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Don's World - 200710 - Who Are We in Florida

Updated on July 10, 2020
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Don is a Writer and a Storyteller. He has published over 9 books on varied subjects along with many articles and commentary on his blogs.

DON's WORLD - 200710 - Who Are We, In Florida

DON's WORLD - 200710 - Who Are We, In Florida; an Ethnic Curiosity.
DON's WORLD - 200710 - Who Are We, In Florida; an Ethnic Curiosity. | Source

Who Are We, these many Floridians I see.

It’s a Curiosity Thing for me; Just what is the Ethnic distribution in Florida.

Traveling Southerners

I and my Wife are originally from the State of Virginia, born and raised, as we say in the South. We have both worked over our lives together and we actually moved away from Virginia several decades ago.

Because we were both professionals, as our careers evolved, so did where we lived. It’s probably not important to you, but over the past 30+ years we have lived in; Raleigh, NC (nine years), Myrtle Bach, SC (eight years) and finally in Florida (ten years so far).

And although we still call ourselves Southerners and occasionally Virginians, as we relocated and met new people we became curious about where and why different ethnic groups lived. It was fascinating really; how the different ethnic and social groups we have lived among came together and formed their own areas or neighborhoods in order to stay neat each other.

There didn’t seem to be anyone who could tell us about this, at least with only our cursory investigations.

Being a Floridian for the past ten years, bear with me as I list some of the ethnic statistics for Florida that I found listed online which was collected by the 2018 US Census Bureau.

2018 Census of Florida Ethnic excerpt;

Here's the breakdown;

White - 74.7% of population (or 53.3% Non-Hispanic White)

Hispanic-Latino (total for all races) - 26.1%

Hispanic listing themselves as White - 21.4% of population

Black or African-American - 16.0%

Asian - 2.%

Native American (&Alaskan Native) - 0.1%

Pacific Islander - 3.3%

Other - There is always an Other category that these statisticians can use to sweep everyone else into for their convenience.

So, why am I listing these numbers? I fell into searching for these numbers for the places we either lived or were thinking about living. As my wife and I traveled around the world in our jobs, we noticed the same propensity for “living near your own”.

This was a common trait not only for ethnic reasons but also for social and financial reasons.

I have what you might call “ethnic” friends that started out as coworkers and we evolved into friends over time, as I understand is a common occurrence. And even after decades of time, we are still in touch with each other

I look back now, after all of those years traveling and working in other countries and I realize that as someone once said; we are all alike, some of us are good people, and some of us are bad people.

Memories of a Population Change

When I was a young man in Virginia, i never thought about much such a thing as someone’s ethnicity. I was White and I worked beside Blacks on my uncles tobacco farm as a teen. I had a couple of Jewish and Catholic friends in High School but otherwise I never took the time to notice much about any of these people back then.

Think about it, do you remember when you first realized that you were living in an area that includes people who were not just White like yourself Well, living in the South I was aware of the Blacks who back then lived in their own neighborhood.

The fact that the world was made up of more than just my fellow Whites and the occasional Black came to me for the first time when my Dad sent me down to the love hardware store.

I was walking down an aisle of parts when i saw one of those little yellow warning signs that was sitting in the aisle to warn me about a wet floor.

It was in English of course, but it also had CUIDADO written on it? I remember stopping in my wet tracks and thinking; What is CUIDADO?

I looked a little further down the hall and there was a young man mopping the floor, so I yelled out to him; “Hey buddy, CUIDAIDO? What does that mean; did you spill some chemical on the floor or something?”

The young man smiled and said; "Naw! These are new signs.” Then he pointed at the product labels on the end of each aisle in the store, continuing with;

“The management has added a lot of these signs for the Mexican customers. A lot of them don’t speak or read English, so with these new signs, management figures they will get more of them to come here and buy stuff.”

I just shrugged and carefully sloshed down the aisle to pick up the screws I needed for Dad, paid and left.

A week or so later, I went to a competitor’ store and there they were; all of the aisles of parts had Spanish names as well as the old English ones describing what could be found down that particular aisle.

I picked up the parts I needed and as I left the store I smiled to myself; thinking that there was obviously a large enough Spanish speaking part of the population living in the area that the major business’ were competing for their money.

This incident stuck in my mind and I started watching for such things as signs and other business’ that included Spanish signs.

My eyes were opened for me by what i realized after that.

I actually started to see all of the Mexican restaurants in town. I saw that most of the landscape trucks, home cleaning services and others had Spanish business names and the owner’s name usually sounded Hispanic.

My newfound knowledge made me realize that I was no longer living in the “South” of my youth, but rather in a country that included a large number of Hispanic people. Sure, the most visible ones I saw were working class people, who took the low paying jobs, usually ones that many Whites didn’t want.

And, less than a decade later I was seeing a lot of business’ and signs that advertised their skills as Brick Layers, skilled Carpenters, Electricians and Plumbers.

I even heard the occasional White person complaining about how the Hispanics were taking their jobs away from them. But, the more I watched and learned about this the more I realized that no one was having their job “taken away” I realized that they were being replaced by other people who could do the job; sooner, faster, better and even cheaper.

I was uncomfortable with this situation at first and then I realized that this was America and these Hispanic Americans had learned the new skills necessary and were building their own careers as professional tradesmen.

So, what is wrong with this movement of Hispanic Americans up the ladder of success? And what can I say about their high population count in Florida?

Honestly, I can only say; Good for Them!

‘NUFF Said!

But, What about all those other groups?

I know, I know! I’ve said nothing about the Black Americans, have I? Nor have I even mentioned the Native Americans or the Asians, etcetera?

You know, as well as I do, that each of these ethnic groups, including the Hispanics has a story of their own evolution and professional growth in America.

And my friends, this is a simple editorial article about what this old man has observed of the peaceful evolution of Hispanics over the past few decades.

This is not a book written for the reference bookshelves in the libraries across America; which is what it would require to get into the different race situations in America, today.


This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Don Bobbitt


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