Eco Latino int 

Jorge MaJfud

  1. Jorge MaJfud
  2. by Mario Bahamón Dussán

    Who is Who?, seeks to highlight and make known the work of the hispanic residents in north Florida outstanding in activities useful to our society

    In this edition, Eco Latino wants to highlight the Uruguayan writer and educator Jorge Majfud resident of Jacksonville. Author of the novels: La reina de América (2001), La ciudad de la Luna (2009) y Crisis (2012).

    Doctor Majfud was honored with the Excellence in Research Award in Humanities and Letters. Was a finalist in the contest Casa de America and Juan Rulfo. He is one of the most important Latin American Writers from the new generation.

    Ecolatino: How did you get to the United States?

    Jorge Majfud: A professor of the University of Georgia, that had read my books, invited me to apply for a scholarship at his university. After the GRE and TOEFL, I started a graduate degree where I worked as a teaching assistant. It was an opportunity to devote completely to my first vocation.

    EL: What do you miss most about Uruguay?

    JM: My parents, my people, the value given to time as a human experience and not as financial resource, all of that doesn’t exist anymore and I can only visit it from time to time in my memory.

    How did you get involved with Jacksonville University?

    JM: After UGA, I taught for two years at Lincoln University, but my family and I aren’t made for cold weather, snow and shadows. I looked for a city in frontof the ocean and coincidentally there was a request for a Spanish and literature professor at JU. After the process of interviews, I got the offer to come here. JU has one of the most beautiful campus in the country, a team of very professional teachers and students with merits and respectful, in a city with a river, an ocean and a nature that allows outdoor life the whole year.

    What message would you give to the Hispanics that want to succeed in the United States?

    JM: I always tell my students not to believe me, I tell them to investigate by themselves. But if you ask me, I’d tell them to first reconsider what succeeding means. If it’s about a project that helps the passion for life, it’s welcome. If it’s about being rich and famous, it’s very probable that they’ll turn into poor and unknown. And if any of them gets rich and famous, perhaps he or she will end up like many of the rich and famous we know, which is very discouraging. Isn’t? In the United States there are many possibilities, a lot of good people, almost as much as the other ones. If we consider the terrible initial conditions of many immigrants, the fact that they can support their families, it’s already a bigger success than the one of any new rich. There are very few groups as hardworking and sacrificed as immigrants. Many illegal immigrants don’t even speak English, they don’t have documents, they don’t know the law and they don’t get many of the state benefits and despite all this, they find a job while others who prefer to stay home and benefit from the help of the same state complain that immigrants are taking their jobs. They are shameless. Then, the invisible immigrants expelled from their countries arrive here and are blamed for all the bad things. But the world has always been unfair, so until something is done to improve it, there is a lot that can be done to live the life that we have with as much joy as possible. That’s succeeding, according to me. In any case, the formula is very simple: acquire the sense of responsibility, sacrifice and joy of children. Without that, the rest of the skills are not as useful or are useless on the long run.

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Census data show wealth of whites is 20 times that of blacks, widest US gap in quarter-century

U.S. Census Bureau Regions, Partnership and Da...

U.S. Census Bureau Regions


By Associated Press

WASHINGTON — The wealth gaps between whites and minorities have grown to their widest levels in a quarter-century. The recession and uneven recovery have erased decades of minority gains, leaving whites on average with 20 times the net worth of blacks and 18 times that of Hispanics, according to an analysis of new Census data.The analysis shows the racial and ethnic impact of the economic meltdown, which ravaged housing values and sent unemployment soaring. It offers the most direct government evidence yet of the disparity between predominantly younger minorities whose main asset is their home and older whites who are more likely to have 401(k) retirement accounts or other stock holdings.

“What’s pushing the wealth of whites is the rebound in the stock market and corporate savings, while younger Hispanics and African-Americans who bought homes in the last decade — because that was the American dream — are seeing big declines,” said Timothy Smeeding, a University of Wisconsin-Madison professor who specializes in income inequality.

The median wealth of white U.S. households in 2009 was $113,149, compared with $6,325 for Hispanics and $5,677 for blacks, according to the analysis released Tuesday by the Pew Research Center. Those ratios, roughly 20 to 1 for blacks and 18 to 1 for Hispanics, far exceed the low mark of 7 to 1 for both groups reached in 1995, when the nation’s economic expansion lifted many low-income groups to the middle class.

The white-black wealth gap is also the widest since the census began tracking such data in 1984, when the ratio was roughly 12 to 1.

