Dominant Culture

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Influences from A Dominant Culture

A dominant culture, which is characterized by its wide prevalence and strong influences, always exerts huge influence and imposes pressure upon minority cultures. In the memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, Esmeralda Santiago recalled her childhood both in Puerto Rica and America, and revealed how American culture affected Puerto Rican culture and traditions. In the 1940s, people in Puerto Rica experienced intensive cultural impact from their powerful neighbor country, America. In Santiago’s hometown, people were given lectures about health, food and sanitation by the experts from America, and invited to eat breakfast in American style. Under the influences of American culture, more and more Puerto Ricans changed their lifestyle and, to some extent, gave up their traditions. Moreover, students in the school were asked to learn English, which was like a key to open the door of American culture. Since China opened to the west, there had been a tendency that Chinese youth generation showed more interests in English than their native language. In some cases, the reason that one culture becomes dominant is a large number of people following it; however, people from minority cultures face pressure and exclusion from majorities in the dominant culture. When Santiago moved to Santurce, people in her school were mean and rude to her. Under the influence of a dominant culture, people from other cultures are expected to adjust their lifestyle and change their language, and face pressure from the dominant culture as will be shown using evidence from When I Was Puerto Rican.

Culture and traditions from America gradually spread and prevailed in Santiago’s hometown, and many Puerto Ricans experienced a transition of the lifestyle. Compared with Puerto Rica, America was more advanced in almost every field; meanwhile, Americans attempted to promote their culture and traditions to the country they considered less developed. After attending...
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