Says who? Latinos in the U.S., that’s who. That conclusion may seem shocking, given the daily complaints and lawsuits emanating from an entire cottage industry of self-described civil rights groups dedicated to protecting Latinos in the U.S. from every manner of discrimination and injustice. But according to a nationwide survey conducted by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and the Harvard School of Public Health, Latinos in the U.S. report that they face very little discrimination. The survey, Views from Latino America, includes the opinions of native-born and immigrants. It also examines the perceptions of U.S. Latinos from six backgrounds: Mexico, Central America, South America, Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, and Cuba. In addition to not believing they face widespread discrimination, immigrants – who constitute 54 percent of the U.S. Latino population – believe that by every yardstick of social justice, they are treated better and more fairly than in their countries of origin. The findings of the survey are a testament to the basic fairness and civility of American society. According to the perceptions of Latinos themselves:
- 91% did not encounter discrimination from police or the judicial system.
- 87% did not encounter discrimination in the workplace
- 74% believe that the rights of women are better protected in the U.S.
- 87% believe that they have opportunities to get ahead in the U.S.
- 79% believe they are safer from crime and violence in the U.S.
- 71% believe their children receive a better education in the U.S.
- 72% believe the poor are treated better in the U.S.
No society on Earth is entirely free from invidious discrimination and bigotry. Where it does exist in the United States, we must all work to eradicate it. However, this comprehensive survey of how Latinos perceive their lives in the U.S. does raise the question of whether the multitude of well-financed advocacy groups are really listening to the people they claim to represent.