Axios Latino

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¡Muy buen día! Today we discuss critical race theory, the housing market’s consequences, and repurposed garbage.

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This newsletter — edited by Michele Salcedo — is 1,538 words, about a 6-minute read.

1 big thing: The Latinos behind critical race theory

Photo illustration of a collage of Margaret Montoya, Richard Delgado and a book with a cutout of a power fist.
Photo illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios. Photos: Courtesy of Richard Delgado and Margaret Montoya.

The son of a Mexican immigrant, Richard Delgado, helped develop critical race theory, an academic framework that examines systemic racism in the U.S. and has become a flashpoint in schools and local elections.

Why it matters: The Latino contributions to the field have been overlooked even as the debate around critical race theory has grown.

  • The framework is being attacked mostly by conservatives, who take issue with its tenet that institutions like the healthcare and education systems have racial and ethnic biases shored up by laws and regulations.
  • Delgado, currently a University of Alabama law professor, is considered one of the founders of CRT.
  • His book "Critical Race Theory: An Introduction," co-written with Jean Stefancic, is among Amazon’s best selling law texts. It has also become the target of anti-CRT activists, who falsely claim the work is anti-white and anti-Western.

Background: In the 1970s, former NAACP lawyer Derrick Bell wrote that racial progress in the U.S. only came about when it aligned with white interests.

  • Bell was joined by other legal scholars, including Delgado and other Latino legal thinkers, who critiqued the shortfalls of the legal system, liberalism and the civil rights movement in addressing race inequalities.
  • Delgado and other Latino critical race scholars, nicknamed LatCrits, felt the framework should go further, pointing to the history of legal segregation of Latinos and the systemic racism Asian Americans and Native Americans also faced throughout American history.

Of note: LatCrits undertook their undergraduate and graduate school studies when almost no Chicano or Latino Studies material existed.

  • So they turned to personal stories to point out systemic racism in the legal system, a Harvard-trained Mexican American legal scholar who has taught courses on CRT, Margaret Montoya, tells Axios.

Keep reading.

2. Report: Your name can determine where you rent

A home for sale in Houston.
A home for sale in Houston. Photo: Brandon Bell/Getty Images

Landlords are turning away possible renters with Latino- or Black-sounding names more frequently than those with white non-Hispanic names in the 50 largest U.S. cities, a working paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research shows.

Details: The study’s authors programmed a bot to send over 25,000 online rental inquiries to property managers or owners using varying fictitious renter names.

  • On average, 60% of the names the NBER used that sounded white non-Hispanic, such as Erica Cox and Caleb Peterson, got a response from landlords. The response rates were 2.8% lower for more typically Latino names, such as Isabella Lopez and Jorge Rodriguez, and 5.6% lower for Black sounding ones, such as Lamar Williams or Shanice Thomas.

Why it matters: Housing discrimination puts people of color at a disadvantage at a time when renting can be more advantageous. Home prices are skyrocketing and many U.S. cities are experiencing housing market volatility.

  • The result is Latino and Black renters are forced into enclaves even in diverse urban areas like Houston and Chicago, per the study.
  • Currently, areas with numerous Latino and Black residents are also facing high eviction rates as rent moratoriums have ended in several states, leaving them exposed to homelesness.

The big picture: The findings help explain why a considerable number of neighborhoods have become highly segregated, with consequences for schooling, household earnings and even health markers like life expectancy.

But, but, but: Latinos have been gaining traction on homeownership in the past few years, with almost 50% now having properties.

Go deeper: U.S. Latinos earn less, die earlier in segregated areas

3. Where Latinos live can raise blood pressure

Photo illustration of a doctor taking a patient's blood pressure at a remote clinic for the uninsured in rural New York state
Photo Illustration: Sarah Grillo. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Hypertension among Latinos may be correlated with the neighborhood they live in, according to a peer-reviewed study published online.

State of play: The six-year study found blood pressure changed for Latinos living in San Diego and depended partly on factors like the amount of green space where they lived, how walkable the area was and how many vacant lots or rundown buildings there were.

  • Researchers studied Latinos who were, on average, 39 years old and not taking anti-hypertension medication. Hispanic residents of zones with more “social disorder” ended up with greater odds of higher systolic and diastolic blood pressure.
  • Neighborhood-level interventions that can reduce stress and consequently heart rates, such as improving infrastructure in the area or working to reduce its violence rates and resulting policing rates, can positively affect cardiovascular risk among Hispanics/Latinos, the study concludes.
  • Currently, people with a heart condition like hypertension have greater risks of developing severe COVID-19 if they contract it. Latinos have been one of the hardest-hit groups in infections and deaths.

