Miami, FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE)–May 7, 2007–Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group, a division of the number-one nonfiction media company Discovery Communications, today announced the launch of “Moving Forward: Thought Leaders Share Their Views on Issues Facing U.S. Hispanics,” a study available to the public that provides a rich, and timely exploration of the key issues facing Hispanics in the United States by experts and opinion leaders from across the country.
Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group and GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media embarked on the study in late 2006, speaking to experts and leaders from a range of disciplines including education, public policy, religion, medicine, mental health, law and business to examine the issues and challenges facing Hispanics in the United States today. The study spans a variety of topics including generational and cultural tensions, assimilation versus acculturation, discrimination, politics, bilingualism, and critical challenges for the future.
“Each day we aim to reach a greater understanding of our viewers in order to bring them informative and relevant content that will enrich their lives,” said Luis Silberwasser, senior vice president and general manager, Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group. “We offer this study to the public and our colleagues to provide valuable insight into the fastest growing ethnic
demographic in the United States, and to advance discussion on the important issues facing Hispanic families living in this country today.”
A group of 21 thought leaders participated in the study including Congresswoman Hilda Solis, California 32nd Congressional District; Carol Robles-Román, Deputy Mayor of New York City; Dr. Ron Haskins, Co-Director of the Center on Children and Families, Brookings Institution; Gloria de León, Co-Founder and Executive Vice President of the National Hispanic Institute and Dr. Felipe Korzenny, Director of the Center for the Study of Hispanic Marketing Communication, Florida State University.
The thought leaders hailed Hispanics for their strong family values and work ethic, which they say has contributed to the culture of the United States. They expressed concern about the misconceptions and negative stereotypes the media perpetuates. They talked about the importance of holding on to Hispanic heritage through language and how bilingualism is more accepted and more valuable than ever before. The thought leaders also looked to the future and said that the Hispanic community must focus on the importance of education, as well as the preservation of family ties that have made it so strong.
The complete study is available online at http://www.discoveryenespanol.com/thoughtleaders. Core issues discussed by the thought leaders in the study include the following:
Hard at Work:
Rather than being a drain on social services as so often portrayed, Hispanics are playing a role in reinvigorating areas of the country. “When you look at the statistics, you find that there is virtually no unemployment in the immigrant community. I think it’s very simple. There’s an incredibly strong work ethic, and that work ethic is enhanced by the fact that the people are coming here for jobs and to work. If they couldn’t find jobs and work, they wouldn’t be here.” -Hector Orci, La Agencia de Orci & Asociados
Work vs. Higher Education:
While Hispanics’ highly developed work ethic is lauded, the thought leaders in this study also recognize that it can cause problems. In some cases, children are encouraged to work rather than pursue higher education, particularly when immigration status is at issue. “Young Hispanics often look for jobs to help their families, especially if they have not done well in school. They are not thinking of going to or preparing for college. They also fear the related costs of attending college and not being able to attend because they lack legal status or U.S. citizenship. They have different survival priorities than the mainstream youth of this country.” -Ronaldo Cruz, US Conference of Catholic Bishops
Still Very Real: Despite all the talk about a move toward acculturation, integration, and multiculturalism, our thought leaders see discrimination as still being a very real barrier for many Hispanics. “Unlike other immigrants who can blend in more easily, Hispanics are unable to move in and out generally because of their physical appearance and language. Unfortunately in our country, there is a history of racism against those who are different to the general population.”-Francisco Jiménez Ph.D., Ethnic Studies Program Santa Clara University
Community Isolation Fosters Segregation: living in heavily Hispanic and often isolated communities, thought leaders say, can lessen the need to become bilingual or integrate into American culture fostering segregation. “I think language has a lot to do with how a society or population integrates itself and evolves. There has to be a transitional phase that occurs, and if immigrants don’t acquire the community’s dominant language – in this case, English – they can’t benefit from being fully immersed in the community. That’s a source of frustration because it impacts everything: jobs, rental agreements, everything.” -Hilda Solis, Congresswoman, California 32nd Congressional District
Media Messages and Portrayals Both Help and Hurt Hispanics:
Too often portrayals are not positive, the diversity is minimized and the contribution to the economy not recognized. “I think it heightens your self–esteem when you, as an individual, see a positive image of your race, culture, and language rather than a negative one. The media does have an impact on Hispanic kids and young adults, especially. And for the traditional people watching, it encourages them to be more understanding of other cultures.” – José Nazario, the Committee for Hispanic Children and Families
These and other issues explored in-depth throughout the pages of this study (including Immigration Debate: a Double-Edged Sword, From Media Role Models to the Halls of Power, Two Languages are Better than One, and more) are of great national importance and bring a richness of thought and opinion to the debate.
Hispanics currently make up about 15% of the population of the United States and are the fastest growing and largest ethnic or racial minority in the country. By the year 2050, they are expected to total 24% of the nation’s total population – or more than 100 million people. (Source: “Facts for Features – Hispanic Heritage Month 2006: September 15–October 15,”U.S. Census Bureau News; September 5, 2006.).
About Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group
Discovery Networks U.S. Hispanic Group is the leading provider of high quality nonfiction entertainment for Spanish-speaking audiences in the United States. Distributing three distinct, standalone networks that offer original Spanish-language content from the United States and Latin America as well as popular American and international programs transcreated for U.S. Hispanic audiences, the portfolio includes Discovery en Español, Discovery Travel & Living (Viajar y Vivir), and Discovery Kids en Español.
Discovery Communications, Inc. is the number-one nonfiction media company reaching more than 1.5 billion people in over 170 countries. Through TV and new media, Discovery’s 100-plus worldwide networks include Discovery Channel, TLC, Travel Channel, Animal Planet and Discovery Health. DCI is owned by Discovery Holding Co. (NASDAQ: DISCA, DISCB), Cox Communications Inc., Advance/Newhouse Communications and John S. Hendricks, Discovery’s founder and chairman. For more information please visit http://www.discovery.com.
GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media
GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, acquired by GfK in June 2005, was founded in 1923 and is a leading global marketing research and consulting firm with headquarters in New York. Bringing together some of the most renowned U.S. and European research firms in a unified global network, GfK is the fourth largest research firm in the world, with offices in more than 70 countries.