You read me right. We abhorred Salvadorans


By Kay Bárbaro

D.C.’s SALVADORAN INGREDIENT: Salvadorans now comprise 40% of the still-small Hispanic population (9%) here in the nation’s capital, with next-to-no local political influence. At the Democratic mayoral candidate forum involving eight candidates (no Hispanics) last month, two-thirds of the 111 Latino caucus members supported incumbent Vincent Gray, whom voters hoisted onto a greased rail out of town when his term expires in January,2015 while winner Muriel Bowser, who outpolled Gray in the total community 44-32%, didn’t even gain single–digit support. Wrong horse, paisanos.

Back in 1987, when Salvadorans were starting to bail out of their embattled homeland, a Washington Post survey found that their exodus to the USA in the previous five years had doubled. (Yet only 5% of those who applied for U.S. asylum received it vs. for example, Nicaragua’s 86%.)

In a six-part series, The Post’s analysis further revealed that among all immigrants, Salvadorans along with Iranians were the only two groups that D.C.-area residents told to go back where they came from.

YOU READ ME RIGHT. WE ABHORRED SALVADORANS. To quote a Dec. 21, 1987 Sin Pelos column that I wrote:

 “As part of its six-part series, The New Immigrants, The Washington Post asked 1,319 randomly chosen area residents how newly arrived members of certain national-origin groups affected the community. Coming in next to last in the Post’s ethnic popularity contest were Salvadorans, who are without doubt the area’s most exploited residents: only 13% of the respondents said Salvadorans made the area a better place to live while 18% said they made it worse place to live.

Most unwelcome of all were Iranians, with an 11% better, 28% worse, rating.

All the other groups received more “better” votes than “worse” ones: Koreans 33%-8%, Vietnamese 37%-13%, Filipinos 28%-6%, Africans 21%-11% and West Indians 20%-10%.)

I dare the Post to ask the same question now, a quarter-century later.

True, I love to read and reflect on musings of my younger years. In that same column, I chastise England’s Oxford University for failing to find a single Hispanic for inclusion among the 32 USA students it chooses as Rhodes Scholars that year.

In that old column, I also mourn the demise of Nuestro magazine, which introduced the nation to important but ignored Hispanic issues and to blossoming Chicano journalists the likes of Ricardo Chavira, Julio Morán and Hispanic Link Weekly Report’s founding editor Steve Padilla.

Last but certainly not least, our kudos went to the weekly El sol de Hialeah for its investigative enterprise. El Sol scooped us all with the exclusive that Hialeah mayoral candidate Nilo Juri dyes his moustache.


Editor’s note: Kay Bárbaro, [¡Qué Bárbaro!] es un seudónimo atribuido a varias notas de opinión redactadas por diferentes periodistas de Hispanic Link News Service. 

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