“I am afraid that this pushes us back to what the Kerner Commission characterized as ‘two societies, separate and unequal,’” said Roderick Harrison, a former chief of racial statistics at the Census Bureau, referring to the 1960s presidential commission that examined U.S. race relations. “The great difference is that the second society has now become both black and Hispanic.”

Stock holdings play an important role in the economic well-being of white households. Stock funds, IRA and Keogh accounts as well as 401(k) and savings accounts were responsible for 28 percent of whites’ net worth, compared with 19 percent for blacks and 15 percent for Hispanics.

According to the Pew study, the housing boom of the early to mid-2000s boosted the wealth of Hispanics in particular, who were disproportionately employed in the thriving construction industry. Hispanics also were more likely to live and buy homes in states such as California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, which were in the forefront of the real estate bubble, enjoying early gains in home values.

But those gains quickly shriveled in the housing bust. After reaching a median wealth of $18,359 in 2005, the wealth of Hispanics — who derived nearly two-thirds of their net worth from home equity — declined by 66 percent by 2009. Among blacks, who now have the highest unemployment rate at 16.2 percent, their household wealth fell 53 percent from $12,124 to $5,677.

[Source Washington Post]

Mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración

Mythes de base sur l’immigration (French)


Seis mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración


En casi todos los países y a lo largo de diferentes épocas, las clases más conservadoras han estado siempre en los extremos de la pirámide social. En Estados Unidos la retórica conservadora ha logrado captar parte de los sectores de los extractos más bajos de la sociedad, no recurriendo a liberar a los ricos de impuestos (para esto está la ideología del “trickle down”) sino creando el demonio del inmigrante ilegal. No hay nada mejor para canalizar las frustraciones de las clases más bajas que crear enemigos tribales dentro de la misma clase.

Así se han aprobando leyes como en Arizona y en Georgia, que criminalizan a “los sin papeles”, lo que ha provocado la fuga de muchos trabajadores indocumentados de un estado a otro. Como resultado, los pequeños y medianos empresarios del área de la construcción y sobre todo de la actividad agrícola se quejan que no hay brazos para levantar las cosechas. Solo en la costa oeste los puestos de recolectores sin ocupar superan los cientos de miles. Claro, hay que trabajar sin aire acondicionado.

Innumerables estudios (ej. Damian Stanley y Peter Sokol-Hessner, NYU; Mahzarin Banaji, Harvard Univ., etc.) han demostrado que el miedo al otro es prehistórico y provoca reacciones negativas hasta en la persona más pacífica cuando se le presentan diferentes imágenes de diferentes rostros. No obstante, aquellos que entendemos que existe cierto grado de evolución humana, no defendemos un rasgo milenario por el sólo hecho de ser milenario. Podemos asumir que el amor y el odio, el temor y la solidaridad, como lo sugieren las mayores obras de arte, son emociones irreductibles, no cuantificables por principio y definición, y seguramente inmanentes a todos los seres humanos a lo largo de la historia. Pero no las formas en que los individuos y las sociedades se relacionan para desarrollarse y evolucionar. Si no hay progreso histórico en cada individuo (cualquier tibetano del siglo V puede ser social y moralmente superior a un habitante contemporáneo de Rio o Filadelfia), en cambio podemos esperar que sí lo haya en una sociedad dada que es capaz de aprovechar la experiencia histórica, propia y ajena. Si en los primates existe la mentira, la explotación y las jerarquías sociales y políticas (Frans de Waal, etc.), ello no es un indicio de que estas estructuras (culturales) sean insuperables sino, a juzgar por las diferencias entre algunos hombres y un orangután, todo lo contrario. Al menos que los conservadores propongan a los monos como pruebas, no de una posible evolución sino de la imposibilidad de evolucionar.

En la problemática de la inmigración inevitablemente juegan estos elementos primitivos, aunque maquillados con retóricas cargadas de preceptos ideológicos sin una racionalidad mínima. Por lo tanto son mitos, creencias indiscutibles (es decir, realidades) para determinados grupos, producto de repeticiones, sobre todo mediáticas.

Más allá de que nunca apoyamos ni apoyaremos la opción de una inmigración ilegal, el punto central aquí es analizar la realidad instaurada.


