As a native West Virginian, a 2010 Census enumerator and one of those young people who left to pursue opportunities elsewhere , I found the recent post, Shrinking Rust Belt States Seek Hispanics, of particular interest. The basic principle of the article was that an influx of Hispanics could possibly be the answer for pulling small-town, rural USA out of poverty.
And where I´m from, there is poverty.
And there is also quite a bit of racism. And very strong opinions about keeping “America” “American.” You see, many people in these areas needing help are ignorant—not stupid, just uneducated— and in many cases, anyone who is not white or black—even though they don´t like African Americans, they do accept the “American” part—is most likely illegal and/or a terrorist. Sadly, this is the truth.
So while I´d love to see my Wild and Wonderful West Virginia prosper, being realistic, it is going to take a long time. First we must break down the ever-present barriers of ignorance, racism and ethnocentricity, educate our small towns, before we can even begin to consider such an idea: a Hispanic influx.