I recall travels to Mexico and Latin America during those early years, and reading the local dailies and magazines of the cities I visited. Mostly, I found the journalism style excessively personal. I felt a kinship with American culture and felt closer to the information ethic of American journalism, even though American journalists hardly took notice of our community (though they are certainly taking notice now!). It never occurred to me that Hispanic Business could be published in any language other than English. English is the password to participating in American life -- to the nuances of the culture, history, music, poetry, and business of America.
It took us 10 years or so to get the magazine right, and by the early 1990s we were empowered by a magazine culture that was attracting a growing readership and premium advertisers.
The first article I recall reading on the U.S. Hispanic market was published in Ad Age in 1972. In the 1980s, there were no public sources to inform interested readers about emerging Hispanic advertising agencies, emerging Hispanic media, or who the people were who ran such agencies and media companies. There were no sources to identify leading Hispanic market advertising accounts or media expenditures. Information about the leading Hispanic media markets around the country, ranked according to expenditures, was non-existent. Hispanic Business did that, and broke out the expenditures among TV, radio, outdoor, and print advertising.
There also was nothing on the record about the largest Hispanic-owned corporations in the country. Hispanic Business focused on growth, because growth seemed to be the central theme of our lives in the 1980s. As this evening's visual presentation pointed out, the 1970s, '80s and '90s were decades of significant Hispanic demographic gains. They were also decades of progress in related social and economic categories. The educational profile of our communities, for example, changed.
When I was an undergraduate at UCLA in the late '50s, there was no one like me on campus. There must have been other Hispanics on campus -- I couldn't possibly have been the only one -- but if there were, I never saw them. Some of my UCLA professors actually approached me and asked, 'Who are you? And how did you get here with that surname?' By the time I got to UCSB to teach in the late '60s, there were tens -- and later hundreds -- of Hispanic students on campus, and they were demonstrating. This was the case on other campuses around the country as well. By the '80s and '90s, those hundreds of students had become thousands.
And that, my friends, is why affirmative action was, and remains, so important to our social advancement. Minority affirmative action, pure and simple, is about participation in markets of opportunity that many other Americans have been participating in for a long time. It is about access to political and federal decision-making. Fortune 500 companies, through their powerful lobbying, participate in federal affirmative action programs. Hispanic Business may have sought objectivity about many things, but it has never been objective about affirmative action. We have been advocates, and we have the historical knowledge to support that position. Whether the subject was lending, employment, college admissions, procurement opportunities, or fair-share of markets, Hispanic Business unequivocably has advocated for equal opportunity -- which, after all, was one of the great founding principles of American democracy as stated in the Declaration of Independence. The Constitution is another story.
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