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Hispanic American Diversity Tara Ann Goldizen-Rick

By tblarick6 Feb 17, 2009 2930 Words
Hispanic American Diversity Tara Ann Goldizen-Rick Axia College of University of Phoenix There are large clusters of Hispanic born Americans across our country. These significant minorities possess similar and different cultural beliefs, languages and socio-economic backgrounds that are responsible for a large percent of this melting pot we call the United States. Four of the minority Hispanic cultures being viewed for this paper are; the Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Columbian Americans. Cuban Immigrants over the centuries have migrated to the United States due mainly to political and economical reasons. Cuban Americans till this day are still concerned with the politics of Cuba but are not as involved in the struggle against Cuba’s political leader Vidal Castro. The political stance that the majority of Cuban Americans take politically is one of conservatism, which in many elections means he or she, will vote Republican. There have been Cuban Americans voted into congress and statistics state that between 1989 and 1990 78% of Cuban Americans were registered voters. (Buffington, 2008) The majority of the Cuban population resides in Miami Florida. Cuban Americans national language is Spanish, although Cuban American born citizens speak primarily English. In a poll taken during 1989 and 1990 96% of Cuban Americans said they spoke both Spanish and English. Due to Cuban Americans using both languages in their lives professionally, academically and personally resulted in a dialect now known as Spanglish. Spanglish ultimately is the use of English outside of the home and Spanish within the home. (Buffington, 2008) In reference to the social aspect of the Cuban American’s education is a very important component to their lives. Of the native Cuban American citizen’s born 47% attend private schools compared to public schools. Cuban Americans enjoy both Cuban and American cuisine reserving traditional cooking of American cuisine for special occasions. Economically Cuban Americans are nearly as well off as Anglo Americans and better off than other Hispanic groups with unemployment rates less than Puerto Rican and Mexican Americans. In Miami Florida where the population is strongly Cuban American based the professions are dominated as a result. More than a third of Cuban Americans hold technical, sales and managerial positions in the work force. Many Cuban Americans view themselves as Roman Catholics or Non-Religious. The Non-Religious Cuban Americans are a result of the bias to anti-religion in the socialist government of Cuba. Cuban and Cuban Americans view of family is quite different. Cuban born families consist of strong parental controls, family nuclear with godparents having strong relationship bonds with the children. The children are reared under strict traditional views. American born has less emphasis of importance of the godparent roles and mainly immediate family members would be found within the household importance. American Cuban families rear their children with less strict views and are given more freedom to prosper. (Buffington, 2008) Due to the heavy influences from Spain, West Africa and Native Puerto Rico the traditions, religion and beliefs are directly intertwined which makes up the Puerto Rican and American Puerto Rican culture. As a result the religion of the Puerto Rican Americans is mainly Roman Catholic with some traditions and beliefs that are practiced from the West African Pagan Religion. One belief that many Puerto Rican Americans adhere to is the traditional belief of “espiritismo” which basically states that spirit’s also populate the earth and speak to us through our dreams. From the intertwining of the different influences many traditions, beliefs and superstations’ have formed that solidifies their cultural belief system. An example of such a belief is the practicing by the minority of Puerto Rican’s of Santeria. Santeria a religion merging the worship of Yoruba deities with veneration of Roman Catholic saints: practiced in Cuba and spread to other parts of the Caribbean and to the U.S. by Cuban emigrés. Linguistically speaking the Puerto Rican language spoken is Castillian Spanish derived from Ancient Latin that pronounced a certain way differentiates the language from the Spanish spoken in Spain. The Spanish alphabet is identical to the English version with only a few letters added to it and the other difference is the significance of the word order compared to the English version of noun or pronoun annotations’. Through the process of bilingualism many Puerto Rican Americans partake in the use of Spanglish speaking which is the blending of both Spanish and English as a form of communicating with society. (Green, 2008) Politically the Puerto Rican American population is not considered foreign immigrants but rather migrants due to the Spanish-American War of 1898. Through the signing of the Jones Act of 1917 by President Woodrow Wilson all Puerto Rican’s were granted American citizenship. Politically there are two views that American Puerto Rican’s follow, first being acceptance and willingly working with the American Political system and second the belief to fight to make Puerto Rico to become fully independent from the United States. Some believed that when the Puerto Rican American population achieves unified organization the Puerto Rican Americas will be a political force to be reckoned. In 1937 the Puerto Rican American community accomplished their first political milestone by electing Oscar Rivera to the New York City Assembly seat. Another political stepping-stone that Puerto Rican Americans met was the creation of the first New York City Puerto Rican Parade in 1959, which still exists today. This milestone helped unify the people and express their love of the cultural heritage to which Puerto Rican migrants came from as in the same way the St. Patrick’s Day Parade does for the Irish immigrants of the United States of America. Puerto Rican Americans migrated and established themselves mainly in New York City anda small