AP-Univision Poll: Hispanic discrimination high

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by Alan Fram
Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON (AP)—Who’s discriminated against in America? More people say Hispanics than Blacks or women—and it’s far from just Hispanics who feel that way.

An Associated Press-Univision Poll found that 61 percent of people overall said Hispanics face significant discrimination, compared with 52 percent who said Blacks do and 50 percent who said women.

The survey also underscored how perceptions of prejudice can vary by ethnicity. While 81 percent of Latinos said Hispanics confront a lot or some discrimination, a smaller but still substantial 59 percent of non-Hispanics said so.

It is not unusual for members of a group to feel they face more prejudice. In this survey, that was especially true when people were asked about “a lot” of discrimination. Fifty-five percent of Hispanics but only 24 percent of non-Hispanics said Hispanics encounter that.

The AP-Univision Poll compiled the views of 901 Hispanics, which were compared with the results of a separate AP-GfK survey of the general population.

Attention on whether Latinos are singled out for unfair treatment has intensified since last month, when Arizona enacted a law requiring local police to ascertain the citizenship of people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally.

President Barack Obama called the statute “misdirected” May 19 at a joint news conference with Mexican President Felipe Calderon, and he said the Justice Department will soon complete a review of whether it violates civil rights laws. But others have rallied behind the statute as a needed step with an estimated 12 million illegal immigrants in the U.S.

About 40 percent of the Hispanics in the survey said they had experienced much discrimination personally—including just 13 percent who said they had dealt with it a lot.

Among Hispanics, women are more likely than men to say Latinos suffer discrimination. In addition, Hispanics from cities and rural areas are more likely than those from the suburbs to say Latinos face a lot of prejudice.

Matilde Martinez, 59, a Puerto Rican-born New Yorker, said she believes Mexican immigrants face much mistreatment.

“It causes me a lot of pain,” she said in an interview conducted in Spanish. “These people come to work and they do work that the Americans won’t do for the little pay they get.”

There also are partisan differences. Fifty-five percent of Hispanic Democrats and 38 percent of Hispanic Republicans say there is a lot of discrimination against Hispanics, and Hispanic Democrats are more likely than those in the GOP to say they have personally been affected.

Hispanics in the poll perceived discrimination against other groups a bit more often than non-Hispanics did.

Fifty-seven percent of Latinos and 50 percent of non-Hispanics said Blacks are discriminated against. Fifty-eight percent of Hispanics and 48 percent of others said they had observed discrimination against women.

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