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We acknowledge that these terms are evolving and not always interchangeable and that the correct term is the term the person it refers to, the community it refers to, is most comfortable with. In this space, we will be using a variety of these terms. At times, Hispanic is used because that is the term that the Federal Government often uses to collect data. Other times, Latinx is used because that term has risen in popularity. At the same time, Latine use is rising in prominence due to linguistic authenticity.
Hispanic or people of Latin descent make up 18.9% of the U.S. population and are the fastest growing ethnic group in the country. While the U.S. benefits immensely from the contributions of its Hispanic (also referred to as Latinx or Latine) population, Hispanic people are also the 2nd most discriminated against group following Black Americans. For many years, Hispanics in America were subject to similar segregation and violence as Black communities. In the 20th century, Latine children were forced into segregated schools, often which were underfunded and lacked basic conveniences – like plumbing. Today, majority Black or Latinx schools are nearly twice as likely as majority white schools to be underfunded.
These and other issues contribute to Latine people being more likely to experience poverty than their white counterparts. In 2021, the median income nationally for Hispanic households was $57,981. In Whatcom County according to the 2023 ALICE Report, 57% of Hispanic households struggle to make ends meet.
TOOLS AND RESOURCES TO EXPLORE
Read this report entitled “Children in Financial Hardship” from the ALICE in Focus Series to get a glimpse of the struggles that Latine children may face.
This video from PBS recounts the history of racial discrimination against Mexican Americans in the United States.Sensitive: This resource contains sensitive material that may be upsetting to viewers. (5:40 mins)
Listento NPR’s CODE SW!TCH episode “Before ‘Brown v. Board,’ Mendez Fought California’s Segregated Schools.” This clip and article recount the story of Mendez v. Westminster, a 1947 class-action lawsuit in which Latino families in southern California fought against four Orange County school districts for segregating white and Mexican children. (4 mins)