In October of 2007 KRNV News Channel 4 in Reno NV aired a story that grabbed national attention. U.S. Army veteran Jim Brossard heard that a bar in downtown Reno was flying a Mexican flag above a U.S. flag. KNRV recorded him angrily removing and confiscating the American flag without the owner’s permission; illustrating the frustration that many feel towards Latino emigrants who come to the US but refuse to assimilate to its culture. Fortunately for Brossard, the Business owner did not press charges. This incident is an insight into the tension that exists in towns across the state where a large number of Mexican immigrants reside. The tension between immigrants and Home grown Americans can be minimized if people would simply remember their manners.
The Rapid Increase in Latino Immigrants
The Spanish population in Nevada has grown over the last 20 years at a surprising rate. Being raised there and living in Reno for a time back in 98, has enabled me to have a homegrown perspective. My paradigm was updated in the summer of 2009 when I spent 3 month bouncing back and forth between Reno and Winnemucca visiting my family. The number of Latino's was surprising. If you want to work there today, you may want to learn to speak Spanish.
According to UNLV (University of Nevada, Las Vegas), the 2000 census recorded that the Latino people accounted for 19.7 % of the states population, that is approximately 393,970 folks. In 2010, Nevada’s Latino population increased to 737,221 or 27.1% of the state population. That means that the number of Latinos in Nevada increased by 82% between 2000 and 2010.
Not surprising, the 2010 senses also reported that 7.2% of Nevada's population are illegal immigrants. That is approximately 190,000 people who are not supposed to be there. According to Slate.com, This 7.2% represents about 10% of Nevada's labor force. All Americans, legal or home grown, should be concerned about that number; especially if it continues to go up at such an alarming rate.
The Anger is Understandable
Legal or illegal, we can understand why people want to come to the United States. Everyone understands their desire for prosperity. When you consider the conditions that many of the Mexican immigrants leave behind, you realize that their migration is often an act of desperation. However, trouble comes when they come over illegally and/or refuse to integrate into the American culture, they refuse to learn English and care little about the affairs of their community. The flying of this flag above the stars and stripes is the perfect example of their civil disconnect. The anger the Army veteran displayed is understandable.
The anger is understandable, but not necessary justified. There is a difference between an act of defiance and act of ignorance. It doesn't appear that anyone tried reasoning with the business owner before ripping down and stealing his personal property. Mexican immigrants are not known to be trouble makers they are usually very generous and easy to get along with; they may not have thought this through. It is likely that the bar owner simply illustrated his ignorance of the American conscience.
Let’s Work Together.
Come on, lets use some common sense. Remember, unless you are a native American Indian, at one time your family was a immigrant to this country. America is known for its diversity of culture and beliefs. A great deal of tension between Americans and foreign immigrants arise simply out of misunderstandings. We Americans need to use wisdom and patience before allowing an insult to move us to jump on patriotic horses. The immigrant must make every effort to assimilate into the American culture; allowing mutual respect to be the foundation of the civil relationship. In this way, we can work together to make our communities friendly and safe.