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About 15 out of every 100 residents in Orange County have Spanish surnames and Hispanic people and their culture provide the very fabric of the history of Orange County and much of California. The stereotypical image of us panics particularly in the media is one which seems preoccupied only with the most serious social problems like crime drug unemployment or poverty that the vast majority of Hispanics are a responsible productive local citizens contributing much to our quality of life. They're seldom recognized. They've been called the invisible Hispanic. Today's program will focus on them.
We have some remarkable and caring Hispanic residents of Orange County in our studio today. Each of the special area of achievement and some interesting thoughts about Hispanics and their contributions and the need for greater participation in all areas of county leadership by young Hispanic men and women in the future. But first let's go with our cameras in the field to talk with the widely diverse group of very accomplished Hispanic residents in the result of an apartment this is founder and president of sperm bank incorporated the only company of its kind in Orange County. She's past president of the Mexican-American Women's National Association. The term invisible Hispanic you say is a myth. Tell us about the invisible husband. Well it isn't visible to the public at large because all of the public safety has been done and the negative side where I we see illegal aliens we always see the welfare people we always leave the workers in the fields and we always see the house maid.
And its reception. That is a misconception. There is one hundred seventy thousand souls that have become a culture raided that have had a good place in society that are productive. And good contributing citizen to this country. I am a Mexican by birth but I'm an American by choice. And there are. Many like me that have chosen this country. Have their land and we're proud of being Americans and we are trying to. Be part of this is Sidey. But we don't get the publicity that we did. What advice would you have to young men and women Hispanics toward their objective of achievement. Go for it. She said pointing. If I could. Coming as an older person the younger people certainly can this is the land of opportunity. What we need is to bring out all wrong a lot of we need to bring out or heroes or doctors or lawyers. Or the people that can represent a good role model
for young persons. Coming out. Fredricka Gary is a past president of the Orange County Mexican American Bar Association and a past board member of the Legal Aid Society is a second generation Orange County and reared in Placentia. Does it anger you sometimes that many many Hispanics are productive people who live out their lives being productive ones guardians and get very little recognition for it. It doesn't anger me as much is it creates an unsettling position in my stomach because I do think that there are a great number of Hispanics who are contributing positively to our society here in Orange County in are not being given their just recognition for it. Many people have a false stereotypical view of Hispanics as people who are undocumented workers or who do menial jobs when actually the rich the great body of them are productive people. What about that. One. The Hispanic community itself must undertake that responsibility to dispel that myth. I know there are various
organizations such as Little Eric and other organizations like that that are awarding certificates to outstanding Hispanic women and to other outstanding Hispanic persons and that's making the community aware of their special contributions that they're making to the to society. Second of all I think the media has as a responsibility to begin portraying Hispanics in the true vein. Many times we find our newspaper radio and television coverage lacking in that aspect when in balance yes in balancing the true picture. And a third role would be the networks themselves in our movies in our. Programming very very few Hispanic roles are positive ones. They did a study recently public advocate's did a study and they found that out of the five or six roles that were given Hispanics 80 percent of them were negative
and were found that these are. Dastardly way of approaching the Hispanic people in negative roles in 80 percent of the time. Ruby Green is an educational consultant with the score for college out of the Orange County Department of Education. It's a program that gives minority high school students the motivation and academic support they need to go on to college. How important is education toward this whole business of having young Hispanics. Need their full potential. I think right now for the Hispanic community it's very important when you consider national statistics like the fact that only approximately 50 percent of our expanding even complete high school. And as you know as the job market becomes more competitive. Education is critical. And not only that education into higher education so that we can provide role models to Hispanic youth. If you don't if you've never seen her Spanish marine biologist you don't know what that is. You don't you see
you see doctors you see nurses but you don't see scientists and they don't have that exposure there or much of it is critical. What's the biggest motivational tool you use to encourage these Hispanics to go on to college. Well there are many different things that you can do. First of all I think you have to start with the smallest step you must begin. You must stay in school tomorrow. You know I really don't understand what you're explaining. Would you explain the ruling to wrist to say I don't know. Be willing to reach out to lots of people who are there to support you. Hopefully it's a parent it may be a teacher. It may be a consular. There are a lot of people out there to help. No one makes it by themselves. You need to be willing to risk to ask for help. David Reyes has been a general assignment reporter for The Los Angeles Times Orange County there's been for the past four and a half years. He attended Los Angeles City College instead of the state college he was probably a truck driver and he worked his way through college. Have you been. Sometimes as a person working in the media. About the way the media sometimes
