Cultural Diversity Training:
Albemarle’s Latino Residents
An Albemarle County
Training
By Linda Hemby
February 17, 2009
What this training can do

Introduce county staff to our area Latino population

Provide an overview of barriers Latinos confront
when interacting with county agencies

Suggest some ways of enhancing customer service
to Latinos

Share local resources and myth busting facts
What this training can’t do

Provide details
In other words, this training is meant to be an
introduction, a beginning, to generate thought and
discussion about our local Latino population and how
we can best serve them.
Why offer this training?

To improve customer service: Latinos are an ever
increasing population in the U.S., in Virginia and
locally.

To comply with federal laws (Title VI of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964) and guidelines

“Cultural sensitivity is a prerequisite to professional
competence. This is not merely a fairness issue.”
(Asa Hilliard, 1984)
Terminology




Culture: values, assumptions and perceptions that
are instilled early on in life and are expressed in the
way we behave and interact.
Diversity: all of the things that make us different
from one another.
Cultural sensitivity: valuing and learning from
diversity and being willing and quick to adequately
respond to differences.
Cultural competence: ability to work effectively
with individuals from different cultural and ethnic
backgrounds.
Beware of generalizations!

Hispanic vs Latino

Not all Latinos are recent immigrants: Texas
originally belonged to Mexico and many Mexican
Americans in California and elsewhere have been in
the U.S. for centuries.
Beware of generalizations!

Not all Latinos are from Mexico: 18 Spanish
speaking Latin American countries plus Brazil

Innumerable other differences among Latinos:
from historic, geographic, language, color & ethnicity,
socio-economic class, education level, etc.
to cuisine and reason for coming to the U.S.
Beware of generalizations!

Acculturation differences: some don’t identify with
the customs of their community of origin and don’t
see themselves as Latino; many find it difficult to
adapt to U.S. culture and remain strongly connected
to the culture of their birth country; and others view
themselves as bicultural (i.e., Mexican American),
connected to values, traditions, and experiences of
both countries
Latino Demographics - Nationwide

45.5 million Hispanics or 15% of the total population

Only Mexico and Colombia have larger Hispanic
populations

Largest minority in 23 States (50% live in CA & TX)

Origins: Mexicans (64%), Puerto Rica (10%), Cuban
(3.5%), Salvadoran (3%) and Dominicans (2.7%) …
Latino Demographics - Nationwide

78%, ages 5 and older, speak a language other than
English at home

24% speak English very well

88% of U.S. born adult children speak English
Source: Pew Hispanic Center http://pewhispanic.org
Latino Demographics - Virginia

One in 10 Virginians is foreign-born.

The largest foreign-born populations are in Arlington
and Alexandria (20% each), Harrisonburg (9%), and
Charlottesville, Richmond, Virginia Beach and
Winchester (6% each).

In 2007, the top five countries of birth were El
Salvador, Mexico, Korea, Philippines and India.
Latino Demographics - Virginia

481,500 Latinos

Over half are Mexican; the rest are largely
Salvadorans, Guatemalans and Hondurans

Half are U.S. born citizens. 13% are naturalized
citizens. The rest are living in the State with or
without legal authorization. Around 85% of Virginia’s
Latino children under 18 are U.S. born
Source: UVA Weldon Cooper Center
Latino Demographics - Cville

5 – 6,000 Latinos reside in the greater
Charlottesville/Albemarle area

Mostly Mexicans, Salvadorans and Hondurans

Enclaves: Fashion Square Mall area, large area in
front of Albemarle High School (Peyton &
Commonwealth, two trailer parks, etc.), Southwood,
Esmont, Crozet, etc.
Latino Demographics - Cville

Many newcomers (Hondurans, indigenous
Mexicans)

Higher level of undocumented adults

Most children are U.S. born
Our Latino Population
Socio-economic Commonalities

Rural poor

Limited or no experiences with
• modern conveniences (from plumbing and wash
machines to bank accounts and birth control)
• legal and bureaucratic policy, processes and
protocol
• agencies that provide benefits and services
• civil, human, and consumer rights
Our Latino Population
Socio-economic Commonalities

Illiteracy is high

Adults have little knowledge of English

Low acculturation, especially among adults
Our Latino Population
Cultural Commonalities

Family Centered (lifetime allegiance/loyalty,
interdependence, collective good vs individualism,
extended family includes friends)
Our Latino Population
Cultural Commonalities

Hierarchical society: respect for and/or fear of
authority figures (age, social position, economic
status, or the police and other government workers)
•
Fear of “rocking the boat”: avoiding conflict even
when there is a wrongdoing; not challenging or
asking questions; not reporting discrimination and
other injustices or crime (even more so with the
undocumented)
Our Latino Population
Cultural Commonalities

Being personable and friendly: being polite, smiling
and showing warmth and enthusiasm; direct
personal contact vs letters and voicemails; close
physical proximity vs being separated by a desk or
security window; touching.