Mito I: Con los inmigrantes aumenta la criminalidad

Falso. Diferentes estudios de diferentes universidades (Robert Sampson, Harvard University; Daniel Mears, Florida State University; Public Policy Institute of California, PPIC, etc.) han demostrado claramente que a un incremento de la inmigración sigue un descenso de la criminalidad. También se ha observado que sobre todo la primera generación de inmigrantes es menos propensa a la violencia que la tercera, muy a pesar de las mayores necesidades económica que suele sufrir la primera generación. La relación inversa entre violencia e inmigración latina, puede resultar paradójica, considerando la violencia brutal que existe en las sociedades de las que proceden estos inmigrantes. Paradoja que, como toda paradoja, es apenas una contradicción aparente con una lógica interna; obviamente, muy fácil de explicar.

Mito II: Los inmigrantes le quitan los trabajos a los nacionales

Falso. En todos los países del mundo siempre se ha buscado a alguna minoría débil para descargar todas las frustraciones de cada crisis. En Estados Unidos algunos desempleados se quejan de que los inmigrantes ilegales les quitan los trabajos, lo cual resulta una muestra de época inteligencia y probablemente de mala fe: es mejor quedare en casa o salir a comer a un restaurante con el dinero del Estado que ir a hacer trabajos duros que sólo aquellos inmigrantes pobres (los ricos no emigran) son capaces de hacer.

Los inmigrantes más pobres no hablan inglés (en ocasiones, los mexicanos y centroamericanos ni siquiera hablan español), no conocen las leyes, no tienen papeles para trabajar, son perseguidos o viven escondiéndose y aún así consiguen trabajos que los “pobres americanos” no pueden conseguir. ¿Cómo hacen?

Por el contrario, estudios serios demuestran que la inmigración ayuda a crear nuevos puestos de trabajo (Gianmarco Ottaviano, Università Bocconi, Italia; Giovanni Peri, University of California). Según un estudio de Pew Research Center, en los tres últimos años la inmigración ilegal latinoamericana a Estados Unidos ha caído 22 por ciento, sin que esto haya significado un descenso de la tasa de desempleo. De hecho, sólo los inmigrantes indocumentados aportan más de medio millón de consumidores al año.

Mito IV. Los inmigrantes ilegales son una carga porque usan servicios públicos que no pagan.

Falso. Cualquier ciudadano desocupado o que gane menos de 18.000 dólares anuales hace uso gratuito de cualquier servicio médico y de muchos otros servicios públicos y privados, como vivienda y pensiones. Los trabajadores sin papeles acuden a un servicio sanitario en última instancia (The American Journal of Public Health) y en muchos casos pagan por consultas y tratamientos. Muchos ni siquiera denuncian robos y abusos. Ningún camionero pretendería lucrar con su máquina sin llevarla alguna vez al mecánico, pero muchos ciudadanos que se benefician de los trabajadores indocumentados esperan que éstos nunca acudan a un hospital, a pesar de que los trabajos que hacen suelen ser los más peligrosos e insalubres.

Según la National Academy of the Sciences de Estados Unidos, los números muestran que estos inmigrantes aportan más de lo que toman de la economía nacional. Según el economista Benjamin Powell, estos trabajadores aportan 22 billones de dólares anuales y su legalización fácilmente aumentaría esa cifra.

En términos globales, el principal factor que pone en ventaja a Estados Unidos con respecto a las demás economías desarrolladas (incluida la emergente China) radica en su todavía alta tasa de trabajadores jóvenes, en gran medida debido a la alta tasa de natalidad entre la población hispana y a la inmigración misma, sin la cual programas como el Social Security serían insostenibles en un futuro cercano.

Mito V. Los indocumentados no pagan impuestos.

Falso. Los indocumentados pagan impuestos de muchas formas, directas o indirectas. Según cálculos de los últimos años, cada inmigrante ilegal paga miles de dólares en impuestos, mucho más que muchos ciudadanos inactivos. En total, el Social Security recibe más de 9 billones de dólares anuales de estos contribuyentes que probablemente nunca reclamarán ninguna devolución en forma de pensiones o beneficios. Actualmente hay cientos de billones de dólares aportados por trabajadores fantasmas (Eduardo Porter, New York Times; William Ford, Middle Tennessee State University; Marcelo Suárez-Orozco, New York University).

Mito VI: Los inmigrantes ilegales tienen poder corporativo.

Falso. Los inmigrantes no nacionalizados, sobre todo los ilegales, no votan en ninguna elección. En muchos casos ni siquiera pueden votar en las elecciones de sus países de origen, aunque sus millonarias remesas nunca han sido rechazadas ni despreciadas.