portrays Hispanics. Of course but I think it's one of the problems that the media in general have is that too often it is too easy for us in the media as all news reporters to pick up news that is more associated with illegal immigration issues with the police community relations say the murders say they get to gang drug problems all these things are really when you look at it from a news standpoint there are very easy stories to get and the hard ones are the ones that tell us about new trends in this particular community. The trend piece is that that would say that there's a growing middle class especially here in Orange County with a mission to get a hold of Capistrano Beach is the Gold Coast. Much of the Hispanic culture is evident and evident out here but.
Often we all become too caught up in the rush to put out the next day's news. You did a series in which you said there's a need for more heroes and more role models you talk about heroes and role models when you expand very quickly on that. Well that was part of the L.A. Times Latino Series last year and this is really the sticky subject of the story was why we have no role models or heroes and we took a poll and what the poll found is that most if not most Hispanics in this state can name just a smattering of people that they would know they would say by 10 10 names out of every Latino even in the United States in the world. Other than that there was hardly any name recognition at all. Rather I'm tall you know has a Licensed Marriage Family and Child counselor in private practice in
Europe and in Irvine. She's also a special needs consultant with the Orange County headstart all our clients are Hispanic. What's the biggest single ingredient you try to instill in young people. Preschool children in families about achievement in general for Hispanics. I think it's just that motivation to achieve motivation to to go beyond what is expected. It's instilling a positive self-image a positive self-esteem. You work with many young children and with families. What's the biggest motivational message you try to get across to them for cheap. Go for it. I mean it's my favorite and it's my favorite sort of thing to say is try it again it's taking that risk because oftentimes we find Hispanics not taking that risk and staying in the same sort of rut. What we want to do with the Hispanics that I work with is take that risk even if it's scary. We all know risk is scary but the whole point is if you don't try you can just say I wonder what would have happened I wonder what if this way were giving them that motivation to go
on and say try it go for a doctor or barrel get Usman pediatrician emigrated from Argentina 967. He's vice president of the Spanish American physicians association Orange County chapter and is a clinical assistant professor at UCI. He's a co-founder of overseas you need this Hispanic coalition group. You are an American citizen now. How do you feel about the in-migration that we're seeing now from Central America South America. And from father and from Mexico I think giving us all for the society particularly Southern California a new challenge in that I say with mission into you before I think that every society that is open to accepting the Gratiot will eventually it will reach in spite of what initially perceive a problem because the sudden influx of people and as you know Southern California enjoys the beauty of the. Hispanic immigration I see it as a beautiful contribution each year. Of course if you need to have the seminar to educate. Local people
about Hispanics Why do you do that. Because we feel that the time has come mostly to show they incite part of us and we have involved a number of our profession now where we are telling about the way we feel the way we work the way we relate the way we pair so I actually we have trained to this Droit the stereotype of the Hispanic mostly by showing the way we build up emotionally and intellectually that there is you know go both within the Scimitar. What interesting people we have here and now we're going to meet some of the ones that are in the studio at this moment. Heaven cologne Bechtel is a co-founder of voices you need it. A coalition organization of 30 Hispanic organizations mother of three you know works for Hispanic marketing company. She has a B.A. in management and is a board member of many volunteer groups including Cancer Society headstart Planned Parenthood and Mexican-American Women's National Association of reading had been a co-owner of the El
Toro meat shop the largest Hispanic closely store in Orange County for the past seven years. Five brothers out of a family of nine brothers and five sisters run the store along with Rudy's mother a student at Saddleback high school Saddleback high in Santa Ana College. He had built the store into a major local market employing 100 people. Lydia Ledesma Leonard is the special program coordinator to the assistant vice chancellor of academic affairs at UC Irvine. She's a former instructor at California State University a toddler can now as a doctoral student in management at Pepperdine University. I mean David is co-founder of The Los Amigos an informal group of businessmen and professionals interested in Hispanic affairs. He served for four years on the Orange County Human Relations Commission including two years as chairman. He owns and operates the tile import business. And I'd like to have each of you give a reaction out of the fresh in your mind of the comments we have just heard from the people in the county who gave some comments about this business of the invisible Hispanic.
