According to Latino GDP report, Latino GDP grew 70% faster than U.S GDP. Results show that if Latino GDP was a country, it would be the 7th largest in the world. While the non-Latino workforce shrank by about 4,000 workers between 2010 and 2015, the Latino workforce grew by nearly 2.5 million, powering an overall increase of 2.4 million in the U.S. workforce ages 25-64. These facts show that without any doubt, Latinos are becoming an increasingly critical engine of America’s economic growth.
In the U.S. the workforce of the Latino community alone has contributed approximately $2.17 trillion to the U.S GDP. According to researcher estimates, by 2020 Latinos will contribute a quarter of all U.S. GDP growth. This silent workforce is one the largest contributors to the U.S. economy, but they are still often treated according to their skin, and not by their work. This mentality and ideology must be changed by strong efforts within our community.
Racism is still a problem in this county. Instead of looking at the contributions that Latino Americans and their diverse communities are making in the U.S., we look only at their color. These misconceptions are not limited to Caucasians – they also exist within the Latino community. There is conflict and discrimination between light skins and dark skins. The discrimination and negative rhetoric also exist based on origin. Mexican versus Spanish or South American versus Caribbean Latino or Mexican versus Latin American. The comparisons are never ending.
Let’s also not forget African Latinos, which are immigrating to this county at record rates, and are dealing with the same issues of immigration in the U.S. But they are not on the news, and in fact are invisible in the Latino community. They have for the most part embraced the African American community because of their dark skin, and are also isolated because of the language barrier even in the African American community. This issue traces back to the days of slavery. If you have any African blood in you, you are black.
U.S. Immigration Policy:
The 55-million-member Latino community (17 percent of the U.S. population) has become an economic juggernaut. President Donald Trump’s tough immigration policies are not good for the Latino communities, and could eventually endanger U.S. economic growth. Sol Trujillo, co-founder and chairman of the Latino Donor Collaborative, says:
“Negative immigration policy as economic policy is a bad policy. We really do need to understand who comes into this country and who leaves this country, but it really shouldn’t mean that you don’t want people coming in. To just shut off the pipeline, that doesn’t work. We do need an improved immigration policy, but it’s more about who we’re letting come in.”
Latinos aged 18-24 are strongly represented in the U.S. military: Marines, 25.7 percent; Army, 22.2 percent; Air Force, 15.2 percent; Navy, 13.9 percent; and Coast Guard, 13.7 percent.
This data ends the debate about the contributions of Latinos, but it does not end the negative rhetoric and stereotyping that is born out of a deep-rooted racism in this country. That racism is not going away until minorities have the political and economic power and sheer population numbers to change the narrative and tell their own story about who they are. This is happening now for Latinos and African Americans. The Latino American struggle is the African American struggle, with of course the exception of slavery and the long-term impact slavery has had on our community.
Any progress we make in the country with regards to race relations could be undermined in the future. Our challenges will move from being about race or skin color to being about religion, culture and language: the new barriers that divide us. The influx of immigrants in the country has changed the landscape of commerce, education, and communities. Entire cities and communities have isolated themselves from American life through language and culture. If you do not read or speak the language, then you cannot conduct business within the community, engage in the community, or understand and befriend the community. With this isolation comes an “us versus them” mentality, and it starts all over again – just as it did during the Civil War in this country over slavery and whether or not African Americans could be free or were worthy to be free because we were not American.
How will this all be settled, and when will it all change? I want to live in a country that has embraced the ideals and dreams of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, where we can walk hand in hand, as one united community of Americans. A country in which we are not judged or isolated by the color of our skin or the differences in our culture or religion, where the character of all people is the only test of fellowship and love for mankind.
Eric Lawrence Frazier, MBA
President and CEO
NMLS #461807 CalBRE #01143484
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