Since I emigrated from Mexico City in 1997, I have lived in the United States. I made the United States my home; I became an American and had my children here. I have found the opportunity I was seeking when I came to this country with a dream. I have been very fortunate to have had terrific educational and career opportunities in the United States. Throughout my life here and more recently through my own podcast, I have come across more and more Latinos and Latinas who are having a tremendous impact on our country in business, technology, culture, education, society, politics, the arts, etc.
Yet despite the tremendous progress we are having in this country and the huge growth of our Latino population, often the mainstream media continues to portray Latinos and Latinas in a stereotypical manner or ignores them. During my 17 years in the United States, I have interacted with many people not familiar with the best that Latino culture and the Latino community have to offer. I have always felt that there is a vast lack of knowledge, understanding and recognition of the wonderful Latino culture and the positive impact and the success that Latinos and Latinas are having on America.
I believe that as Latino/multicultural market thought leaders and marketers, it is critical that we educate the mainstream about the sophistication, beauty and the impact of Latino culture in the United States. Not just because elevating the standing and potential of the Latino community and culture in America is the right thing to do, but also because it is smart business.
It turns out I am not alone in my view. According to “The Hispanic Influence in America” project by Connil, 73% of Latinos and 68% of non-Latinos feel Latinos are portrayed stereotypically by the mainstream media often. According to Nielsen, 67% of Latinos think that understanding their heritage and maintaining the values of their culture is very important.
Latinos and Latinas seek to be empowered by the strength of their culture and to be recognized authentically and positively by the mainstream. We want to engage in experiences that empower us and that give meaning to our voice. We seek a more positive and more authentic reflection of ourselves in the media. We seek for the mainstream to embrace our cultural roots as sources of strength not as barriers.
The way to our hearts and minds is paved with authentic appreciation and recognition of our people, our success and our culture.
The brands, media organizations, thought leaders and companies that genuinely embrace this outlook will win over the loyalty of the Latino community.
So educate others about the wonderful world of Latino culture and impact in this country and let others in … it is the right thing to do and it is smart business.