Hispanics Embrace English as the Language of Success in U.S. - TennisForum.com
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post #1 of 5 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 2002, 05:51 AM Thread Starter
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Hispanics Embrace English as the Language of Success in U.S.

Hispanics Embrace English as the Language of Success in U.S.

December 19, 2002

Mike Dorning

WASHINGTON -- Despite the proliferation of Spanish-language TV channels and persistent political controversies over bilingual education, a new survey suggests Hispanic immigrants are assimilating into the American culture and embracing English as a key to success.

Still, as with prior waves of immigrants, the survey found that in many cases it is only their children who become truly comfortable with the language of their new country.

The survey, conducted jointly by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation, found that 9 out of 10 Latinos believe proficiency in English is important to success in America, even among those who can only speak Spanish.

The survey was based on telephone interviews earlier this year with 2,929 Hispanics, including 915 born in the United States. The margin of error ranges from two percent for overall figures to four percent for the smaller sample of U.S.-born Hispanics. Another 1,008 non-Hispanic whites were interviewed and 171 non-Hispanic African-Americans.

"What's undebatable in the survey is that there's a process of change under way," Roberto Suro, director of the Pew Hispanic Center, a Washington-based non-partisan research institute, said of the poll of Hispanic perspective on social attitudes and ethnic issues. Respondents were asked to identify their ethnicity as Hispanic, Latino or other such background.

"The melting pot still exerts its influence," Suro said.

And among Latino immigrants who are parents, nearly 8 out of 10 said their children either use mostly English or both English and Spanish to converse with friends. Ninety-six percent of U.S.-born Hispanics said they either primarily speak English or are bilingual.

"If there's a lot of Spanish being spoken, it's because there are lots of adult immigrants out there. It's not because people are resisting English," Suro said. Still, the survey also found 6 out of 10 Latino immigrants reported speaking little or no English.

Carlos Arango, executive director of Casa Aztlan, a non-profit organization that provides social services, including English classes, in Chicago's heavily Mexican Pilsen neighborhood, said immigrants appear eager to learn English. But, he said, they often are hindered by low levels of education they received in their native countries and limited space in English-training programs.

As they learn English and spend more time in the country, Hispanic immigrants and their children also tend to adopt American attitudes toward social issues, work and success, according to the findings.

While Latinos hold views on social issues that are more socially conservative than white Americans, English-speakers and second-generation immigrants are much more likely to accept divorce, abortion and homosexuality. And they are more likely to adopt mainstream views that success at work requires sacrifices in their personal lives.

Still, Suro said there are some distinct Latino values that appear to be passed to successive generations, including an especially strong emphasis on family life and support for a larger role for government in society.

Among Latinos born in the United States, 82 percent agreed that relatives are more important than friends; 67 percent of whites and 68 percent of African-Americans agreed with the statement.

Among Hispanics who earn more than $50,000 per year, 58 percent said they would pay higher taxes if the money would support a bigger government that provides more services. Because support for lower taxes and smaller government is a linchpin of the Republican political agenda, that political attitude could hinder GOP efforts to reach out to the growing Hispanic population.

The survey also touched on discrimination. Thirty-one percent of Hispanics interviewed said either they, a family member or a close friend had experienced discrimination based on their ethnic or racial background during the previous five years. By contrast, 13 percent of whites and 46 percent of African-Americans reported such an experience.

Source: (c) 2002, Chicago Tribune. Distributed by Knight Ridder/Tribune Business News.
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post #2 of 5 (permalink) Old Dec 21st, 2002, 05:53 AM Thread Starter
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Ruben Navarrette Jr.
The Dallas Morning News
12.20.02 Printer-friendly version

Soy de U.S.A.
New study: immigrant "assimilation resistance" is a myth

DALLAS -- Many Americans are convinced that Hispanic immigrants won't assimilate, that they don't want to learn English and that they couldn't care less about things like the moral climate of their adopted country. They are sure these immigrants see the United States as little more than a meal ticket and that newcomers refuse to shed an allegiance to their home country. And they don't need anyone to tell them that, even after two or three generations in the United States, most Hispanics still refuse to refer to themselves as Americans.
At least that's what I hear in countless e-mails.

The trouble is, none of this is true. So indicates a comprehensive new study that surveyed nearly 3,000 Hispanics in the United States, ranging from immigrants to third-generation Americans.

The 2002 National Survey of Latinos, released this week by the Pew Hispanic Center and the Kaiser Family Foundation, shreds some of the more common assumptions about the ethnic group soon to become the nation's largest minority.

All worries aside, it seems that recent Hispanic immigrants to the United States are doing pretty much what earlier waves of immigrants have been doing for more than two centuries: becoming Americans.

And, most often, that is how their children and grandchildren choose to identify themselves: as Americans. According to the study, more than half (57 percent) of Hispanics with U.S.-born parents identify themselves as Americans.

Consistent with earlier waves, recent immigrants are more connected to their ancestral homeland. Fifty-four percent identify themselves by country of origin, although -- even among this group -- about a fifth call themselves Americans.

And what about those umbrella terms -- like ``Hispanic'' and ``Latino'' -- that those of us in the media tend to use to lump together diverse people from different Spanish-speaking countries? No thanks, say the respondents. Only about a fourth (24 percent) cite such terms as the way they identify themselves.

As for assimilation, it is happening on schedule -- especially with regard to language.

``We see the assimilation from Spanish to English is almost complete in one generation,'' Pew Hispanic Center Director Roberto Suro told The Washington Post.

Despite the best efforts of Spanish-language media conglomerates and the bilingual education industry to ensure otherwise, English triumphs in the end. It isn't even close. An overwhelming 89 percent of Hispanics believe that those who immigrate into the United States must learn English in order to succeed.

It is no wonder then that 61 percent of U.S.-born Latinos speak predominantly English. In fact -- and this may be the bad news -- only about a third (35 percent) are bilingual. Among recent immigrants, and again like earlier waves, the majority (72 percent) use their native language to communicate.

Hispanics see themselves as part of America. They just aren't so sure that America feels the same. In what should be a wake-up call to those in politics, and in the media, who cannot shake the old habit of continually defining ethnic relations and racial equality within a now antiquated black-and-white paradigm, an overwhelming majority of Latinos (82 percent) say that discrimination is an obstacle that keeps them from realizing their full potential. Seventy-eight percent see discrimination in the workplace. Sixty-five percent see it in the schools their children attend. In fact, almost a third (31 percent) of Hispanics say that they or someone close to them has been a victim of racial or ethnic discrimination in the past five years.

As for how this discrimination shows up, most say that it boils down to being treated with less respect than others. As for why they think that happens, the most common response was because they speak a different language.

Yet don't get the idea that the discriminators all come from the majority. No doubt, many do. But an overwhelming majority of Hispanics (83 percent) report that Latino-on-Latino discrimination also occurs. The basis? Country of origin. Majorities of Colombians, Dominicans, and Salvadorans insist that discrimination by Latinos against other Latinos is a real problem.

Even so, Hispanics remain extremely optimistic and positive about their lives in the United States. Eighty percent believe their children will get a better education that they did, and 76 percent say the result will be better jobs that pay more money.

It sounds like they're in the right place.
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