by Andrés T. Tapia –
(This article was originally published on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/18562142)
In the last post, we finished talking about the second of three strategies corporations can use to seize the opportunities offered by the growing Latin talent pools. In this post, we’ll cover the third and final strategy.
Strategy 3: Marry marketing psychographics to multidimensional demographics
A telltale sign that there is lack of clarity about how to best reach Latino talent and consumers is that many are confused by just the most basic terminology: is it Hispanic or Latino?
The very fact that these terms are often used interchangeably in the media, but have meaningful although not-so-simple-to-explain differences in their origins and who uses them and how, is telling in itself.
But which term to use is only the tip of the iceberg. When we say Latino or Hispanic are we referring to the first-, second-, third-, or fourth generation Latino? The Boomer, Xer, or Millennial Latino? The English-, Spanish-, or Spanglish-dominant Hispanic? The Peruvian immigrant or the Honduran American born in Wichita? Or any of the other hyphenated Latinos coming from 27 different national heritages? This is the demographic part.
Then, as marketers well know, there is a psychographic part—the drivers that influence consumers’ purchasing decisions. Do they buy for comfort? For adventure? For status? For being on the cutting edge?
Latinos, like members of any other group, also have psychological drivers unique to the individual. Marketers have been able to group these individual psychological drivers to segment consumers. So even within the same demographic group they can go after segments such as hipsters, rebels, or security seekers. These are the psychographics.
The next step is to marry demographics with psychographics to create the most targeted approaches to attract talent and consumers. In other words, knowing the multidimensionality of demographic characteristics of Latinos is exceptionally important, but it is not enough without also layering in the various psychographic profiles.
This then gets us to the motivations of Latinos as it relates to cultural identity. How much do they or do they not want to identify with their ethnic roots versus how much do they want to embrace mainstream American culture as the core of who they are. Are they assimilationists? Are they Upwardly Mobile Aspirants? Are they Nationalistic in their ethnic country of origin pride?
The psychographic profiles that people will take are unpredictable to discern for individuals. But patterns do emerge. And now we can combine appealing to the demographic of the Millennial Puerto Rican to the psychographic or those who are Assimilationists or Nationalistic for example.
When the media zeros in on the undocumented (11 million) and the marketers on the Spanish speakers (34 million that is inclusive of the undocumented numbers), they are looking at important segments within the Latino umbrella but not the whole.
For example, they most often overlook the 26 million English-dominant Latino Millennials who paradoxically also tend to identify with the heritage of their parents’ country of origin (Colombian, Costa Rican, Argentinian, etc.) according to Pew Hispanic Research.
Marisela, my daughter, is a case in point. I think back just a few years ago, tiara perched on her jet-black hair, looking radiant and happy, surrounded by her friends and family. It was her quinceañera—her fifteenth birthday—a rite of passage in the Latino culture where a girl becomes a young woman. Mom, a European-American, and Papi, proud…and torn. Our daughter was coming of age and this joyous celebration with 200 people, a live salsa band, and a Peruvian food buffet, also marked one major milestone in Marisela’s passage toward independence and growing into her own identity.
So Marisela talks about being Peruvian American even though she was born and raised in the United States. She embraced becoming bilingual and multicultural as her friendships include young people who are Jewish, European-American, Black, and Latino. She spent extended time in Peru, where she found love and ended up marrying a Peruvian.
While Millennial Latinos are shaping their own Latino identities so are those in the older generations in the rapidly changing demographic landscape.
This was the lively topic of conversation at dinner in Boston’s North End, at the outdoor patio of Ristorante Fiore, an Italian restaurant on Hanover Street, after a successful diversity conference. A group of us Latinos sat, sipping our wine or espressos, began debating the role of accented English as it related to Latino identity in the workplace. Why is it that having a French or British accent is seen as a plus, but having a Spanish accent a drawback? And because of this, should Latinos who speak English with a Spanish accent work at reducing their accent? As the alcohol and caffeine took its effect, the conversation around how we sound dipped into a discussion about identity and success when one is in the minority.
The answers are not easy, the implications uncomfortable. Here we are a table of Latinos from different countries, different migration stories, different choices. What path should each of us take? I described facing ridicule and teasing at best, discrimination at worst due to my heavily-accented English during visits to the United States when I was young. This experience motivated me to work on my accent when I came to back to the United States to attend college.
As I did, the change in responses to my words clearly shifted toward more positive reactions as I calibrated my inflections, pitches, and tones. From that point on, it was as clear as the Peruvian brandy pisco that many English-dominant European-Americans heavily weighed their assessment of the value of words by the density of the accent of Spanish-dominant speakers.
But others around the table at Ristorante Fiore have made a different choice, equally valid. For them, how they sound, including their accented English, is part of their Latino identity. It is a marker of who they are culturally in the same way that Martinez, Ochoa, Jimenez, and Castillo are name markers of a Latino identity that is so paramount that even when offered a choice through different circumstances of a more Anglicized name, they don’t take it up. While others do.
We pick our cultural identity spots. ‘Este es quien soy’. ‘This is who I am’. Increasingly, for more Latinos, particularly Latino Millennials, the assimilation survival tactics of their parents are not as necessary or desirable.
Instead, our choices of how to let our Latino selves show up in American society are as diverse as the various peoples that make up the Latino/Hispanic fabric “en los United States de America.”
Promising future For Latinos—and the companies who hire them
I hope you have enjoyed and taken some good takeaways from this series. It takes two to tango. If Latinopalooza and corporate America can learn to dance together, the benefits of the reverberations of this multicultural choreography will be felt in the workforce and marketplace for a long time to come.
Reaching Latinos: Become self-aware of how corporate cultures are and are not attractive to Latino talent
By Andrés T. Tapia –
(This article was originally published on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/18562142)
In the last post, we started talking about the second of three strategies corporations can use to seize the opportunities offered by the growing Latin talent pools. In this post we’ll cover two more points that support this strategy. If you missed any of the previous posts in this series, click here.
How cultural assumptions get embedded in talent systems
So what is actually happening in today’s businesses? Let’s look at just one current talent management philosophy commonly adopted among highly successful and knowledgeable human resources professionals that may inadvertently have an exclusionary impact on Latino talent: “Everyone owns their career progression.”
