Saturday, February 13, 2010

Hispanic by Popular Demand

The community’s growing U.S. influence may sway the nation’s public opinion to increasingly reflect the Hispanic culture.

Written by: Alice Gomez and Lucia Matthews, DiálogoPR, San Diego, CA

Driven by its growing population and pervasive cultural attributes, the Hispanic community will continue to influence U.S. mainstream. Hispanic heritage is already extremely visible in business, political and social contexts. As Hispanic presence becomes even more embedded within US norms and rituals, the nation’s collective public opinion is likely to become friendlier.

Public opinion is a powerful political and social force. It represents a synthesis of individual views, attitudes and beliefs within a nation. These collective perspectives determine political outcomes and shape social realities. The Hispanic segment is expanding and thus playing a larger role in the process.

The U.S. was founded on the democratic ideal expressed by Lincoln as a “Government of the people, by the people and for the people.” This notion of self-governance allows public opinion to elect public officials and to sway political decisions.

The number of Hispanic Americans and non-Hispanic Americans exposed to Latino culture is quite substantial. The U.S. society has welcomed and is adopting Hispanic perspectives. The logical result will be increased Hispanic decisive power in future U.S. politics.

Texas, California and New Mexico are “Hispanic majority-minority” states, meaning various ethnic minority populations now outnumber Whites.
Leading California Gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman commended about the contribution of the segment’s presence during National Hispanic Heritage Month this past September. She says she includes Latinos in her campaign outreach, which is crucial to understanding what Californians face every day at home, at school and at work and helping her forge solutions.

“It’s something that we have to be successful at because this is a very rapidly growing, influential group in California politics,” Whitman said. “I want to involve Latinos in this campaign in a way that hasn’t been seen in Republican politics in a long time. It will be hard — it will not be easy. But it is a priority of mine and I’m very, very serious about it.”
Beyond politics public opinion affects nearly every industry based in cultural nuance including food, sports, entertainment, arts and fashion. Historically, influential groups infiltrate these emotionally driven areas even before gaining political power. Large scale successes for cultural industries are dependent on the preferences of the masses. These preferences are indicative of public opinion and will increasingly originate in the Hispanic community.

Everyday life in the U.S. is already largely composed of Hispanic culture. Many big name athletes and entertainers are Hispanic. Popular fashion and music and typical American cuisine are rich in Latino flair. Many words and phrases are borrowed and incorporated into the U.S. English dialect.

It would be difficult to refute the magnitude of the Hispanic people in the U.S. The mere enormity of the Hispanic population is evidence of their significance. More than 15 percent of the US population is of Hispanic decent. The group’s growth rate doubles the national rate and is expected to reach 30 percent by 2050. More impressive still is the Latino buying power. Hispanic consumer purchasing power is projected to reach $1 trillion in 2010.

The Hispanic community possesses a strong sense of culture and is willing and able to assure their voice is heard. Despite the vast range of diversity of people under the Hispanic umbrella the group has many tightly knit cultural attributes and viewpoints.

The recent surge in Hispanic technological usage will aid informed and cohesive political decisions, social networking and opinion sharing. Ultimately Hispanics will expand their impact on U.S. public opinion. Latino influence will become even more ingrained within the U.S. identity.


About The Authors:
Lucia Matthews is a freelance writer, in addition to directing Hispanic public relations at DiálogoPR. As an advocate of the in-market communications method, Mrs. Matthews is passionate about employing relevance to effectively communicate with the diverse Hispanic audiences.

Alice Gomez is a public relations counselor at DiálogoPR working companies looking to tap into the Hispanic market. She is a published writer who has contributed numerous feature, news and technical articles. Alice earned a Master of Arts in Communication Studies from The University of Texas at San Antonio and a Bachelor of Arts in Communication Studies degree from Trinity University, San Antonio with a minor in Communication Management and Sociology.

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