate make the cultural ties stronger instead of disappearing, as was the case with many European immigrants that lost the connection from their culture. It is not the same to live in Los Angeles and travel to Ladero to see your girlfriend, or to pick up a cellular phone and call your mother in Latin America that to have lived in New York in 1910 without the technological advances of today and a huge ocean separating you from your relatives.

This is the main difference between Latinos and other immigrant groups that preceded other countries. Some groups kept close to their origin and other groups lost the connection long ago.
It is this connection with the past and the present at the same time, that feeds and maintains the Latin culture alive in the United States.

The Hispanic presence brings out the multi-ethnic, multi-racial, and multi-cultural essence of the United States and it is this multi-cultural tendency and the tolerance toward diversity one of the main characteristic of the United States.

In his book, "La Ola Latina", Jorge Ramos also explains that to be Latin by definition is a person that lives in the United States even if the person was born in the Latin America. This definition gives a person a different set of characteristics that result from the clash of two or more worlds while this is not the case with the typical Latin American citizen. To be Latino, is by definition to be a mix of cultures, identities, possibilities and past and present times.
The Latino has lived with citizens of other Latin American countries, has shared home, jobs, needs, dreams and has learned the culture of each of the brotherly countries.

The Latino in the United States is one that struggles and succeeds; the one that does not give up in front of the adversity and day to day challenges that he must overcome. The Latino is the one that must adapt to a culture that is foreign in a foreign land. The Latino is one that has survived economic, and political turmoil with laws that are not always in his favor, however, he is also the one that is persistent, stubborn and a dreamer that continues to struggle with the promise of a better future full of possibilities. The Latino is also one that does not live of false political promises and depends on them. He is the one that wants to fulfill his dreams by working hard and by using his intelligence and his personal resources. He wants to help his family and his native country and this great nation, the United States that in times of crisis like the ones we live now needs even more his loyalty, hard work and dedication.

 

Different from other ethnic minorities in the United States, the growth of the population of Latin origin is influenced by the persistent influence of the cultures of origin as well as the language of origin, Spanish. In the year 2006, 63% of the Latinos in the United States (44.3 Million) would prefer Spanish as their official language.

This phenomenon has had a profound impact in the culture of the United States, because the Spanish language is heard in all corners of the country. Politicians, leaders, professionals are becoming familiar with the Spanish language. The Mayor of New York, Michael Bloomberg, currently takes daily private Spanish classes, squeezing it in his daily schedule, he makes the time to learn the language of Cervantes with the understanding that our language will bring him closer and will help him understand our culture. The mayor of New York knows that knowing our language, he will get closer to our community and, therefore, he will be able to get the Hispanic support so critical to his political aspirations.

At the same time, we also see some academic centers in the United States, dedicating more time and effort to the study of the different cultures from Latin America, and in some of these centers lead the way in these matters.


Larry D'Arrigo

 

 

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