Radio Commentary

Viva Latinos

atinos now comprise 11 percent of the U.S. population, and 15 percent of Nevada’s population. They’re the fastest-growing voting bloc, and soon Americans of Hispanic origin will be the nation’s largest minority group, surpassing blacks. The business world isn’t missing any of this. Wells Fargo Bank, Bank of America, and U.S. Bank are all launching programs for Latino businesses. Over the next several years, Hispanic Nevadans will get billions of dollars in small business loans. That’s great news, because it will help further the efforts they’re already making to Americanize.

In a recent Wall Street Journal piece, Michael Barone torpedoed three of the most basic myths about Latinos. Rather than seeking to maintain a separate culture, Hispanics want to learn English. In a 1996 poll, 51 percent of Latino parents said learning English is the most important goal of their children’s education.

As for the work ethic, percentage-wise, Latino men are more present in the American labor force than any other group. And family values? Latinos lead the way—37 percent of Hispanic households are married couples raising children, compared to only 25 percent of non-Hispanic households.

Latinos are a growing force in Nevada and throughout the nation. That’s not something to fear; it’s something to welcome. As a group, they work hard, have strong family bonds, and a majority understand that learning English is a prerequisite to being successful in the U.S. Latinos aren’t a threat to America—they’re a vital component of the nation’s melting pot. u


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