Self Promotion and Latinos
I recently read this great article by a Latina blogger talking about self-promotion: “Self Promotion Is Not Bad”
In the article she talked about how Latinos are not likely to communicate their accomplishments to those in leadership. This reminded me of how often I’ve seen that to be true in Destino.
We have noticed that many Latino college students struggle with appropriately asserting themselves. One of the ways this shows up in our movement is when we are seeking leaders for different responsibilities. We have learned that we are not likely to find many students that are volunteering for leadership. They typically have to be asked to step into different roles. If we had never noticed this, the only student leaders we would have serving with us are those that are the exception to the norm in the Hispanic culture. There are absolutely some Latino students that are willing to initiate and tell us what they want to do and what they think they are best suited for in Destino. But we would be missing out on so many other leaders in our midst that just aren’t going to assert themselves in the same way.
I know there are reasons for this dynamic that go beyond what I’m covering in this blog post. For example, it could be the fact that Hispanic culture tends to be a high power distance culture, or that many of our students struggle with low self-image. Self-esteem is an area of growth that we focus on in our movement. But I also believe that those of us who are leaders in Destino, or any ethnic minority student ministry, need to recognize that drawing out our students and inviting them into leadership can be a way that we move towards them as well.
I would also add that I don’t think this just applies at the student level in our ministry. As an ethnic minority in a predominately white organization, I’ve had to grow in my ability to assert myself and confidently volunteer myself in areas I see as strengths in me. In short, I’ve had to be my own authority giving myself permission to offer my giftings and abilities to our movement even if leaders around me weren’t asking and inviting me to do so. I know that this is a good thing, but for me it is counter cultural. Like I said, I believe this can go both ways. I want to be a leader that moves towards others to draw them out and invite them into leadership while challenging Latino believers to not wait to be asked all the time. We all have room to grow.
What about you? Are there Latinos that you have overlooked because they haven’t been assertive in ways you expect them to be?
Are you really getting to know the people in your movement so that you would know who to invite into leadership when different opportunities come up?
Are you expecting those you are leading to articulate to you where they are gifted? Or are you seeking to get to know them to draw them out and offer them opportunities to thrive in those areas?