Discrimination amongst the minority races like the Hispanic Americans in America has been a persistent problem. This is so as many white Americans have a better chance of getting better employment opportunities, better education, high paying jobs and skills which enable them to prosper socio-economically. This paper will describe the approaches and methods that will be used in investigating this issue. At the same time, this paper will review the existing literatures on race and ethnic relations while also explaining the effects and possible solutions of the current employment discrimination against the Hispanic Americans. The paper will also review the evidence concerning various alternative solutions to the issue.
As the largest ethnic minority in the U.S, the number of Hispanic Americans has been rapidly growing over the years and consists of almost 15% of the total U.S population. The Hispanic Americans comprise of numerous distinct ethnic groups and share cultural and language heritage from the Spanish colonialism. Followed by Puerto Ricans, the largest Hispanic American group is the Mexican American. The rest of the people under this minority race consist of people from the Central and South America and who can be traced back to Spain. Today, the term Latino is commonly used to describe Hispanic (Marger, 2008, p. 211).
For a long time, Hispanic Americans have been considered as an ethnic minority ‘in between’ based on their transitional ethnic status which falls between the Euro-American groups and the African American. However, even after intermarriage and migrating to the United States, educationally and occupationally prepared, this minority race was not well received in the United States. In other words, despite meeting certain qualification standards in terms of education and occupation, the group has for a long time been discriminated upon with their employment chances slimmer as compared to the White Americans (Marger, 2008, p. 213).
The Hispanic American population essentially occupies the middle position in the United States class system. Taking into consideration their economic success as well as their positions in the endeavour for economic success, their status is below the white Americans but still above the African American population. Additionally, the various Hispanic groups which includes the Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cuban Americans all have different ways and patterns of settlement and adaptability (Marger, 2008, p. 214)
Noticeable differences can also be seen where the different Hispanic groups have different levels of income, education and skills. For instance, the Nicaraguans have a better performance in their professional lives and have higher level of education and income (Marger, 2008, p. 222). This therefore goes to show that compared to the white Americans, the socioeconomic status of Hispanic Americans is low. However, is it possible that Hispanic Americans could attain the same or a higher socioeconomic status by equal employment opportunities like white Americans?
The objectives of this paper therefore are to establish the core factors leading to the disparity in the socioeconomic status between the white Americans and Hispanic Americans as a minority race in U.S. What is more, this study also seeks to explain how the lingering employment discrimination affects this minority race. This study will also find out what needs to be done in order to bridge the existent gap while at the same determining whether it is possible for Hispanic Americans to accomplish economic success as much as the white Americans have by getting better employment opportunities in the workplace.
The approach and methods that will be used to achieve this will involve an examination into the income, wealth and poverty statistics between these two groups so as to establish the root causes of the socioeconomic gap. Further still, relevant literature will be reviewed in a bid to determine the depth of this situation and at the same time come up with possible solutions to the current issue of study. Current efforts that have been made to address the socioeconomic disparity between white Americans and Hispanic Americans will also be explored so as to establish the possible alternative solutions to the issue at hand.
Reasonable employment opportunities between the white Americans and the Hispanic Americans will therefore enable better relations and equality in hiring, firing, training, payments as well as other workplace related issues regardless of the colour, sex or place of origin. As a result, this minority race will have an equal chance in gaining work experience by occupying the most skilled and high paying jobs. As well, this will in turn encourage Hispanic Americans to pursue higher education despite the continuing problem (Marger, 2008, p. 227).
Hispanic Americans: The reasons and effects of employment discrimination
Unequal job opportunities affect Hispanic Americans in a number of ways. These discrimination practices negatively enhance additional difficulties for this minority group even after education where even the lack of skills end up unaccounted for. Many of them end up lacking enough skills that will enable them achieve more in their future lives. One of the main reasons that lead to unequal employment opportunities between the Hispanic Americans and the White Americans is their low education level that widely prevails amongst many Hispanics (Marger, 2008, p. 227).
Further still, the discrimination against Hispanics with regard to employment opportunities has also led to them having limited opportunities in top positions within the corporate world. Statistics show that only a small number of Hispanic Americans are board of directors in the largest corporations in U.S. This goes to show that the discriminate employment opportunities have also led to an unfair representation of Hispanic Americans in the executive posts in most of the top corporations in U.S. It appears that Hispanic Americans are lowly represented in high level work positions while they are highly represented in low level work positions (Marger, 2008, p.233)
What is more, minority problems are as a result of the existent favouritism in employment opportunities in the U.S that most firms owned by Hispanic Americans are either small or family businesses. This is attributed to the fact that most of the Hispanics who have achieved economic success are only people who hail from middle class or high class family background or those who acquired these skills from their native countries. Besides, it is also shown that among the economically successful Hispanic Americans, quite a large number are Cuban Americans (Marger, 2008, p.233).