I start with you. Well. My reaction is to print tribute to you you have picked out some very interesting individuals from the community. And they have been able to articulate a dimension. I think of the needs of our community and what we need to address. And I agree with it 100 percent in those areas of education. We need to have visibility. We need to have those are. The. Be things that are available to the general populace available to ourselves. Also we need to learn how to use the structure. And for young Hispanic men and women to see that they can achieve that no one is saying absolutely you can't do it or it's too tough for you or you're too poor to do it or it's difficult. What about you HAVEN'T YOU HAVE saw how enriching it is to be able to incorporate two cultures and to develop new Try understanding beef between the two that
I think Hispanics have a lot to offer this community. And if we're just given a chance one of the things that I always like to talk about is the fact that several years ago the Anglo community was talking about touchy feely how you have to learn how to. Hug and kiss other people and touch other people. I think Hispanic people have been doing that for years and even the years maybe centuries. So that's something I think we can can help our community understand that it is an important part right to be able to communicate with other people not just verbal lean but mean other ways. Rudy I must share with our audience that when I went first to your place I was expecting a grocery store. I found much more. I found warmth and I found friendship I found a meeting place. I called I called the resource center. I had the pleasure of meeting your mother a dynamic person and I saw you in action there. If anyone ever has questions about Hispanics in the work ethic you're an example of what kind of work that is done.
What do you feel about these people we've just seen movie there. You tend to agree with them. The comment that there are many I agree with them I'm just. Saying that everything is really. Working at this programme was probably the start of something. Something I know you know you know the community and everything else you shared with me in your own family and I wish that you could tell me a bit about your mother and your family who came here with very little. Your mother from Mexico and what she had built up and what you all have built up. She brought us up well the way the Hispanics bring their families into into the United States and everything else to get a good education and to learn the American ways. That's the first thing on her. So she she wants everybody to know what's happening to me. Well and her insistence that you all get an education even though you didn't have very much money very much opportunity you made the opportunity. Yes that I was impressed about that. You know
everybody gave more than she gave more than 150 percent just for. The education part. After that everything was working for us. You know Jim I feel that by gosh I'm in the wrong business he employs about 100 people you know and it's like you said it's a resource center it's a meeting place. Yeah it's a it's a place where you go in and share a room and I've been to that place and I've been in line waiting to get into that Dorothy Yes because I have all the places to maybe have a maid there. It's quite a treat to have you going to every commercial and I thought I should know that he is one of the most successful enterprises here in Orange County. You know one of the things I want to share with you I saw people coming there people that financial problems want to get a check cashed. So what. Are there new people you see there that want to be on welfare that don't want to work and have a job and buy a car and get a house all the things we all want. Yeah I don't know anybody in any part of the world that wouldn't want a car or a house and
