How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Report: Latinos are more LGBT tolerant than we think

As conventional wisdom goes, Latinos are not the most tolerant group when it comes to accepting homosexuality. But this is more perception than reality, a new report says.

The National Council of La Raza and Social Science Research Solutions, a public opinion research firm, have released a survey suggesting that Latinos are not as unaccepting of LGBT peers or even of same-sex marriage as perceived to be, although those who are deeply religious are less tolerant, similar to the general population. And surprisingly, while the acculturation level of immigrants are plays a part, the level of tolerance doesn't vary so much between first-generation immigrants and U.S.-born Latinos. From the report:

With regard to support for legal gay marriage, Gallup has been tracking support within the overall U.S. population since 1996. They most recently found that 53 percent of Americans support legal gay 0% marriage. This compares quite nicely with our data on Hispanics, for whom 54 percent offered their support.

We found strong support for other policies as well in our data. Sixty-four percent of Latinos support civil unions. No less than 83 percent of Latinos support legal protections for hate crimes, job discrimination, housing discrimination, as well as support for healthcare and pension benefits for gay and lesbian couples. Over three out of four (78 %) support open military service.


NCLR's Janet Murguía: 'A few nonpartisan dos and don'ts for aspiring candidates'

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Photo by nathangibbs/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Given the rocky start that one presidential hopeful in Texas had yesterday, making a dud of a tequila joke before a room full of Latinos, the timing for an insider's guide to the Latino vote couldn't be better.

The Hill's Congress Blog published the guide today, written by National Council of La Raza president Janet Murguía. And while it doesn't go so far as to advise against tasteless jokes, it covers the basics: Take Latino voters and their concerns seriously, especially immigration; engage them and don't take them for granted; don't demonize them, because they'll vote against you. An excerpt:

Don’t write off the Latino vote. Candidates who believe that Hispanics are part of any party’s base are under a grave misapprehension. While it is true that most Hispanics are registered Democrats, history also shows that most are frequent ticket-splitters. Both President Ronald Reagan and President George W. Bush received more than 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in their reelection campaigns.

Some analysts note that a Republican needs to receive 40 percent of the Latino vote to win the presidency. In fact, for many candidates in 2010, failing to engage the Latino voter cost them the election. So those who appeal to Latino voters early stand a better chance of ending strong.


Ozomatli's get-out-the-vote single

L.A.'s Ozomatli has jumped into get-out-the-vote efforts with a new bilingual single titled "Respeto," Spanish for "respect," released yesterday as part of a joint project with the National Council of La Raza. The song is part of NCLR's campaign to draw out Latino voters for next month's midterm elections.

"Vota por la justicia (vote for justice," the refrain goes, "vote for respect."

In a news release, lead singer Raul Pacheco provided his take: "The simple act of voting has proven to be an important tool in the shaping of my surroundings," he said. “As a modern American Latino, it is a meaningful step to counter the specifically hateful and hurtful rhetoric that has been aimed at Latinos throughout this country.”

The single is downloadable for free on both the Ozomatli and NCLR websites.


New NCLR report: Latino children and nutrition


Photo by Christer Barregren/Flickr (Creative Commons)

Fruits and veggies, January 2008

The National Council of La Raza has released a third report in its Profiles of Latino Health series, which began last year. The new report examines Latino children's nutrition, and the results aren't encouraging. From the report:
Hispanic children currently make up more than one in five children in the U.S., and, as the fastest-growing segment of the child population, are expected to represent nearly one in three children by 2030.3 Latino children are also the hungriest in America—making up almost 40% of the one million children living in hunger.4 Ironically, they also have one of the highest risks for obesity; researchers estimate that nearly two-fifths (38.5%) of Latino children ages two to 19 were overweight or obese in 2008.5 Because hunger and obesity have serious implications for the developmental and health outcomes of children and adolescents, it is imperative to take action now, before these children become the first generation not to outlive its parents.