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Hawaiians and Mexican Americans: Review

Introduction

Race and ethnicity remain some of the most controversial and divisive topics in the United States. According to Gaquin and Ryan (2019), the civil rights movement and deliberate efforts made by various regimes have helped address most of the issues, especially the retrogressive laws that entrenched the concept of white supremacy in the country. It has become evident that the United States can only achieve socio-economic and political success if it embraces unity in its diversified community. Continued internal ethnic-based conflicts only drag the country’s economic development at a time when the country needs to secure its position as the global political and economic leader (Telles and Sue 2019).

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The election of President Barak Obama in 2008 was seen as a major milestone in the fight against racism. As an African American, one of the most oppressed races in the country, President Obama was able to demonstrate that America had become of age, and that going forward, people will be judged on their character and competency other than their skin color or other non-essential demographical classification. Spring (2016) observes that although the country is in a better place than it ever was, race and ethnicity is still a factor. The experience that Mexican Americans (Hispanics), Hawaiians, and even African Americans have at school and in the workplace is significantly different from that of Whites. In this paper, the researcher seeks to compare and contrast the ethnic and racial experiences of Hawaiians and Hispanics in the contexts of the American education system and the workplace.

Comparative Analysis

The Mexican Americans and Hawaiians are some of the minority groups in the United States. According to Trotter (2017), non-Hispanic whites have historically entrenched their Hawaiians and Mexican Americans

Race and ethnicity remain some of the most controversial and divisive topics in the United States. According to Gaquin and Ryan (2019), the civil rights movement and deliberate efforts made by various regimes have helped address most of the issues, especially the retrogressive laws that entrenched the concept of white supremacy in the country. It has become evident that the United States can only achieve socio-economic and political success if it embraces unity in its diversified community. Continued internal ethnic-based conflicts only drag the country’s economic development at a time when the country needs to secure its position as the global political and economic leader (Telles and Sue 2019).

The election of President Barak Obama in 2008 was seen as a major milestone in the fight against racism. As an African American, one of the most oppressed races in the country, President Obama was able to demonstrate that America had become of age, and that going forward, people will be judged on their character and competency other than their skin color or other non-essential demographical classification. Spring (2016) observes that although the country is in a better place than it ever was, race and ethnicity is still a factor. The experience that Mexican Americans (Hispanics), Hawaiians, and even African Americans have at school and in the workplace is significantly different from that of Whites. In this paper, the researcher seeks to compare and contrast the ethnic and racial experiences of Hawaiians and Hispanics in the contexts of the American education system and the workplace.

The Mexican Americans and Hawaiians are some of the minority groups in the United States. According to Trotter (2017), non-Hispanic whites have historically entrenched their

position in the United States as the dominant group. Mexican Americans have often been classified as whites, but when the classification is narrowed further to ethnicity, they find themselves ranked a class lower than the non-Hispanic whites. In this comparative analysis, the researcher seeks to investigate how the Hispanics and Hawaiians experience race and ethnicity in the school system and the workplace environment within the United States.

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American Education System

The United States education system is one of the areas where race and ethnicity entrenches itself in a way that requires the attention of the society. In the past, laws were enacted that prohibited students of color from attending schools meant for whites (Hordge-Freeman 2015). However, these laws have been eliminated and one has the liberty to attend any school as long as they can afford to pay. However, new hurdles have emerged that have maintained these racial practices even though the retrogressive laws have been eliminated. It is necessary to compare and contrast the experiences of these two racial groups in the context of the country’s education system.

Similarities

One of the major similarities in the experience of the two races is that both of them find it more challenging to take their children to some of the prestigious schools in the country. According to Gaquin and Ryan (2019), most of these schools are managed by rich non-Hispanic whites. These institutions were purely meant for whites and other races were legally not expected to be admitted. One such learning institution is the Harvard University. As Fraga (2018) observe, this institution has consistently been ranked as one of the best universities in the world. It is normal, therefore, that many students, including Hispanics and Hawaiians, would prefer to join it as they pursue higher education. However, these two races still find it more challenging to enroll in these institutions compared to non-Hispanic whites.