live a good life. But most in the United States they feel that that's the number one place in the world. And. A land of opportunity land of opportunity that's what it is. Lydia What about that education certainly education if there is any key to advancement what we're talking about taking a place in our society. It's education. What about that. Well I think it's really the key for our people for our culture in regards to a question earlier I'm very excited. And I think this is a first step if not one of the first steps to. Promote our people to promote our culture. We are a very beautiful deep rich culture with a lot of sensitivity insight and really caring people not just for our own people but for for everyone else that we come in interaction with. And and in relating that to education I see and work with a lot of Hispanic students and minorities but especially Hispanic students. And I see in their eyes of glee when I when I go out and I talk to them and others
like me who do outreach go out and talk to them and give them the alternatives of higher education that the options that they have. The direction help to guide them always giving them alternatives allowing them to choose but wanting to support them because in the Hispanic culture in the past especially for the Hispanic female they have not been supported to go on for many reasons. You know economically our culture. That's true it's the woman was geared more for the home and the wife in in in for some families that's still true. And the males have been more supported in going out and working versus going to education. I believe now there tends to be more emphasis in the Hispanic male to go on and pursue an education but still they're they're struggling because they have to help to support their family along with the female. If she does go she will be protected by her father many times of going to the local community college courses allowing her to go to the university because they see that as a very far strange place to go to. And it is frightening to
the family to allow this to happen to their children. And what I believe is that in educating the families in reaching out not only to the students but to the families in working with with families who already have students who graduated from the university. It helps when we were trying to do some of those networking and some bringing some of that together. Your group lost the niggas I had the pleasure of being with her and talking with their group. What are some of the things that you like to see happen to the group that you have meets every Wednesday morning. Well you know Jim in a sense what we try to do is show people what the solutions to the problems are and they could range from from knowing how to appeal to a zoning matter how to approach the city council and ask questions to do. What about my social security check that did not come into the far ranging. You know the interesting thing here though is
that we do it on a volunteer basis. There's absolutely nobody gets baited and we do it as our resources. I think the education we cannot get away from the need for radically You know your generation is certainly a key to leap to the preponderance of Hispanics here. But it's not the ultimate key. I don't think it is the ultimate the ultimate key is is realizing each value of each individual the human worth regardless. And have it realized by everyone regardless of your color skin now or one method to achieve further success in United States is of course education the other is is that it can be done. Do not let adversity get you down. Continue on there. We will continue on it. And you were talking my women. But all Hispanics are young Hispanic boy or girl of the year or it's such a big thing for me to be a come on get my master's degree
or to get through college or even think of being a pH one. How do you what do you say to them when you talk to them but at this program and you have one sitting here what do you say there were how I would I would really love to see them. I like one on one of group interaction I think personal touch or contact is important and motivating them I like them to to know that they're very intelligent and smart people and that if no one has ever said that to them I am right now. And like the. The people said before hand that you can do it that you are smart. That maybe no one has supported you and told you that you do have a capability and that there are people like myself and like those here who are out here to do. To extend a hand and I would like to be considered a rung on the ladder where if they need to climb on me to go up higher I will have to be able to do that to separate them. I can appreciate that I want to come back to you have no idea how many children as you have ready.
