.
'Mama, would you please speak English!'
Bilingual parents don't always have an easy time leading their kids to be bilingual.
February 28th, 2012
10:22 AM ET

'Mama, would you please speak English!'

Editor's note: Rose Arce is a senior producer at CNN and a contributor to Mamiverse, a website for Latinas and their families.

By Rose Arce, CNN

(CNN) - I am sitting in the North Charleston Coliseum in South Carolina ensconced in a piece of pure Americana. A CNN debate between the Republican presidential candidates is unfolding beneath a sea of cardboard red, white and blue stars and stripes.

"I favor English as the official language of government and I think that creates a continuity," Newt Gingrich says, punching away at his opponent before a roaring crowd of Southern Republicans.

There was continuity weeks later at the CNN debate in Jacksonville, Florida, where nearly a quarter of the population is Hispanic. "I also believe that in our schools, we should teach kids in English," Mitt Romney says to thunderous applause.

What American - Latino or not - wouldn't applaud for teaching kids to speak English in U.S. schools? I slouch into my seat and wait for the good part, when the sparks of partisanship flare up over the details of what "English Only" means. But, when these go mano-a-mano in the language wars, these guys got nothing on the 40 inch, 35 pound adversary I fight each day.

"Mama, would you please speak English! We live in America," 6-year-old Luna yells at the breakfast table. You see, while the broad national debate is about English Only, in my 1,000 square feet of America, it's Spanish that's causing all the stir.

FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: Family • Language • Latino in America • Politics • What we think
Small-scale research on Latinos and contraception is 'one piece of a bigger puzzle'
Understanding cultural circumstances can help healthcare providers tailor family planning services.
February 17th, 2012
12:39 PM ET

Small-scale research on Latinos and contraception is 'one piece of a bigger puzzle'

By Stephanie Siek, CNN

(CNN) – According to the National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy, three in ten teenage girls will become pregnant at least once before they turn 20, but for Latina girls that rate is higher – about five in ten. There are many efforts targeting that demographic, but few of them address Latinos living outside of cities or in northwestern states that have only recently begun to see an influx of Latino immigrants.

The diversity of America's Latinos – in terms of national ancestry, socioeconomic status, level of acculturation, geographic region and educational levels means that there won't be just one overarching solution for preventing unintended pregnancies. But studies like a recent one done by Oregon State University researchers S. Maria Harvey and Jocelyn Warren, which examine a tiny subset of that population, can serve as important clues.

"Characteristics Related to Effective Contraceptive Use Among a Sample of Nonurban Latinos" was one of a number of Centers for Disease Control-funded studies looking at contraception use among Latinos in rural areas. The study results reflect a relatively narrow sample, and its authors caution that it shouldn’t be used to assume too much about Latinos' sexual health decisions as a whole. But it can help focus local efforts.

FULL POST

Posted by
Filed under: Community • Ethnicity • Family • Gender • Health • How we live • Immigration • Language • Latino in America • Relationships • Where we live
Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Arizona's Yuma County Superior Court.
February 8th, 2012
12:51 PM ET

Arizona woman off ballot after high court agrees her English isn't good enough

A woman trying to run for the San Luis, Arizona, City Council will not appear on the ballot after the Arizona Supreme Court upheld a ruling that her English was not good enough.

Alejandrina Cabrera has been locked in a political battle regarding her proficiency of the English language.  But her story is more than a local election dispute, with possibly widespread implications in a country that prides itself as a melting pot.

In the border town of San Luis, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their home, and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. census data.  Most of the people there, by all accounts, speak both English and Spanish.

“I think my English is good enough to hold public office in San Luis, Arizona,” Cabrera told CNN en Español in an interview conducted in Spanish.

“I am not going to help (at the White House). I will be helping here.”

Read full post on CNN's This Just In blog

January 31st, 2012
02:17 PM ET

Arizona city council hopeful says politics - not poor English skills - kept her off ballot

San Luis, Arizona, resident Alejandrina Cabrera, made national headlines after she was denied a bid for city council because some say she doesn't speak English well enough.

Cabrera was born in the United States, but grew up mostly in Mexico and moved back to Arizona as a teen. In the border city of San Luis, though, most residents speak Spanish. She says she's being kept from the ballot as political payback because she spearheaded two recall campaigns against the mayor.

She plans to take her appeal to the Arizona Supreme Court.

Read more on CNN's This Just In blog

January 31st, 2012
12:11 PM ET

Opinion: Latinos won't forget Romney's 'anti-immigrant' talk

Editor's note: Ruben Navarrette Jr. is a CNN.com contributor and a nationally syndicated columnist.

By Ruben Navarrette Jr., CNN Contributor

Miami, Florida (CNN) - Responding angrily to a campaign ad from Newt Gingrich accusing him of being anti-immigrant, Mitt Romney insisted during last week's Republican debate at the University of North Florida in Jacksonville that he has no problem with immigrants.

