The Multifaceted Latine Community and What Managers Can Learn

Editor’s note: In this article, Adweek deviated from its style of using Latinx due to the writer’s preference. Latine is a gender-neutral form of Latino.

In my career, I’ve worked for organizations where I was not the only Latina/e in the room. I have raised my hand to participate in projects that connect with my community because I self-identify as a translator of culture.

I grew up in a Spanish-speaking household in Chicago raised by Mexican-born parents who worked to afford an annual trip to Mexico to visit family. I recognize that the act of traveling to Mexico was a privilege for my family because so many immigrants left their homes without the option to travel back until they were able to obtain legal status. I also recognize that Chicago is home to a diverse Latine community that makes up 33% of the city’s population.

In contrast to how I self-identify, there are Latine professionals who prefer not to be labeled as part of a group and instead lead with other professional experiences or personal interests.

Or, simply, talking about cultural identity can be painful. This is especially true if a BIPOC professional grew up in a town that lacked diversity, where they were the only non-white student in school and/or their parents wanted to protect their kids by teaching them to not embrace their cultural roots.

However, if you have a Spanish name and/or look like you are Latine, regardless of your path, stories of tokenism are real on both sides.

From the perspective of a first-generation Mexican American raised in Chicago, here’s how managers can avoid tokenism and retain our nuanced talent.

The fastest-growing minority—except in advertising

Our impact is evident. Beyond national headlines and data like “Latinos account for over half of the country’s population growth,” our impact can be felt on the main stages and society has embraced us.

Seeing Diana Flores, a Mexican flag football players, featured in a Super Bowl ad made me beam with pride, especially as she spoke to her mom in Spanish. The movie A Man Named Otto beautifully depicted a Latine bilingual family as the main characters alongside Tom Hanks. Many elementary classrooms have better ethnic and diverse representation than our offices. I imagine children sitting next to each other with a tapestry of ethnic food as their lunch in the cafeteria.

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