How are You Celebrating Hispanic Heritage Month ?

national-hispanic-heritage-month(or do you even know it is happening now?)

September 15th to October 15th is National Hispanic Heritage Month in the USA.

I’ve always been interested in the application of intercultural communication concepts to domestic diversity issues. Perhaps this has to do with where I was living when I first learned about intercultural theory—a racially mixed neighborhood where people of good intentions occasionally had minor misunderstandings.

Working with the Cultural Detective: Latino/Hispanic package renewed my interest in the link between USA diversity and intercultural, specifically about Hispanic issues and how they impact USA society today. Latinos are a vital and dynamic part of the country, yet many in the USA do not know much about the underlying values that may influence Hispanic world views and behavior.

The Pew Research Center recently published an article in their FactTank, “5 facts about Hispanics for Hispanic Heritage Month.” It inspired me to prepare the following short quiz, to see how much you know about Latinos and Hispanics in the USA. Check your answers in the original article.


1. More than half of the USA’s Hispanics live in three states. Which three?
    • New York
    • Florida
    • New Mexico
    • Arizona
    • California
    • Alabama
    • Texas

Latinos are moving to all parts of the USA, and are no longer only living in the areas where they have more traditionally settled. A comprehensive report by the Pew Research Center, based on analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data, shows Hispanics residing in every state: Mapping the Latino Population, By State, County and City.

2. How much did the Latino population grow between 2000 and 2011?
    • 22%
    • 36.4%
    • 57%
    • 47.5%
    • 63.5%

Not only did the number of Hispanics grow tremendously between 2000 and 2011, Pew found that Hispanics account for more than half of the nation’s growth in the past decade. The human resource potential is enormous, and understanding the underlying values of this group will allow organizations and communities to be more inclusive and utilize these resources more effectively. Cultural Detective: Latino/ Hispanic explores the important core values that may guide behavior and influence decision-making among Hispanics.

3. The terms “Hispanic” and “Latino” embrace a wide variety of backgrounds. What percentage of Hispanics/Latinos trace their heritage to Mexico?
    • One-half
    • Two-thirds
    • Three-quarters
    • Seven-eights

In the USA, people who trace their heritage to over 20 nations consider themselves to be (or are considered by others as) of Hispanic origin. Statistical information on the largest groups are examined in the Pew report, Diverse Origins: The Nation’s 14 Largest Hispanic-Origin Groups.

4. Over the last decade, college enrollment has increased among Latino high school graduates. Can you match the correct percentage of USA high school graduates who enrolled in college in 2012 with their ethnicity?
    • Hispanics                                                  • 45%
    • African-Americans                                    • 49%
    • White Americans                                       • 47%

What are the current educational trends? Latinos now make up one-quarter of all public school students in the USA, the rate of Hispanics dropping out of high school continues to fall, and more young Latinos than ever are preparing to go to college. In fact, among recent high school grads, Hispanic college enrollment rate surpasses that of whites.

5. According to the USA Census bureau, how many of the nearly 52 million Hispanics (age 5 and older) speak Spanish at home?
    • 47 million
    • 35 million
    • 25 million

Spanish is the most frequently spoken language other than English in USA homes, and it is also spoken among non-Hispanics. Among Latinos, most agree it is important for future generations to learn Spanish as well as English, even though a growing share of Latinos get their news in English.

As part of Hispanic Heritage Month, let’s take a fresh look at our organizations and communities. Are structures and policies in place to facilitate the contributions of Hispanics? Do we respect a different point of view, and can we incorporate it to better our communities for all members? How can we get from “here” to “there”?

If you are looking for a resource that can be easily woven into existing training to learn about Latino/Hispanic culture, Cultural Detective: Latino/Hispanic is your answer! By exploring the core cultural values and using the Cultural Detective Method to analyze real-life situations, you can offer practical skills to build bridges within your workplace and community.

Have Difficult Economic Times Changed Our Values?


“The continued positive outlook—despite the hard times—is a measure of the resilience of American values. The Pew Research Center’s twenty-five-year tracking of American values finds little indication of deflation in the public’s basic confidence in the efficacy of hard work, the nature of personal success, and the nation’s capacity to solve its problems.”

Working with Cultural Detective over the years, I am always interested in the role values play in our lives. So I was eager to read a new working paper for the Council on Foreign Relations released by Pew Research Center pollsters Andrew Kohut and Michael Dimock, entitled Resilient American Values: Optimism in an Era of Growing Inequality and Economic Difficulty.

We in the USA are a nation of optimists. We believe that with hard work we will get ahead. “Unlike Europeans, they [US Americans] believe that they themselves, not larger forces in society, determine whether they will be successful in life.” And, in spite of the recent difficult economic times, US Americans continue to believe that it is through their own initiative they can and will succeed.

Although the economic situation in the US has changed radically in the last 25 years, research finds that this shift has not drastically changed our values. This research indicates that the core Cultural Detective: USA values of Self-reliance (It’s up to you) and Capitalism (Reach for the American Dream) are alive and well throughout all levels of US society.

However, what really caught my interest in the paper was the research that showed US Americans are upset not by rich people being “too rich,” nor by the widening economic gap between the rich and the poor, nor by the large drops in wealth and income among most in the last decade. To the contrary, US Americans are most concerned by the apparent unequal nature of the economic system, and a government ideologically paralyzed and unable to institute meaningful reform.

“During a time of prolonged economic hardship, Americans are clearly upset about a perceived lack of fairness. What the public wants is not a war on the rich, but rather more fairness in public policy, and policies that promote opportunity.”

Sounds to me like the results of this study also suggest that the CD: USA values of Equality (Level the playing field) and Law and Order (Play by the rules) remain an integral part of the society. We want the same opportunity to work hard and get ahead as everyone else—even those with far more money and power than we ourselves have. While there is great diversity in our ranks, perhaps this study has once again shown us what unites us as US Americans.

We invite you to take a look at this study—it is full of interesting information about US values and attitudes. We’d love to hear how you see your cultural values playing out in difficult economic times.