Life in United States is Not Getting Better

At least not if you ask Latinos.

The Pew Hispanic Center released a report today detailing the results of a national survey of Latinos.  “Half (50%) of all Latinos say that the situation of Latinos in this country is worse now than it was a year ago.”  The survey reveals a growing number of Latinos are finding life in this nation to be more difficult than in the past, to be marked by increasing levels of anti-Latino racism, and to be characterized by a growing amount of state intrusion into their daily lives.  The report can be accessed here.

In many ways, this is statistical evidence of the kinds of anecdotal evidence common on this blog and elsewhere.  As has been clear from these sources, there is a growing anti-Latino backlash in the U.S. that is not confined to just immigrants.

It has been on my mind a lot, I must confess.  Lately, I’ve been a little astonished at the level of ignorance expressed surrounding the sad events in Shenandoah, PA.  If you don’t know what I’m talking about, check out some of the comments to posts on this very blog (like this one) or do a Google search for commentary on this story and see what you find.  In short, you will find there are a lot of people in this country who have found numerous ways to justify and/or rationalize the murder of another human being.  This isn’t that surprising, I know.  People do this everyday.  BUT, they usually do this by establishing the victims guilt within the broad (and often shifting) moral context of our society.  In this case, people have so dehumanized and criminalized Latinos (in general) and Latino immigrants (specifically) that their mere presence within the “national body” is foreign, suspicious, and often a threat.

Concerned groups and their blogging allies have been drawing attention to these events as something far more significant than a localized instance of violence.  Instead, blogs [example 1, example 2] and others have been analyzing how they are part of a much larger culture of hate and violence.  As the Southern Poverty Law Center is doing a great job of detailing on a regular basis, much of that hate is finding their target in the Latino body.

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