The business industry has always been challenging when it comes to moving up in your department or company because as much as people won’t admit it, there are a lot of stereotypes attached to Latino employees. One common stereotype would be a Latino employee’s accent. At times this can be misconstrued as a communication barrier, and could also cause doubt in the Latino employee’s ability to articulate well with clients. It’s stereotypes like this that make Latinos feel the pressure of changing who they are to fit in and although businesses are making an effort to encourage diversity and inclusivity in the workplace, it hasn’t stopped the stereotypes.
Stereotypes targeted at Latino men
Upon entering the business industry, there are several expectations of all employees. Most should have a degree or the equivalent, a good amount of knowledge of the field/role they are going into, adhere to an appropriate dress code, and demonstrate ethical behavior; among other things. Unfortunately for a Latino male, even if he does all of these things, at first sight, the stereotypes such as unintelligent, comedic, aggressive, sexual, and unprofessional are what come to mind for others they work with.
Many male Latin employees have confessed to being stereotyped in the workplace thus leading them to feel as if they need to hide their Latin heritage. In 2016, a study by Noni Allwood and Laura Sherbin was done to understand how Latinos are treated in the workplace, “It’s engrained in us from birth,” a systems analyst explained. “Don’t make waves. Don’t ask for favors. Just do your job” (Noni Allwood and Laura Sherbin). It is difficult to not let stereotypes keep you from being who you are in the workplace because there is this fear that if you stay true to your Latin roots, you won’t get noticed for the other great skills and qualities that you may possess can help a company thrive.
Actions towards erasing those stereotypes
The majority of businesses are doing their best with creating diversity and inclusion programs in their offices. However, stereotypes and attitudes don’t just disappear overnight. The best way that you can avoid these stereotypes is to be who you are. Illianna Acosta wrote a piece about how Latinos are starting to embrace their natural looks and personalities more in the workplace, “Our differences are what make us stronger and when we embrace and learn about them, we create opportunities for growth” (Illianna Acosta). The most important thing to remember when dealing with stereotypes in the workplace is that the company hired you for your level of expertise/skill set. No employee, whether you are a Latin male or of any other ethnicity, should feel like they have to change to please others in their office. You weren’t hired to change who you are, you were hired because you were qualified and the best candidate for the job.