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Survey: Half Of Hispanics Have Experienced Discrimination In US

More than half of Hispanics in the U.S. say they’ve experienced discrimination, according to a new Pew Research Center survey on race in America.

The survey found 52 percent of Hispanics said they had regularly or occasionally experienced discrimination or have been treated unfairly because of their race or ethnicity. And, about 6 in 10 Hispanics said that race relations in the U.S. are generally bad, the study found.

That’s a much smaller percentage than you’ll get when you ask African Americans the same question.The survey found 71 percent of African Americans say they’ve experienced discrimination in the U.S.

And, only 30 percent of white people say they have.

With everything that’s happening surrounding race relations in the country right now, that’s not necessarily surprising, according to Mark Hugo Lopez, director of Hispanic research at Pew.

“Hispanics, often times, are somewhere in between their white and black counterparts, often times leaning more towards their white counterparts in terms of their responses,” Lopez said. “That is on a number of measures, everything from how the police are treating people in their communities, to how the courts are treating people, to the expectations of being treated fairly by law enforcement officials in local areas.”

Lopez also said that numbers like these change over time, along with the national conversation.

“Sometimes they’re down, sometimes they’re up,” he said, “At the moment, with what’s happening with all things around race relations in the U.S. and concern about race relations, we’ve seen a higher measured share of Hispanics who are saying that they’ve experienced discrimination.”

What’s happening now may be prompting memories of the past for Hispanics, Lopez said.

The survey also found that Hispanics born in the U.S. are much more likely to say they’ve experienced discrimination than those who are foreign born.

And, the same trend goes for younger Hispanics. More than half, 65 percent, of 18 to 29 year-old Hispanics say they’ve been treated unfairly, compared to only 35 percent of those over the age of 50.

As the Latino population continues to grow, Lopez said it’s unclear if Hispanics will say they’re more likely to experience more or less discrimination.

There’s a dispersion of the Hispanic population around the country into places that haven’t traditionally had large Hispanic populations like the South, according to Lopez.

“So, it’s possible that we may see Latinos encountering more discrimination into the future,” he said.

But, he said the future is still unclear because the country is shifting as well.

“Many of these Latinos today who are coming of age are U.S. born. They’re going to school in U.S. schools and, often times, many of them are the children of a Hispanic parent and a non-Hispanic parent,” he said.

And, as we look to the future, Lopez said it’s important that we know how this population views discrimination because it can impact a person’s confidence, and limit their goals for the future.

“Latinos, as a growing group and, particularly, because it is so young, are an important part of the economic future of the country,” he said. “As a result, how these young Latinos come of age, the educations they get, the type of careers they decide to pursue, how well they’ll do economically, is important not only for the Latino community, but also for the future.”

Lauren Gilger, host of KJZZ's The Show, is an award-winning journalist whose work has impacted communities large and small, exposing injustices and giving a voice to the voiceless and marginalized.