May 03, 2022
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This newsletter, edited by Astrid Galván and Laurin-Whitney Gottbrath, is 1,448 words, about a 5.5-minute read.
1 big thing: Identifying as Afro Latino
Over 6 million Americans — many more than previously known — identify as Afro Latino, according to a Pew Research Center study released this week, Axios breaking news reporter Shawna Chen and Astrid write.
The big picture: The results of the survey show the nation’s evolving diversity and the complex racial and ethnic makeup of Latinos in the U.S.
- Nearly 30% of respondents who identify as Afro Latino also said their race is white.
The intrigue: Pew Research Center asked people directly whether they identify as Afro Latino, an approach different from what is used in other surveys.
- For example, the Census asks people if they are Hispanic and then, in another question, whether they are Black, which netted a smaller number (1.2 million) of people who identify as Afro Latino, senior Pew researcher Ana Gonzalez-Barrera said.
By the numbers: Afro Latinos are 2% of the U.S. adult population, Pew found by surveying over 68,000 adults in the U.S. from Nov. 19, 2019, to June 3, 2020.
- They make up 12% of Latino adults.
Between the lines: The history of slavery and colonialism in the Caribbean and Latin America plays an enormous role in how Latinos and Afro-Latinos think about their identity, experts say.
- Fifteen times as many African slaves were taken to Spanish and Portuguese colonies in Latin America than the U.S., data shows.
- About 130 million people of African descent live in Latin America.
What they’re saying: Latino identity "is understood in the United States as non-Black," said Janvieve Williams Comrie, founder of the nonprofit Afro Resistance and a professor at New York University. Much of that is due to a lack of education.
- “As a result, white Latinos may self-identity as Afro Latino, but that’s a form of appropriation," she said.
- Comrie herself has moved away from using the term Afro Latino in recent years, choosing instead to identify as Latina and Black.
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2. Bad information in men's choice of news
A new report finds Latino men are more acutely exposed to false information about immigration, Marina writes.
Why it matters: Bad information could "radicalize" young Latinos, according to an analysis of the media consumption habits of about 20,000 Latinos. This could have an impact on the upcoming midterms and other elections as the Hispanic electorate continues to grow.
Details: The study was commissioned by immigrant advocacy group United We Dream and carried out by Harmony Labs, a nonprofit that researches the impact of media consumption.
- It found Latino men over 36 are more likely to get their news from YouTube channels, some of which feature anti-immigrant rhetoric in both English and Spanish.
- Those under 35 are bigger consumers of social media and gaming channels, where they could come across polarizing immigration ads or suggested videos.
- Latinas tend to watch more varied options, mainly on TV, and seek out information focused more on immigrants’ stories than on immigration policy.
Zoom out: Social media companies are facing greater scrutiny related to their moderation of false information in Spanish. Studies have found they don't curb Spanish-language disinformation at the same rate as English disinformation.
What they’re saying: “We need to consider how to fill this content void, to find opportunities to engage with these younger Latinos who are at risk of consuming false narratives about the immigrant experience,” Juanita Monsalve, senior marketing and creative director at United We Dream, tells Noticias Telemundo.
- “It’s important to understand how that could affect voting preferences or how the immigrant community is perceived,” Monsalve says.
3. Atomic test's overlooked "downwinders"
The U.S. Senate has voted to extend the Radiation Exposure Compensation Act (RECA) while lawmakers work to eventually add compensation for excluded Hispanic and Native American families who lived near the world's first atomic bomb explosion, Russell writes.
Why it matters: The act, which awards financial reparations to people who lived downwind of the Nevada Test Site, is scheduled to sunset on July 15 but is likely to be renewed for two years.
- RECA originally passed in 1990, but Hispanic residents and Mescalero Apache tribal members next to the 1945 Trinity Test were never included. Descendants have suffered from rare cancers for generations.
Flashback: On July 16, 1945, in the New Mexico desert, the U.S. Army detonated an atomic bomb developed through the Manhattan Project in the then-secret community of Los Alamos.
- The bomb exploded at 5:29 a.m. It knocked people down in their homes in Tularosa and sent others on the Mescalero Apache reservation into hiding.
- No one told residents of the site's dangers, and they often picnicked there and took artifacts, including the radioactive green glass known as "trinitite."
Driving the news: The Senate voted last week to move the RECA extension to the House, where it is expected to pass.
Yes, but: The bill still needs to be amended to include southern New Mexico residents, Navajo uranium miners, and Idaho residents near other test sites. Many are Latino.
- "Preserving and expanding the RECA program to provide long-overdue justice to New Mexico downwinders and uranium workers is one of my top priorities in Congress," Sen. Ben Ray Luján (D-N.M.) said.
- There's no known timeline for when lawmakers may add the excluded groups.
4. Tackling the digital divide
The Hispanic Federation and Comcast NBCUniversal have joined forces to help community organizations in 20 cities battle the digital divide that sets Latinos behind in the workforce, Astrid writes.
Why it matters: Hispanics are significantly less digitally literate than white Americans, meaning they are less likely to know how to use a computer or have internet access.
- Latinos are 14% of the overall workforce but represent 35% of workers with no digital skills, according to the organizations.
- Adults who reported no computer use, who were unwilling to take an assessment on a computer, or failed a basic computer test were considered not digitally literate by a 2018 U.S. Department of Education report.
- The rate of Hispanics who are not digitally literate is three times that of white people, according to the report.
Driving the news: The organizations announced today $635,000 in grants for 20 community nonprofits that will provide training.
- The grant funding will be used for hands-on training.
- They also announced the launch of the Latino Digital Center of Excellence, a bilingual center that can be used by all workforce development agencies to teach people digital skills.
What they're saying: "We believe everyone should be able to participate in today's increasingly digital economy," said Diana Caba, assistant vice president for policy and community engagement at the Hispanic Federation.
- "We're so used to hearing all the 'economy of tomorrow,' the 'workforce of tomorrow,' but it really is today," she added.
5. Stories we're watching
1. Ecuador this weekend declared a 60-day state of emergency in a major port area, citing drug trafficking and rising violence.
- Armed forces took control of three coastal provinces surrounding the port city of Guayaquil.
- Drug seizures in the port reached 16 metric tons this March, more than in 2021, and 60% of homicides this year have been committed in the three provinces, official data shows.
2. A caravan of Central American parents of missing migrants reached Mexico’s southern border this weekend.
- The 37 mothers and eight fathers set up a small exhibition with photos of their missing loved ones in a public square in Chiapas. They plan to visit other states through May 10, Mothers’ Day.
- At least 10% of the 100,000 people reported as disappeared in Mexico come from Central America, statistics show.
3. The Salvadoran government has committed numerous human rights violations in its roundup of alleged gang members, Human Rights Watch says in a new report.
- The government has carried out arbitrary arrests since President Nayib Bukele's administration declared a state of emergency in late March, the group claims.
- The U.S. Embassy in San Salvador warned Americans in the country against going out at night last week, noting that U.S. citizens have been caught in the mass arrests.
6. 🚗 Smile to go: A garage of their own
Mexico City now has its first women-run and operated car repair shop, Marina writes.
Details: The shop, called Chiff, was founded by mechanic Patricia Guevara and employs six women.
Gracias, todos! See you Thursday!
Editor's note: The chart in Item 1 of this newsletter has been corrected to reflect 68,000 U.S. adults were surveyed, not 8,660.