“It doesn’t matter whether you’re selling Pampers, blue jeans, cars, or credit cards, the Hispanic community is a market you must include in your business plans.”
It’s the largest demographic group in America–and one with an ever-expanding buying power. Now media pioneer Chiqui Cartagena, an expert on the Hispanic market, has written an indispensable, fact-packed guide that will help anyone trying to successfully reach this crucial community.
The median household income of a Hispanic family is already $4,000 higher than that of an African American family; the disposable income of the Hispanic population is expected to top $1 trillion by 2010; and the average Hispanic citizen is ten years younger than the general market. The business opportunities are endless, but only if you know whom to hire, what to sell, and where to target.
Latino Boom! explains all that and much more, including
· the best ways to approach the three different Latino groups (Isolated, Acculturated, and Assimilated)
· the reasons why “other” Hispanics (those who aren’t Mexican, Puerto Rican, or Cuban) have become an increasingly important sub group
· the increasing influence of consumer-savvy Hispanic teenagers, who play an important role in urban trendsetting
· why Latino consumer behavior makes for a different market than that of the general market or other minority markets
· why companies can succeed wildly or fail miserably in trying to reach this market
· the key differences among America’s top ten cities with the largest Latino populations
Any company will benefit from the authoritative advice in this easy-to-use guide. As Chiqui Cartagena says, “You can spend $20,000 on a consultant, or you can buy this book.”
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Chiqui Cartagena, Managing Director of Multicultural Communications at Meredith Integrated Marketing, is a media pioneer with twenty years of experience developing, contributing to, and launching some of America’s most successful Spanish-language products, including TV Guide en Español and many others. Prior to joining the Meredith Corporation, she was the Director of Business Development for The Ad Age Group, where she was responsible for developing Hispanic business for its leading titles. In 1996 she was part of the team that developed and launched the Spanish version of People magazine. People en Español is still the most successful Spanish-language magazine and continues to dominate the Hispanic print market today. In 1998 Cartagena left Time Inc. to become executive editor of the Spanish-language version of TV Guide. She has also worked as a consultant to Fortune 500 companies who want to get into the U.S. Hispanic market. She lives in New York. Visit her website at www.latinoboom.com.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
EVERY DOG HAS HIS DAY
Before we talk about the business opportunity behind the growing Hispanic market, I think some historical context is necessary. Throughout this book you will hear me talk about the strong bond Latinos have with the Spanish language and Hispanic “culture.” People often say that to know a language is to know the culture of the people who speak it. But to fully understand the Hispanic culture of Latinos living in the United States, one must also realize that this “culture” is also shaped by the historical and political relationship of Spain with its Latin American brethren. So, allow me first to take you through a quick review of the history of Spain in Latin America, and how the politics and beliefs of the Spanish empire have come to influence many aspects of today’s Hispanic culture, including some very deep-rooted issues of race and class. Once we have briefly explored the historical baggage all Latinos carry from Spain, I’ll bring the focus back to the unique and more modern history of Latinos in the United States.
POLITICS AND ISSUES OF RACE AND CLASS
Talking about Latinos and politics is unavoidable these days. Not only was the Latino vote a “must-win” in the past presidential election, in several key battleground states how Latinos voted actually decided who ultimately won the 2004 presidential election. Democrats are still reeling from the results, but the fault does not lie entirely with John Kerry’s campaign. It is clearly part of the larger problem the Democratic Party has to face, which is that the party has lost touch with its power base. Latinos have traditionally been at the heart of the Democratic Party’s power base. That is why historically the majority of Latinos have been affiliated with and voted for the candidates of the Democratic Party. But as you will see in the following chapters, Hispanics also tend to be more socially conservative in their views on politics and religion, especially if they are foreign-born and Catholic. Realizing that they could appeal both to the conservative side of older and foreign-born Latinos, the Republican Party has been impressively effective in gaining political ground with the Latino community. It has also been able to appeal to the younger generation of Hispanics that are born in the United States and are quickly climbing the economic ladder.
Which party does a better job of attracting the Latino vote will continue to be very important because of the tremendous rate at which this population is growing. According to political researchers, about 750,000 Hispanics will become eligible to vote each year over the next twenty years, so the political impact of the Latino community in the United States is undeniable. Now, to better understand the perspective U.S. Hispanics have on politics and issues of race and class, one must go back to the history of Spain and its colonization of the New World. For those of you who are Latinophiles, in my opinion the best book to read on this subject is The Buried Mirror: Reflections on Spain and the New World, which was written in 1992 by the renowned Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes to commemorate the quincentennial of
the discovery of the Americas. In it Fuentes brilliantly uncovers the historical-political connections between Spain, Latin America, and the United States in “search of a cultural continuity that can inform and transcend the economic and political disunity and fragmentation of the Hispanic world.” According to Fuentes, in spite of all the political and economic crises that have rocked Latin America throughout the centuries, the one thing that all Spanish-speaking people share is their cultural heritage.
