For almost a year now, I’ve been attending a Spanish speaking Baptist Church.
This may come a surprise to you given some of my writing on religious subjects and churchgoers, but two things are important to note:
1) I’m learning to speak and understand Spanish and I get lots of practice there, and
2) I know this Baptist thing. I can talk that talk even in Spanish.
Also the music there is excellent. In addition to the church thing, I frequent Hispanic markets and restaurants. My secretaria is of Mexican descent.
This heavy dose of interaction with Latinos brings with it two observations:
The first should be obvious to my American readers (Norte Americanos). These are really hard working, law abiding citizens. They do the work the rest of us have gotten too fat and lazy to do, and are glad to get the work.(But they do get fatter after being here, what with all that motorized transportation and fast food.)
I use the word citizen loosely. Most are not, unlike the Irish, Italians, East Europeans and eventually Africans who came before, permitted citizenship. The vast majority of our laws that they break are a result of their being denied the rights and privileges the rest of us obtained by being clever enough to be born here: driving a car, going to school, working.
My second observation is that they are much better parents than other Norte Americanos of similar economic status and education. Ever see a Latino yelling at their children in a grocery store?
Ok, I said two, but one more. With the prior waves of emigration that built this country, the second generation lost the ability to speak the tongue of their parent’s motherland. Children of South and Central American immigrants not only speak fluent English, but Spanish as well. The niños translate for me in mi iglesia.