This talent development philosophy gets operationalized through mechanisms such as career maps, online universities with “developmental maps” that employees can read, follow, and fill out as they chart their own course. Then there are conversations for them to initiate: How did I do? How will I be rewarded? What do I need to do next? It all then gets codified in the performance and development review.
This has worked quite well for many and this is not inherently a bad or good thing. It’s actually a good thing—if your workforce is homogeneously reflective of this particular worldview.
But too many have been left behind through this approach, which via unconscious bias gets codified right into the talent system and for different cultural preference reasons. Latinos are among the groups that are negatively affected disproportionately by this approach. The problem emerges with a lack of awareness of the cultural bias in this seemingly “fair” approach to development and advancement. It is premised on an individualistic, internal control, sequential, task-oriented worldview.
Latinos face additional differences with corporate America’s (European-American) archetypical worldview. When choosing between employers, many Latinos prefer companies that show cultural competency and sensitivity toward people like themselves. They value opportunities to network, grow professionally, give back to the community, and achieve work life balance. Interculturalist, Brenda Machado Koller, describes a Latino sensitive workplace as one that promotes “familia and simpatía,” one that is family-like and warm and friendly. Such an environment can be leveraged to promote greater loyalty, trust, and engagement.
With such disparate views of how to get things done, it should come as no surprise that Latinos have made very few inroads into leadership positions in corporate America.
Navigating a new worldview
When companies wake up to these differences and obstacles in their current efforts to attract Latinos, it can quickly become an exercise in futility. Conversely, organizations with the courage to truly assess where culture change is necessary and then make the changes will be well-positioned to win the Talent War by attracting their unfair greater share of Latino talent.
Yet, even as I plant a cultural flag of difference for the sake of Latino identity where corporate America needs our differences, I also plant another flag regarding European American and other cultures within the corporation: we need theirs.
With this stance, those of us who share archetypical Latino worldview also need to choose to learn the skills and ways of a linear, sequential, task-oriented, European-American-dominant culture—not only to better understand, and by that get along better, but also to add more tools to our professional toolkits.
I can thank both my Latino worldview and the exposure I’ve had to the European-American worldview through colleagues, with their individualistic task-oriented, internal-control approaches. As I adapted it has made me a better and more effective professional because I have diversified my skills toolkit.
Conversely, many colleagues have told me that they have come to more greatly value the times when a more improvisational, communal, and holistic approach has led to different and, at times, better results than had we followed the directives of a more structured worldview.
But note the phrase “adapted to it.” The line in the sand for many multicultural Latinos is right here. One can adapt without losing one’s cultural identity. “Assimilation,” on the other hand, is where the loss happens—which is to give up those things that have made us unique, to bury them alive, and to only operate within the confines, rules, and expectations of the majority culture we are in.
But what has to stop is the expectation that the full responsibility of adaption is on Latinos. We must have reciprocal adaptation or else, game over.
by Andrés T. Tapia –
(This article was originally published on my LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/today/author/18562142)
In my last post, I shared a teaser with some head turning statistics on Latinos that I was launching in this series. So let’s get started.
Consider this. The United States continues to be in the midst of a Latino population explosion. In the first decade of the 21st century, Latinos grew at three times the growth rate of the rest of the population—becoming the largest ethnic minority group. This has accounted for half of the overall United States population growth. At this rate, it is estimated that one in four U.S. nationals will be Latinos by 2025 and one-third by 2050. By 2060, the U.S. Hispanic population is estimated to reach 128.8 million.
So, what does this mean for businesses? There’s a largely untapped pool of talent available, who can bring ideas, connections, and information that will help to grow the Latino market as well your business. To seize the many opportunities offered by the growing Latino talent pools, corporations must heed three key principles:
- Understand the multidimensional diversity within the Latino community.
- Become self-aware of how corporate cultures are and are not attractive to Latino talent.
- Marry marketing psychographics to multidimensional demographics.
In this blog series, I will explore each of these principles with facts, strategies, and practical tactics. I invite you to comment along the way.
by Andrés T. Tapia —
(This article was originally published on LatinPost.com http://www.latinpost.com/articles/21389/20140915/ya-time-come-latinos-claim-place-american-society.htm)
It’s up to us to have our power match our numbers
Power-cito, my Spanglish word for power-with-a-lowercase-p, is the Achilles heel of the surging Latino narrative. Despite our supersized growth, we have too much evidence that our power in many areas of society does not match our numbers.
As we joyfully celebrate and share our Latino roots during this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s also challenge ourselves to step it up and make our presence known and felt. Because when it comes to executive and senior leadership positions, political representation, and a marketplace that knows and meets our needs, we are not yet fully accounted for.
In leadership, according to the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility, among the 1,200 executive and director positions available in its 2009 Corporate Inclusion Index, Hispanics held only 61 of those positions. That’s 7.9 percent. In 2013, it went down to 7.3 percent. Additionally, only 18 percent of Latinos work in management, professional, or similarly related positions.
Politically, we Latinos do not vote in numbers that the size of our population would suggest. In Arizona, for example, Latinos make up about 31 percent of the state’s population. Two-thirds (67 percent) of this population is native born, with a median age of 25 and a 57 percent home-ownership rate. These are the indicators of a potentially influential, voting-eligible population. Yet, many Latinos believe recent Arizona immigration legislation is detrimental to their community.
In the marketplace, there are still too few choices for products and services that cater to the needs, wants, and aspirations of the broad diversity within the Latino community — from the Spanish-dominant first generation Latino immigrant to the fourth generation Spanglish professional to the affluent MBA on the executive track.
The headwinds are both external as well as within ourselves. We must be vigilant about any discrimination and rally our allies in squelching it. A 2013 Harris Interactive poll found that over 75 percent of Latinos feel people with their background are discriminated against in the form of not being hired or promoted for a job and being called names or insulted.
But we ourselves also get in our own way as we seek to rise to the top. For example, many of the highly energized Latino advocacy organizations have a reputation for not being collaborative, and instead being highly competitive with one another. National origins and territoriality get in the way. A zero-sum game mindset feeds this.
We therefore have a splintering of advocacy groups — many doing insightful, passionate, committed work, but not in a coordinated, scalable way. But this splintering is what contributes to Latinos not displaying strength commensurate with our numbers.