Yes, but: Hispanic men and women have historically been less likely to die from strokes or other consequences of cardiovascular disease in comparison to non-Hispanic whites, per U.S. Department of Health and Human Services data.

Be smart: Propensity for hypertension varies among Latinos, according to a study published last year in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

  • Women and men of Cuban and Dominican ancestries have a higher probability of developing high blood pressure, while Mexican Americans have slightly lower odds.

Go deeper: Latinos’ hearts want a better social status

4. Anti-Hispanic crimes rise in California

Data: California Dept. of Justice; Chart: Jared Whalen/Axios

Hate crimes against U.S. Latinos and immigrants in the state with the highest Hispanic population rose last year, according to recently published government data.

By the numbers: There were 38.2% more reported anti-Latino hate crimes in 2020 than the year before across California.

  • Most took place in Los Angeles County, where anti-Latino offenses jumped 58%, from 67 incidents in 2019 to 106 in 2020.
  • Hate crimes against Black people in L.A. county rose 35%, from 125 incidents in 2019 to 169 in 2020.
  • Reported incidents against Asians in the county were 76% higher, rising from 25 in 2019 to 44 in 2020.
  • But, but, but: The report notes the actual numbers may be higher, since many Latinos are reluctant to go to the police, possibly out of fear of becoming targets for immigration authorities.

The big picture: The data from California illustrates a growing peril for Latinos across the U.S., where they are the largest minority group, as anti-Latino hate crimes have been increasing in the past five years.

  • In response, the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund launched a program specifically to combat biases that demonize Latinos, looking to avoid another targeted massacre like the El Paso shooting in 2019.

5. Stories we’re watching

Demonstrators at the Inter-American Court of Human Rights (ICHR) hearing on the case of Manuela, a Salvadoran woman sentenced to 30 years in prison.
Activists holding placards in March to honor Manuela, the woman who died after being convicted of homicide over a lost pregnancy. Photo: Marvin Recinos/AFP via Getty Images

1. El Salvador should pay reparations for violating the rights of a woman who lost a pregnancy, the Inter-American Court of Human Rights said Tuesday.

  • It is the first time a country’s government is held internationally liable for obstructing reproductive health care, and the ruling could force a policy change.
  • The woman, a 33-year-old known as Manuela, was illiterate and had sought medical attention while bleeding; the staff assumed she aborted and filed a homicide report.
  • She was convicted and later died from untreated cancer.
  • El Salvador has one of the most restrictive anti-abortion laws in the world, with 40 women serving decades-long jail sentences even in cases of stillbirths and miscarriages.

2. Honduran Xiomara Castro is set to become the country’s first female president and the 13th in the Latin American and Caribbean region.

  • Castro’s main competitor, Tegucigalpa Mayor Nasry Asfura, conceded and discarded any recounts or objections. The results still need to be validated by the electoral authorities within 30 days.
  • Castro has presented a 30-point plan for her first 100 days in office, which start in January. Among the proposals is nationalizing the phone and electric companies.

3. The FARC, Colombia’s disbanded guerilla force turned political party, is no longer designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. The revocation came on Tuesday.

  • The Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia was the main nongovernmental force in a 50-year conflict that left over 260,000 people dead and at least 80,000 missing.
  • It has now changed its name to Comunes to try and step away from dissident members who still carry arms and have kept the FARC acronym, five years after a peace agreement was signed.

6. 🐢1 smile to go: The art of the beach cleanup

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The turtle monument from the groups Togu and Un Pulmón Más is 22 feet wide and 9 feet tall. Photos: Noticias Telemundo

On a Salvadoran beach usually dotted with garbage, a group set out not only to pick up the trash but to make something of it. The result: a massive monument to the sea turtle, endangered by the discarded plastics that are carried out to sea.

Details: The turtle sculpture is made of 3,500 plastic bottles, which were mostly collected from the same beach it is on, and then treated as part of the recycling process so they could be woven into fabric.

  • The purpose is for the El Zonte beach visitors to have a weighty reminder of the effect of their litter.
  • El Salvador has a coastline almost 200 miles long, with beaches that increasingly attract surfers from around the world.
  • But plastic pollution fouls many of those beaches, along with 80% of the country’s rivers.

Thanks for reading, and chag sameach to all our Jewish readers across the hemisphere and beyond. We’ll be back Tuesday.