Hispanics in USA

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Hello: I'm Gynnie Ann, and I've lived all my life in New York City; the last seven years I've lived in Hudson County, New Jersey. I am 50 years old. We, in Hudson County have many Hispanics, from all over Latin America and the Caribe. Many Spaniards, too.

Many of the Hispanics now arriving to the United States, through our Visa and Residency prgrams have full education credentials, but because they do not speak a word of English are unable to assimilate, and instead lower their standard of living here. This leaves me to wonder why they would leave their home lands.

Perhaps it's because of the political climate in their countries. Or perhaps, they are thinking that America is a Bi-lingual Spanish speaking country, which it is not.

Most certifications and licenses require exams to be passed, and those test are administered in English. Even of these non-English speaking people who do pass these test are not given jobs in their perspective field of work, because, they do not speak English. This happened recently with a woman from Peru, that I have been working with, in bringing her English to par. She is a Spanish teacher with a Bachelor Degree in teaching Spanish from Peru; she met all the qualifications for certification to teach Spanish in New Jersey, then after sending a resume and cover letter to over 12 school districts, and about 15 charter schools, got just one offer. The offer was from a charter school, which meant that she would have to teach Spanish to all the grades, kindergarten through 12th grades. The principal was even Spanish, of Mexican descent, who he himself had a tough time getting to where he is now at; a principal with two Master degrees. So, you would think that she got the job, right? No, she did not. The principal told her that even if he did want to give her the job, it would be a detriment to him, because as it was, many parents where reluctant to allow their children to attend his school, because he was Hispanic; the principal, and also that she would have to give instruction in English and also communicate with the parents, in English. Also, many of the older grade students would just use her inability to communicate in English as an excuse for failing. So, the woman lost a good opportunity, because she did not speak English. She has been in the United States, as a permanent resident for almost 3 years. She is unemployed. Her husband who is a licensed lawyer in Peru, works in a print shop.

My advice to anyone Hispanic that wishes,to some day, come to America, is to be sure that they are fluent in English. It cost a lot of money to attend English Classes and mainly what is taught is grammar, never extensive English conversation. What happens is that these Spanish speaking people end up living in neighborhoods, that a great portion of the population speaks Spanish, like is the case in Union City, West New York, and Weehawken, NJ, and never get to practice the little English they have learned in these English classes. Then they forget or just end up talking very very bad English.

I work with members of this group of highly educated people, providing assistance in their search for American equivalent licenses and certification, give ESL (mainly in conversation English, and also provide Specialty Vocabulary that is needed for these people to be able to function in their specialized careers. I've seen the struggle here, while they could have lived very comfortable lives in their own countries. Something that trouble me.

Here in the big cities, like those located in New York, and New Jersey, we are burdened with high rents and low paying jobs, so think twice before leaving the comforts of you home; for what?

I'm a second generation born in the United States, of Puerto Rican born parents who migrated to the United States as children, in the late 1930's, and quite frankly I would have preferred to be born in Puerto Rico, eating bananas. At least the Sun shines every day.

People are very envious of Hispanics here in the United States, especially those that come from other non-English speaking countries, that hold Permanent Legal Residency, because many government agencies provide in the United States provide bi-lingual service in Spanish, and these non-Hispanic Residents think that is not fair. But, don't count on bi-lingual service, because a lot of agencies do not provide the service.

I've seen people run around like chickens without a head (and most of us know how that looks); it's really sad. Although Puerto Ricans are always happy to help a non-English speaking person, don't expect others from Latin American countries to help, because many, once they have reach a level of good understanding, become arrogant, and instead of helping a person, leads them astray. These action actually pleases them, because they feel superior.

Sorry to break the bubble on anyone of you who thought of America in better light, I'm just telling you the reality of the matter, and because, I see too many Hispanics suffering here.

2044 views
updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by gadnynj

8 Answers

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I agree whole heartingly. It is the reason I've openned my home to the recent immigrants that seek to assimilate, within the surrounding communites. At times I am forced to apologize to these folks for the harsh realities I expose them to. I love Canada, having toured Montreal and Quebec, in 1987. Often, and for me to reason with, I have been awaken to remember that I had just dreamed with Quabec. Then, with reasoning, now I believe that perhaps my ancient people travelled through Quabec to reach the beautiful island called Puerto Rico. Quebec is beautiful, especially looking out to Chemin Royal. I will always have a special place in my heart for that place, where the land drops and meets the sea. Montreal, on the other hand is so sophisticated, and lively, unfortunately for me, at the time, did not venture it's near mountains. Enjoy your life in Canada, perhaps I shall visit, again, soon.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by gadnynj
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I am actually surprised that so many Americans want to learn Spanish so they can speak to Latinos who don't speak English. I don't live in the US and don't really understand what goes on there, but in Canada that would be unthinkable.

Canada has a higher proportion of immigrants than the US, but almost everyone who arrives here puts learning English (or French) as their top priority. The government certainly helps by providing free classes, but the general attitude is that if you live here you must speak one of the official languages. This is not imposed on immigrants, it's actually embraced by them, as everyone wishes to be part of the greater whole and don't want to feel left out.

At the same time, everyone is encouraged to keep their cultural and linguistic heritage. There is no pressure on anyone to become "canadianized", in fact Canada prides itself on its cultural diversity.

This all works well, everyone is happy, the country is prosperous and so are most people regardless of whether they are native or immigrant. Perhaps people in the US should try and learn something from their northern neighbour.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by 00719c95
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Thank you. No, you would know better the category.

