The article “Educating Students for Social Work with Latinos: Issues for the New Millennium” by Lorrane Gutierrez, Abba Yeakley, and Robert Ortega outlines the influence of the Latino population on social well-fare of other citizens in the United States. The largest impact is exerted on the working conditions.
The authors state that in order the Americans to understand the Latino people who live in their country, the Americans have to possess certain values, knowledge, and even skills which can be necessary for successful cooperation with Latinos.
The authors discuss social literature that covers problematic situations with Latino people, including emerging and current trends of such literature, and the social impacts that these trends make on the American society.
An interesting point about the article is that it begins with a certain challenge: “How can social workers be prepared to address the multiple needs of the growing Latino population?” (Gutierrez, L. et al., 2000). All three authors debate this topic, concluding that both education about social work and social work educators appear to be a significant force to prepare students to collaborate with Latinos.
A closer look to the lifestyle of Latino people, to their problems and everyday challenges, their resources and strengths, gives us a better understanding of why these people behave in certain ways and why they lead their lives like that.
Unfortunately, people who are competent about the possible gaps in education, upbringing, knowledge of things, which appear to be simple at first sight, but which are, in fact, complicated when you try to regard them from the point of view of the Latinos, are in the minority. The sooner they are educated about this minority, the better for everybody.
Until both problems (the lack of understanding among Americans, and the lack of education among Latinos) are addressed properly, Latino people will continue to live through the constantly arising issues of discrimination, poverty, and scarce political attention.
The authors make it clear that ‘Latinos’ are an ethnic or cultural group, and not a racial subcategory. They argue that only the term ‘Latino’ can be used, and not ‘Hispanic’ as the United States Census claims, as it shows all the cultural diversity of the population.
Gutierrez, Ortega, and Yeakley also state that we should not assume that all Latino people have the same language, citizenship, or even experience. Of course, there are many similarities, but differences should not be disregarded. Latino people include such nations as Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and the Latino population of South and Central America.
The overwhelming amount of Latino literature tackles the effects on Latinos conducted by the American society, and the way to adapt to their lyfestyle, including topics on family structure, cultural values, and the diversity among Latino people. The authors are inclined to think that most Latinos have a quite collectivistic and family-oriented worldview.
It is important to note that many Latinos prefer using non-verbal ways of communication and most of them are very time-aware. They feel comfortable within interpersonal space. This usually leads to an even bigger confusion among Americans and Latino people, especially taking into consideration scheduling and business appointment time.
To conclude, I would like to emphasize that I agree with the ideas of the article as the main point, in my understanding, is learning about the culture more and more in order to avoid serious conflicts between people. The more competent we are about someone’s needs and ways, the less misunderstandings will arise concerning cultural and social aspects of daily life.