Saturday, May 11, 2024

To awake sleeping giants, invite them to play for real

Posted by Elena del Valle on March 9, 2011

By Patria de Lancer Julnes, Ph.D.

Patria de Lancer Julnes, Ph.D.

According to 2009 census estimates Hispanics1 comprise the largest minority group among, 15.8% or 48.4 million people and expected to continue growing. In spite of the size and rapid growth of the Hispanic population, for a long time Hispanics have been considered a sleeping giant, a label that, according to Cristina Beltran (2010), evokes the notion that Hispanics are “subjects on the cusp of political power and influence” (p. 3), but also a group who is “politically passive and difficult to mobilize: the giant who cannot be roused from its slumber” (p.4).

However, in a recent book, journalist Jorge Ramos (2005) challenges the image of Hispanics as a sleeping giant, arguing that Hispanics not only are now able to decide closely contested electoral races, but also that because of their size, important decisions will require the support of Hispanics. Ramos predicts that the “Hispanic vote will cease to be a weightless player on the political scale, and instead become the veritable ‘big boy’ in states and regions where the Latino vote has historically congregated” (p. xviii).The results of the 2010 midterm election, when for the first time three Hispanic candidates won top state level posts, seem to confirm Ramo’s predictions.

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