It’s Up To Us
But it’s time we stop looking to others to hand us the power. We need to, and can, rise up to meet it. For us as individuals, it depends on our own ability and willingness to speak up for ourselves and being able to take the more calculated risks required of leaders. And collectively it’s about finding ways to minimize the differences within our own Latino ranks and being able to leverage the many things we have in common to advocate more effectively for what we need and want.
Here’s what we can stand on. Fifty-five million Latinos, and growing, are out there shopping, traveling, banking, studying, and raising families. The Latino purchasing power of $1.4 trillion in 2014, the fastest growing in the United States, is greater than the economies of 11 nations, including Mexico, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Sweden, and Indonesia.
And as companies struggle with growth, Latinos offer a marketer’s dream target audience — young, growing, and underserved. With one-third under the age of 18 and 25 percent in their 20s and 30s, the majority of Latinos are near the peak of their spending years.
As we become homeowners, we are driving growth in the household goods industry at a time when other groups are cutting back on these purchases. The familia focus leads to purchasing for the here and now. Latinos over-index compared to other groups in the purchase of toys, BBQ grills, furniture, and eating out. This is consumerism driven by a worldview of many Latinos that what matters most is hoy (today), for who knows what mañana (tomorrow) will bring.
Even with the high unemployment tied to the Great Recession, Latinos account for 13 percent of the workforce and have a participation rate of roughly 68 percent. This is a higher workforce participation rate than among whites, African-Americans or Asians. From a numbers perspective, companies unsuccessful at sourcing, attracting, and engaging this talent pool will see their talent pipeline shrivel up.
Hispanics are tasting the fruits of entrepreneurship as well. According to a 2013 Geoscape study, Hispanic-owned business have grown to over 3 million, a 40 percent increase between 2007 and 2013, outpacing the growth rate for any other demographic group. They generated over $468 billion in revenues.
In addition, Latinos made a key difference in how the 2008 and 2012 presidential elections went. And with now both major parties deeply disappointing Latinos in one way or another, we are in a position to be more demanding about what it will take to win our votes.
So here we are. According to Pew Hispanic Research, Latinos are twenty-one percent of the millennial population. This is the precursor to all Latinos expected to be one-third of the U.S. by 2050. Latino is not a niche market; it is the market. Twenty-five million eligible voters nationwide, and over 6 million in places like California is not a side constituency, it is the margin of victory. Sixty-nine percent of Latinos going to college, the largest percentage of any ethnic group including whites, is not just a student body ratio, it is the future workforce.
We have the numbers behind us, as well as our optimism, our energy, and our ambitions. But we have to stop waiting for others to make the way for us. Se hace el camino al andar, you make your path as you walk it. Let’s stop playing it safe and instead take the necessary steps to be seen as the future power brokers of how things are going to be.
We have a the rest of this month to reflect on this. From there, time to take action.
Below is a special message from Juan Andrade, president of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute, that I’m passing on to you. The USHLI is a national organization that promotes civic responsibility and empowerment by conducting voter registration initiatives and leadership development programs across the country.
On Fridays, America will see a Latina law school student and her multi-generational family on network television! CRISTELA, a family comedy co-created, co-executive produced, written by and starring Cristela Alonzo is loosely based on the life and stand up routine of the Mexican American comedian.
As advocates for the Latino community, this is a moment that we can come together to combat so much negativity against our community. Whatever your roots, this is a story all Latinos can support. This is our story. It’s about an American family that happens to be Latino. Make no mistake, this is a big deal for us and a lot is at stake.
Cristela Alonzo is uniquely aware of the influence her show can have on the viewers. She is dedicated to sharing our stories (real stories) and tackling the issues that are important to our community like only a show like Cristela can do. She chose the profession of her character (Law school student) as a means to be able to bring light to the issues as an intern in a law firm in Dallas.
The power of media to change hearts and minds is very real. It is a well- known fact that media influences how white people view people of color. It won’t surprise to know we are grossly under represented on TV – save the negative images we see on the news. The very fact that this show is on the air will combat the onslaught of negative images we see every day.
In Cristela’s family – Americans will see a Latina going after her American dream to become an attorney, a small business owner working hard to support his family and a Latina Mom juggling career and children. Then there is the traditional “old school” mom that had the courage to bring her family to this country.
Cristela is the FIRST Latina to co-create co-executive produce, write and star on a network show. Her writer’s room consists of 6 Latino Writers and 2 women. This is unheard of in Hollywood.
We have a unique opportunity to come together to support portrayals of positive Latino images that are the focus of the family comedy. We have the power to make this our COSBY SHOW.
What is at stake? If we do not watch and support on social media we send a message to the halls of power in HOLLYWOOD that we don’t think it’s important to see our stories and ourselves on network TV. We know this isn’t true, but it’s just like GETTING OUT THE VOTE! If you don’t show up your not counted.
by Andrés T. Tapia –
Why is diversity upside-down and how do we with what that means for our lives and our companies? Check out my recent TEDx Talk in Indianapolis, IN. I explore just how much our world’s hyper-diversity has affected practically every aspect of our lives – in our personal relationships, in our communities, and in our companies.
It’s a period that Charles Dickens could have written about if he were still alive today: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times. It was an age of wisdom; it was an age of foolishness.” Or, as Rev. Jesse Jackson describes in a recent Newsweek article, “As we celebrate events that recognize Dr. King’s impact and legacy, we’re filled with both hope and hopelessness.”
Best and worst, wisdom and foolishness, hope and hopelessness are the competing dynamics of our current political, economic, and social landscape. So when the conversation predictably turns to the supposed post-racial period we live in, as some say evidenced by the election of President Barack Obama or the unveiling of a memorial to Dr. King on the National Mall, or even the wealth of media moguls Tyler Perry and Oprah Winfrey, I simply want to shout, Race Still Matters!
Without a doubt, there has been remarkable racial progress from 30, 40, or 50 years ago. Many African Americans who were in their 60s, 70s and beyond spoke with great emotion and often with tear-filled eyes at being alive to see the nation elect our first African American president, Barack Obama. Yet Roslyn Brock, in her first speech before the NAACP as its chairman, aptly described the dichotomy facing our nation while debunking the myth of a post-racial society as she described a nation rocked both by racial progress and racial stagnation.
