September 1, 2000


Political Wake Up Call For Latinos

The just released Census Bureau Population estimates should serve as a wake up call to all Latinos. According to the recently released figures, Whites (minus Latinos) now total 49.9% (16,526,103) of the state's 31.3 million residents. Latinos are now 31.6% (10,459,616) of the states population! Asians follow with 11.4% (3,763,072), Blacks have dropped to less than 6.7% (2,205,359), and American Indians to less than 1% (190,971).

Of importance to Latinos is the Census's report on San Diego's population. The White population has dropped to 57.5% (1,622,043) of the San Diego County population, which is still a sizable majority of the population. The Latino population, which is mostly MexicanAmerican, has risen to 26.5 % (746,931) of the population, which makes it the second largest component in the county. Though MexicanAmericans and all Latinos are of the White Race, for census purposes they are considered as a separate category of the White race. Asians follow at 9.8% (276,787), Blacks have stagnated at 5.6% (159,446) making them an almost insignificant number within the total San Diego population. Native Americans remain at less than 1% (15,637), This category will surely grow in size as their newly found casino wealth brings more of them out and they rejoin the ranks of the Native American category.

The fact that Latinos are now over 31 % of the state's population and that the Black population is a minuscule 6.7 % is of concern to all who are that `diversity' and its numbers be significantly reflected in the distribution of the economic, political, and social benefits of our state and nation. White America has been disproportional in using the societal Black screen to view all concerns of America's minorities. The `one size fits all' solution to minority issues or problems is ludicrous. By viewing all issues and problems filtered through the Black experience screen that provides answers that are problematic at best.

The MexicanAmerican-Latino historical and cultural screens are invaluable to understanding and dealing with America's largest minority. We can no longer be satisfied with being a "stepchild or secondary" to the Black experience which is totally different than ours. We as Chicanos must step up to the plate and demand that our issues, our needs, our concerns be on the front burner of all politicians and of governing entities. We must insist that we be a part of the dialogue and decision-making process when it comes to dealing with the country's economic, political and societal issues.

Though we share with the Blacks many of the same problems in racism, discrimination, exclusion and manipulation of our leaders, we now must demand that we be seated at the bargaining table and lead the dialogue. It is time that White America take off their Black screens and take into account the millions of Latinos who have been excluded and include them and their vision of the Americas! We will not be denied, nor will we continue to allow the ruling oligarchies to play off the Black and Brown races against each other.

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