Many African-Americans feel that Latinos have, in fact, benefited from their struggles and lawsuits. However, we cannot continue the blame game and the struggle to be classified as the most-victimized minority group. Both communities have suffered tremendously, and neither side can deny that fact. Some younger African-American and Latino community leaders are now saying that we need to work together on common issues and not continue the cutthroat mentality. Each community must demand, in unity, that dropout rates need to be reduced, that gang violence must be curtailed, that jobs need to be equally created for both communities, and that hate crimes will not be tolerated or embraced from either community. African-American and Latinos working together should not be a threat to our society. Both communities simply want to achieve the American dream: to have a decent education; to have a stable job with benefits; to have the ability to buy a house, a car, and to be able to provide food, shelter and clothes for their children. These are not radical ideas or thoughts. These are basic human needs. Both communities deserve to be recognized and respected as members of our society. We need to plant the seeds, through the written and spoken word, that both communities can live side by side in tranquillity and respect. The African-American and Latino communities need to strive together to achieve equal housing, a quality education, better employment opportunities, and a better understanding of each other’s history and culture. And our public-school districts need to do a better job of including in the textbooks the history and political realities of both communities. The essence of a successful community is establishing better communication and to treat each other with respect and dignity. Teaching these principles to our children is a step in the right direction. Randy Jurado Ertll is executive director of El Centro de Accion Social in Pasadena, elcentropasadena.org. Write to him by e-mail at [email protected] local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREStriving toward a more perfect me: Doug McIntyre Much talk has been done about establishing African-American and Latino coalitions. Very few have been achieved, and most have not lasted long. Many times, they are based on electoral politics and self-interest. Also, the elite leadership tends to romanticize coalitions, which do not trickle down into the working-class or middle-class neighborhoods. Some African-American and Latino leaders have tried to form alliances. A good example is for the immigrant-rights marches. But few African-American leaders and community members participated or embraced this movement. The pro-immigrant Latino leadership did not do enough outreach to include a wide representation of African-American leaders and organizations. Also, many African-American community members have been influenced by the anti-immigrant rhetoric that preaches, “These immigrants are criminals who are breaking our federal immigration laws, and they are taking our jobs away.” As Earl Ofari Hutchinson notes in his recent book, “The Latino Challenge to Black America: Towards a Conversation Between African Americans and Hispanics,” anti-immigrant rhetoric has been part of the African-American experience since the 1800s. Immigrants are often used as scapegoats, with the blame for all social ills placed upon them. During the recent massive pro-immigrant-rights marches, some Latino leaders began to say that the immigrant-rights movement was the new civil-rights movement. This infuriated many African-Americans who asked about the invisibility of Latinos during the civil-rights struggle. Some of the issues that African-Americans and Latinos have in common are high unemployment rates, high drop-out rates from public schools, systemic poverty, gang violence, high percentage of prison inmates and the continual discrimination that both communities face. So why do African-Americans feel fearful of Latin American immigrants, and why do Latinos fear African-Americans? Some issues that continue to create controversy between both communities are immigration issues, job competition, bilingual education and political representation. These are tough issues that we need to address in a respectful and thoughtful manner. Unfortunately, some issues do remain a taboo. For example, the highest rates of hate crimes in Los Angeles County are perpetrated by both communities against each other. These issues need to be brought to the surface.