“Today’s civil and human rights challenges are far different from those faced by our predecessors. Yes, we can … drink at the public water fountain, but the drinking water in our homes may not be safe because of lead toxins. Yes, we can … move into sprawling multi-million dollar homes in the suburbs, but the terms of our mortgages differ from our neighbors. Yes, we can … send our children to public schools, but in some states the textbooks … are 20 years old and school boards have decided to rewrite history by removing all references to slavery and its devastating impact on our society.”
Race still matters when the current economic crisis hits the black middle class much harder than whites and other racial groups. Today’s economic mess has been described as a full-blown depression for the black middle class. In a New York Times article, author Ellis Cose said, “Instead of a middle class, we now have a median class–people who are at or above the median income level, but who, for the most part, are only a few missed paychecks away from disaster.”
And the statistics bear this out. On almost every economic indicator, African Americans fare worse than any other racial/ethnic group, with Latinos running a close second. For example, while the national unemployment rate hovers around 9.5%, since April, the black unemployment rate fluctuates between 15.4 and 16.2%, which is about twice the rate for whites. Black teen unemployment is around 35-40%, while the national teen unemployment rate is around 20%.
The crisis goes beyond employment. When we look at the saving rates of various groups, race still matters. Nearly 80% of middle class Americans did not have enough savings to meet three-quarters of their regular household expenses for three months (the minimal amount needed to get through unexpected situations like a layoff or sudden hospital stay). According to research by Demos and the Institute on Assets and Social Policy of Brandeis University, for blacks, the figure was 95% (almost all) and for Latinos, it was 87%. Race still matters.
When wealth is examined, the disparity between groups is even more startling. According to the Pew Research Center, the median wealth of white households is 20 times that of black household and 18 times greater than Latino households. Let’s look at those statistics in another way. The typical black family has $5,677 in wealth, compared to $6,325 for a typical Latino family and $113,149 for a white family. Nearly $6,000 compared to $113,000. The study goes on to show that nearly a third of black and Hispanic families had zero or negative net worth, while only 16% of white families had similar levels of “non-wealth.” The report says, “These lopsided wealth ratios are the largest since the government began publishing such data a quarter century ago and roughly twice the size of the ratios that had prevailed between these three groups for the two decades prior to the Great Recession that ended in 2009.” Race still matters.
Even with wealth, African Americans experienced discrimination and segregation in far greater numbers than other racial/ethnic groups. A joint undertaking by Brown University and the Russell Sage Foundation reported that ethnic/racial identity trumps income as to where people live. Black and Hispanic families with relatively high incomes tend to live in communities where their neighbors are of the same racial/ethnic background and with many more poor people. The study’s authors wrote, “Residential segregation is an insidious and persistent fact of American life. Discrimination on the basis of race, while on the decline according to some estimates, continues to pervade nearly every aspect of the housing market in the United States.” Race still matters.
Even in our schools, according to the Center for American Progress, spending on black and Latino students is about 90% of what is spent on white students. And when it comes to punishments, black youngsters are disciplined more severely and more often than whites or Hispanics. A study by the Council of State Governments of Justice Center found a significant disparity between out-of-school suspensions and other punishments handed out to African American students compared to students from other backgrounds. For instance, 83% of black males in Texas schools had an out-of-school suspension for an offense that the school could exercise discretion on whether to suspend or not. Roughly 74% of Hispanic males had one of these discretionary suspensions; but only 59% of white males had similar suspensions.
Even with a college degree, black grads are finding that what is a tough job market for most recent grads is an exceedingly harsh one for them. Politicians denigrate government and public sector employees and unionized workers, which were the stepping-stones to the middle class for millions of African American and other minority families, making these conduits for social mobility less available.
In practically all aspects of society–from education to expectations, from politics to prison–race still matters. It’s as if W.E.B. Dubois’ prescient statement in the early 1900s, “for the problem of the 20th Century is the problem of the color line,” continues to resonate well into the 21st Century.
Researchers and pundits can debate the causes and effects of this fact of American life, but until we can have frank and honest conversations about the issues that divide us, until we can talk about the paradox of inclusion as suggested in the Inclusion Paradox, we will continue to experience the many ways that race still matters. This discussion must be a national and corporate conversation that addresses race, class, wealth, and culture.
And no one is better equipped to facilitate this discussion than diversity practitioners. Are you leading the way or sitting on the sidelines?
Much depends on your answer. Because how you choose matters.
by Andrés T. Tapia –
Participation is down. Golf courses are closing. Players have cut their spending for equipment and other accessories. And young people, especially Millennials, are simply not as interested in the sport.
In my earlier 3-part series on the sport, I explored golf’s mythology, and its symbolism for mainstream and corporate America. And in the final report of the series, I talked about efforts to create inclusion for women. But including women is not going to be enough to reverse the industry’s misfortunes. Golf’s survival will require a deep look at all of its policies, practices, and marketing. All the things that diversity practitioners tell business executives about making inclusion part of any company’s DNA.
In an article on GolfBizWiki, Octavio Jacobo discussed in greater detail the challenges facing the US golf industry.
“As everyone in this business is well aware … the situation for the US golf industry has not improved; if anything the severe economical downturn has worsened it. In the last decade, golf has suffered a clear stagnation due to the economic conditions in addition to population trends and the dynamics of the industry and the sport. The NGF’s (National Golf Foundation) annual golf participation study revealed that in 2008 the number fell 3% from 29.5 million, in 2007 to 28.6 million in 2008. …”
Yet there is a potential way through the sand trap. With 50 million Latinos in the US and annual consumer spending of more than $1 trillion, Hispanics represent an opportunity for the industry. If appealed to in the right way, Latinos could be a reliable source for new golfers. According to a recent study by the NGF, there are nearly 6 million non-white golfers in the country, with more Hispanics playing than Asians and African Americans.
It only makes sense – business, economic, survival – to tap into this growing Latino market.
Teaching the mechanics of the game is only part of what’s needed. As my former colleague, Sandy Miller explained in an earlier post and was verified by another NGF study, among the biggest stumbling blocks to diversifying players in the game are the nuanced rules of golf culture – its traditions, rules, and norms. In this regard, golf can learn from corporate America and the Inclusion Paradox. Demystifying the cultural contexts for newcomers can lead to renewed energy, innovation, and profits. Reaching out to Latinos and other marginalized groups may even save the game.
by Andrés T. Tapia –
Although I grew up in Lima, Peru, my urban upbringing was tempered by frequent forays into the countryside–hiking in the Andes, traveling to the Amazon rainforest, and visiting my maternal grandparents in a rural area of Washington State. Being outside was a regular part of my childhood. But that’s not true for too many minority youngsters and their families.
