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New Pew survey reveals Latinos’ hopes for change under Obama are fading

Posted on: January 16, 2010
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The Pew Research Center released a report today meant to evaluate how blacks view the state of "black progress," especially since Barack Obama was elected president.

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Not surprisingly blacks responded favorably to most of the survey questions. In fact, they even admitted that the biggest group now facing discrimination, isn't blacks anymore, but Hispanics.

Ever since the Latino population began to gain numbers in the United States, an unspoken camaraderie and competition have existed between the two groups. A camaraderie because many of the discriminating and racial struggles impacting blacks also impacted Latinos and competition to see which group could ascend these obstacles first.

For these reasons, it's always been unspoken that Latinos and blacks had more in common than had differences. Yet, the Pew survey revealed the opposite. According to the survey, only 26% of Latinos felt that Obama shares their values and interests A LOT versus 31% for whites and 60% for blacks.

A man of mixed heritage, of which most Latinos identify as being; a product of a single mother raised by his grandparents - a story not uncommon in the Latino community; a parent from a foreign country with family still living in that country - again, not an uncommon profile in the Latino community are all elements that can be found in most Latino families, and definitely in every Latino community.

So why did the Latinos surveyed feel they had less in common with Obama than whites?

It could be that the Latinos surveyed were basing their answer on what Obama has done for Latinos since he's been in office and the feeling is not A LOT.

Forty-two percent of Latinos surveyed felt that Obama is not paying enough attention to Latino concerns. To be fair, 42% of Latinos believe that he is paying the right amount of attention to the concerns of Latinos.

Yet, the 42% who feel they're getting the short end of the attention is the highest number by far of all the other groups: 10% for blacks; 13% whites; 18% for women and 35% for seniors.

The major issue driving that feeling may be Washington's inaction on immigration enforcement. While it's understandable that the financial sector, the job market and healthcare have been the administration's top priorities, there has been hardly a nod towards certain elements of the immigration issue that don't need congressional approval for change, and which are the causes of the impatience and frustration felt by some Latinos.

For example, if the Obama administration had appointed a separate task force to investigate immigrant detention conditions once he took office then the bigger picture of the needless deaths, negligence and abuse that have been occurring and were documented in a recent New York Times article could have been addressed before more needless deaths occurred under ICE's watch.

It wouldn't have taken an act of Congress to direct Sec. Napolitano to issue a directive to stop separating families and deporting parents leaving the children behind.

It doesn't take an act of Congress for the President to personally take to the podium and strongly denounce assaults against Hispanic immigrants and set a stronger national tone of intolerance for such actions.

In most of the other questions, the Latinos surveyed didn't answer that differently from blacks. It means that Latinos see Obama less as the first black President and more as the first President who promised he would give the necessary attention to Latinos' needs -- the survey shows that Latinos are still waiting.


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