We're excited to print an excerpt from the introduction of Latino Stats: American Hispanics by the Numbers, a new book by Idelisse Malavé and Esti Giordani that sifts through a profusion of data to identify the most telling and often surprising facts of contemporary Latino life with glimpses of the past and future. It comes out on January 27 from The New Press—preorder a copy here.
Although the United States is routinely and proudly referred to as “a country of immigrants,” waves of immigration still inspire economic and cultural fears. Latino immigrants have been greeted with a familiar litany, most commonly, “They’re stealing our jobs!”
A protest in support of immigration reform during the Hispanic Congressional Caucus gala this October. Photo by Ep_jhu.
Last month when President Obama finally announced his executive action to provide deportation relief to millions of undocumented people living in the United States, you could practically hear the collective intake of breath taken across the country.
This article was co-written by Adriana Maestas and Maegan E. Ortiz.
A basic principle of American democracy is representation. Our country is built on the premise that an elected government represents the way its citizens look, think, and act. It’s an important principle. “When people have the personal experience, when they look like you and talk like you, they are more likely to represent you. They have same cultural experiences or have faced the same situation,” says Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health.
But we all know it doesn’t actually work this way.
An Oregon Christmas tree farm worker, photographed as part of the Pineros project.
In 100 different homes across Portland this winter, Christmas trees were adorned with unusual ornaments: instead of tiny Santas and candycanes, the evergreen branches were also graced with glass ornaments etched with the name of a farmworker who helped grow and harvest the tree.
The scene is familiar to any fancy home design magazine reader: the perfectly appointed living space full of gleaming surfaces, fluffed up pillows, artfully arranged flowers next to tasteful objets d’art. But painted in to this pristine domestic landscape is the woman who is actually responsible for the polishing and dusting and cleaning of the space—Edith, a brown-skinned woman waiting for her check.