Axia College of University of Phoenix
INS 205 Introduction to World Cultures and Social Environments Instructor
Cultural Identity Interview and Analysis
An interview with a member of the Mexican American community was conducted on December 1st, 2007. This research will provide a summary of that interview; particularly, it will include a description of the rules, norms, traditions, and values of Mexican American culture. The research will also discuss: a) how the assumptions regarding cultural norms affect the interviewee’s behavior in his daily life; b) any disadvantages related to his culture being outside “the norm” and how he reacts to that; c) any advantages related to being assimilated to the “normative” culture and how he reacts; d) his sources of strength or support; e) an analysis of the four dimension theory and how it relates to the interviewee’s life. Finally, the research will provide some insight on how one can effectively communicate with people of other cultures. In fact, communication with various members that belong to other ethnic groups (i.e. Arab Americans, Hispanic Americans, African Americans, etc) may be difficult some at times because of the cultural difference that exists between the groups. Jose Luis Aguilar was born in Tijuana, Mexico on January 7th, 1972. Mexican is the ethnic group he belongs. He lived in Mexico for 29 years. In 2001, he immigrated in Los Angeles, California. Job opportunities, presence of family members, and the presence of a massive Mexican community were the factors that brought him to immigrate into the United States. Mexican Americans are the largest Hispanic or Latino ethnic group in the United States. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 20 million Hispanic or Latinos of the 35 million in the United States are Mexican Americans (U.S. Census, 2000). Mr. Aguilar’s native language is Spanish. However, during the past years spent in California, he was able to learn basic English, although it remains a second language as the majority of the Mexican American who live in the United States. Richard Schaefer stated “as of 2002, about 23 percent of Mexican Americans are English dominant, 26 percent are bilingual, and 51 percent are Spanish dominant” (Schaefer, 2006, p. 241). Mr. Aguilar’s religion is Catholic. Indeed, Mexican Americans represent “the largest number of Catholic immigrants to the United States comes from Mexico; Mexico also sends the largest number of Protestant immigrants to the United States” (Murray, 2006). Mr. Aguilar is married. He has a 1 year-old son. Aguilar’s family has a patriarchal organization as the same as other many Mexican American families have. According to Kathleen Niska, Mexican Americans Families “continuity was characterized by mothers doing tasks inside the house, fathers doing tasks outside the house, and both parents performing toddler and early childhood tasks” (Niska, 2001). One of the Mexican traditions that Mr. Aguilar mentioned during the interview was “quinceanera”. This ritual is celebrated in church when women reach the age of 15 to thank God that they arrived to this stage of their lives. Similar to a wedding day celebration, the celebration of a girl's fifteenth birthday is a major event in most Hispanic girls’ lives as it means that she begins her journey to adulthood (Mattel, 2001). They are ready to get married. The ritual of quinceanera is viewed not only as a gesture to strengthen faith and family but also as a means to prevent teen pregnancies. A quinceanera also allows for sending a message of sexual responsibility (NC Times, 2008). Mr. Aguilar is an independent contractor mainly for real estate management companies. He provides general maintenance services at $10 an hour. So far, he had limited choices regarding the jobs (e.g. janitorial, landscaping, and maintenance) he could do since he moved into United States. Lack of education...