My mom that's 14 and I mean your own family my wife. Yes that's just me and my wife. You know children there now now yeah you can have my wife who is trying to get an education that's. Why it's the whole though let me ask you a hypothetical question because you certainly have a foot in both cultures. When you have children would you ask them what you what would you want them to assimilate totally into what you know the American culture the so-called Anglo culture or whatever let's call it the United States culture or still cling to your Hispanic culture and what would you like to have your son and daughter do when I'd like to have it 50/50. I'd like to have them learn the American ways and start up the way you know that Americans are supposed to be brought up and learn the right things. But still I wouldn't want to forget their Mexican heritage because that's what it's all about. What have how they get here how they originated. You know I just. It's just a matter of you know of all the people who are watching the show. I want to hear a critique from your mother and see if we get the thing right. My mother and I said right from here
I'd like to have share with our audience something I read that I was very much attracted to and I read if everybody I can talk to this is what YOU TRY TO SAY TO GO SEE IF YOU NEED THIS IS WHO NEEDS MORE EXPOSURE. You say we all sense the need for better understanding where we were not the first group of people working toward this and we will not be the last. I wonder whether positive attitudes and sincere hearts you're talking about the symposium will be the beginning of an annual commitment and we have been doing an annual program for the English community and this year will be the first time that we're going to do this same type of a program for the monolingual Spanish speaking. What would you be doing for them. Well we're going to be saying that there's a lot of possibilities one of the things we haven't shared well and I know that there's a lot of people that you interviewed that I personally know a lot of people here that we've all faced barriers. And one of the things that I really want people to understand is that you can learn from your failures. We've all made big mistakes and as you said that you do have
to take a risk and that's the scary thing. There's so many myths we need to overcome. One of the things that Rosso Sentai I read you had on earlier and I have shared. Extensively is the fact that our mothers were very independent people and. And that's destroying a myth because everybody says you know the macho image and this and that I think a lot of women use that as an excuse not to move ahead. They say my husband won't let me. You saying forget that don't you there's a cop out. That's right a lot of times it's because we have a fear to try something new that you might feel. That's right and so what I say to people is I think you make a mistake it's not the end of the world. You know I think of all of us sitting here the figures we get we research these programs the figures I have today there are 23 million Hispanics in United States and maybe all of us can't do much about the 23 million but we can do something about better and
better accommodation better friendship better war with the 300000 that's better than all of us who live in Orange County. I'm going to ask you to dream a little bit with me if you could have a dream of the condition being better how we could do better you know a little part of the world called Orange County living together and working together what would your dream be. My dream would be Jim. All of us be color blind. It would be completely blind to what color I am. Great dream your dream we have just a few seconds of my dream would be that we would let down our defenses and become vulnerable to one another and to extend love. What have you crying about it Rudy. I didn't say that we should all be united together of one family. I mean everybody not just as panics and the Americans with everybody that growth and I mean every part just to go where I think if we forget the dream we'll never get there with you never will. Your dream I'd like to see it move into the political arena to get some power to be
able to speak for the people that are being productive they may not have an education but they're producing leadership in every arena. Absolutely. Our time is almost up and I've enjoyed It's been a particularly satisfying program. To me I appreciate all of you being with us. And please join me next week when I take a very look a very important look at a very lively issue the political gender gap. Please join me next week I'm Jim Cooper thanks for being with.
Jim Cooper's Orange County
The Invisible Hispanic
Producing Organization
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PBS SoCal (Costa Mesa, California)
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Jim Cooper's Orange County is a talk show featuring conversations about local politics and public affairs.
Jim Cooper in both interviews and with his panel discusses the issue of the Invisible Hispanic which occurs when people don't know how much Hispanic people contribute to a society.
Talk Show
Local Communities
Race and Ethnicity
Copyright 1984
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Director: Ratner, Harry
Guest: Becktell, Evelyn Colon
Guest: Navaretto, Rudy
Guest: Ledesma-Leonard, Lydia
Guest: David, Amin
Host: Cooper, Jim
Interviewee: Sullivan, Herlinda Perez
Interviewee: Aguirre, Frederick P.
Interviewee: Green, Guadalupe
Interviewee: Reyes, David
Interviewee: Santoyo, Rosa
Interviewee: Gedissman, Alberto
Producing Organization: PBS SoCaL
AAPB Contributor Holdings
Identifier: AACIP_0982 (AACIP 2011 Label #)
Format: VHS
Generation: Master
Duration: 00:30:00
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Chicago: “Jim Cooper's Orange County; The Invisible Hispanic,” PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed January 15, 2021,
MLA: “Jim Cooper's Orange County; The Invisible Hispanic.” PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. January 15, 2021. <>.
APA: Jim Cooper's Orange County; The Invisible Hispanic. Boston, MA: PBS SoCal, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from