Monthly Archives: April 2011

Still Happens in the Shadows

I was incredibly busy yesterday managing our relocation to Madison, home sale stuff, packing, teaching, kids – but was literally stopped in my tracks listening to this segment (A Penny a Pound) via The Story on NPR.

Hard to believe that farmworkers still struggle to gain the most basic worker’s rights. The Florida farmworkers in this piece are making progress, but it’s quite shocking what they need to do. Shameful what some of these growers and grocery stores are not willing to do.

Fudging the Numbers

Dr. Paul Campos thinks law schools are not being entirely direct about law school grad job numbers:

For most people considering law school, this question is hardly an easy one. Law schools, however, make it much harder than it needs to be by publishing misleading data about their employment statistics. Many law schools all but explicitly promise that, within a few months of graduation, practically all their graduates will obtain jobs as lawyers, by trumpeting employment figures of 95 percent, 97 percent, and even 99.8 percent. The truth is that less than half will.

Latinos Leaving the Nest

Orlando Rodriguez revisits a topic that I’m very familiar with – both personally and professionally – the impact of family ties on Latino success. When I worked at the University of Texas at El Paso Career Center back in the mid-1990s, one of the biggest challenges we faced (and feedback we often received from employers) was the reluctance of our students to leave El Paso for job or even an internship. Since over 70+ percent of our students were Latinos, family proximity was a significant factor in student career decisions. I still remember one student whose mother spent the Summer with her during an internship in Dallas.

Over the years, I’ve noted somewhat of a reversal in this trend, particularly in 2nd and 3rd generation Latinos. While the strong family ties exist, many students are more willing to expand their experiences by leaving home taking positions well outside the reach of their family. 

Many years ago, I faced the same decision. Having grown up in Southern California, leaving to attend college out of state was a significant event in my life. While I craved the independence of college life, I was well aware of the potential consequences of not having the always present family support. The first few months were horrible. However, over the next months and then years, I grew exponentially as a person and a professional.  Were family ties a hinderance? In my case, I would say not.

You can check out the original report by PEW that Orlando references here.

On Being Black in Latin America

Jennifer Wynn at BeingLatino shares some good thoughts on the PBS series and the complexity of Latinos:

Dominicans are mostly mulattoes and we should celebrate and embrace all sides of our ancestry, regardless of our skin color or what we look like. The Dominican Embassy states that, “the ethnic composition of the Dominican population is 73 percent multiracial, 16 percent white, and 11 percent black. The multiracial population is primarily a mixture of European and African.

Latino Labor Snapshot

The Labor Council for Latino American Advancement (LCAA) has just published a comprehensive report on the U.S. Latino labor force. It’s filled with a lot of data and recommendations for legislators.

 Latinos today are the fastest growing group in the nation. From 1970 to 2008 the Latino population grew by 417% compared to 49.6% for the general population. With a median age of 27.4 years Latinos are also the youngest in our population. 15 states account for 86.5% of the total Latino population. In 2010, over one-third of the total Latino population was under the age of 18. There are 22.4 million Latinos in the labor force (including employed and unemployed workers). By 2050, Latinos will constitute nearly 30% of the total US population and one third of all working-age Americans. As people age, Latinos are providing an important source of renewal for communities in decline.

Alone in a Crowd

Elena Gray at the The Observer provides a realistic look of Latinos on campus. Unless they’re attending a college with significant Latino population, most Latinos feel like they’re alone on an island. The experience here can be applied to most organizations as well.  

“Though Notre Dame is one of the most national schools, I feel that the majority of the students on campus still wind up thinking exactly the same. I am not just talking about diversity in the sense of race and ethnicity either, but also diversity in thought and beliefs,” she said. “As a Latina, I at times feel stifled in my classes and can’t help but think there is no way that my voice or what I have to say will change what they think. The problem is, no one else sees it. It is a shared struggle with not only my community, but also other minority communities.”

ASHLEY DARCY/ The Observer

Making Dumb Assumptions

Galina Espinoza, editor of Latina Magazine, shares a story of dumb assumptions. I had many of the same type of experiences in my college days.  

In 1990, I had just started my senior year at an Ivy League college when my political science professor asked me to come see her about the first paper I had turned in. While she complimented me on how much work I had put into it, she went on to explain that writing a college paper must be especially difficult for someone for whom English was not her first language.