The Census Bureau made it official in 2002! Latinos are now the top minority in the U.S. The news hit black America like a thunderbolt. Many blacks complained that they would be shoved even further to the economic and political margin among minorities in the country. The Census report also showed Latinos were widening their population growth gap on blacks.
Earl Ofari Hutchinson
But, it's not just the numbers. Latinos demand political and social issues no longer be framed solely in black and white. That presents another challenge to black America. At times that challenge has been intensified and conflicted by the wildly divergent agendas of African-Americans and Latinos on immigration, political empowerment, bilingual education, and jobs. These are complex and engaging issues.
The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics examines the hot button issues and problems that conflict and unite blacks and Latinos. It looks at how both groups interpret and see those issues and problems through the prism of their experiences. It's highly readable, fast paced, cutting edge book that blends the personal and analytical, and ultimately can serve as a guide to navigate race and ethnic relations through 21st Century America.
Roger Madison, CEO of iZania, had an opportunity to interview Mr. Hutchinson and talk about his latest book. Below is an excerpt from that conversation.
What is the economic impact of the dialog between Latinos and African Americans?
The black and Latino conflict has torn several urban communities apart nationally, dialogue is crucial to head off greater and more deadly conflicts.
Is there a real 'Latino impact' on African American unemployment?
Immigration has had an impact on poor, marginally skilled and educated young blacks in retail and service and some manufacturing industries.
How will the final outcome of immigration reform affect relations between Latinos and African Americans?
The demand by blacks and Latinos should be for greater and more expansive job creation by government agencies and corporate America rather than finger pointing and blaming each other and illegal immigrants for the job crisis.
Mr. Hutchinson provides more information on these topics -
Stereotypes Drive Black and Latino Conflicts
Following a well-publicized talk and photo-op session with Jesse Jackson in May 2005 then Mexican president Vicente Fox apologized for his quip that Mexicans will work jobs that blacks won't. However, the issue and the flap didn't quite blow over. The Congressional Hispanic Caucus, and the top Mexican- American legal and civil rights groups, Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund (MALDEF), the National Council of La Raza, and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC), denounced Fox's remarks. They instantly understood the severe harm that the remark could do to the fragile relations between blacks and Latinos.
Warped Perceptions in Black and Brown
Few immigrants say it publicly but privately some believe that blacks have stagnated because of apathy, laziness, low self-esteem and poor discipline. Even Nation of Islam leader, Louis Farrakhan, in his seminal address at the Million Man March in October 1995, pointed a glowing finger at Mexicans as an example of immigrants that are moving forward in America, even if they came here illegally. He simply echoed the view of many immigrants who demand to know why blacks haven't done the same.
Immigration Wars Make Strange Bedfellows
The Minutemen had almost no black support before the massive immigration marches in March 2006. They were denounced by mainstream civil rights organizations, and black elected officials. But the escalating immigration fight changed some of that. Minuteman leaders sensed a window of opportunity in the growing number of blacks that expressed unease, and rage over the huge numbers of Latinos that marched in the streets and demanded amnesty, and virtually open borders.
The New Civil Rights Movement?
The 1960s civil rights movement was a frantic search by blacks to force America to live up to its promise of justice and equality, and that's the dream of many in the immigration rights movement as well. And comparison to the civil right rights movement has pricked a sore nerve among many blacks. That was plainly evident during the massive march of tens of thousands in Los Angeles and other cities for immigrant rights in March 2006. The old mainstream civil rights groups at least initially were virtually mute on immigration and the marches.
- Earl Ofari Hutchinson is an author, syndicated columnist, political analyst and commentator. He has been a frequent guest on Hannity and Colmes, The O'Reilly Factor, The Big Story, EXTRA, and numerous CNN News and Talk Shows. He was a regular commentator on CNBC's The Dennis Miller Show. He has been a guest on the Today Show, Dateline, The Lehrer Hour, and BET News, America's Black Forum. He is a frequent commentator for the American Urban Broadcast Network and Ed Gordon's News and Notes on NPR. He is a featured columnist for BlackNews.com, BlackAmericaWeb.com, and Alternet.org. He is associate editor of New America Media. His op-ed columns appear in the Baltimore Sun, L.A. Times, Los Angeles Daily News, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Newsday, the Philadelphia Inquirer, the San Francisco Chronicle, and the Christian Science Monitor, and other major newspapers.
The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African-Americans and Hispanics is available at iZania Market -- CLICK HERE TO PURCHASE FOR $9.99.