Column: Rick Caruso’s Latino appeal isn’t bought — it’s real. But is it enough to win?
In the 1970s, when the country came to understand that its best political leaders were “mestizo” — a mix of Spanish and Native American blood — and most of its wealthiest people were “Hispanics,” Latinos were often described as “the biggest threat to democracy.”
In fact, they were just getting started.
Today, Latinos are again viewed that way by at least half the United States. That’s the opinion of a new study released today. The findings show that many non-white Americans continue to feel superior to Latinos.
And the feeling is shared by Latinos themselves, says James Henson, author of the study.
At the end of the day, he tells the Los Angeles Times, “Latinos are not a monolithic nation. We do have common ground with everybody.”
In fact, Henson says when non-white Americans have conversations with Latinos, they see them — in terms of intelligence and political views — differently from how they view White Americans.
Henson’s study, released today, has a simple question to ask — if the study were conducted by Hispanics and non-Hispanics and white persons together: Would Latinos find things the same? Henson found that most — 68 percent — of Latinos and 53 percent of non-Latino Whites surveyed believe it would be difficult to get on the same page with the majority of non-Latino Whites.
When asked whether they think it would be easier to get along with White Americans, 68 percent of Latinos and 61 percent of Whites identified with their own ethnic group.
Henson says, “That means if you were to ask the average Latino which group he or she prefers, the answer would be about the same as for White Americans who make up the majority of the U.S. population — Hispanic Americans.”
What’s more, his study found that Latinos and non-Hispanics actually believe they have less in common with White Americans than with other non-Latino Whites. About a third of Latinos — 32 percent — said they viewed themselves as very much alike to non-Latino Whites, and 28 percent of non-Hispanics viewed themselves as very much alike