An interesting article appeared recently in The Society Pages, making the case that Latinos are more likely to engage in political protests and other groups. This comes at the same time that Latinos are less likely than other groups to engage in the electoral process.
Evidence given for this argument comes from a 2006 Center for Information and Research on Civic Learning and Engagement study:
Although young Latinos are generally not as engaged as other racial/ethnic groups, 25% said that they had participated in a protest—more than twice the proportion of any other racial/ethnic group. It appears that the marches concerned with federal immigration policy last spring drew a substantial proportion of the national Latino youth population.
Meanwhile, Latinos are not participating in elections, most recently the 2010 midterm elections. The CIRCLE study noted that young Latinos are the most “disengaged” of any other group for not volunteering, signing petitions, or generally being involved in politics.
Professor José Marichal makes the case that this trend may be due partially to the fact that Latinos may not always be able to access more institutionalized forms of political participation. He writes that a, “lack of access to formal political channels, particularly for non-citizens and undocumented immigrants” may be one explanation, but so may be an “overall dissatisfaction with politics.”
With an expected 12 million Latinos to cast ballots in the 2012 election given these levels of engagement, it’s important for people on all levels to understand the factors playing into this trend. While we saw huge mobilization over immigration–related and DREAM Act issues in recent years, if these trends do not translate into the ballot box, it’s less likely the issues being protested will translate into tangible legislation.[Photo By vectorportal]