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  1. #1
    chairman's Avatar
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    The doctor prescribes medication in English.

    By: BERTRAND M. GUTIERREZ | Winston-Salem Journal
    Published: August 15, 2011
    » 6 Comments | Post a Comment

    The doctor prescribes medication in English.
    Cristina Roche, a volunteer at the Community Care Center in Winston-Salem, translates into Spanish.
    The patient listens.

    At the central nurse station, several Spanish-language translators and nurses wait to assist other patients. In this scenario last week, only a few of the Spanish speakers had ancestral connections with Mexico.

    Roche, for example, is originally from Argentina — and she's part of a demographic trend in Forsyth County that raises questions about what the term "Hispanic" means.

    While people of Mexican descent still make up the majority of the 42,000 Hispanics in Forsyth, people such as Roche fueled higher growth rates between 2000 and 2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

    In fact, the number of people with Puerto Rican ancestry, for example, increased by 182 percent, from 924 to 2,605, during the 10-year period, and the number of people with Salvadoran ancestry increased by 293 percent, from 642 to 2,521. People from Central America nearly quadrupled, from 1,328 to 4,696.

    Meanwhile, the number of people of Mexican descent doubled from 14,238 to 28,440.

    Still, nearly one out of three Hispanics in Forsyth have ancestral connections to countries other than Mexico. They are from such Latin American countries as Argentina in South America, the Dominican Republic in the Caribbean and Guatemala in Central America, among other places.

    The widening variety of Hispanics reveals that the term "Hispanic" is flawed because it tries to blanket the diverse cultures of 20-plus Spanish-speaking nations in Latin America, according to researchers and interviews with several people in Winston-Salem with Latin American roots.

    "The differences between our cultures, sometimes I think it is hard for people to really understand that — the slang, the music, the food," Roche said.

    Adding to the confusion is the idea of race. Many Hispanics said last week in interviews that they frequently run into the perception that all Hispanics have brown skin, dark hair and dark eyes. But the term has nothing to do with race, just ethnicity. Anyone who is black, white, brown or even Asian can be Hispanic.

    Think of it this way: singer Christina Aguilera, former Chicago Cubs slugger Sammy Sosa and former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori could be considered Hispanic in the United States. The white singer has Ecuadorean ancestry, and the black baseball player is from the Dominican Republic. Fujimori would be considered Hispanic in the United States, even though he is of Japanese descent.

    Numbers and meaning

    Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of the term "Hispanic" is more important than ever because of the eye-popping demographic numbers it carries, said Brad Jones, a political science professor at University of California Davis who researches Hispanic trends.

    Nationwide, nearly one out of three people will be Hispanic by 2050 if immigration patterns continue, the Pew Hispanic Center reported in 2008. Under that scenario, the Hispanic population would increase from 50.3 million now to 133 million — more than Mexico's current population of nearly 114 million.

    The numbers in North Carolina are compelling, as well.
    Between 2000 and 2010, the Hispanic population more than doubled to about 800,000, or 8.4 percent, according to the 2010 census. In Forsyth County as well, the number of Hispanic people more than doubled, from nearly 20,000 to nearly 42,000.

    In addition to the misperception that all Hispanics are like Mexicans, Jones and other Hispanics said, the term tends to get tied with another one: "illegal."

    Non-Latinos often not only perceive Hispanics as a monolithic culture, they lay on top of that the notion that they are here without authorization, Jones said, "and that is not a positive view of this growing group."

    The vast majority of Hispanics in the United States are authorized to be in the country. Of the 50.3 million Hispanics in the United States, about 41.3 million are here legally, according to statistics from the Census and the Pew Hispanic Center.

    In North Carolina, the percentage is not as high. Most Hispanic children are U.S. citizens, and more than 55 percent of all Hispanics in North Carolina are authorized to be in the United States, according estimates from a 2006 study on Hispanic immigration by UNC Chapel Hill's business school.

    "The bigger issue is less how much Latinos or Hispanics identify themselves but how non-Latinos view them," Jones said. "Non-Latinos tend to view Latinos as being much more monolithic than they really are."
    A matter of accents

    One difference is that first-generation Hispanics in the United States often do not grow up thinking of themselves as Hispanic.
    That observation is true for Maria Aristizabal, who lives in Kernersville and is a technical adviser to the YMCA of the USA.
    "I just think of myself as Maria," she said.

    Aristizabal didn't know she was Hispanic before she moved to the United States from Colombia more than 30 years ago. "After you live in this country for a while, you get used to the term, and you understand that that's how people identify you. I recognize that others put me in a group that is Hispanic, and as long as they're being respectful, I don't mind," she said.

    While the Spanish language is a common denominator among Hispanics, the racial and cultural backgrounds sometimes are as far apart as Peru's Andes Mountains are from Mexico's Sonoran desert.

    Even the way the language is used differs from one country to the next, said Guillermo Alvarez, who is originally from Venezuela and now lives in Winston-Salem.

    He can identify a Venezuelan, Mexican or Argentine, for example, by the way he speaks Spanish, just as a native North Carolinian can tell that someone is from New York or Boston by his accent.

    To make his point, Alvarez highlighted some of the words Venezuelans use for certain foods, such as "caraotas" instead of "frijoles negros," which refers to black beans. Another typically Venezuelan word is "pana," which can be loosely translated as "buddy."

    "Sometimes, when I use these words with other Hispanics, they don't know what I'm talking about," Alvarez said, laughing.

    Echoing Aristizabal and Roche, Alvarez said the term "Hispanic" was at one time a foreign concept to him.

    "I was not Hispanic until I came (to the U.S.)," he said. "'Hispanic is just a label that the U.S. has given to us." That's not an exaggeration. The U.S. government started using the term "Hispanic" in 1970, Jones said.
    For the census that year, the U.S. government used the term to keep better track of people from Latin American countries that were part of colonial Spain. The odd consequence of that standard is that people from Brazil (once a Portuguese colony) and Spain cannot by definition list themselves as Hispanic in the census, Jones said.

    Whatever the true definition may be, more Hispanics are staying permanently in Forsyth, as the share of Hispanics who own property — compared with those who rent property — increased significantly between 2000 and 2010, according to the census.

    In 2000, 21 percent of Hispanic households were owned, not rented. By 2010, the number jumped to 37 percent.

    Roche, Aristizabal and Alvarez are part of that growing share of homeowners.

    "I've been here (Winston-Salem) for six years," Alvarez said. "My family is here. My friends are here, and I want to stay here when I retire."
    After being in the United States for so long, Alvarez might as well stay — because his friends back in Venezuela kid him about his "accent."
    "'Guillermo, you sound so weird! You sound so American!' " he said, mimicking his friends. ... r-1300127/
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  2. #2
    Senior Member TakingBackSoCal's Avatar
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    Aug 2008
    Lake Elsinore, CA
    This country has never been more divided and it is the POTUS that demands we give translators for people who don't belong here. Do you get a translator in Messico? HELL NO
    You cannot dedicate yourself to America unless you become in every
    respect and with every purpose of your will thoroughly Americans. You
    cannot become thoroughly Americans if you think of yourselves in groups. President Woodrow Wilson

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