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My Country, My Culture, My Heritage: U.S. Hispanic Cultural Insights, 2011


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Interviewed a small group (individually) of US Hispanics regarding their perspectives on core values, beliefs, labels, characteristics, advertising. Also basic information on use of social media, mobile and Internet.

Interviewees included:
- Mexican immigrant
- 1st generation from El Salvador
- 2nd generation Puerto Rican and Mexican

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My Country, My Culture, My Heritage: U.S. Hispanic Cultural Insights, 2011

  1. 1. U.S. HISPANICCULTURAL INSIGHTS Kristiana Burk May 20, 2011
  2. 2. INTERVIEWEES Puerto Rico Mexico Age Range 35-44 Age Range 25-34Interviewee #1 Interviewee #2 Born in Bronx, 2nd generation Born in Mexico, Immigrant Computer Networking, Former Military Mother, Spanish Tutor, English Tutor English, Understands some Spanish by ear Fluent Spanish, English Is Mexico El Salvador Age Range 25-34 Age Range 18-24Interviewee #3 Interviewee #4 Born in Texas, 2nd generation Born in Canada, 1st generation Director Distance Education, Schools College Student, Chemistry English, Understands Spanish but doesn’t Fluent in English, Spanish, French speak or write it
  3. 3. U.S. HISPANICS VS. OTHER SOCIETIESGuided Questions Used What do you think of when you hear “Hispanic?” What does “being Hispanic” mean to you? How do you think Hispanics differ from other groups of people? How do you think others view Hispanics vs. what you see as reality? What differences do you see in U.S. Hispanics vs. other Latin American countries?
  4. 4. FEEDBACK “Besides “I am very language and proud of my customs we aren’t culture. I like being “Hispanic is a really different” it.” vague, broad description.” “There are “I think of 25 Hispanic myself as myself; not countries - and I amwhether I am Hispanic one out of 25” or Latino” “I was never a label until I came to this country”
  5. 5. INSIGHT #1: UNIQUENESSLanguage that binds them together: SpanishCome from geographic areas of South America,Central America, Mexico and SpainTies to Spanish history and indigenous peoplesCustoms and core values that define the cultureDon’t see themselves as “different” from others - justanother nationality; not a race
  6. 6. FEEDBACK “I feel different as a Hispanic depending on where Iam. In Miami, I feel widely accepted and can be myself. But in the southern states the Mexican population ispredominant and I am treated very differently. In LA, TX, AZ I am automatically labeled Latino-Mexican even though I am 6ft 2 and light-skinned with no Mexican characteristics and hardly speak Spanish.”
  7. 7. INSIGHT #2:LABELS & IDENTIFICATIONProgression from “my country” (immigrants) to1stgeneration as “our culture” and 2nd generation as“my heritage”1st and 2nd generations very informed on history andelements that bind them together as Hispanics even ifnot living “Hispanic life” (as they called it)Acculturation an expected way of life. Proud ofheritage but merge that with their current life in different ways (“I still cook Mexican every day but Imake it healthier and mixed with food here”)
  8. 8. FEEDBACK “My parents and I have a strong tie to our heritage but we don’t really apply our culture in daily life. At the time my grandparents were raising my parents in TX it was discouraged to be proud of your culture, speak Spanish and other customs. My dad’s teacherseven forced him to be called Charles instead of Carlos. For that reason, we are aware of our heritage but we are just typical Americans now as well and that’s how I raise my kids. It’s hard to tell the difference anymore.”
  9. 9. CORE VALUES & BELIEFSGuided Questions Used What are some of your core beliefs? What are some of your core values? Where do you think those values and beliefs originated from? Do you think any of those are unique to Hispanics? If so, then how?
  10. 10. FEEDBACK “Relationship “Family first. You with God or the have to support church.” “We are very family forever.” protective of family. It is our way.” “Relationships “We were the are necessary. To be conquered vs. theand live close to each conquerors” “Community other.” is important - to know and protect them.”
  11. 11. INSIGHT #3 THINGS VALUEDFamily is Everything; sometimes if you have to make achoice between religion and family. It’s usually family.Spirituality is fundamentalFostering community & having close relationshipswith others is a responsibilityThe Grandmother is the matriarch and at the centerof everything; even for 2nd and 3rd generationsThe man is the head of the house and provider
  12. 12. INSIGHT #4 SEEING A SHIFT OF VALUESSeveral comments about how core values shift forimmigrants once they get to US (way they dress,forget family, loss of tight community, etc.)Hear a “whisper” of guilt - even from 2nd generationsof not having a deep tie to core values - like notsharing that with kids, etc. and framing it as “heritageor not keeping in touch with family”Relief from one interviewee that he married aColumbian who pushes him to reconnect with thechurch and stay in touch with family
