When I think of the values that all Hispanics I have met hold as important respect would be up at the top of the list. To the average Hispanic, respect is a very important quality and value in our lives. Many times I have heard remarks used to describe Hispanics such as those that follow: hard working, honest, loyal, wearing their heart on their sleeve, dedicated, family oriented and many other positive and highly desirable qualities. Let me say up front that though these qualities are spoken in a very stereotypical manner, I find it flattering that enough of those who are from my race are of this caliber that we carry this reputation as a people. There are those Hispanics, naturally, that are far from this ideal. But the fact remains that many many Hispanics do carry the values that lead them to live out their lives in a manner that gives all Hispanics the reputation for being of this class of people.
Once there was a time when Hispanics began immigrating into Anglo communities, and the value system that Hispanics held was looked down upon and misunderstood. But let it be said that the value system that many Anglo's carry has never been envied by Hispanics either. To say the least it is the tension that builds in the lives of Hispanics living and growing up in Anglo communities that creates a great deal of confusion in young Hispanic lives. The values of Hispanic families are sorely tested and there is a great fight to maintain the level of dedication and respect that the individual Hispanic value system teaches. I have for the most part found that many Anglo's conversely moves into and thrive in Hispanic communities with a lesser degree of stress on their family and in fact benefit from the influences that the value system of the Hispanic family holds.
So how does respect factor into the values and how do Hispanics interpret respect? You might think that it is the same as the way in which Anglo or African Americans interpret respect but then you would be very wrong and very far from understanding Hispanic values.
Respect for Hispanics begins with ones self. How one treats ones self and how you carry yourself. If you respect yourself you will naturally to Hispanics be a person of high integrity. It will show in how you treat others around you, how you preform your work, whom your friends are, where you go and the way in which you present yourself. Let me go a step further and explain each of these statements in turn. If you truly have self respect the way you treat others will be that which gives respect and demands it in return. In my experience many people misunderstand fear as respect when in fact it is not the same. Also many other minority races misunderstand power as respect and it also is not the same.
Respect is a value that stems from understanding your self worth and treating yourself accordingly based on this understanding and appreciation. It will be reflected upon those around you as once you can see you self worth then you will be free to see that of others also. It will effect everything about you from how you live your private life to how you live your public life. When you have a true and high level of respect as is the value of the Hispanic culture, your private life and your public life will be very compatible and there will be very little that you would have to hide or be ashamed for others to know. Part of this value comes from the way the family works together. Your elders as a child do not live a separate life from you as a child but live the life of an adult in which you are ushered into adulthood by the members of your family as opposed to finding your way into adulthood on your own as is the case in many other cultures. In this way you begin to understand how to hold yourself up in a respectful manner and understand that respect comes from certain boundaries that you place on yourself and on those around you. Boundaries that include your family in a very close and personal manner. Respect for yourself also comes from knowing who you are and what your belief system is as well as being comfortable taking a stand for what you believe.
After respect for ones self would be respect for your family. In the Spanish culture it is said that if you do not respect your parents then you do not respect yourself. What this means is that the manner in which other races relate and talk to their elders shows a great lack of respect for them. This is one of the key ways in which our culture is so very different from others. The way in which you treat and talk to the elders in your family says alot to a Hispanic about how you value yourself. How you let others talk to the elders in your family also says alot about your level of self respect. How you treat and care for those who are younger than you speaks alot to your values to Hispanics. In many races where respect, and mainly self respect, the way in which younger family members are treated is cruel and harsh. Older brothers and sisters are allowed to treat their siblings cruelly and to taunt and tease them and the elders in the family only stop the torture when it bothers them without consideration for the child who is really the victim. The bonds that bind a Hispanic family are very well grounded in respect for ones self and the reflection there of onto the rest of the family.
From that bases, the value of respect that a Hispanic person holds will effect the way in which they operate in all areas of their life. The value for ones self will drive you to be a better worker and to seek to promote oneself in whatever profession the individual in working in. That is the main key to why so many Hispanics come to America and now Canada and do so well in settling in and making a good life for themselves. There is a drive that supersedes what others see in you. It is the level of respect one holds for himself that will drive him to persist when faced with daunting odds. To respect who one is and ones heritage is a value that all Hispanics should have and many who come to this country maintain. It is that respect for who one is that keeps us in touch with our roots, heritage, customs and values. Values like true respect. The Webster definition of respect is a : high or special regard : ESTEEM b : the quality or state of being esteemed. 1 a : to consider worthy of high regard : ESTEEM b : to refrain from interfering with 2 : to have reference to : CONCERN The definition for Regard is ATTENTION, CONSIDERATION
I think it is one of the main reasons why Hispanics are so welcome and contribute positively to the economy and community in which they move. I think it is the glue for our society that allows us to exist with other races and do so well while still not loosing who we are as a race. Our values start with self respect and builds from there, which is a gift given to us by our family, which was the first value and the greatest.
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Hispanic Values and Respect
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Lamentations of the Caves By Rebecca Cuevas De Caissie