Ben Smith, writing for the Politico:
Dodge of the day
This, from an interview between Hillary and a Hispanic blogger, linked on HillaryHub, is a pretty iron-clad non-response.
HT: What cultural differences have you noticed between Hispanics and Non-Hispanics?
Sen. Hillary Clinton: Latinos have so many unique cultural traditions that enrich our society. And I think that many Hispanics are also much more aware than non-Hispanics of the value of speaking more than one language. I think these are both positive differences -- aspects of the diversity that makes our nation great. Sadly, in recent years we have seen some who highlight cultural differences not to celebrate them -- but to create divisions. I think that is a very serious problem, and not reflective of who we really are.
So the main cultural difference is...that Spanish-speakers speak Spanish?
Er, no. The bit about "many unique cultural traditions that enrich our society" is, admittedly, rather devoid of substance. But her second point is quite valid.
The majority of non-Hispanic Americans -- even highly educated non-Hispanic Americans who regard themselves as culturally sophisticated -- don't function at all except in English. Meanwhile, all around them are Hispanics who can slip effortlessly from one language to another, and function in both.
You might imagine that this would be regarded as a positive thing -- that learning a second language would actually be considered an achievement. Instead, much of non-Hispanic America regards it as a mark of low status; if Hispanics speak English with an accent, even fluently, we're unimpressed, even contemptuous (never mind the fact that we need a phrasebook to order a meal in another country, and God knows how horrible our accents sound).
So, yeah, Hispanics see value in knowing more than one language, and we don't. And you don't have to be Thomas Friedman to think that maybe they're on to something.