El slogan de “latinos unidos” es un buen negocio para las grandes cadenas de medios hispanos en Estados Unidos, pero esta unión es muy relativa. Aunque hay un sentimiento de “hispanidad” dentro de cualquier mundo “no hispano”, lo cierto es que las rivalidades, rencores y chauvinismos solapados surgen apenas “el otro no hispano” desaparece del horizonte tribal. También los estatus legales e ideológicos son, en casos, radicalmente inconciliables. Basta con considerar un trabajador mexicano ilegal y un balsero cubano, protegido por ley.

Jorge Majfud

Julio 2011, Jacksonville University

Gara (España)

Claridad (Puerto Rico)

Milenio , II (Mexico)

La Republica (Uruguay)

Mitos fundamentales sobre la inmigración

Jorge Majfud’s books at Amazon>>



Latino Population Surge Poses Challenge to GOP

Race and Hispanic Origin Population Density of...

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The explosive growth of the Hispanic population reflected in the 2010 census will remake the electoral map—and could present Republicans with a challenge.

Regional Remix

Republicans have broadly benefited from the nation’s continued population shift from the Northeast and Midwest to right-leaning Sun Belt states in recent decades, and those states are again expected to add seats in Congress in the next election.

But to take full advantage, Republicans will have to win over Latinos, who have fueled much of the population growth, and who lean Democratic in their voting. They accounted for 65% of the population growth in Texas over the past decade, 55% of the growth in Florida and nearly half of the population increase in Arizona and Nevada, census figures show. Those four states alone are due to add a combined eight congressional seats in the next election.

Republicans control the process of drawing the boundaries of congressional districts in Florida and Texas, which account for six of the new seats, while a Republican governor will spar with a Democratic legislature to draw a congressional seat in Nevada. A commission will decide the new lines in Arizona.

Hispanics have historically voted in lower proportions than blacks and whites. In 2008, they voted for President Barack Obama by nearly 2-to-1.

But some GOP leaders say Hispanic voters like the party’s message of low taxes and family values. They also note that a new cadre of rising Hispanic stars, among them freshman Florida Sen. Marco Rubio and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez, has the potential to draw more Hispanics to the party.

In Texas last November, a pair of Republicans—one of them Hispanic—beat incumbent Democrats in majority-Hispanic districts, and Nevada voters elected Republican Brian Sandoval as their governor, even as Latinos voted overwhelmingly for the U.S. Senate’s top Democrat, Harry Reid.

The risk, analysts say, is that tough language from some GOP officials on illegal immigration risks turning off Hispanic voters, many of whom view that rhetoric as a cultural affront.

«The Hispanic vote is increasingly important, and Republicans are going to need to do substantially better with this community to keep our majority for the long-term,» said Oklahoma Rep. Tom Cole, a former chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

Democrats say they are best positioned to benefit from the demographic changes. «Even in typically Republican states, it’s the Democratic communities that are growing, and there is nothing Republicans can do when drawing lines that can alter the demographic realities they face,» said New York Rep. Steve Israel, chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee.»

Complicating the process, the Voting Rights Act of 1965 may require officials to draw the House district boundaries in such a way that some of the eight new seats have a majority Hispanic population. Democrats and Hispanic advocacy groups argue there should be as many as four new majority-Hispanic districts in Texas and Florida, while some Republicans say they see at least one.

The law and related court rulings make it hard for officials to undermine existing districts in which minority groups hold a majority. In 2006, the Supreme Court ruled that Texas’s prior redistricting process violated minority rights by diminishing Hispanic representation in the 23rd House district, a protected majority-Hispanic district. That ruling had the effect of forcing state officials to redraw several districts in addition to the 23rd district.

In Texas, among states that must clear their new House maps with federal officials, Hispanics make up 38% of the population. Yet only six members of the state’s 32-member congressional delegation—fewer than 20%—are Latino. Although Republicans control every aspect of redistricting in the state, even some GOP lawmakers privately at least two of the new seats should have a majority of Hispanic residents to avoid dilution of minority voting strength.

Florida will add two new U.S. House seats in the next election, but a legal tussle over self-imposed redistricting requirements has delayed the process. Hispanics make up nearly a quarter of the state’s population, but Hispanics hold only three of the state’s 25 congressional seats. All three are Miami-area seats occupied by Republicans of Cuban descent.

Cuban Americans, unlike other Latino groups, tend to vote overwhelmingly for Republicans.

While Hispanics represent at least a quarter of the population in four other districts in the state, their overall population may be spread across the state in ways that do not force an additional majority-Hispanic district.


