Back in January, I wrote a post about being that person at work who knows everything about Latino culture. There was a recent Twitter party where attendees discussed Latinos in the media world and how we are portrayed. These two topics are related because when the mainstream world watches TV, that is the only way they are exposed to “our” world. But our world isn’t so different than theirs…I mean we’re all American! I find it very condescending when someone who does not know me decides to greet me with an “Hola” every time they see me. Once is good enough but to be honest there’s no reason for you to attempt to make me feel comfortable.
So how do we handle situations where our colleagues call us “amigo” and throw one Spanish word at us a week. How do we know if it’s condescending and how do we know if it’s just out of good will? Sometimes what makes things worse is when every Latino question/comment/query comes to the Latino worker. You can work in the Web department at a marketing agency in New Jersey but for some reason you get an e-mail about a Hispanic Chamber of Commerce convention in California. Why did you get this e-mail? No relation to what you do at work, it’s because it was labeled as Hispanic. I smell a human resources case but it all depends on the incident, time and employer.
“So how do you overcome these obstacles? A lot of us tend to tell ourselves that it is really just due to ignorance so we should just ignore it. However, is there a way to educate these people? By forcing the media to tell positive stories about Latinos, overtime things can change. I think most Latinos tend to sway over to the social service world and this is a positive story in itself! We help our people in our community but forget to “tell our story”. That’s where public relations/marketing comes in but not a lot of local organizations have ways to spread the word. It’s ultimately up to you where you want to work and how you want to tell your story. Take your pick at the 2010 Lists of the Best Employers for Latinos to Work For.”
by Eric Cortes
Disclaimer: The views herewith expressed, are explicitly that of the writer and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino Inc.
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