What most people do not realize is that the same year that Christopher Columbus “discovered” the Americas in the name of the Spanish empire, Spain itself was undergoing its most significant political and religious transformation. After eight centuries of Muslim occupation, in 1492 the kingdoms of Aragón and Castile were united through the marriage of Ferdinand and Isabella. Together their armies were finally able to defeat the Moors in Granada, the last bastion of Muslim military resistance in southern Spain. With the expulsion of the Moors, the Spanish crown began an era of ethnic and religious cleansing that would shape the culture of the Spanish empire for centuries to come. Soon after the defeat of the Moors, attention was focused on the expulsion of the other entrenched culture of Spain: the Jews. That’s right. For eight centuries, the Jews, Muslims, and Catholics coexisted in Spain, a country that is approximately the size of Texas. (Perhaps historians should examine that period more closely to see if they can find answers to the problems we are facing in the Arab and Jewish world today.) But as the new Catholic kings desperately tried to consolidate power in their fractured country, they decided that their “unity” would be based on achieving both religious and racial purity. As a result, the Jews were also forced to leave the country or convert to Catholicism. Many historians agree today that the expulsion of the Jews was one of the biggest mistakes the Spanish kings made, since the Jews were the only ones in the Spanish kingdom that had the necessary experience and knowledge in commerce and finance to keep the Spanish empire thriving.
So in one crucial year, 1492, the Spanish went from being politically divided to being united under one kingdom, from having different languages and laws for each kingdom to having Castilian be the official language of all of Spain, and to bringing back the old Roman law. And finally, after 800 years of coexistence, the expulsion of the Muslims and the Jews may have achieved the religious purity the king desired, but it also drained the intellectual, scientific, and business classes of Spain at the worst possible time: the emergence of Spain as a world power. This was the political backdrop of the discovery of the Americas. Why is this important? Because this political and religious transformation of Spain would forever mark, or should I say scar, the colonization of the New World and therefore influence the “Hispanic culture” inherited by Latinos in the United States today.
The Spanish conquistadores who came to the Americas were often the sons of noblemen who were not going to inherit titles, lands, or fortune in Spain, so they ventured to the New World in search of new riches and titles. They were not alone, of course. With them came religious missionaries, military personnel, and seamen whose only desire was to get rich in their New World adventures. But the base of political power always remained in Spain. For more than 300 years all the decisions on how to settle, govern, and exploit the New World came directly from the Spanish court in Madrid, subjugating both the colonizers and the colonized to a higher power: that of the king of Spain and through him, of course, God. So, from the very beginning, class issues permeated the colonization of the Americas. Unfortunately, these class issues still remain today, with 90 percent of the political and economic power still concentrated in the hands of 10 percent of the population, who more often than not are the direct descendants of light-skinned Spaniards or other European colonizers.
In terms of race, Latinos have a colorful and seemingly contradictory history. Although Spaniards participated in the slave trade, it was a Spanish slave owner turned missionary who, as early as 1524, became the strongest advocate for the rights of Indians. Bartolomé de las Casas successfully convinced the Spanish crown to recognize that African slaves and American indigenous peoples had a “soul” and therefore demanded that the Holy Roman Catholic empire of Spain grant them human rights. As a result, the Spanish government recognized the rights of Indians for the first time in 1542, when the Law of the Indies was enacted. The mixing of races that ensued created the many beautiful shades of brown that now exist in Latin America. This mixture of races was once lauded as “the cosmic race” by the great Mexican writer and intellectual Jose Vasconcelos. Nevertheless, as Fuentes says in The Buried Mirror, the Spanish obsession with racial purity was also demonstrated by the often insulting terms used to “classify” the mixing of racial groups that went on in the New World. At the top of the list are, of course, the criollos or Creoles, the descendants of Europeans who were born in the New World. Although criollos were usually not racially mixed, they were deemed as “less than” by Spaniards since they would never have the power of the peninsular Spaniards and other Caucasian Europeans, and therefore needed to be classified differently. “The mestizo was the child of a white and an Indian,” says Fuentes. “The mulato (the offensive name was derived from the Spanish word for mule) was the child of a black and a white. The zambo was the offspring of an Indian and a black.” The terms go on and on, getting more offensive at each turn. However, although these terms were created to keep track of the racial purity of Latin Americans, in Hispanic culture “discrimination” is more pervasive than racism. Five hundred years of intermarriage and racial mixture in Latin America have created a “brown” skin tone that for many Hispanics no longer has any kind of racial implication. It’s simply part of what makes Latinos beautiful. However, when Hispanics come to the United States, they are confronted with America’s racist baggage. The obsession with race in this country turns even the simplest acts ...
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