percentage in other urban areas. There are many challenges that Puerto Rican migrant’s face that put them in the category of being the most economically disadvantaged group of all the Latino population in the United States. Some of the challenges they face as a community is crime, drug use, poor educational opportunities, decreased traditional family value and unemployment. Many of these are due to the language barriers at home, professionally and academically. Many Puerto Rican individuals face the same discrimination that African Americans face throughout the years. In reference to Puerto Rican Americans earning enough to support their families in city and urban areas only two percent earn around $75,000 a year income. Other migrants leave the island to come to the mainland as migrant workers to help support their families the best they can. Socially Puerto Rican Families are known for their elaborate significant celebration parties. Through their folk art, music, strong traditions the people of Puerto Rico communities from the island and the mainland are inspirational. Culturally speaking the Puerto Rican influence can be seen through dance and song, music artists. There are garments that are worn for specific celebrations or traditional occasions specifically to express their culture in many ways. The cuisine of the Puerto Rican culture is made up of non-spicy herbs and spices, fruits and meats, tropical island vegetables and seafood which accented by a glass of American lager beer or Puerto Rican rum. Puerto Rican families and communities are strongly influenced by Spanish European culture. Fathers and sons considered to be heads of the household and community leaders. The structure that is perceived in the home is extensive and based on the Spanish system of compadrazco or in English co-parenting. The Puerto Rican people believe strongly in respect for parents and elders, godparents are considered as second parents and co-parent to ensure a close bond. The immediate family is made up of aunts, uncles, cousins and close friends of the parents. Unfortunately, Puerto Rican family structures have decreased on the mainland due to deemphasizes of societies view on extended family and greater emphasis on women and children as well as through the hardships they experienced. (Axia, 2008,ch.10; Green, 2008) Columbian Americans linguistically use Spanish as their form of communication especially at home to ensure their culture and traditions. Due to the American society influences of speaking English to communicate better with all individuals many Columbian immigrant members of the middle and upper class, including professionals worry that not achieving bilingual fluency that much of their culture and traditions will be lost with each new generation’s primary use of the English language. Learning English is a challenge that Columbian immigrants face which limits their employment opportunities and educational opportunities for a prosperous way of life. Due to this issue Columbian Americans migrate closely to cities, suburbs where Spanish is the main language spoken such as in Miami Florida where there’s an abundant number of Latino and Hispanic communities. For the majority of the American and Native Columbian population follows Roman Catholicism while others follow Protestant beliefs. The two struggles the Columbian people faced upon arrival and settling in American societies are the language barriers and prejudices of other English speaking communities who ignored the changing ethnicity in each community. The Columbian people are considered the most conservative in regard to their religious beliefs, and observer more significant religious holidays including Christmas and Easter. Many American Columbians find solace, respite and sanctuary within the Catholic Church to deal with the hostility, loneliness, and isolation due to the racism and prejudices that are inflicted upon them. Religion plays a key component in the core of the family nucleus as a form of support for each individual within the family. An example of this component is the roles that Godparents play in a child(s) life and their relationship to the child(s) parents. (Struner, 2008) Columbian Americans focus a great deal on preserving the traditional family values and roles each hold in the family unit. The belief that the father is the financial provider and head of the family, the mother is the person whom instills the tone of the family and rarely works outside the home, the children are to be respectful of authority and follow the mother and fathers rules in an obedient manner. This has become a concern for the Columbian immigrants to enforce and keep their beliefs of this system and tradition with the American societies underlying influence on their children, financial and home lives. Due to the American economics of acquiring and maintain a prosperous life the roles of the father and mother have changed. For many this challenge of maintain traditions destroys families or strengthens families her in America. Many of the Columbian people come to the United States to make a better life for their children due to the financial, educational and employment possibilities that are limited in Columbia that is reserved for the wealthy population only. Socially and economically the American Columbians face many obstacles due to the stereotypes and prejudices of the American people. The Language barriers are the biggest obstacle that is faced upon arrival here in America. Columbian Americans seem to migrate towards the Latino communities to help ease in this issue of communication due to the lack of English fluency. Due to the advancement in technology many of the employment opportunities that were once available to Columbian immigrants has now disappeared resulting in more dangerous, poor paying jobs and no health coverage. (Sturner, 2008) In adapting to the new culture here in American some Columbian immigrants have found a type of financial success by catering their business towards other Columbian immigrants. (Axia, 2008) Due to the strict immigration laws and the vast majority of illegal immigrants fearing deportation politically American Columbians focus on their