Demographers have announced that Latinos outnumber non-Latino whites as the largest ethnic group in California.
This doesn’t mean that everything has changed. Latinos are still underrepresented in local government, for example.
But culturally, California has felt this coming for some time. At least we have. We’re two native Californians on the L.A. Times’ audience-engagement team, and here are our initial reactions:
HELGA SALINAS: What strikes me the most is that second- and third-generation Latino/as make up a large part of this population. These are young people like me who may have spoken Spanish at home to their parents and grandparents while going to school in English. A part of me is excited to see more young professionals with experiences similar to mine at work. Another part of me wonders how institutions like schools and universities will cater to this group, especially when there aren’t many pipelines for them to reach those professional goals.
DEXTER THOMAS: I remember playing soccer as a kid in mid-1990s San Bernardino and being not only the only black kid on my team, but one of only a handful of nonwhite faces in my age division. As the years went on, this started to change. I remember Latino teams using Spanish so the other team wouldn’t know where they were going to pass the ball. But by the time I was in high school, just about every soccer player knew at least a little Spanish, so that trick didn’t work so well. So California’s always been pretty Latino to me.
But that’s just us. We want to know what your experience has been. What does a Latino California mean to you? And what does it look like?
A mural, a throwback picture of you in elementary school, a local restaurant, a Spanglish sign or even just you at your job. Show us your #LatinoCalifornia by using the hashtag on Instagram.
We’ll grab some of our favorite posts and feature them here on latimes.com. Here's what we have so far: