Monday, July 01, 2013

California milestone

The Sacramento Bee reports that today, or tomorrow, or possibly yesterday, a baby was/will be born whose arrival signals that California's Latino population has exceeded its Caucasian/white population. Whoopee for the obvious -- though here in northern California and especially in plurality Asian-origin San Francisco, this is not so obvious as in the south.
The term Latino is an ethnic rather than racial designation, according to the Census Bureau. Most Latinos are white, but the bureau draws a distinction between Latinos and non-Hispanic whites.

Fifteen years ago, non-Hispanic whites outnumbered Latinos in California by roughly 5 million, census figures show.

But the Latino population has grown quickly through immigration and comparatively high birth rates. At the same time, the number of whites has fallen as birth rates in that population dropped and more of them left the state than came here.

…[Mark] Martinez [of the Hispanic Chamber of Commerce] pointed out that the Hispanic population in California is young – the median age is 27, compared with 45 for non-Hispanic whites, census figures show. Young families drive growth, he said, and growth drives entrepreneurship. By 2064, according to the state Department of Finance, California will have 25 million Latinos and 15.6 million whites.
Most of the article is about the education, economic and entrepreneurial disadvantages experienced by California's new plurality population

As these snippet show, the Bee gets tangled, along with the U.S. Census, in the question how to sort out the racial/ethnic identity of this distinguishable group. For the moment, I think this photo from a May Day march several years ago captures the elements of California Latino identification pretty well:

Let's see: emphatically Brown and proud, concerned with immigration injustices, routed in growing families, identifying with worker solidarity in bottom level jobs, supporting Democrats.

California Latinos mostly will identify as a "race" -- as Brown, not white, not merely a cultural ethnicity like, say, Italian-American -- as long as people in power, mostly still white Caucasians, subject them to discrimination and/or insult for their Latino identification. And these folks are California's future. This make me happy, not that my feelings matter.

H/t TPM for the Bee piece.

1 comment:

Hattie said...

I'm with you, as a descendant on my mother's side of Californios who were robbed of their land and power by Anglos.
The more Mexicans there are around, the better I like it. The fewer arrogant white Anglos there are around, the happier I am.

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