“The browning of America”. There’s a phrase I heard for the first time this year and it was sure to produce mixed reactions. However you chose to interpret the phrase, whether you see the so called ‘browning of America’ as a positive or negative transformation, it’s an undeniable reality that is not confined to the usual multi-ethnic hubs found in Florida, New York, California, and Texas (although some would argue that Texas was always brown and the border really crossed them!). The fact is that this is happening all over- Atlanta, New Orleans, Reno, Oklahoma City, Boise, and Kansas City, to name a few places.
Yet, as this growth that is evident on the surface, it unfortunately overshadows other areas of growth in our community that are less appealing to the media. I will discuss more of these ahead, but for now I will argue that ‘the browning of America’ is a sweeping statement that assumes a narrow-minded change in demographics.
This change is well beyond color. We are talking about an ethnicity that is among the most diverse in its combination of African, European, Meztizo, Asian, and Native American. It includes first, second and third generation Hispanic Americans of various levels of cultural assimilation, income and education. And they are top priority audiences for politicians and businesses. Ever since the 2000 Census revealed important data on the growth of the Latino population, the attention seems to seldom shift to the depth of this growth.
Now, given that I work for the Hispanic Heritage Foundation and was awarded the 2005 Philadelphia Regional Hispanic Heritage Youth Award in Journalism, I’d like to provide more observations based on my experiences and career focus.