According to several studies, including a presentation by the National Park Service (NPS), visiting a national park is overwhelmingly a white family’s experience. About 91% of national park visitors are white. Even when you look at all outdoor recreation, minority participation lags far behind–80% of all outdoor recreationists are white, according to the Outdoor Foundation. That situation hasn’t changed much since the 1960s.
Yosemite Park Ranger Shelton Johnson, who is African American, has said numerous times that he is more likely to meet a visitor from Japan or France than an African American or Latino family in the park. Getting minorities into our national parks has become such a big deal that Oprah devoted a 2-part program to the subject, where she admitted to never having visited one before. Even the Obama family vacation to Yellowstone and the Grand Canyon sparked national attention.
Black, Latino, Asian and Native American families just aren’t going outdoors, let alone visiting a national park. The NPS, headed by Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar, has recognized this gap and, as it approaches its 100th birthday in 2016, is trying to do something about that situation.
Part of that effort was the 2009 partnership with noted historical documentarian Ken Burns and his 6-episode documentary, The National Parks: America’s Best Idea. Check out a video preview here.
An offshoot of the documentary is the Untold Stories Project, where NPS stories focus on the contributions of African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and American Indians to the park system. The Project seeks to engage under-represented minorities in the nation’s National Parks. Here’s one video about the project.
As with many diversity initiatives, a critical issue behind this push (aside from the NPS’ legal and ethical mandate) is the realization that much of the future support for our national parks will fall to the same ethnic groups that are not visiting the parks today. If today’s minority youth don’t develop a connection to our national lands, it’s likely they won’t support the park system as adults.
Interestingly, some of the research behind this attendance gap delves into what discourages minority families from visiting the parks. Once the studies adjusted for socioeconomic factors, the main difference was…yes…culture. Those of us on the crosscultural front lines understand that what motivates, engages, and appeals to mainstream sensibilities may not hold similar attraction to families coming from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds. For instance, where a white families may find the iconic view of the sun setting over the rim of the Grand Canyon appealing and engaging, Latino and African American families may prefer their nature forays to include a gathering of friends and relatives. Increasing diversity in our national parks–in attendance and employment–means more than just making them available and accessible. It means confronting the different experiences and expectations that all guests seek from these national treasures.
A you can see, the Inclusion Paradox, the power of constructively calling out differences, shows up in all aspects of society…even outdoors.
Imagine looking for a daycare provider, or the nearest national park, or help with a medical concern, or maybe even, help with immigration or child support. Where do you turn for the information, especially if you’re Latino and want to deal with organizations that are sensitive to your background? You can turn to the Hispanic Access Foundation (HAF).
Employing both traditional and new media, this non-profit organization provides key information to Latinos on issues like healthcare, the environment, legal assistance, and other social services. It does this by using its searchable online database to link Latinos with more than 17,500 community-based Hispanic serving organizations. The organizations provide bilingual, affordable and culturally appropriate services throughout the country. And HAF encourages other non-profits to list their organizations in the database.
One of the most user-friendly aspects the website is its address locator function. Simply enter a zip code and a desired service, the site then provides a list of organizations to meet your needs, all within a distance that you determine, say 5, 20, or 500 miles. Well designed, novice computer users can access information as easily as those who have more advanced computer skills.
HAF’s website explains:
We design and implement data-driven initiatives that combine the strength of new and traditional forms of media with grassroots outreach to transform information into action.
…We are dedicated to providing greater access to vital information and community resources to the US Hispanic population to improve their health and quality of life. HAF brings a unique and effective process of grassroots education outreach that can mobilize thousands of individuals in virtually any city in the US and Puerto Rico.
Helping HAF visitors turn information into action is what can happen when you bring together innovation, diversity, and technology. So far they have helped 100,000. That’s called, making a difference.
by Andrés T. Tapia —
On Sunday, June 5, I will join thousands of expat Peruvians at St. Agustin College in Chicago to vote in the second and final electoral round in choosing the next president of Peru.
The collective mood of Peruvians is highly apprehensive about what’s next, despite–or perhaps because ofthe country’s substantial eight percent growth in gross national product in five of the last six years. That is among the highest in the world.
Sunday’s election is where the red-hot issues of race, gender, age, imprisonment, insurrection, poverty and economic boom will be shaken in a volatile political cocktail.
The choice between Keiko Fujimori and Ollanta Humala has come down to two candidates with a lot of potentially problematic baggage. Keiko is the daughter of former President Alberto Fujimori who is serving multiple multiyear sentences in a maximum-security prison in Lima, convicted of corruption and human rights abuses.
Ollanta led two failed insurrections in the Andes against democratically elected governments, and his father espouses an indigenous nationalistic ideology that borders on reverse racism.
These are not the kind of pedigrees that inspire change Peruvians can believe in.
Below the Surface
Yet…Yet, as is often the case in surrealistic Peru, what is on and below the surface, confounds logic. And unexpected turns of events can be equally damming or redemptive. Both candidates are exercising considerable effort to cut the binds of their political past.
In the final debate last Sunday between the two, Fujimori did her best to paint Humala as a destabilizing force, but he held his ground as someone who has recast his persona–aided by Brazilian political consultants–as a man of reason, rather than as a firebrand revolutionary.
And try as Humala did to link Fujimori to the corruption that had led to her father’s imprisonment, she stopped him in his tracks by asserting that Humala had spent most of his time debating the wrong person. “I am the candidate, not the man who is sitting in prison.” The sins of the fathers, she insisted, should not be visited upon their offspring.
While many Peruvians are willing to give Fujimori this pass–as she leads in the polls by about four percentage points but with a very large percentage of undecided voters– many are not.
Bitterness still surfaces at what many consider betrayal on the part of Alberto Fujimori, who arguably could have gone down in history as one of Peru’s greatest presidents after he tamed hyperinflation, defeated two terrorist movements, and laid the foundation for Peru’s sustained economic boom.
