Several months ago, this reporter participated in a gathering in Santa Fe, N.M., at which speakers focused on the growing influence of Hispanics in the United States.
The speakers questioned whether the American media were alert to the growth of the Hispanic population in the United States and whether the media are giving sufficient coverage to Hispanics.
The word "minority" seems to be used more and more frequently in today's conversations along with the terms "racially balanced" and "racially diverse." President-elect Clinton talked a great deal, both before and since his election, about putting together a "racially balanced" administration. Various university spokespeople talk about seeking more minority students or more minority faculty members.
In most cases, such statements have referred to the desire to recruit more black students and more black faculty members. Depending on where one lives in the United States, Clinton's statement about wanting a "racially balanced" administration could mean an appropriate number of blacks, or Hispanics or those of Asian descent.
But generally speaking, most people probably equate "blacks" with "minorities," with relatively little thought given to Hispanics or those of Asian descent.
THE SPEAKERS in Santa Fe pointed out that Hispanics, probably by the year 2010 or 2020, will be the largest minority group in the United States. Some population experts may suggest a slightly different date, but the fact is, Hispanics will become the largest minority group in this country, and until recently little has been said about this significant shift in population groups. Hispanics represent this country's fastest-growing population group.
Several days ago, the U.S. Census Bureau got into the act and made the prediction that by the year 2050, the nation's minority groups will just about equal half of this country's population. Included in this Census Bureau report was the forecast that non-Hispanic whites will decrease to 53 percent of the U.S. population by the year 2050 compared with 75 percent of the population today. Also, by 2050, according to the Census Bureau projections, Hispanics will total 21 percent of the U.S. population with 15 percent black, 10 percent Asian and 1 percent Native American.
THIS BEING the case, it is interesting to note how little emphasis is put on the recruitment of Hispanics for various academic programs and when thinking about the number of Hispanics in the work force. If a school is genuinely interested in promoting better racial balance and working to increase the number of minority people in various programs, or if business and industry spokespeople talk about trying to attract more minorities to their respective businesses, why isn't more of an effort made to include Hispanics or Asians in minority recruitment?
When Kansas University or Kansas State Unviersity officials, for example, talk about the number of minority faculty members at their schools and their attempts to attract more minority students, the emphasis is on how many black faculty members or black students are at the schools.
Every effort should be made to attract top-flight black faculty members and top-flight black students. Likewise, every effort should be made to attract top-flight Hispanic faculty and students and similar efforts should be made to attract Asian faculty members and students.
AT ONE TIME, blacks were the dominate minority in the United States, and it is understandable that blacks have received most of the attention as this country's major minority.
However, it won't be long before Hispanics outnumber blacks in the country, and there is little reason or justification to practice discrimination when working with minority groups. Hispanics and Asians deserve just as much attention and concern as do blacks.