Globalization is inevitable. It is already happening. It’s a fascinating worldwide phenomenon and it is not specific to one particular country. It is an evolution driven by people, which makes it even more captivating, because it has millions of moving parts.
As the editor of Contacto Latino, a global site, I’m faced with reading, and quickly digesting, news in Spanish, English and Portuguese. News that inform about things that happened somewhere in the world different than where I am, written within the context, and cultural and political background, of that country.
I have fun jumping from one language to another, from one culture to the next. I love learning about people in other countries and have no problem integrating new experiences into mine.
I’m sure that millions of Latinos in the world do too.
Which brings me to my question: Are Latinos and Hispanics (and I’m using the words in their broader scopes, to include the Americas, Brazil, USA, Spain and Portugal) better equipped to help this world become a true global village?
Is being multicultural and multilingual, having no problem assimilating other cultures, and actually evolving with the process, positioning us to lead the way to the future?
“As we become more global and our cultures become more integrated, we learn new responses from our cohorts, our social networks, or in our multicultural families. We probably use and share (different) languages more today in all these venues than we have in the past,” says Francine Adams, Chair of Community Partnerships at South Florida Diversity Council.
A person with a global mindset feels at ease taking on global experiences and challenges. And by doing so, he produces a new interpretation of the world that, in turn, actually helps it evolve.
“It is a blessing to be able to communicate in more than one language. Furthermore, it is a way to learn different cultures, have a different perspective in life, and have an open mind when it comes to specific subjects,” says Maria Pereira Alborzfard, CEO of iPRCOMM in New York City.
We love, work, play in different languages, we interchange them as we become more accustomed. I, for example, now have to make a mental note that I’m reading in this language or the other because I no longer feel the jump when changing languages.
Many of us do the same when talking or writing in our social networks. We have a cultural dexterity that goes beyond language.
The definition of Cultural Globalization, the head of the spear of economic, sociocultural, political, technological and biological globalization, includes such things as “Growth of cross-cultural contacts; advent of new categories of consciousness and identities which embodies cultural diffusion, the desire to increase one’s standard of living and enjoy foreign products and ideas, adopt new technology and practices, and participate in a ‘world culture’”.
Doesn’t that sound like something many of us are already doing?
Be it that it is to love, work or play, what sets millions of Latinos apart is the multilingual and multicultural skills and mindset.
Nathalie Molina Niño, a Senior Director for Global Media and Ads Strategy at Lionbridge, calls it “cultural agility”.
“We have the natural ability, learned from birth in most cases, of constantly weaving in and out of different cultures and languages. The countries that comprise the Latino culture are different, their take on the language is different, and so we are learning all the time. We are part of a culture with so many different nuances. We are always adapting,” says Molina Niño, who grew up in a Colombian and Ecuadorean household within the U.S mainstream culture.
Molina says that her background helped her grow profitable corporations in different areas of the world and took away the awkwardness when working with people of different cultures. “It is all in observing, adapting, and being open to cultures and languages. But it does come natural to Latinos. That is something I’m always saying to companies that would like to market to Latinos in the US. It’s not about the language only.”
“I have been a global citizen way before the term was coined and became mainstream. I’ve been a global thinker since I was 12 years old, even when I did not speak any languages other than my own I always had the sense that there was a lot more than my own limited world,” says Eleanor Kreis, a marketing professional in California.
This “training” position Latinos in a strategic place to help lead a re/evolution.
“Globalization is imminent in all areas of practice; if you really want to communicate, it is necessary to master at least two languages and understand at least three,” says Alejandro Louis, a graphic designer for the marketing firm VO9 in Mexico.
John Grimaldi, an executive management professional with experience working with different countries, agrees. “Maybe it is because I live in San Diego, but I cannot even imagine life without speaking both English and Spanish. I would even go so far as saying that a majority of my friends are also bilingual,” he says.
The migration patterns of Latinos in the last two decades, even within Latin America itself, in addition to the massive embracing of communication technologies, has prepared millions of citizens of the world to become an influence and help change the way we communicate.
Not only that, but the intermixing of cultures has birthed a mestizo culture throughout the world, which is only the beginning of much larger cultural and economic changes that will affect the way we interact with each other, and even the way countries work with each other.
“I love, play, think and talk in English and Spanish. I really like to be able to do that. It’s just amazing all the capabilities that we have and how far we can go knowing more than one language,” says Maria Iregui, a business administrator in San Francisco.
People who embrace their multiculturalism are in fact leaders when it comes to globalization. That same mindset we have, where we can switch back and forth between cultures and languages, places our so called “minorities” at the front line of how the world will look in a close future…
“I was born in Honduras of an Honduran mother and a Puerto Rican father. I have had one foot in both worlds and cultures since birth (Latin American, Caribbean and North American). Although my first language was Spanish, I grew up in a household that commuted back and forth living in many countries and cities. So the transition seemed seamless from one culture to the next […] In today’s world, where the internet and the social graphs connect everyone, no matter where they live, it is even more apparent. It baffles me how so many companies, although they recognize the need, neglect the local and international cultural markets in their own back yards. They seem to fail to see the “web” of connections and bonds we have to our native countries extended families and friends and the commerce opportunities these have,” explains Consuelo Santiago Dean, a project manager at Resource Interactive in Columbus, Ohio.
“Being bicultural is another layer to the multiple ones we navigate and manifest. Globalization is another characteristic of today’s fast pace life: global real-time effects […] We need total information and disclosure to be responsible with the global consequences. In this respect, Latinos and multicultural experienced people may be more prepared than others without a passport,” explains Raul Morales, Executive Creative Director of Fusion3-USA.
Our minds don’t have the borders that we physically impose on each other as human beings. Our minds allow evolution, flexibility and growth… The real question becomes: will we allow our minds to explore and hunt without boundaries in the new global wild?