October 22nd, 2009
11:06 AM ET

'But what's a Latino?'

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/US/10/21/latinos.poll/art.museo.afp.gi.jpg caption="The Museo del Barrio, dedicated to the work of Latino artists, opened Saturday in New York City."]

Raquel Cepeda

Let's all pretend to be the astrologer Walter Mercado for a moment. Say we predict that the Obama administration's master plan to engage people of Latino/Hispanic/Spanish origin proves to be effective.

Let's say that along with strategic partners Telemundo and the Census Bureau, they somehow manage to corral the millions of "Latinos" into filling out the 2010 census forms in April. Say the idea of plot-kneading the message into an already half-baked yet inexplicably popular telenovela, "Mas Sabe el Diablo," wins over the hearts and minds of "Latinos" everywhere.

But what's a Latino?

While we all may speak a version of our Spanish colonizer's language, contrary to popular belief, we're not all Mexican. Yes, the majority of Latinos in America are of Mexican descent, but we also hail from other countries around the world.

Keep Reading...

October 21st, 2009
04:55 PM ET

Country of origin profiles of U.S. Hispanics

The Pew Hispanic Center

More than six-in-ten Hispanics in the U.S. self-identify as being of Mexican origin. Nine of the other ten largest Hispanic origin groups—Puerto Rican, Cuban, Salvadoran, Dominican, Guatemalan, Colombian, Honduran, Ecuadorian and Peruvian—account for about a third of the U.S. Hispanic population. There are differences across these ten population groups in the share of each that is foreign born, citizen (by birth or naturalization), and proficient in English. They are also of varying age, tend to live in different areas within the U.S, and have varying levels of education, homeownership rates, and poverty rates.


October 21st, 2009
11:16 AM ET

An uphill battle to combat Latino childhood obesity

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/10/21/childhood.obesity/art.sepulveda.courtesy.jpg caption="Blanca Sepulveda, right, was devastated when her daughter Frida began showing signs of type 2 diabetes."]

Debra Alban

When she was about 8, Frida Sepulveda developed dark folds of skin around her neck. It's a well-known warning sign of type 2 diabetes.

Frida's mother, Blanca Sepulveda, who has watched other family members struggle with diabetes and obesity, was "devastated" to see her daughter experience similar health problems.

Now at age 11, Frida is about 5 feet, 6 inches tall and weighs around 180 pounds, her mother said. Despite a high body weight for her age and height, Frida does not seem to have additional symptoms of diabetes - or any other major health concerns - but her parents are trying to reverse the weight problem Frida has had since infancy.

The San Diego, California, family is among a disproportionately high number of Latino-American families with overweight and obese children. According to the 2007 National Survey of Children's Health, 16.6 percent of Latino high school students were obese and 18.1 percent were overweight. The corresponding national averages for high school students were 13.3 percent obese and 15.8 percent overweight.

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Filed under: CNN Latino in America • Hispanic
October 20th, 2009
01:48 PM ET

Latino Senator: Triumphs and troubles in America

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/personal/10/06/lia.soledad.obrien.excerpt/art.soledad.obrien.cnn.jpg caption="CNN's Soledad O'Brien explores the richness of the Latino experience - and her own - in Latino in America. "]
Robert Menendez

Across America, the Latino population is growing, and it is now the largest minority group in the country. Latino voices are being heard, and their economic impact is being felt in the marketplace, which is good for the whole of the nation.

Contrary to what may be a popular belief, most Latinos in America today are U.S. citizens. Many barely live above the poverty line, but many others have entered the ranks of the middle class and are contributing mightily to the culture as well as the economy.

Latinos are no longer on the outside looking in. They are at the table, making a difference. On every major issue before Congress and every major issue before the courts, Latinos, in larger and larger numbers, are engaged in the debate.

Keep Reading...

Filed under: Hispanic
October 16th, 2009
10:48 AM ET

Latinos are assimilating in the USA

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/LIVING/personal/10/06/lia.soledad.obrien.excerpt/art.soledad.obrien.cnn.jpg caption="CNN's Soledad O'Brien explores the richness of the Latino experience - and her own - in "Latino in America." "]
Ruben Navarrette Jr.

Have you ever seen 47 million people hold their breath and hope for the best?

Take it from this Latino in America, when many of my compadres heard that CNN was putting together a documentary on being "Latino in America," that's pretty much what happened.