I appreciate that you find the topic interesting, although, for me it is daunting. I will soon publish a book on Blurb.com addressing the Puerto Rican community, regarding negative human behaviors towards our children, and its effects within the community, and outside the community. Well, the book is for everyone, but the thread of photos relate directly to the Puerto Rican community, so I expect a debate, once the book is publish. I will publish both in English and Spanish.

Are you familiar with the website, if not, feel free to check it out.

Introducing a conversation regarding negative human behavior within our (Puerto Rican) community is the least, and most I can do before the "Second Generation" is gone.

Even though my topic, in this blog, is not about negative human behaviors (in general)I am over burdened with the fact that they exist, and poverty is a added factor to dilemma effecting the progress of Hispanics. Addressing that and providing an insight, in this blogg, to the realities of assimation in the United State, perhaps will better prepare those who seek to immigrate to the United States.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by gadnynj
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I can only speak to my past experience and those I experience. This forum is great. But let me just tell you a bit, since you inquired.

My father came as a child, in the late 30's, grew up in America, so by the time he was an adult, he too, like so many did well, as a carpenter; he was a cabinet maker in a time when there was expansion in the housing industry. He married, and provided quite a good standard for my mom (better than that of the Puerto Ricans who where arriving to the United States during the late 1950's,) They bore three children, however, before my arrival, he was called to serve in the Armed forces of the United States. Our household income dropped some 90% Because my mom also grew up here in the states, there was conflict with his family, which continued with financial difficulties, and it was thought among them that my mother was spending all his good earnings. Well to make it all light in this response, my mother had to sell all the very good furnishings my father had provided and even was evicted from from her home, while my father served in the U.S. Armed Forces. I then was born while my father served, and on his return I was 2 years old. Seeing the disparity, and with just one day back, turned around and left the home, never to return. That one night that my father stayed, my mother became pregnant. The family was left abandoned, with a single mother, and three small female offsprings ranging from two years old, to 6 years old; and another one on the way.

To say that I have not had a difficult journey, that is for me to say and not for you to judge. My daughter too, is educated, and a mechanical engineer, working in the Department of Defense, with a excellent salary, and a terribly high standard of living. It does not take away from the difficulty some are found in, and all that I personally dealt with; and deal with.

In education my generation of children, living in NYC were steered vocational, and never in the academics, it's a wonder I can even scibble a complete sentence. It's because I am self taught.

Honestly, I would had rather been born in Puerto Rico, and eating bananas. I have a right to say that, here and also there, in Puerto Rico.

I'm not questioning why you want to learn Spanish. I'm advising some who may be of the opinion that we are a bi-lingual country, because we are not. Also, the Hispanic cultures vary, and although some are similar to European, mine is one that is free of constrains, and together with the challenges posed here, in the United States, together both are a deadly mix. So, your experience, and my experience are different. But, if you are of a limited mentality to think that everyone walks in your shoes, that is not case.

By the way, in the four generations that my family has been associated with the mainland U.S.A., my family share the burden, of so many of our members serving in the Armed Forces; whether called to serve in time of war, or freely enlisting, as is the case today, with a sister in the Navy, and a nephew who recently returned from serving in Afghanistan, enlisting at 19 years old and returning home at 25 years of age.

Puerto Ricans have been serving in the U.S, Armed Forces since WWI, and in great numbers, and also share a common wealth with the United States. So, I will express which ever way I feel, we earned it, can you that claim? But thanks for the comment.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by gadnynj
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Hi gad, this is an interesting topic. I have changed this to the correct category, if you wish to change the title (which I have changed) , please let me know.

Welcome to the forum smile

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by 00494d19
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I'm not quite sure what you are complaining about and whether I, as an english speaking citizen of the United States, am part of your problem.

When my grandparents came to this country from Yugoslavia, they did not know a word of English and gravitated to an area in Minnesota heavily populated by Slovanian speaking immigrants. They all came to this country because it promised a much better life than the one they left.

They didn't whine and complain that they couldn't get good jobs because they couldn't speak English - they learned English along with the Germans and the Swedes and the Norwegians and every other immigrant that crossed over looking for a better life.

By the time I was born, I had never heard my grandparents or parents speak anything but English. My Dad got a good job and me and my two brothers and sister all went to college and then we got good jobs.

I'm trying to learn to speak Spanish to better get along with the influx of spanish speaking immigrants coming into Colorado, but if people are going to whine that we should be a bi-lingual society, then why stop there?

Let's have all of the signs at Home Depot in Spanish and German and French and Slovanian and every other language on earth.

Or we can do the one thing that will unite us all - quit whining and learn English.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by john20
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I'm a second generation born in the United States of Puerto Rican parents, and quite frankly I would have preferred to be born in Puerto Rico, eating bananas.

The grass always seems greener...

Maybe you answered your own question as to why people come here.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by 0074b507
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Yes, the grass is greener, and I have a beautiful lawn in my back yard to prove it. Life is tough here, and with this post, I'm making others aware, that just because it shines, does not mean it's gold. The people I assist, I've seen them shed tears of frustration, and I myself suffer with them. They are so good to me, bringing me little gifts, that I cherish, because I know that they do it out of their hearts; it's not many they meet with an extended hand of help. So, many Hispanics here in Hudson County become prey, even by they own kind. It's sad, really sad.

updated JUL 16, 2009
posted by gadnynj