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Hispanic population exceeds 50 million, firmly nation’s No. 2 group

U.S. Census Bureau Regions, Partnership and Da...

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By Michael Martinez and David Ariosto, CNN
March 24, 2011 4:08 p.m. EDT

(CNN) — The growing Hispanic population in the United States has reached a new milestone, topping 50 million, or 16.3% of the nation, officially solidifying its position as the country’s second-largest group, U.S. Census Bureau officials said Thursday.

«Overall, we’ve learned that our nation’s population has become more racially and ethnically diverse over the past 10 years,» said Nicholas A. Jones, chief of the bureau’s racial statistics branch.

Several trends emerged from the 2010 census, according to Robert M. Groves, director of the Census Bureau, and Marc J. Perry, chief of the population distribution branch.

The country is growing at a smaller rate. Growth is concentrated in metropolitan areas and in the American West and South. The fastest-growing communities are suburbs such as Lincoln, California, outside Sacramento. And standard-bearer cities such as Boston, Baltimore and Milwaukee are no longer in the top 20 for population, replaced by upstarts such as El Paso, Texas, and Charlotte, North Carolina, the officials said.

The most significant trend, however, appeared to be the nation’s new count of 50.5 million Latinos, whose massive expansion accounted for more than half of the nation’s overall growth of 27.3 million people, to a new overall U.S. population of 308.7 million, officials said.

The Hispanic population grew 43% since 2000, officials said.

In stark contrast, all other populations together grew by only about 5%, officials said. The nation as a whole expanded by 9.7%.

Bureau officials declined Thursday to say how much illegal immigration has spurred growth among Latinos and other minorities, saying the sources of the growth are still being studied.

«Those are actually very excellent questions,» said Roberto Ramirez, chief of the bureau’s ethnicity and ancestry branch. «We are actually in the middle of the process of investigating that.»

D’Vera Cohn, a senior writer at the Pew Research Center in Washington, said the birth rate, rather than immigration, is the primary driving factor in the Latino boom.

Hispanics now account for nearly one-quarter of children under the age of 18, Cohn said.

«Hispanics are a younger population, and there are just more women of a child-bearing age,» she said.

Although immigration remains a major contributor to Hispanic population growth, the recent recession and high employment rates may have prompted a tapering off in the rate of foreign-born nationals seeking U.S. residence, analysts said.

Intensified border patrols may have reduced illegal immigration, but those measures «remain at the margins,» said William Frey, a demographer at The Brookings Institution.

He added that America’s overall undocumented immigrant population — estimated at between 10 million and 11 million people — may have even declined in recent years, though accurate numbers are difficult to acquire.

While the white population increased by 2.2 million to 196.8 million, its share of the total population dropped to 64% from 69%, officials said.

The Asian population also grew 43%, increasing from 10.2 million in 2000 to 14.7 million in 2010, officials said. Asians now account for about 5% of the nation’s population.

The African-American population, which grew by about 4.3 million, is now about 40 million, or 12.6% of the population, a slight increase over 12.3% in 2000, officials said.

Persons reporting «some other race» grew by 3.7 million, to 19 million, or 5.5% of the nation, figures show.

The vast majority of Americans, 97%, reported only one race, with whites as the largest group, accounting for about seven out of 10 Americans.

The remaining 3% of the population reported multiple races, and almost all of them listed exactly two races. White and black was the leading biracial combination, figures show.

«The face of the country is changing,» said Jeffrey Passel, demographer at the Pew Hispanic Center.

Demographic data had already been released for all states except New York and Maine and for the District of Columbia.

In fast-growing states where whites and blacks dominated past growth, Hispanics are now the greatest growth engine, Frey said.

The significance of the numbers to the United States is more than just an increase of an ethnicity. Research shows that along with the changing demographics, the country has become more diverse in other ways, Passel said. For instance, there is a substantial mixing of the American population through interracial marriage, he said.

Another change is the concentration of the growing populations.

Previously, the Hispanic population was concentrated in eight or nine states; it is now spread throughout the country, Passel said.

Meanwhile, most of the data released so far show decreases in the population of white children, Frey said.

Minorities will have a greater presence among future generations, he said. For example, in Nevada, 61% of children are minorities, compared with 41% of adults.

In border states like Texas, demographers say, Hispanic populations are expected to surpass non-Hispanic populations within the next decade.

«Without question, we are becoming a Hispanic state,» said Texas state demographer Lloyd Potter.

«I live in San Antonio, and there you see Spanish advertisements, television shows and newspapers everywhere,» he said.

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