Whether it was willingly or coerced, Fujimori entered a Faustian pact with Vladimiro Montesinos, his head of DINCOTE, the Peruvian secret service. Montesinos bribed politicians, generals, TV station owners and journalists with bundles of cash, while he lead a brutal, no-holds-barred war against terrorism.
After separate fugitive escapes to other countries both men were dramatically captured and ended up in the same prison convicted by Peruvian courts on multiple counts. As befitting of a Latin American novel, they were initially incarcerated in the same jail holding Abimael Guzman, the Peruvian Osama bin Laden. Through his Shining Path movement, Guzman had unleashed real and psychological destruction on Peruvian society. He had heroically been captured under the leadership of his current prison mates.
Terrorism, Torture and Human Rights
So it is that Peruvian society is highly polarized about Keiko Fujimori’s father in a way echoing the U.S. debate around whether torture– along with its the suspension of human rights– is justifiable when facing nihilistic terrorists willing to kill anyone and everyone.
But it wasn’t the human rights debate that sunk Peru’s first president of Japanese descent. Most Peruvians, who lived the sheer terror of Guzman’s Shining Path, with its car bombs and massacres, were willing to make their own Faustian deal by looking the other way as Fujimori’s regime put an end to the Shining Path’s madness–but only by responding in kind.
No, what did Fujimori in for many Peruvians, was the blatant bribery conducted in the name of a leader, who had established a new pragmatic, non-ideological paradigm for bringing about change.
It was under Fujimori that the longstanding practices of massive disregard for paying taxes came to an end, as he prosecuted many of the nonbelievers in paying state tribute.
Even as people were pissed off at having to pay taxes, grudging respect became growing respect for a president, who made it clear that there were rules all–with no exceptions even among the elite–had to follow.
As Peruvians got in line with the country’s new path, state revenues grew and were put into transformational use, building thousands of schools, kilometers of highways, electrical grids and water systems.
That the exemplar of rectitude had under his nose one of the most blatant bribery campaigns the country had ever seen was unforgivable.
It’s forgiveness, however, that’s on Keiko’s mind–or more accurately, a pardon. It’s no secret that she does not believe innocent people should be in jail and since she insists her father is not guilty, she would likely pardon him.
While Peruvians debate the limits of forgiveness, Ollanta offers another test.
His first presidential campaign five years ago when he lost to Alan Garcia was partially bankrolled by Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. His policies are antithetical to the free market economic programs that have reduced extreme poverty in Peru from 50 percent to 30 percent. Massive foreign investment in Peru has fueled the economic transformation.
Still, that leaves one-third of the country in abject poverty, a damning metric. It is this proportion of the population that has declared trickle down a fiction and see in Humala someone who will plead their cause regardless of his history of insurrection or suspect influences. They are willing to make this Faustian tradeoff.
For Ollanta, though, Chavez’s well documented ambition to extend the Cuban Revolution into modern day Venezuela–and his eagerness to influence other parts of South America via Bolivia’s Evo Morales and Ecuador’s Rafael Correa–are the very things that may make enough Peruvians turn away from him and look the other way, yet again.
If so, they in turn will cast their own Faustian vote that may indeed free Alberto Fujimori, as the price for hopefully preserving the economic boom.
by Andrés T. Tapia —
As president and CEO of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR), Carlos Orta leads an organization with a bold, yet simple-to-understand mission, “to ensure the inclusion of Hispanics in Corporate America at a level commensurate with our economic contributions.”
His background is well suited to leading this charge, having served in several capacities for major corporations such as Anheuser-Busch and the Ford Motor Company, and as a legislative staffer in the Florida House of Representatives. Under Carlos’ leadership, HACR has initiated programs, conducted studies and papers, and championed Hispanics and our impact on the economy, philanthropy, and corporate governance. As a result, Carlos and HACR have become the authority on Hispanics and corporate responsibility.
During our frequent travels, I often run into Carlos at various conferences. We recently caught up with each other, and as HACR celebrates its silver anniversary, Carlos agreed to share his thoughts about the organization and its 25 years.
Take 1: You often refer to the mission of the Hispanic Association on Corporate Responsibility (HACR) as having four pillars. What are those pillars, and why are they important?
HACR works with its corporate partners, stakeholders, elected officials, and community leaders to provide them with the expertise and tools necessary to ensure the inclusion of Hispanics in our four areas of corporate social responsibility and market reciprocity. Those four areas are employment, procurement, philanthropy, and governance.
With over 50 million consumers, Hispanics represent 16% of the population in the United States, including Puerto Rico, and have an estimated annual purchasing power of $1.2 trillion or 9.6% of the US GDP.
For HACR and the Hispanic community, a company’s reputation and goodwill is based on its ability to promote reciprocity in all areas of the company’s business model. To ensure the continued support and patronage of the Hispanic community, a company should strive to employ Hispanics, contract with Hispanic-owned businesses, support Hispanic-serving organizations, and utilize Hispanic talent to lead its operations in roughly the same proportions that Hispanic consumers support the company.
Take 2: Even though HACR’s mission is targeted toward corporations, its Board of Directors is made up of leaders of different Latino advocacy groups that are not necessarily in the business world. How well does it work for Latino advocacy groups to play an important role in influencing corporations to seek and develop Latino talent?
It works very well. And it works because they have a direct link to more than 50 million Latino consumers.
Collectively, the coalition members reflect the voice of Hispanics living in the United States and Puerto Rico, serving those diverse communities through advocacy, education, representation, assistance, capacity building, public policy support, resource development, and the exertion of political influence. HACR Coalition Members work with more than 1,500 affiliate community-based organizations serving the Hispanic community in all 50 states and Puerto Rico, including more than 450 institutions of higher learning enrolling three out of every four US Hispanic college students, and 400 publications with a combined circulation of more than 10 million.
Take 3: U.S. immigration reform is currently a polarizing issue. How important is resolving the immigration issue to the mission of HACR?
HACR does not deal directly with immigration or policy matters related to immigration reform; however it does affect our Coalition members. We rely on our Coalition members to drive the immigration discussion. They are the experts and the leaders on this front. Regardless of one’s immigration status, you are still a consumer – and one that over indexes on a variety of products and services.
Take 4: It is commonly predicted that Latinos will comprise a quarter of the U.S. population within the next generation. What are the greatest economic opportunities that these increased numbers will make possible for Latinos, and what vulnerabilities within the Latino community do you remain most concerned about?
