Mariah Brooke Cruz
Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi
Life in the Hispanic-American Culture: Vida not so Loca
Family life has always been a topic of research and questioning. However, after reviewing different sources dealing with different backgrounds and perspectives, questions still remain. What makes the family? Do certain cultures really change the upbringing, mindset, and outcome of the individual? In the following paper, the Hispanic-American family life will be analyzed in-depth with the help of collected data to present the different characteristics of the widespread culture. This paper will prove the point that not everyone is equal; in fact, the differences make quite the statement Background
First, the term “Hispanic-American” needs to be defined. Technically, the word Hispanic refers to people of Spanish-speaking descent, whether from Spain, Mexico, or even Cuba. Latino is synonymous with Hispanic, though chicano refers to Mexican-Americans. For the remainder of the paper, “Hispanic-American” will be used in the common connotation is has earned in the southwestern United States: those that have Mexican heritage that are living in the United States. The story of Hispanic-Americans arrival in the U. S. of A. is not one of magic and fairytales who appeared overnight; in fact, Spanish colonies were established long before the Britain crossed over. (Guisepi) Traditional American history classes focus more on the growth of English colonies in North America, then the rebellious independent nation in 1776 and the development of the United States from east to west. This treatment easily omits the fact that there was significant colonization by Spain of what is now the American Southwest from the 16th century onward. It also tends to ignore, until the Mexican War is mentioned, that the whole Southwest, from Texas westward to California, was a Spanish-speaking territory with its own distinctive heritage, culture, and customs for many decades. Now the Hispanic population has shown tremendous growth in the United States (Clutter, Nieto). They make up about 11% of the American population; 31 million individuals identify themselves as Hispanic, with Mexicans making up 63.3% of those individuals.
What makes the Hispanic-American culture different from the “normal” American life style is the strong connection to family. (Segers) It is debatable that all families are close, but in the case of Hispanic-Americans, there is almost an obsessive bond. This does not simply apply to immediate family; aunts, uncles, grandparents, and the wide range of cousins are included in the family link. Parties have that extra oomph, because even though the grandeur might not be present, the love for each other clearly shines. Since this is so strong, Hispanic parents have a great sense of pride in their child. Again, one could argue that all parents love their children and hope for the best for them. While this is true, Hispanic-Americans just have that extra push for their children. Another thing to understand about the Hispanic-American is their ties to religion. (Clutter, Nieto) It is a significant part of everyday life. 90% of Hispanic-Americans are Roman Catholic- something left over from the conquistadors of Spain- which greatly adds to the culture more. Since the majority of Hispanic-Americans are Catholic, this contributes to the greater sense of belonging within the discourse community. Yet, the question still remains; do different cultures change the ideas of the individual? Methods
To study the question poised, observations and interviews were given. On Tuesdays and Thursdays for three weeks, research was taken on a Hispanic-American family of three children- two girls, ages six and one, and a boy, aged 9- and a single mother. Time of the research ranged from about 35-40 hours, and consisted of quiet observation, along with interview questions...