It has also been noted that some of the reasons why Hispanic Americans are discriminated against in the skilled employment opportunities is their low education levels as well as the inefficient skills required for these jobs. This therefore means that most Hispanics only manage to land themselves jobs that do not require highly skilled professionals. Such jobs are not as well paying as the ones that require higher skills and as a result therefore quite a large number of Hispanic Americans remain either in the middle class or the low class levels of the American society (Marger, 2008, p.227)
What is more, it is assumed that most Hispanics do not have the proper education that qualifies them for the better employment positions as compared to the white Americans. This in turn leads to a negative prejudgement by a significant number of employers such that in many cases the Hispanic Americans will only be employed in the low skilled, which are also low paying jobs. Therefore this premeditated prejudice narrows the chances for good employment opportunities for the Hispanic Americans (Marger, 2008, p.227)
Further still, the stereotype has also been heightened by the qualities characteristic of this group’s origins. For instance, the Anglos regarded Mexicans to be lazy, weak, immoral and backward while the Mexicans on the other hand regarded Anglos as arrogant, rude, dishonest and unreliable. What is more, the Mexicans were also exploited for their labour and as a result they offered cheap labour to the other ethnic communities. These negative stereotypes built up even after these groups settled in US and were subsequently taken up by the native white Americans. Such are the negative attitudes that have also greatly influenced the discriminate offering of employment opportunities to different ethnic groups of the Hispanic American population together with the white American population (Marger, 2008, p. 234)
The impact of race discrimination in the employment opportunities has been felt greatly by the Hispanic community. This is evidently revealed by their lower standards of living as well as low income as compared to the white Americans. However, there is also a difference between the income levels of various ethnic communities within the Hispanic population that also arise from the discriminatory practices that characterize the employment field (Marger, 2008, p.225)
According to a 2007 U.S census Bureau study, it was established that the median household income for Hispanics was about $38,747 compared to $52,375. Further still it was documented that among the Hispanic communities; South Americans had the highest median household income which was estimated to be $48,037 while the Dominicans had the lowest median income at $32,013. The ethnic communities fell in between this range showing that there was a further disparity in the income levels of various Hispanic ethnic groups (Marger, 2008, p.225)
Moreover, the US Census Bureau study also revealed that only 9.3% of the white Americans lived in poverty while 3.3% were unemployed. 21.5% of the Hispanics on the other hand lived in poverty while 5.1% were unemployed. Further still, the highest percentage of poverty and unemployment was among the Dominicans while the lowest poverty levels were among the South Americans and lowest unemployment rate among the Cuban. These statistics show that the employment discrimination among the various Hispanic communities as well as the discrimination between Hispanics and white Americans directly influences their socioeconomic status in US (Marger, 2008, p.225).
Solutions of employment discrimination against Hispanic Americans
The socio-economic disparity can be controlled in a number of ways. According to the Title VII of the Civil Rights Act 1964, it is illegal for any person to discriminate against any individuals based on the nationality, colour, religion, disability or sex. Based on this Act, an employer may not reject hiring any person or discriminate against this person with regards to the stipulated employment privileges or terms and conditions based on the individuals’ colour, sex or religion. This Act therefore ensures that even the Hispanic America ns are not discriminated against (Ethnic Majority, 2008).
Additionally, an employer should not limit or set aside some or any of his applicants for employment or even his existing employees by depriving them of chances that will adversely affect their status as employees based on their sex, religion, nationality among other factors. Consequently, this Act helps in solving employment discrimination against the Hispanic Americans by employers as they will also have an equal chance of in all established programs that are meant to provide promotions, firings and apprenticeship to all employees (Ethnic Majority, 2008).
With many Hispanic Americans being subjected to low paying jobs and poor living standards compared to white Americans, many of them seek alternative solutions that will enable them have an equal chance in being employed without much discrimination based on their race. Consequently, Title VII protects applicants from unlawful employment agencies and labour unions which have unlawful employment practices. In an attempt to keep employment discrimination practices at bay, all discrimination complaints and claims are handled by the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). This commission aims enforcing Title VII and at promoting equality of opportunities in the work place (Ethnic Majority, 2008).
Despite the discrimination practices on Hispanic Americans, cultural assimilation of this minority group is slowly taking place making them absorb into the American society. Regardless of the fact that this minority group suffered ethnic antagonism in the Southwest, Hispanic Americans are technically American citizens. Moreover, contrary to decades ago when all Hispanic Americans were considered as lazy, uneducated or inadequately skilled, laws have since been enacted in a bid to prohibit employment discrimination against the minority races in the U.S thus giving them equal opportunities and protection from prejudice and discrimination as of the majority race.
Ethnic Majority. (2008). Employment Discrimination against African, Hispanic, and Asian Americans. Retrieved November 16, 2008 from http://ethnicmajority.com/WORKPLACE_DISCRIMINATION.HTM
Marger M., N. (2008). Race and Ethnic Relations: America and Global Perspectives. Wadsworth Cengage Learning.