Latinos are the fastest growing and youngest population in the United States. As the Baby Boomer generation retires, tomorrow’s workforce will be made up of Latinos. In addition, as Fortune 500 companies make geographic shifts, they are relocating into areas that have a higher Latino population (South, Southwest and West Coast).
Given our population and buying power, these corporations should see the value of recruiting, retaining and advancing Latinos at all levels of their corporate structures.
While Hispanics represent over 16% of the total US workforce, we continue to be underrepresented in the leadership of major U.S corporations. According to our own HACR 2010 Corporate Inclusion Index (CII) Survey, of the 1,191 board of director seats at Fortune 100 companies, only 3.6% of the seats were held by Hispanics.
In a recent review of Fortune 100 and Fortune 500 Boards between 2004 and 2010, findings show there are still big gaps to fill and much opportunity for minority inclusion. HACR continues to be an advocate of inclusion and seeks to provide the tools and assistance to those who want to develop their leadership skills.
Take 5: HACR just celebrated its 25th anniversary in DC. What do you believe is the organization’s greatest accomplishment so far, and what is your vision of what its greatest accomplishment will be 25 years from now?
A quarter of a century after it was founded, HACR’s mission is at its most critical and relevant in the organization’s history. Since the organization’s inception, which came at a time when Ronald Reagan was president and Michael Jackson moon walked his way into the American psyche, Hispanics have grown exponentially into the largest minority in the country. And yet, hard work remains to be done, and HACR has geared itself into a future-oriented institution.
Throughout the last 25 years, HACR has been the catalyst for change in Corporate America by staying true to its mission to advance the inclusion of Hispanics at a level commensurate with their economic contributions. We have developed programs specifically to provide a platform to talk with and nurture talent for executive boards, C-suite positions and upcoming executives. These programs include the HACR Corporate Directors Summit, The Corporate Executive Forum™, the HACR CEO Roundtable, and the HACR Young Hispanic Corporate Achievers™.
The goal for HACR in 25 years will be that we will have achieved our mission. And for those companies that didn’t get it, that didn’t understand the value of including Hispanics at all levels, they will lose out on two fronts: our financial and intellectual capital.
by Andrés T. Tapia –
If the United States’ Latino population represented a single country, it would be the second largest Spanish-speaking nation in the world. And this number will continue to accelerate as one in four babies born in the U.S. today are Latinos.
So reveals one of the major headlines from the 2010 Census as it documents the contours of the explosion of the Latino population. At 50 million strong, Hispanics are changing American culture in ways both predicted and unexpected. This growth and the attendant changes are happening much faster than anticipated. Instead of Latinos becoming 25% of the population by 2040, as originally projected, updated forecasts expect that milestone to occur by 2025. Fifteen years earlier.
Univision, the nation’s largest Spanish language TV network, has released a video with a Spanish-inspired musical track that uses these statistics to illustrate what this all means for the changing multi-dimensional identity of the U.S. and therefore for communities, businesses, and to Latinos themselves.
Check out the video.
As you can see, any organization or group that does not embed Latinos and their worldviews into its plans and activities will lose out.
One gap: the video does fall into the trap of presenting the Hispanic community as a single entity, speaking with one voice and possessing a singular worldview. This does not capture the more complex and nuanced story of the vast diversity within the Latino community.
Hispanics represent many paradoxes, with its mixture of immigrant and native born, differing income and educational levels, Spanish-language dominant and English-language dominant. We originate from the Caribbean, Mexico, Central America, and South America and our immigration patterns into the U.S. have taken various different shapes. But with that caveat, there is indeed a broad umbrella of Latino-ness that does unify us given a shared worldview around family, identity, time, spirituality, and relationships.
Bottom line: Latinos are an integral part of the New American Reality. We are here to stay and to contribute to a more prosperous and vibrant nation.
The 2011 Oscars revealed two different tales of diversity’s progress and retro-ness in the entertainment industry.
Eight women — a record — received non-actress awards, which was a nice sequel to Kathryn Bigelow’s breaking of the Oscar glass ceiling last year when her muscular “The Hurt Locker” beat out her ex-husband James Cameron’s fantasy “Avatar” for Best Picture and Best Director. This is progress.
But when it came to African Americans, Asians, and Latinos…. Whoop! Nowhere to be found on the nominee list.
This year’s drought is par for the course.
Thirty-eight years would pass after Sidney Poitier (“Lilies of the Field,” 1963) became the first black male to win Best Actor before another African American (Denzel Washington in “Training Day,” 2001) to follow in his footsteps. Since then it’s only been Jamie Foxx (“Ray,” 2004) and Forest Whitaker (“The Last King of Scotland,” 2006). As far as African-American women go, Halle Berry (“Monster Ball,” 2001) is the only one to win a Best Actress Oscar.
For a Latino Best Actor, we have to go back to 1950 for Jose Ferrer (“Cyrano de Bergerac,” 1950). That’s it. There are close ones: Anthony Quinn (“Viva Zapata!” 1952, “Lust for Life,” 1956) and Benicio del Toro (Traffic, 2000) as Best Supporting Actors. A Latina or an Asian female has never won Best Actress. The closest Latina? Rita Moreno’s Oscar for her supporting role in “West Side Story” in 1961! Asian winners? Only two males: Yul Brynner (“The King and I,” 1956) and Ben Kingsley (“Gandhi,” 1982).
Looking back through this dismal picture, it’s clear that actors of color achievements peaked in the late ’50s and early ’60s. Ay!
When it comes to pop culture, the entertainment industry is awash in contradictions around diversity. As the most powerful medium to help bring about mainstream societal culture change, it has a long and distinguished record of contributing to inflection points that paved the way to greater inclusion. “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” in the 1960s truly broke new ground as it suavely told the story of a young white woman bringing her black male friend, played by the elegant Sidney Poitier, to dinner at her racist white parents’ house. It not only broke the interracial relationship taboo, but even today remains a powerful metaphor for bringing an excluded party into the inner sanctum of those doing the excluding.
Who can forget what “Crash” did in moving the race conversation beyond black and white to all the other dimensions of diversity? Or Sean Penn’s dignifying and human portrayal of gay activist Harvey Milk (“Milk,” 2008)? Or “White Man’s Burden” (1995) where John Travolta lives in a United States where whites are the oppressed minority and Blacks the ones in charge?
