Thank you for raising the issue of cultural differences and awareness with your article Understand your Hispanic Workforce published in the January 2011 issue of Dairy Herd Management.
I work actively at the intersection of agriculture and higher education. I am an undergraduate academic advisor and champion the recruitment and retention efforts of Colorado State University’s Department of Animal Sciences, especially at those efforts regarding underrepresented populations. I am also a Ph. D. candidate in Educational Leadership and my dissertation is focused on the future of educated agriculturalists in the United States. Specifically my research and writing highlights the role of Latinos in agriculture and their underrepresentation in agricultural higher education.
Given my career and academic interests, the cover of the January 2011 Dairy Herd Management caught my attention. I immediately read the cover article yesterday morning when I saw the magazine. Given that the dairy industry relies on the labor and talent of its Latino workforce and given that www.dairyherd.com features links like Manejo Lechero, I expected a respectful and well reasoned article aimed at promoting cultural understanding on dairies. Unfortunately, I was disappointed in the tone of the article. In my opinion, the article was condescending, ethnocentric, and perpetuated stereotypes of Hispanics.
For example, the title of Capitalists vs. socialists is misleading. I encourage you to investigate the governments of Latin America. I believe that you will find governmental variations similar to the variations that you would find in Europe. If you actually meant that Latin Americans value in-group collectivism rather than rugged individualism, that should have been explained more clearly (Northouse, P. G., 2010). I find the statement “The reality is, Hispanics are socialistic-everyone is equal and generally satisfied with where we are” to be offensive. Hispanics do care about their families and communities but that is not the definition of socialistic. Further, if Hispanics really were satisfied with where they are, than why would they move to find more profitable employment?
I agree with you that dominant American culture is results-driven. Many studies on cultures and leadership styles agree with you as well (Northouse, 2010). However, I disagree with you that Hispanics are inefficient. The popular Mexican dish of menudo illustrates Mexican efficiency (and ingenuity) in terms of food! The implication that Hispanics are not hard workers (under the heading of Efficiency is a foreign concept) in also offensive. If Hispanics were not hard workers, then why does the dairy industry rely on them? Why does most of agriculture rely on them? Would it not be easier to hire hard working American citizens?