Students talk about what changes rising Latino population may bring
Arizona Daily Star

By George B. Sánchez

Tucson, Arizona | Published:

Students who participated in the Daily Star's unscientific online poll said things will change when Latinos become Tucson's ethnic majority.

How the change may manifest itself remains to be seen.

Helen Jones, a 22-year-old University of Arizona student whose family is from Kentucky, said she'd never thought of herself as part of a minority.

But for students from Tucson's South and West sides, who have grown up in Latino culture, the demographic shift is less dramatic.

"Knowing that Latinos will be a majority, I don't know, I would feel the same," said Esperanza Soto, 17. "I grew up with Latinos."

Soto said people often are surprised that neither she nor her mother speaks Spanish.

Jesus Romero, 18, said people often greet him in Spanish, though his English is perfect.

"People are confused because we're expected to be or act a certain way," said the Pima Community College student.

Soto's friend and Tucson Magnet High School classmate Twyla Haggerty, 17, said people are likewise surprised that she, a self-described "white girl" who grew up surrounded by Latino culture on the West Side, speaks Spanish.

"I like it," she says of surprising people with her second language. "I don't feel like I'm a flat person. Its like, I'm white, but I'm kind of Mexican; I can do this, I like that. I feel like I have some depth."