Stories from my 14-month study abroad in Buenos Aires, my 16-month post-college move to Miami, and my get-me-the-hell-out-of-Miami move to Denver

Friday, April 15, 2011

Response to Latinos (Cubans) Run the Show in Miami

DusinSBranham asked:

Does this go for getting good jobs, as well, or is it just relevant if you are running for public office? I've always wondered if a white guy like myself could get ahead in the MIA.

Hi Dustin,
I have no direct experience in answering your question, since I've yet to enter the business community in Miami, but I'll answer it based on what I've seen.

When I'm downtown in the financial/business districts, you hear a lot of Spanish being spoken by old Hispanic men dressed in very nice business suits. Formal lunch meetings being held in Spanish. In my experience as a Northerner, I'd never seen this before. Spanish is the language of the manual labor community of the North.

That said, I believe it's safe to conclude that many important business positions in Miami are held by Latinos. Will they give a White guy a shot to make it to the top? Yes, maybe; if that white guy is a great worker. Will they give a young, up and coming Cuban that shot? Yes, for sure. Your interviewer might empathize for that young Latino, because she/he remembers how hard it was when she/he first arrived in the States, and wants to give this potential new employee a chance to succeed.

On the contrary to the above thought processes, I've only been warmly welcomed by the locals, but I believe this is mostly due to the fact that a very white, English-looking guy, is speaking Spanish with them, of the Argentine variety. At first they can't seem to figure out just who I am and where I can from, but are all impressed that I learned their language. Do you speak Spanish?

However, I still think you can get ahead down here. I've seen lots of non-Latinos driving expensive cars, wearing nice clothes, and eating at fancy restaurants. Just let it be known that the Cuban Community watches out for its own.

Addendum: My roommate, who is half Cuban, concurs. She said the Cubans are very tightly knit and family oriented. She also said that in some cases, the less smart Cuban employee will get the job over their more intelligent, non-Latino peer. I'll ask my friend who works in Corporate America Miami, and see what she says.

Any other questions?

1 comment:

DustinSBranham said...

Thanks for the insightful response. It seems that whenever you have a minority group, the members of that group watch out for one another. That could just as easily happen with groups of US expatriates living abroad as with immigrants in this country. Miami is interesting, though, because Cubans do not appear to be a minority there. Although, I suppose that observation really depends upon how you define the area in which a group lives. I.e., Cubans are not a minority in Dade County, but they are in Florida as a whole.

I like your positive attitude toward the locals in Miami. You say they have welcomed you warmly. Most of the opinions I've read of folks who have over from one area of the US to Miami have been adamant about how unfriendly Miamians are. I suspect that has something to do with the tendency of people who have had GOOD experiences to not be vocal, while negative opinions often beget very vocal complaints. It also depends on one's attitude toward a place. Many people will never be happy anywhere, while others could be happy in virtually any situation.

I'd be interested to hear your opinion on the livability of Miami for a family. I realize you do not have kids. Neither do I. But I hope to one day. That had better happen soon, too, since I turn 30 next month.