Pi Attitude Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion

Say it in English, Señores

Hispanic Americans, right?  The one thing everyone knows is: they all speak Spanish at home.  Right?

Wrong, increasingly.  A growing number grew up regarding English as their first language;  for example Sonia Sotomayor, the Bronx-born jurist of Puerto Rican descent, now an Associate Justice of the US Supreme Court.  Interviewed by the Univision TV network, Sotomayor speaks correctly but hesitantly in Spanish, and has to resort to some English words to express herself.

The lady justice is no rarity.  Significant numbers of 20-35-year olds from Hispanic immigrant families instinctively communicate in English, and may have only a limited command of their parents’ mother-tongue.  

Hispanic Americans are already over 17% of US population, and could be approaching 30% within a generation.  At the moment when they are achieving an unprecedented demographic, cultural and political significance in American society, someone figured out they might like their own TV network – in English.  These people probably watched Ugly Betty, but passed on Betty La Fea.

Univision, the TV network which brings the USA Spanish-language news and imported telenovelas (steamy soap-operas from Mexico, Colombia and elsewhere in South America), has partnered with ABC News on a new round-the-clock news and information channel in English, called Fusion.

The project’s first obstacle was figuring out who they were talking to, what makes them tick, and how to address them.  A major stumbling-block was the dawning realization that “Hispanic viewers” are not a homogeneous bloc, whatever their language of choice.  As Pi has discovered from its studies, differing cultural backgrounds and mindsets separate people with Cuban roots from their Mexican-originated cousins.  Dominicans absolutely don’t think like Chilenos.  ‘Hispanic’ worldviews can differ enormously by age, demographic and point of origin, as Pi-Charts show.

The one thing Hispanics would all agree on is that they won’t tolerate anyone talking down to them.  Life has equipped them with a laser-like ‘pandering detector’. You can keep on talking to them in Spanish if you like.  But they’ll answer you in English that may be better than yours. 

They are Americans, after all.

Zone: Affiliation & Cohesion Country: USA / North America Product – Communications