native home Columbia rather than American government due to their belief of only temporarily immigrating to the United States to acquire the stability and freedom they are seeking at that time. (Sturner, 2008) The majority of Mexican American’s speak both English and Spanish, although as each generation continues the main language is English. The Spanish spoken is a derived form of Castilian Spanish that developed into Mexican Spanish which is a spoken and informal dialect. As each generation of Mexican Americans grows the use of his or her spoken heritage language is diminished by the professional and educational influences of the American society to communicate effectively. Bilingualism education is the direct influence for many of the young population of the Mexican American’s. (Englekirk and Marin, 2008) Mexican Americans are a very close-knit family unit that consists of mother, father, aunts, uncles, grandparents, great-grandparents and Godparents. Family honor and respect for each other and the significance of the roles each hold is of significant importance to the family unit. Primarily the father is the head and financial presence within the family, while the mother’s primary responsibility is to run the household and tend to be obedient and submissive to their husbands. As each generation evolves through the centuries economic influences alter these roles significantly in the equalization of the roles both husband and wife hold within the family. Godparents are held with high respect as they become the backup parent in times of emotional, physical, spiritual, mental, and financial needs or family crisis. Catholicism is the religion practiced by the Mexican population here in the United States and in their homeland of Mexico. Along with the traditions of the Catholic Holy days observed by all Catholics, the Mexican American Catholic population also observes the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe on December 12, Three Kings’ Day on January 6. Mexican Americans degree of participation of the Catholic rituals, practice and convictions differs with each generation due to the influences outside of the home and closeness of their heritage. Politically Mexican Americans role is not as significant as other ethnic groups due to the percent of illegal Mexican immigrants and the prejudices they faced over the years. A large percent of Mexican Americans consider themselves Democrats while the latter percent consider themselves Republicans. Through these challenges the Mexican Americans developed organizations that would protect their political rights and ultimately show the Non-Hispanic political agencies that they are to be valued and recognized as people of the United States. Two such organizations are the Order of the Sons of America (OSA) which lead to the creation of the League of Latin American Citizens (LULAC). Another significant goal achieved for the Mexican people were the appointments of several Hispanics to the House of Representatives in 1976. (Englekirk and Marin, 2008) A significant movement that influenced the Mexican American population that emerged in the mid-1960’s was the Chicano Movement otherwise known as the ideology of Chicanismo. This movement stresses the positive self image of the Mexican heritage and awareness of the challenges inflicted on the Mexican people by the Anglo (white man) society of inequality. (Axia, 2008, ch.10) Economical and socially Mexican Americans are faced with many obstacles that perpetuate negative levels within their communities and personal lives perceived by other ethnic groups within the United States. Many of the Mexican American population are migrant workers, factory workers, and other low wage professions. Due to the low education level and poverty stricken issues of their communities the advancement is not as easy to overcome. The middle class Mexican Americans prosper through their businesses that cater to their Hispanic communities. Socially Mexican Americans biggest challenge is the prejudice and racist views the majority of the United States inflicts upon these communities. The main similarity that all four minority Hispanic cultural groups face is the stereotype, prejudice and racist views that are inflicted upon them on a generation by generation, century by century basis that each group struggles to overcome these issues. Religion among these cultural groups is Roman Catholic with differences on Holy days observed and traditions. Family importance and respect is another similarity that focuses on the extended family influence as well as the most important immediate family influence. The differences that I have come to believe are the views to their political ties to the American government system. Out of the four cultural groups the Columbian immigrants are the least to require political positions within the United States government; instead they focus on their ties to their homeland of Columbia. Throughout this journey in completing this paper I have found a new perspective for each of these Hispanic Cultural groups that gave me a better understanding to their lives, cultures and causes. As with any other ethnic group we each face our own challenges, struggles triumphs and disappointments that shape’s our future. In the end each of us looks for equality among all regardless of our race, ethnicity, gender and religious beliefs to develop into a better society and world. Reference Buffington, Sean. (n.d) Cuban Americans. Retrieved December 20, 2008 from Englekirk, Allan and Marin, Marguerite.(n.d) Mexican American’s. Retrieved December 20, 2008 from Green, Derek. (n.d) Puerto Rican American’s. Retrieved December 20, 2008 from Struner, Pamela. (n.d) Columbian American’s. Retrieved December 20, 2008 from Axia College of University of Phoenix. (2008). Hispanic Americans. Retrieved December 20, 2008, from Axia College Week Seven reading, aXcess, ETH125-Cultural Diversity Course website. Axia College of University of Phoenix. (2008). Mexican Americans and Puerto Rican Americans. Retrieved December 20, 2008, from Axia College Week Seven reading, aXcess, ETH125-Cultural Diversity Course website.

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