Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Stronger Sense of Hispanic Pride and Unity

I think that we, Hispanics, Latinos, or whatever label we are assigned, those of us with roots in Latin America, are strengthening our sense of common identity in the United States.  A sense of identity based on pride.  What we have in common appears to be overshadowing what makes us different.  Our heritage from Latin America has a common cultural influence from Spain, the native peoples of the American continent and Africa, a common language, and beliefs in the supernatural that shape how we look at the world.  Now, in the United States our heritage is being further shaped by the "American" experience.  Being of Latin American origin in the United States promotes a unique way of looking at the world.  

We have found commonality in the being different, immigrant backgrounds, pride in art, music, literature, food, architecture, and, perhaps more importantly, a subjective perception of the world that runs as a common theme in our sense of identity.  The largest immigration of Hispanics to the United States was in the past 30 years.  We grew from 10 million in 1980 to about 50 million in 2009.  Most likely, this growth will continue but now fueled by children born in the United States, and not so much by immigration.  Many contend that eventually we will just melt like everyone else has done in the past.  I believe that our numbers, our culture, and our sense of difference will keep us distinct to a larger extent now than ever before. 

Discrimination has always been a force unifying people.  We have experienced that.  Being seen as foreigners and immigrants has been a common experience even if many of "us" have been here longer than those who look at us as newcomers. But this pressure makes us strong. This stress is unifying us.  Most Hispanics in the US have not had a strong avocation for activism or a need to organize.  In my opinion, the time has come.  Hispanics are now a strong force recognized by marketers, first and foremost, and by politicians who want our vote.  Now we can leave behind anomie and fatalism and see that we have real power.  We have money and many of us have a vote to cast.  We have become increasingly aware that if we do not unite we will have no power. Look at the unprecedented immigration protests of the recent past.

The time has come for us to gather around what is important.  Our sense of cultural identity unifies us in a very special way.  We look at personal relationships in very different ways.  We look at time and space as continua that transcend our existence.  We have a sense of the supernatural that makes us feel awe in a different way.  We have gender relationships that work differently.  We have dual identities.  We are different and also similar.

Samuel Huntington, rest in peace, was wrong.  The work ethic of Hispanics is as good as or stronger than a "Protestant Work Ethic."  We have demonstrated that since we have been in this great country.  We do not want handouts.  We want work.  We want to achieve.

It looks to me like Hispanic identity is strengthening and becoming a great force in making the United States a greater country.  We are here and we are ready to achieve, to be online, to buy products, to serve this great country, and to continue being essentially family people, proud of whom we are and now united by a common experience.  We are now ready to organize and be a stronger social and cultural force.  This has to be our future.

So, what does this have to do with marketing?  Everything!


1 comment:

qc.carlos said...

Most of the heritage of the people of Latin America is from the Native American civilizations of this continent and the African immigrants that arrived with the Hispanic invasion and even before. The Spanish population is a minority, and our diversity is rich. Therefore our culture is not exclusively Hispanic nor Latino.