Letters: Growing Up Latino And Home Ownership In a letter to the show, listener Cindy, a 17-year-old Latina from El Salvador, defined her chase for the American dream as aggressive. Also, home owners and renters shared the reasoning behind and advantages of their housing decisions.

Letters: Growing Up Latino And Home Ownership

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NEAL CONAN, host:

It's Tuesday, the day we read from your emails and Web comments. We focused last week on the reality and the perceptions of growing up Latino in the United States. A new report showed high rates of teen pregnancy, gang affiliation and school dropouts. But it also found that the majority of Latino youth speak English as their dominant language, place a high value on education and career success.

And that's the aspect many of our listeners focused on, including Cindy, a 17-year-old Latina from El Salvador. My chase for the American dream is much more aggressive than those who are Americans, she wrote. Young Hispanics have to work twice as hard to stand out because we are buried under the stereotypes that are thrown our way, such as teen pregnancy and gang relations. I am well on my way to go off to college because I refused to succumb to those stereotypes. I will make something of myself.

Another American dream, owning your own home, came with a question last week: are you better off owning or renting and investing the down payment instead? The end result: owning might not be right for everyone. Laura Mogulson(ph) emailed from Minneapolis to tell us: My husband and I bought at the height of the housing bubble. We imagined we won't have to worry about not reinvesting money from selling the house. There won't be any. We can rent in a better neighborhood for less than a mortgage and not be tied down. If we want to move again, we have found home ownership to be expensive and too much work.

The grass, though, is much greener for Greg Jackson(ph). He owns his home in Virginia. Purchasing a home was one of the best financial moves I have made. I benefited from the tax deductions, from paying interest, and had no capital gains when I sold it, since it was my primary dwelling. I find it hard to match those returns in other vehicles. And being able to install a pet door without worries, et cetera, et cetera, is priceless. Renting works but not because owning doesn't.

With tens of thousands more U.S. troops headed to Afghanistan, we talked with one soldier about the long and sometimes tedious process of readying for war, SRP, the soldier readiness process. Keith Stanfield(ph) serves in the U.S. Navy and shared this tidbit from his branch of the service: I have deployed four times for four different missions as a Navy reservist, and one thing I tell other sailors: the first month takes about a year to get through. Every month after that is about a week long.

Finally, we asked David Dickerson, our greeting card guru, back to help us pen our way through a recession-year holiday. What do you write when the year has been pretty lousy? Teresa Daily(ph) in Kansas offered one suggestion: On the outside of the card, big group of holiday characters - Santa Claus, cupid, Easter bunny, presidents, Columbus, pumpkin. Inside, the line: Money is tight, so Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Valentine's day, Happy Easter, Happy President's Day, Happy Columbus Day, Happy Halloween, talk to you again next year.

If you have comments, questions or corrections for us, don't worry. No need to send a card. The best way to reach us is by email. The address is talk@npr.org. Please let us know where you're writing from and give us some help on how to pronounce your name.

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