Friday, September 19, 2014

National Hispanic Heritage Month is not just for marketing

NATIONAL HISPANIC Heritage Month is overdue for a makeover. Originally established as a weeklong event by President Lyndon Johnson, the celebration was expanded in 1988 to the period from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Since then, companies, politicians, government agencies, and institutions alike celebrate the contributions of a growing population of Latinos — now estimated at 54.1 million. But widespread cultural acceptance has a downside: What started as a cultural tribute has evolved into a bland, and often patronizing, opportunity. Seeking a piece of Latinos’ buying power, estimated at about $1.2 trillion, marketers treat an ethnically and racially diverse group as a monolithic, homogenized cluster.

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