1Don’t worry, you’ll get the
This comment tells the Latino
person that his or her ethnicity
speaks louder than accomplishments; it’s a classic affirmative-action stereotype that Latinos
and Blacks deal with constantly.
Donna Maria Blancero heard that
comment regularly when she
was the lone Latina professor at
a university in Arizona. Now the
senior vice president of research
and intellectual development at
the National Society for Hispanic
MBAs, Blancero says her methods of coping changed over the
years. “At first it would leave me
speechless and then leave me
angry,” she says.
After years of hearing that line,
Blancero started to respond with,
“Really? I thought it was because
I had a Ph.D. from an Ivy League
university, teaching awards and a
2 When did you arrive in
This comment assumes that everyone of Latin descent is a foreigner.
3Hola! Habla inglés?
This question is patronizing,
especially when those three words
are the only Spanish the speaker
knows. Just speak English.
4Do you live with your
Don’t assume that because someone is Latino, he doesn’t live
on his own. When Jim Huerta
worked for a white man who was
president of the division, his boss
asked him if he lived with his parents. “I would at first joke to try
to make him see I was uncomfortable, but finally I stopped answering him,” he says. “He slowed it
down, but keep in mind this guy
was a money maker for the firm.
“You almost have to bite your
tongue until there’s a little blood
seeping out the side of your
cheek,” Huerta says. “If you get
angry and offensive, it’s not a
matter of right or wrong. It’s a
matter of a senior leader saying
you’re too sensitive.”
5You’re not like them.
“My first response is ‘How do
they act?’ because I might say, ‘Well,
I do act like that,’” Huerta says.
6Can you show me your
Raymond Arroyo, chief diversity officer at Aetna, one of DiversityInc’s
25 Noteworthy Companies, was
asked this question by a sales associate 20 years ago when he traveled
to Toronto with three other Latino
executives. At the time, mainstream news reports out of New
York City were focusing on Puerto
Rican gangs wielding knifes.
Arroyo suggests that Latino
executives, when facing such prejudicial comments, not “be too
sensitive, and educate [people]
when you can.”
7Why don’t all you Latinos
stop doing that?
This statement assumes that
because a person is Latino, he or
she can influence an entire group.
Latinos certainly are a varied
group, from different countries
of origin and with different races/
Lumping them all together is a
common and silly assumption.
“The question is steeped in stereotypes,” says Federico Preuss, counsel at Aetna. “Another stereotype
is that ... because we are Hispanic
or Latino, we are going to solve
the problems of our communities.
They will come to us with questions about selling [to Latinos] or
8You’re not white.
Earlier in his career, Preuss was
filling out forms as a new employee
when a human-resources executive
asked, “What are you?” Preuss,
who is from Argentina and whose
grandfather is from Germany, has
a typical “white look.” Latinos can
be of any race.
9Butchering a Latino’s last
“It’s no one’s fault,” says Preuss,
who has given up trying to correct people who mispronounce
his last name. At Aetna, while
other executives may refer to each
other using surnames, most times
people refer to Preuss using his
first name, Federico.
Preuss suggests Latino executives correct people in private
rather than public.