The Culture War and What We Must Do About It
In today’s hyper-partisan and bi-polar cable environment there is a culture war flaming the fans of division in our society. At the center of all this are the Hispanic Immigrant, the Hispanic Community and the Hispanic Consumer Market (HCM).
So what are we in the Hispanic advertising and marketing ecosystem to do about it? To start, how about a conversation without fear of being too “political”. Certainly we can talk honestly about such an existential topic without getting partisan.
We are clearly living through an era when the Hispanic community is being pitted against non-white Americans. Let our political leaders and think tanks focus on real or imagined threats resulting from unbounded immigration, while we unpack and focus on one specific reality – the browning of the US economy.
Forbes Magazine and Nielsen agree that the US Hispanic market is likely to become a primary driver of the workforce and of consumer buying power. Do the majority of Fortune 500 or Inc. 5000 companies recognize this? And those who do, are they truly vested in the market strategically or simply capitalizing where they can?
The effect of U.S. Hispanics on the American economy in the long term is compounding over the next two generations due to three key factors. First, the decline of the non-Hispanic White population. Second, the graying of the general population in general. And third, our disportionate contribution to innovation and small business formation in this country.
Notice that I did not put immigration on this list. These demographic realities have nothing to do with immigration. The fact is that 75% of the growth of the HCM is coming from U.S. births. Neither a wall nor the wishful thinking of partisan Xeno-Nothings are going to change this.
Regardless, we know that demographic change is driving notions of a so-called brown “threat” to American culture, language and values. Never mind that four decades of U.S. Census data have proven that without Hispanic immigration and births, the U.S. general consumer market and population would be at the brink of negative population growth.
But now we have studies showing that without the HCM the US would also be in for much slower GDP growth. In pure GDP terms, a recent report by David Hayes Bautista for the Latino Donor Collaborative states that Latino GDP is projected to account for 24.4% of total U.S. GDP growth by 2020. A Forbes Magazine article published earlier this year reports on research estimating that Hispanic labor will contribute 0.21 percentage points to annual real GDP growth over the next three decades. To put this in perspective, U.S. Hispanic GDP is growing 70% faster than the country’s non-Hispanic GDP.
The American narrative has never settled on our relationship with immigrants in general or Hispanics in particular. The wall along our southern border is as much a historical mental construct as it is a physical one. We cannot blame individual American citizens and communities for fearing our cross-cultural influence. But we can challenge our clients and business leaders to act in their own self-interest if not in the interest of our country.
We agencies and media must accelerate the conversation about our impact on the economy. Culture is not a zero sum game from an economic perspective. In fact, it represents a new upside to the economy within our own borders. As an ambicultural consumer I consider myself entirely American and Cuban. As a citizen I am 100% American; but I also live and leverage my root heritage as a US Hispanic. In over 30+ years I have founded several companies, hired hundreds of employees and contributed to the generation of billions of dollars in sales for my clients.
There are thousands more multicultural and diversity champions in agencies and Spanish-language media outlets across the country. Let’s ensure that our clients are aware of the impact we already have on commerce in America. Our ecosystem is fueling over $2 trillion of the US economy. We need to be thinking about how to convince more clients to think in terms of inclusion rather than ethnic exclusivity, integration rather than assimilation, and multicultural intelligence rather than total market denial.
You can start by sharing this infographic with everyone you do business with. Visit our site and download a generic version. Put your logo on it. We do not mind. Let’s not stay caught up in the partisan wars about immigration.
The browning of the US economy is something that should bring us all together. American business will only come to accept the browning of America when it wakes up to our existential economic importance in this country.
Marcelino Miyares, Jr. – Managing Partner – d2H Partners, LLC – 2019