“I recently spent four days in “Latino-landia.”
I’ve visited heavily Hispanic communities in Florida, California and Arizona, but nothing like what I experienced on a reporting trip arranged by the Aspen Institute’s Latinos and Society Program.
In El Paso, Texas, and southern New Mexico, which along with Ciudad Juarez on the Mexico side of the border make up the so-called “Borderplex region,” I found a major outlier: a fully integrated, bilingual, bicultural milieu.
Since I was coming from Chicago, a famously segregated city where race and class divide nearly all segments of life — we are famous for our many ethnic neighborhoods, but if that isn’t separation, I don’t know what is — the experience was a shock.
I’m used to walking through city halls, professional offices and grocery stores and taking a mental note of the one or two (if any) Hispanics to be seen. But in the El Paso area, where most of the population is Hispanic, Latinos are everywhere.”