Monday, September 20, 2004

Editorial: "Contrived" Hispanic Heritage Month fails to tell true story

"With all of this historic reality, it seems a little silly to be focusing on 'Hispanic Heritage Month,' with its contrived messages to honor all things Latin."

"A more productive plan would be to ratchet the love down a few notches and spread it more equitably and honestly through the other 10 months as well."

"The numbers have long been in and most everyone has caught on. Hispanics are the largest racial or ethnic minority with more than 38 million people and have a buying power of $540 billion."

"Look for lots of advertising that includes olive-hued girls dancing in ribbon-trimmed, folkloric dresses. Never mind few people actually wear such outfits, except on a stage."

"The full story about Latinos' presence in America is much more complicated than diatribes about legal and illegal immigration."

"There are 1.2 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States, hard-working people who most likely are no one's gardener or roofer."

"The majority of Latinos in the United States speak English."

"Still, the bulk of discussion about Latinos seems to revolve around those who wear the dreaded 'illegal' label."

"The most inflamed estimates put the number of people illegally living in the United States at 10 million. Not all are Hispanic, maybe only 60 percent."

"That leaves 32 million Latinos who are legally here, most of whom were born in the United States - every bit as American as those who can join the Daughters of the American Revolution."

Houston Chronicle

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