For those of us in the Latino community who worry that those of us in the media are missing the best and most nuanced stories about America's largest minority because we're too busy harping on stereotypes and accentuating the negative - "I'll take an order of high school dropouts, with a side of gangbangers and mix in some gardeners and housekeepers" - there was a concern that CNN would blow the assignment.

At least the cable network had the courage to take it on. Many of its competitors - ABC, NBC, CBS, etc. - still broadcast in black-and-white and haven't grasped the absurdity of producing Sunday morning talk shows where journalists and pundits gather for roundtable discussions that touch on Latino issues without a single Latino at the table.

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Filed under: Hispanic • Ruben Navarrette Jr.
October 6th, 2009
10:55 AM ET

Latinos have deep roots in US

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/05/26/sotomayor.latino/art.sotomayor.latino.jpg caption="Judge Sonia Sotomayor is the first Hispanic person to serve on the Supreme Court."]

Tomás Jiménez

Just about any celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month (September 15 – October 15) will highlight the diversity among Hispanics.

They come from different parts of the Spanish-speaking world, have settled in various areas of the United States, have distinctive customs and come in all shapes and colors.

But an often overlooked difference among Hispanics relates to how many generations back they trace their roots in U.S. history.

Hispanics are not just immigrants or the U.S.-born children of immigrants. They are also Americans with deep family histories in the United States. This is especially true of the Mexican-origin population, the largest Hispanic subgroup and one that has been continually replenished by immigrant newcomers for a century.

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Filed under: Hispanic
August 14th, 2009
11:29 AM ET

GOP's problem with Hispanics

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/07/17/latino.presents.jpg]

Ruben Navarrette Jr.
Special to CNN

David Iglesias, the former U.S. attorney for New Mexico, is a cautionary tale for young Hispanics who think the road to political power leads through the Republican Party.

If so, it's a road with a lot of potholes. Iglesias went from the GOP's golden boy to its whipping boy - all during one administration. When the former Navy lawyer was appointed by President George W. Bush, Iglesias was thought to be a symbol of Republican inclusiveness and someone who might help lure Hispanic voters to the party.

But by the time Iglesias was fired - in December 2006, along with eight other U.S. attorneys - he had become a symbol of something else: how schizophrenic Republicans are on the issue of Hispanic political participation.

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Filed under: 360° Radar • 360º Follow • Hispanic
August 6th, 2009
04:50 PM ET

Proud to be a 'wise Latina'

[cnn-photo-caption image="http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/POLITICS/07/28/sotomayor.panel.vote/art.sotomayor.afp.gi.jpg" caption="After being confirmed by the Senate today, Sonia Sotomayor will be the first latino on the U.S. Supreme Court."]

Maria Hinojosa
Special to CNN

It's a question I never thought I would ask my daughter. But I loved being able to ask it.


"Yes, Mom," my 11-year-old daughter said.

"Tell me what T-shirt you would most like to wear: one that says 'I am a Wise Latina,' 'My Mother is a Wise Latina' or 'Sonia is a Wise Latina'?"

She cocked her head slightly and then quickly said, "I am a Wise Latina."

Eleven years old, and this is the vision she already has of herself. It's a pretty wonderful thing to watch that certain something blossom in a girl ... one of those often fleeting moments when a girl owns her own power.

For me, the decision to wear my own "Wise Latina" T-shirt raises all kinds of issues.

Keep reading...

Filed under: Hispanic • Sonia Sotomayor
April 7th, 2009
10:35 AM ET

Hispanics and the criminal justice system: low confidence, high exposure

Mark Hugo Lopez
Pew Hispanic Center

At a time when Latinos are interacting more than ever with police, courts and prisons, their confidence in the U.S. criminal justice system is closer to the low levels expressed by blacks than to the high levels expressed by whites, according to a pair of nationwide surveys by the Pew Research Center.

Six-in-ten (61%) Hispanics say they have a great deal or a fair amount of confidence that the police in their local communities will do a good job enforcing the law, compared with 78% of whites and 55% of blacks. Just under half (46%) of Hispanics say they have confidence that police officers will not use excessive force on suspects, compared with 73% of whites and 38% of blacks. Similarly, just under half of Hispanics say they are confident that police officers will treat Hispanics fairly (45%) and that courts will treat Hispanics fairly (49%). In comparison, 74% of whites and 37% of blacks say they have confidence that the police will treat blacks and whites equally.


Filed under: Hispanic • Justice Department
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