Trust: being personable and over time, reaching a
high level of comfort by showing respect and in other
ways dispelling misconceptions.
Our Latino Population
Cultural Commonalities

Fatalism or when each day is taken as it comes
• little experience with the concept of punctuality or
planning ahead

Spirituality (based more on widespread cultural
beliefs, including superstitions and folklore, than on
affiliation with a particular religion)
Our Latino Population
Cultural Commonalities

Strong positive work values: pride, self-discipline,
perseverance, grateful for having a job, loyalty

Machismo, etc.
Our Latino Population
Service Access Barriers

Limited information and knowledge of services,
where they are located, their policies, procedures,
processes, and Clients’ rights to redress

Being embarrassed about asking for help outside of
the family (or church)
Our Latino Population
Service Access Barriers

Latinos lack of English fluency (to communicate or
understand)

Lack of bilingual/bicultural service providers

Inconsistent or non-use of interpreter services
Our Latino Population
Service Access Barriers

Agency misunderstandings due to the lack of
cultural awareness of service providers
– as irresponsible
– as not forthcoming
– as understanding all or some of what is being said
– who assume Clients are literate

Misconceptions or anti-immigrant sentiments of
service providers
Recommendations for
Service Providers

“If you talk to a man in a language he understands,
that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his
language, that goes to his heart.” – Nelson
Mandela
•
Be sensitive to whoever you are interacting with.
•
Be aware of your own attitudes and how they
may impact on service delivery.
Recommendations for
Service Providers

Be accessible:
•
Show respect. Speak English slowly and clearly
and don’t raise your voice.
•
Don’t assume the Client understands you. If
you do not speak fluent Spanish, use a bilingual
co-worker or an interpreter service or other
resource. Avoid using children to act as
interpreters.
Recommendations for
Service Providers
•
Make time to learn about Latino culture to be
more understanding and responsive to cultural
idiosyncrasies.
•
Encourage questions and make sure the
Client understands.
•
Make sure you understand.
Recommendations for
Service Providers

Build trust:
•
Be warm and personable rather than distant and
formal.
•
Be attentive and take time to listen.
•
Show respect.
Recommendations for
Service Providers
•
Explain, in a clear and concise way, agency
policies, procedures, processes, and Clients’
rights.
•
Learn and use a few Spanish words.
•
And in other ways, show you care and really do
want to help.
Recommendations for
County Agencies

Learn about and develop mechanisms to comply
with LEP federal policy and guidelines

Develop LEP guidelines for your staff, along with
monitoring procedures and sanctions to ensure
their compliance.
Recommendations for
County Agencies

Develop culturally sensitive informative written
materials (i.e., minimal text)

Use Spanish language forms and other documents

Offer a bilingual telephone service

Include bilingual and bicultural skills as a hiring
preference.
Recommendations for
County Agencies

Encourage and/or provide ongoing cultural
sensitivity trainings, including attendance at
Creciendo Juntos (CJ) and other Latino oriented
venues and reviews and discussions of information
on the CJ website (www.cj-network.org).
Recommendations for
County Agencies – Word of Caution

“In order for a person to be bicultural and operate as
a liaison between cultures, it is not sufficient for him
or her to be from an ethnic minority. In fact, if a
person who looks like a member of an ethnic
minority group has adopted Anglo American values
and identifies with the mainstream culture, he or she
may be a poor choice to represent their culture of
origin in collaborative efforts.”
Source: Toolkit for Cross-Cultural Collaboration, Chapter I
Trainer

Linda Hemby is a sociologist and human rights
activist. She has dual nationality (U.S./El Salvador),
is bilingual and bicultural. She lived in El Salvador
for 20+ years, visits each year for a month, and
plans on returning there to live. She works at Social
Services and is a member of the CJ Executive
Committee. Linda can be reached at
[email protected]
References
This power point presentation, as well as a handout
provided during the training – which identifies online
and other resources for myth busting fact sheets and
local resources for Latinos – is available on the CJ
website at
http://www.cj-network.org/lep.html#sensitivity
Descargar

Document