Perhaps not. But the dishonest and cynical way in which the former governor of Massachusetts has dealt with the immigration issue on the campaign trail shows that he has a problem being consistent.

In Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina, Romney attacked Texas Gov. Rick Perry and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich for immigration proposals that Romney said amounted to "amnesty" for illegal immigrants.

But last week, in Florida, where Hispanics account for 22.5 percent of the population, we caught a glimpse of a kinder and gentler Romney. He told the Hispanic Leadership Network, a center-right group, that he would create a "temporary worker permit" for the estimated 11 million illegal immigrants in the United States.

Read Ruben Navarrette Jr.'s full column

City council hopeful: 'My English is good enough'
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Yuma County Court.
January 30th, 2012
02:11 PM ET

City council hopeful: 'My English is good enough'

When a judge ruled that Alejandrina Cabrera’s name couldn’t be on the ballot for City Council in San Luis, Arizona, because she couldn’t speak English well enough, it was not only a blow to her, but to her fellow citizens, Cabrera told CNN.

“When he took my right to be on the ballot he took away the right of the people who want to vote for me,” Cabrera said in an interview conducted in Spanish with CNN en Español.

A battle over Cabrera's run for office began when Juan Carlos Escamilla, the mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that Cabrera might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December that asked a court to determine whether Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

The fight began as a purely political one, with opponents seeking to block her from running for office after she tried to recall Escamilla from office twice, according to The New York Times. But it has turned into a firestorm in a town where many constituents have the same grasp of English as Cabrera. Those questions, and the political fight they stirred, led to a court hearing to determine whether Cabrera spoke English well enough to be able to run for office. The ruling was that she did not.

Read the full post on CNN's This Just In blog

January 27th, 2012
01:10 PM ET

Did Gingrich refer to Spanish as 'ghetto' language?

By the CNN Wire Staff

Editor's note: This is part of the CNN political fact-checking series.

(CNN) - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich accused former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney of taking out of context comments he made about bilingual education. The speaker's comments are referenced in a Spanish-language political ad. During Thursday night's CNN Republican candidates debate, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Romney about it, "You've had an ad running saying that Speaker Gingrich called Spanish - quote - 'The language of the ghetto.' What do you mean by that?"

Read the full story

VP Marco Rubio? The man in demand
Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida has been mentioned as a possible vice presidential candidate on the GOP ticket.
January 27th, 2012
11:40 AM ET

VP Marco Rubio? The man in demand

By Juan Carlos Lopez, CNN en Español Senior Correspondent

Miami (CNN) - Will he or won't he? And would it matter?

Florida Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, considered a powerful Hispanic political player and rising star in his party, has consistently said no to having vice presidential aspirations. But still, the question keeps coming up.

Rubio, the popular Miami-born son of Cuban immigrants, has been seen by some inside Republican circles as a great "get" as a possible No. 2 on a hypothetical presidential ticket, and is already showing his power to influence the process.

Just this week he pushed back on former House Speaker Newt Gingrich after the Republican presidential candidate ran a Spanish language radio ad labeling former Gov. Mitt Romney as "the most anti-immigration candidate." Rubio called the commercial "inaccurate" and "inflammatory" and the Gingrich campaign pulled the ad.

Read the full story

Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office
Alejandrina Cabrera answers questions about her ability to speak English in Yuma County Court.
January 26th, 2012
12:16 PM ET

Judge: Candidate's grasp of English is too poor for her to run for office

(CNN) - When Alejandra Cabrera speaks English, it doesn't quite roll off of her tongue the way it does when she speaks in her native Spanish.

Instead of the confident, strong way she speaks in Spanish to the residents of San Luis, Arizona, she speaks a bit more slowly, and perhaps with a bit less conviction, when she switches to English. That's something she admits, but she says that she can communicate at the level she needs to in English, given where she lives.

Cabrera is like many of her fellow citizens in the border town of San Luis who are working to perfect their English-language skills. In the town, 87% of residents speak a language other than English in their home and 98.7% are of Hispanic origin, according to 2010 U.S. Census data. After all, most of the people there, by all accounts, will speak in English and in Spanish. In the comfort of communal settings, they'll speak the way their most comfortable: Many of the restaurants there will be perfectly happy to take your order in Spanish. It's part of the culture of the town.

“You go to a market, it’s Spanish,” Cabrera told The New York Times. “You go to a doctor, it’s Spanish. When you pay the bills for the lights or water, it’s Spanish.”

So why the focus on Cabrera and her language skills? Because when it comes to politics, it's a whole separate ballgame.

And that's why a major debate about English proficiency has taken the town by storm.

That's because when Cabrera threw her name in the hat to run for city council, Juan Carlos Escamilla, the former mayor of San Luis, said he was concerned that she might not have the proper grasp of the language for the job. Escamilla filed a lawsuit in December that asked a court to determine if Cabrera's skills qualified her under state law to run for the council seat.

Read the full post on CNN's This Just In blog


Filed under: How we live • Language • Latino in America • Politics
newer posts »