Two main hurdles have been created making it difficult for these learners to attend some of the best learning institutions. One of the main hurdles is the high school fees that one is expected to pay. According Spring (2016), a first year student at Yale University is expected to pay about $ 80,000 as school fees. The amount is slightly higher in Harvard University where such a student will have to pay about $ 85,000 per year. The average median income for Mexican Americans is $ 51,450, with the majority of them earning less than this average income. For the Hawaiians, the average annual income was estimated to be $ 75,500 within the same period of 2018 (Gaquin and Ryan 2019). It means that even if a parent commits their entire annual earning to paying a child’s school fees, it is still not enough. This is a deliberate move to deny the financially challenged people the opportunity to attend these Ivy League colleges. The fact that the two races are some of those that have suffered racism for decades, they are economically less empowered than the minority groups, which means that they are less likely to afford paying the high school fees.

The second hurdle is the policy that these institutions use to admit students. When these universities started admitting students from all racial and ethnic backgrounds, they introduced a policy meant to favor non-Hispanic whites. The Quota system was meant to limit the number of non-White students admitted to these institutions (Arana 2019). Because of the changing racial perceptions and pressure from the civil rights groups, institutions such as Harvard University has come out to state clearly that they no longer limit admission of students on racial or ethnic grounds. The problem is that these publicity campaigns are not a true reflection of what happens at the institution. A study by Spring (2016) showed that a disproportionately high number of students at the school are non-Hispanic whites. Whichever method that these institutions use, it is still evident that Hawaiians and Hispanics still find it difficult to get admissions at these institutions.

Racism is another experience that Hawaiians and Mexican Americans have to endure in the school system. Despite the major milestones witnessed in the country’s fight against racism, a section of the society still feels they have to be treated as the superior race or ethnic group. The Ku Klux Klan, often referred to as the KKK is one such group of people keen on maintaining an ethnically divided society (Telles and Sue 2019). Others pretend to embrace diversity but do not hesitate to use the same to get favors. When young children join school, they are not aware of the significance of their race. However, as they get to higher classes, they are met with racial hatred as they are reminded of their inferiority. The Mexican Americans and the Hawaiians find themselves almost in the same group, a class below the non-Hispanic groups. Other than the verbal attacks that these young learners have to endure, sometimes they are exposed to physical attacks. The problem is that the legal system is more trusting towards whites, and as such, these attacks are often ignored. They are forced to endure the emotional and psychological torture at school because of their perceived inferior race.

Differences

It is important to note that despite the above similarities in experiences, the two ethnic groups also have some different experience worth discussing. The aboriginals in the United States have often received some special treatment from various regimes as they are viewed as more entitled than any other minority groups. The Hawaiians have always received government support as part of the aboriginals, unlike the Hispanics. According to Trotter (2017), although the Hawaiians go through the normal education system as any other American students, most of their schools often emphasize on observational learning. These natives value a learning experience that is based on real events in the society to ensure that learners can gain knowledge that would enable them to solve local problems (Arana 2019). On the other hand, Hispanics have embraced the conventional education system in the country.

Collaborative learning system is also common among Hawaiians, unlike the Hispanics. According to Gaquin and Ryan (2019), just like many other indigenous Americans, Hawaiians value involvement of children in household tasks as part of the learning process. They consider activities such as cooking, ironing, and cleaning as part of the learning process. This is a cultural practice that some scholars have associated with long years of slavery (Trotter 2017). For many years, they were involved in physically demanding tasks. As such, they embraced the belief that one can only survive in life if they have the knowledge and experience in undertaking these tasks. As such, they emphasize integration of these practical skills in the normal learning of children, with great involvement of parents. Such practices are uncommon among the Mexican Americans.

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The level of hatred that Mexican American learners have to withstand is greater than what Hawaiians go through. The massive increase in illegal immigration of Mexicans into the United States and the election of President Donald Trump has increased the level of hatred that non-Hispanic Americans have towards the Hispanics. Arana (2019) argues that a trend is emerging where Hispanics are associated with drug peddling, prostitution, and other forms of crime. This perception has always been entrenched by the political class that is blaming the immigrants for increase in crime and the rise of unemployment in some part of the country. It has become normal for Hispanics to be referred to as criminals who should be deported back to their country. Children learn from their parents and the verbal attacks against Hispanic students have become common (Molina, HoSang, and Gutiérrez 2019). Although Hawaiians fall under the minority groups, no one is threatening to deport them from the country. Such experiences make it challenging for these young learners to concentrate on their class work.

