In 2014, the Pew Research Center released a study detailing the key issues among U.S. Hispanics. They found that immigration was not the most concerning issue, despite what politicians and the media portrayed.
I have been blessed with an acute insight into the Latino community as a result of my decades of work within the community and with Latino leadership. What I see is a generational disconnect between the actual issues and the perceived issues. The leadership feels immigration is a key concern, but the reality is what the Pew Center found – U.S. Hispanics are concerned about jobs, education, and healthcare.
Over the next few weeks, I’ll be addressing each of these topics in a three-part series. Today we are focusing on jobs.
Jobs and the Hispanic Community
According to the Pew study, Hispanics were impacted more than other groups by the 2007 recession. They reported higher unemployment rates, longer unemployment times, and more significant financial issues. This is in line with what I’ve seen in working with the Latino community.
First, it’s important to remember that there will always be a disparity between male and female pay rates. It’s not right, but it is what it is. Females in the workplace continue to battle lower wages, sexism, and sexual harassment and assault. This is a separate issue that is equally important and must be dealt with at another level.
For the Mexican American Male, the key goal is to get a promotion. For years, Hispanic men have been lied to and told that black males are their competition. In reality, the Hispanic community can learn from the black community’s ongoing civil rights work, which has led to key improvements in employment and wages for black individuals.
The bottom line is this: if Hispanics want better wages, we must come together to demand better wages. We cannot be afraid to turn down an unreasonably low wage because we are afraid another will come along and accept that rate. If we band together as the black community did, we can make a positive difference for all Hispanics by demanding better pay, better benefits, and better employment.