Even schlocky movies like “G.I. Jane” (1997) help transform long standing beliefs, in this case Demi Moore machine gunning her way toward normalizing that women can be warriors too. TV land has also played a significant role in changing culture mores. “Dora the Explorer” has a Latina girl teaching Spanish to white, blue-eyed kids throughout America, while a couple of decades earlier lovable “Ellen” made people laugh their way right out of their prejudices against lesbians and gays.
But Hollywood also perpetuates exclusion. There is so little diversity to be found among directors, writers, and producers, it’s not shocking that the most popular of media does not reflect the world as it exists. Minorities continue to struggle with very few roles available that call for their background and, when they do, it’s usually to play a thug, a homeless person, someone out of the mainstream.
We are not even having a debate about whether a deserving actor of color was passed over. People of color are not even being cast in quality roles in either mainstream story lines or in a film about people of color that would set them up for Oscar contention. Jeff Friday founder of the American Black Film Festival, told CNN for a piece entitled, “Where’s the Diversity at the Oscars?” “We have to challenge the studio system. Why are studios not making films that represent the people of this country?”
And more disturbingly, right now with even the most cutting edge, positive, and high quality efforts to create there are troubling exclusionary blind spots. Last year, I wrote about the patronizing, and therefore exclusionary, white messiah messages of 2010 Oscar nominees “Avatar,” “The Blind Side,” “Precious,” and “District 9.” This time, I look at other inadvertent exclusionary ways that show up in the popular TV shows known for their positive diversity impact—“Glee,” “Modern Family,” and “The Cleveland Show”—which I share in my next installment.
Raymond J. Arroyo is a senior member of the Human Resources Executive Group at Aetna, one of the nation’s leading diversified health care benefits companies. As Aetna’s Chief Diversity Officer, he leads diversity-related strategies and works closely with senior management to leverage diversity across the business.
Prior to joining Aetna, Raymond was a Diversity executive at Altria Group Inc., then the parent company of Kraft Foods, Miller Brewing, and Philip Morris. While at Altria, he developed and implemented diversity, work/life and affirmative action strategies and initiatives that helped position Altria as an employer of choice and a recognized best company for diversity.
But behind all these accomplishments and titles is an executive deeply connected to his Latin roots. How he relates to others, how he approaches his work, how he finds replenishing energy to fight the good fight every day draws from his heritage as well as from his skills and personality. Being able to connect personally with everyone he comes into contact with is a high priority for Raymond and it’s why many feel loved when they are around him. Recently, I had the chance to visit him at Aetna and after getting the download from me on how I was doing personally and sharing his latest in return, we took five on some important work related strategies.
Take 1: Aetna has been ranked many times as one of the best companies in terms of diversity. In your own view, what are the key elements that have led to that kind of recognition time and time again?
RA: Aetna focuses on diversity as a business strategy that includes all employees and customers, not just as “diversity allies” but as full partners. We have successfully integrated diversity into all aspects of the workplace and the marketplace. The diverse identities we represent include women, parents, caregivers, teleworkers, Gen Yers, Gen Xers, Boomers, veterans, LGBT, Hispanics, African Americans, Asian Americans, Native Americans, and people with disabilities.
Employee Resourse Groups (ERGs) play an important role in our diversity efforts. Open to all employees, the ERGs contribute to an inclusive environment by providing opportunities for employees to share their experiences and expertise, to partner with and give back to their communities, to network with senior management and to learn career-building skills.
Take 2: Aetna is well known for the size and activity of these ERG affinity groups. As you think about how those affinity groups continue to evolve, what do you find most exciting about their presence at Aetna?
ERGs are making a strong and measurable impact in the way that (1) its members demonstrate engagement across the organization and (2) are linked into the company’s business goals. Approximately 14,000 employees belong to ERGs, and they are significantly more engaged than non-ERG employees. They help Aetna meet its business objectives by providing guidance for creating effective products, services, advertising and information. In addition, the ERG members help us to attract and retain talent, as well as to attract and retain business. Increasingly they’re being leveraged not just within the U.S., but throughout our global locations.
Take 3: Aetna has conducted groundbreaking studies on health care disparities between different groups of people. What do you believe are some of the most important findings, and what is Aetna doing to address the disparities they’ve uncovered?
We know that culturally competent programs targeted to minority populations at risk improve health care outcomes. We are taking the findings from our pilots and studies on issues such as breast health, high blood pressure and prenatal care with a goal of embedding them into our standard clinical programs. Additionally, we have created a dashboard tool that will be refreshed on an annual basis, allowing us to identify disparities in Aetna’s diverse population and then target interventions.
Take 4: Disease management programs have a direct, positive impact on managing healthcare costs. It remains a challenge, however, to effectively engage the Latino and African-American populations in these kinds of programs. What innovative methods is Aetna using to encouraging the members of these groups to engage in health behaviors that benefit them and help manage health costs?
The methods that we have used include culturally and linguistically competent outreach and patient education materials to populations at risk. Additionally, we provided culturally competent training to our clinical personnel. Our studies demonstrate that these culturally competent clinical programs are effective in improving the quality of care of our members who are people of color.
Take 5: You are a co-founder of a network of mostly Latino execs called PRIMER, which has been operating for 8 years. In essence, you created an affinity group for people like yourself across organizational boundaries. What needs or objectives does this network meet?
PRIMER is a network of business and professional leaders that leverages resources to create opportunities, sponsorship and success for its members, Latinos in the U.S., and the Latino community at large. The network enables its members to grow to their full potential and fulfill critical leadership roles throughout the business community and society at large. One vivid example that comes to mind is when PRIMER Vice President Ivy Latimer and The McGraw-Hill Companies in New York sponsored a session on how to increase Hispanic representation on Fortune 500 Boards. Despite a 331% increase since 1993, Hispanics still comprise only 3.1% of all Fortune 500 Board seats and only 1% of corporate America executive officers. At these growth rates, it would take more than 100 years before Hispanics achieve parity. Our own PRIMER member, Charles Garcia, who sits on the Board of Winn Dixie, expertly facilitated the networking session and provided our members with real-life examples of what it takes to join a Fortune 500 Board.