American Workplace Environment

The workplace environment is another context under which the experiences of Hawaiians can be compared to that of the Mexican Americans. According to Gaquin and Ryan (2019), the ugly nature of racism and negative ethnicity is often witnessed in many organizations around the country. It is necessary to discuss similarities and differences in the experience of two groups at workplace.

Similarities

Racism and negative ethnicity has often been used as a tool to achieve selfish gains among a section of the American society. Spring (2016) observe that where there are conflicting or competing interests, non-Hispanic whites, which form the majority of the American population, often use race to achieve specific goals. Both are often classified as minority groups who should not be given priority over the white majority (Hordge-Freeman 2015). The problem starts with securing a decent employment. It is more challenging for a Mexican American or Hawaiian to get employed at some of the top blue-chip companies than it is for non-Hispanic whites. Once one gets employment at these large corporations, getting promotion becomes the next major challenge. Trotter (2017) observes that some of the leading American companies have learned to recruit and retain highly talented workers to help them manage competition. For an average employee armed with academic qualifications and experience, getting promotion is easier for non-Hispanic whites than Mexican Americans and Hawaiians.

Some people still embrace the unsubstantiated argument that whites have a greater intelligence quotient than any other race in the country (Gaquin and Ryan 2019). As such, they can easily be trusted with leadership than the rest. Some organizations also fear promoting Hispanics to top managerial positions where they have to represent the firm in major events and in signing of deals. They fear that the perceived inferiority of these minority groups would be associated with their firm. As such, these executives may not have the capacity to negotiate for the best deals when faced with non-Hispanic executives representing other firms. The desire to have an acceptable image has created an environment where both Hawaiians and Hispanics find it difficult to achieve career growth. Such experiences can be frustrating.

Differences

The experience of Hawaiians in American workplaces is slightly different from that of Mexican Americans in some ways. According to Fraga (2018), the entire population of Hawaiians is about 550,000 people, with majority residing in Hawaii. In a country that has a population of 328.2 million people it is easy to ignore their presence. As such, they face little hatred from non-Hispanic whites. On the other hand, the Hispanics currently accounts for about 18% of the country’s population (Spring 2016). It is also the fastest growing ethnic group, with a significant number of them being young people under 35 years. As such, they are seen as a formidable threat to the dominance of whites in the country. The average income of Mexican Americans is also significantly lower than that of the Hawaiians, as discussed above. Trotter (2017) attributes the lower annual income of the Hispanics to the continued illegal immigration. Most of these immigrants lack any special skills and are often willing to take low-paying jobs to make ends meet. These low salaries mean that they have to stay in low-cost housings facilities.

Conclusion

Mexican Americans and Hawaiians are some of the minority groups in the United States. In a country where racial and ethnic identities define the socio-economic and political progress of an individual, it was necessary to discuss the experience of the two groups under different contexts. The study compared their experiences at school and in the workplace environment. The comparative analysis shows that Hispanics and Hawaiians are still viewed as being in a social class lower than that of the non-Hispanic whites. As such, they both experience racism at school and at work. However, recent socio-economic and political developments have exposed Hispanics to greater level racial and ethnic attacks than the Hawaiians.

Reference List

  1. Arana, Marie. 2019. Silver, Sword, and Stone: Three Crucibles in the Latin American Story. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  2. Fraga, Bernard. 2018. The Turnout Gap: Race, Ethnicity, and Political Inequality in a Diversifying America. New York: Cambridge University Press.
  3. Gaquin, Deirdre, and Meghan Ryan, eds. 2019. The Who, What, and Where of America: Understanding the American Community Survey. Lanham: Bernan Press.
  4. Hordge-Freeman, Elizabeth. 2015. The Color of Love: Racial Features, Stigma, and Socialization in Black Brazilian Families. Austin: University of Texas Press.
  5. Molina, Natalia, Daniel HoSang, and Ramón Gutiérrez, eds. 2019. Relational Formations of Race: Theory, Method, and Practice. Oakland: University of California Press.
  6. Spring, Joel. 2016. Deculturalization and the Struggle for Equality: A Brief History of the Education of the Dominated Cultures in the United States. 8th ed. New York: Routledge.
  7. Telles, Edward, and Christina Sue. 2019. Durable Ethnicity: Mexican Americans and the Ethnic Core. New York: Oxford University Press.
  8. Trotter, David. 2017. Multilingual Education: Comparative Rhetoric versus Linguistic Elitism and Assimilation. New York: Lulu Enterprises.

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