Tag: multiethnic

Hitting the Right Notes

I recently saw the movie Whiplash, which was a gripping look at the price of greatness. For those who haven’t seen the flick, it’s about a teenager jazz drummer obsessed with becoming a legendary artist.

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Now, most of us are not willing to practice an instrument until our hands literally bleed, as the Whiplash protagonist does. But the good news is that you may not have to.

You see, a recent study showed that taking music lessons — just basic chord progressions, strumming skills and the like — greatly improves people’s language and reading skills.

Even more interesting is that the research was conducted on at-risk, low-income children, most of them Latino.

The researchers believe that the experience of making music creates a more efficient brain that helps a person learn and communicate better. But the study implies that at least two years of lessons are required before improvements kick in.

So what does this mean for Hispanic kids, who often live in disadvantaged areas? Well, it implies that investing in music education may help Latino children improve their learning skills and close the educational gap between Hispanics and other ethnic groups. The results also imply that for low-income students, music lessons can be as important as traditional classes in math and reading.

Because music is a key part of Latino culture, programs that offer music education will find a receptive audience in Hispanic kids. After all, I could not have been the only Latino kid who grew up on a steady diet of Santana and Julio Jaramillo. And that’s not even getting into all the salsa, rock, hip hop, and stray bits of classic country that finds its way into Latino homes.

Basically, we like to listen to a lot of music, so it should be a natural extension to get Hispanic kids to learn how to play it.

This research aligns with another recent study, which found that bilingual kids have more flexible brains and better cognitive abilities. Keep in mind that most of the demand for Spanish-language immersion schools is coming from white families who want their kids to master another language and gain exposure to diversity.

So it might not be long before you peek into a classroom and see a bunch of multiethnic kids speaking Spanish and jamming on blues standards.

Rock on.

 


Like a Ticking Time Bomb

Recently, I wrote that I am about to become a father. And when I say, “about to,” I mean it. The baby is due in a few days, and he can arrive literally any minute — maybe even before I finish typing this sentence… what was that?

Oh, sorry, I thought I heard my wife going into labor. Never mind. Carry on.

But you may have noticed that I used the pronoun “he” to refer to the baby. Previously, I said the baby was a girl. Well, my wife and I received the ultimate changeup when the doctors announced that they had read the original ultrasound wrong.

That’s right. They got the wrong gender. So we’re having a boy now.

The doctors must have had a good laugh about that one.

We’re happy either way, although it definitely rocked our world to have the genders switch like that.

Regardless of his XY makeup, our baby will, as I’ve written before, be part of the fast-growing multiethnic generation.

Interestingly, his arrival comes at a time when birthrates in America are declining, especially among Latinas and immigrants. Apparently, Hispanics are learning that the Pope is not the ultimate authority on what they do with their bodies, and that they can use birth control just like everybody else.

This is great news, of course, and it can only help Hispanics improve their economic standing and educational levels.

Now, I would like to analyze this issue further, but you see, I’m too jittery to spend more than seven minutes on any one task, because the baby… wait, what? Sorry, another false alarm.

Check back with me in a few days.

 


Plot Twist

My wife is pregnant.

Yes, it’s pretty great news.

Our daughter is due in January. We’ve never been parents, so by next summer, I’ll be one of those annoying first-time fathers who believes the most important thing in the world is his baby’s capacity for drool. Just wait, I’ll be blogging about it day and night. This may cut into the readership of the 19.3 million mommy bloggers out there, so I apologize in advance for usurping their authority.

But with all the hectic preparation for the child’s arrival, and careful time set aside for crippling self-doubt and solipsistic panic attacks, I’ve barely had time to ponder the political ramifications of this kid. That has to change.

To continue reading this post, please click here.

 


The Coming Apocalypse

“The U.S. Census Bureau expects racial minorities / people of color to make up a majority of the U.S. population in the next thirty to forty years. Do you feel concerned or hopeful about that?”

The question comes from a survey conducted by the Applied Research Center, which asked Americans their opinions about a well-publicized fact: By 2050, if not sooner, the nation’s combined population of racial and ethnic minorities will outnumber white Americans.

To continue reading this post, please click here.


A Pleasing Melange of Color

Big old thanks are coming to Joe, SK, Amigo Griego, and the always wonderful Ankhesen Mie for their recent comments.

Let me remind them and everyone else that in one of my first posts, I wrote that in the future “everyone will be at least part Hispanic.” While I still believe this is true, new information has convinced me that it’s not the whole story.

Yes, Hispanics are younger and have higher birth rates than other ethnic groups. These facts, along with the completely noncontroversial aspect of immigration, are chief reasons why Hispanics are the largest minority group in America.

Indeed, many media outlets have insisted that the Brown Invasion will soon overtake America, and we’ll all be speaking Spanish as a matter of course (if that happens, perhaps my grasp of the imperative subjunctive form will finally improve).

To continue reading this post, please click here.


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