  13. 13. FEEDBACK Interviewee:“Family is very important. We get the news from ourfamily back in El Salvador 2-3 times a week from myaunt. Usually via Skype or phone - mostly telephone. We are very close to her.” Interviewer: “Have you ever met your aunt in person?” Interviewee:“No. I’ve never seen her in person - just via Skype.”
  14. 14. HABITS, BEHAVIORS & EXTERNAL MANIFESTATIONSGuided Questions Used How would you describe the U.S. Hispanic culture? Tell me about some of your daily habits What are some of your family’s habits? Do you think non-Hispanics do this too? Are any of these actions unique to Hispanics in the U.S.? What are some surface-level characteristics of U.S. Hispanics?
  15. 15. FEEDBACK “Name changes “We like to eat. once you are in US.” Alot.” “Dress changes based on moving from rural to city.” “We are “Friendly and laid- social people andback. Not in a rush, life like cellphones and is slower.” Internet” “Lots of fiestas and community parties or events.”
  16. 16. FEEDBACK “I see alot of changes once people get to this country. I don’t know why but the women, theylike to color their hair blonde even though it is dark black. Or dress provocatively even though they would not dress that way at home. Or like the Guatemalans who don’t even use money in their country or only eat 3 tortillas a day and now eat McDonald’s. They want to fit in.” “I think change is good, as long as it is for the better.”
  17. 17. INSIGHT #4 WAY OF LIFELots of family and community gatherings; to eat,celebrate festivals or religious daysTend to dress more formally for occasions and goingoutSpeaking of spanish in home, English everywhere elseas much as possibleMusic a big part of cultureNovellas and Univision the main reference for Spanishnews and television; but most prefer English TV
  18. 18. INSIGHT #5 ONLINE & MOBILE USEUse Facebook and Skype to stay in touch with familyfrom back home (Mexico, El Salvador, Puerto Rico)All prefer English websites. Immigrant uses Yahoo enEspañol to stay in touch with Spanish community butfor news from home - prefers to just get it fromfamily; usually via telephone. Distrustful of mediaAll have mobile phones; 3 out of 4 had Blackberries.None used it for Internet access much - they all havelaptops or computers with wi-fi at home
  19. 19. ADVERTISING & HISPANICSGuided Questions Used What type of advertising catches your attention most? What is it that grabs you? What turns you off? What language do you prefer to see advertisements in? How do you make the decision to purchase a product or service? How do you use the Internet? Do you own a mobile phone? What type? What do you use it for? Do you have Internet at home?
  20. 20. FEEDBACK“Humor is what I “We make prefer above all purchase decisions “Respond to else.” together.” advertising that is offbeat and humorous.” “Research in “Advertising English because Ibased on our last want my husband’sname. If only they “Loud or in- input” could see my your-face wife!” stereotypical a turn-off
  21. 21. INSIGHT #6 ADVERTISINGAll prefer watching TV, listening to radio and surfingInternet in English (see advertising in English)Stereotypical, in-your-face advertising a turn-offWife influences every single purchase decision in homeResearching in English because find more detailedinformation or need to be able to share with otherdecision-makers in household who are not HispanicHispanic advertising in mail assumes all are immigrantlevel based on last name
  22. 22. FEEDBACK“Most of the Hispanic advertising we get is via the mail based on our last name. I often think, if they could only see my wife! She’s a very white, pale skin, red-haired American girl with no Hispanic ties. They don’t understand the way our life really is. ”
  23. 23. SOME CONCLUSIONSMessages should “touch the heart” Advertising and messaging should beof US Hispanic consumers using an appropriate mix of cultural with acore value themes of “family, modern twist - if targeting 2ndrelationships and community” generations - latch on to concept of “heritage” not necessarily aEnglish-based advertising that “traditional way of life” and manyreflects acculturation is a reality - not married to other Latinosespecially when targeting 1st and2nd generation Hispanics. Very Acknowledge the differences:proud of heritage but want to be Puerto Ricans may not be likeportrayed as “fitting and blending in” Mexicans and Mexicans are not likewith balance of key values and things Columbians or Argentinians...they identify with. Latinos are *very* social. They textHusband may be breadwinner but and use social media (especiallywife is the portal for the home. She Facebook) and mobile phonesinfluences every decision and makes extensively. Network marketingmost purchases for the home. based on community values could be powerful