Among Hispanics, respeto (respect) refers to a way of relating to others that acknowledges differences in social status. These differences include age, gender, socioeconomic class, and occupation. While respeto often entails deferential treatment toward a higher status person, as a cultural ideal in Hispanic communities, respeto is a necessary quality of many social encounters. Therefore, while respeto may require that a lower status person defer to the actions and wishes of a higher status person, respeto compels people to behave in ways that protect the dignity of participants in an interaction, regardless of their social position. Given this, politeness and discretion are important ways to express respeto in social interactions.
Traditional Hispanic cultural expectations dictate that women defer to men, youth to elders, employees to employers, and children to parents. Between individuals of equal status, respetomay be expected in first-time meetings or in acquaintanceships where...
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