Influence of Dominant Culture

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Eunice Oh
Jerome
2/24/11
Essay 3 Draft 1
Influences of Dominant Cultures
There are many historical stories and daily events where we can see influences of dominant cultures. When a dominant power controls a minority power, there can have some positive effects; however, most of the influences are negative. The memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, by Esmeralda Santiago, is a great example of how the majority can have a variety of influences on the minority. The influences of a dominant culture on others can cause some limitations upon the minority’s actions or behaviors that can be seen as “against the norm”, can cause the minority to lose their culture and assimilate into the majority and possibly lead to suffering, mistreatment, and discrimination by majority groups.

The dominant culture or power can cause some limitations to the minority’s actions. In the memoir, When I Was Puerto Rican, Negi shows how men have power over women in a family. In Puerto Rico, men are supposed to work outside and be the breadwinner of the family. Women are not expected to have a job, but instead are subjected to a domestic role, such as doing the housework and raising children. This dominant traditional culture imposes many limitations on women such as not as many jobs are available compared to the opportunities offered to men and need to get married before they reach a certain age to not be called Jamonas, which translates to “old, unmarried woman”. In the memoir, Mami gets a job and tells Negi to take care of her siblings. This causes her family members to feel different ways. Negi expresses, “I couldn’t help the tears that broke my face into a million bits, which made her kneel and hold me”(112). Negi describes how Mami has to get up even earlier than before to make breakfast and go to work. The dominant culture of females doing the housework requires Mami to work both outside and at home. Also, since the dominant culture is expecting women to stay at home, people view Mami...
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