Two recent stories on the front page, mind you, of Stockton’s, The Record, grabbed my immediate attention. The first, pertained to new findings that show that more Latinos than whites are being accepted in to the UC system. Now, that might not seem like good news to some, but you need to understand that Latinos in the US have come a l-0-n-g way since the early part of the twentieth century. In the 1950s, when I was a senior in high school few Mexicans or Hispanics (we didn’t refer to ourselves as Latinos then) went to college. I knew of not one single one who did! It simply was unheard of.
When I went to college, a small private art school, population some 600+, in the Bay Area, there was only about 6 of “us” on campus! Thus, it was a BIG DEAL when we spotted another one of us on campus. Classrooms were full of whites with one Mexican/Latino face in the crowd, if any. According to the article, of the 61,120 freshman applicants accepted into UC 17, 589, or 29% , were Latino while Whites made up 27%. Whew! Big stuff.
The second article concerned California’s changing demographics showing that some time in March, for the first time since 1850, Latinos are the largest, 39%, ethnic group in the state. Hijola! Ay, Caramba! The only other state so far to join California in this phenomena, is New Mexico. However, we know that numbers alone do not translate to power, and that Latinos still rank near the bottom in economic and educational status.