Hispanic Culture in the U.S.

Cynthia Gorney, a prof at Berkeley j-school, has a good article in Sunday’s NYT Magazine about the Hispanic advertising market in the U.S. and Hispanic immigration and assimilation more generally. It exposes the varying degrees of assimilation, generational differences, and ends with a provocative quote on a dicey issue: "I think we might become a bilingual nation. And I don’t think that’s a bad thing." (Highly debatable whether that’s not a bad thing.)

I am absolutely convinced that the conversation around immigration and Hispanic culture in America will only grow in intensity in the coming years, and that it will stretch beyond immigration policy debate in D.C. and into deeper cultural issues like what constitutes American identity and culture. On Wednesday, I will post my formal review of Sam Huntington’s book on this topic. Huntington believes American identity as we’ve known it is disintegrating in the face of an onslaught of Hispanic influences and non-assimilating immigrants.

I think a young person who wants to prepare himself for the real world with an eye toward business would be as well served learning Spanish and understanding Latin American culture as he would be learning Chinese and understanding Chinese culture.

Admittedly, I’m biased. I’ve decided to study Spanish in college. I’m going to travel to Latin America this winter. I’m speaking in Chihuahua, Mexico in a few weeks. I’m motivated to become fluent.

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