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WWL: Between Two Worlds
Where We Live - with John Dankosky
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In this episode:

Thirty percent of Latinos growing up in Connecticut live below the federal poverty level.


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49:01 minutes (23.53 MB)
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One in Four newborn Americans is Latino.  Now, more than ever before, to understand the future of this country, it helps to understand young Latinos.

A new study out from the Pew Hispanic Center shows that, as a group, Latinos coming of age in America are optimistic about the future, but burdened by poverty, teen pregnancy, and gang activity. Today, Where We Live, we'll hear from young Latinos here in Connecticut about their experiences, values, and expectations. We'll also hear from the Pew Center about their research and the emerging picture of this new generation of Americans.



Related Content:

Sloppy semantics have led to confused identity

Listening to this show has reminded me of how uncomfortable I am made by the American semantic imposition on identity. I am an immigrant from Spain, have a common Spanish last name, and spent most of my adolescent years around other European immigrants (playing soccer). I cannot use the word "Spanish" to identify my specific background  because the term has been reappropriated to mean Spanish speaking (used interchangeably with Hispanic and Latino); the curious thing, if not ironic, is that when speaking Spanish, no Latino or Hispanic person will say that they are "espanol" (which in Spanish is reserved for people from Spain).  Moreover, the reason many young Latinos/Hispanics in the U.S. see themselves as a separate Race/Ethnicity is because of the culture they have been raised in--until recently the U.S. census treated Hispanic, for all intents and purposes, as a race/ethnicity; apart from being deeply incorrect, it has led to the reluctance of many, such as the guests, to call themselves American. The general term has also created a false group in which people from over 20 different countries and cultures are supposed to pretend that they are the same because of language and/or last name. I am friends with an older generation of "Hispanics" who never use either Hispanic or Latino, but rather say "Argentino" or "Cubano". Their children, who are all well educated have no problem using "American" to describe themselves. 
It would be nice for the zeitgeist some day to include a more accurate, precise treatment of identity without being dismantled (even if inadvertently) by the need to "track" people using a few contrived categories.

Listener email from Josh

A problem that today's show touched on is the experience of undocumented immigrant youth (many of whom are Hispanic) who are brought to this country by their families at a young age, grow up here, and then run into complicated legal problems when they try to apply for college financial aid, get work permits, get driver's licences, or do any of the other things that young people do as they become adults. I am an attorney and have counseled and represented a number of kids in this situation, and I hope residents of Connecticut who are citizens will realize just how unfair it is to punish these children for the immigration violations of their parents.

It's easy to talk about entitlements and illegality in the abstract or to discuss how best to address illegal immigration, but anyone who meets these kids and hears their stories can see that it is unfair to punish them. None of them had any say in deciding to come to Connecticut; all they did was what kids always do: adapt to their environment and make the best of it. When we close off options for smart, hardworking teenagers for the illegal acts of their parents, we force them to turn to illegal employment and disengagement from their communities. I have frequently seen promising young people become depressed and stop focusing on school when they realize they have little chance of going to college. We should reward immigrant children who work hard in school, either through the DREAM Act or through an in-state tuition bill like the one the Governor vetoed, so that we can benefit from their perspectives and their contributions, and so that they can be come loyal, productive citizens in the future.

Listener email from Parsley

Quite honestly, I am rather sick and tired of listening to this constant, never ending " we need to find ways to help our Latino population" chant. Latinos really do get a lot of attention and and they are very good at getting their ways(just look at how the government has bent over and backward so their illegal counterparts have enjoyed all the benefits that regular citizens don't get to have). What other racial group do you see that has been draining the public resources like "bilingual education" but shows minimum result as most Latino population speak very little English, have the highest school drop out rate, take up large percentage of prison occupancy, and mostly, have highest teen pregnancy so that the government has to shell out more money to raise them. It's time to wake up now. Other race groups really don't have it that much easier or better than they do, everyone else has their own struggle no matter what race they are!