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Hispanic American Diversity

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Autor:  anton  12 December 2010
Tags:  Hispanic,  American,  Diversity
Words: 2371   |   Pages: 10
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Hispanic American Diversity 1

Dominican American is an immigrant or descendant of immigrants from the Dominican Republic to the United States. There are approximately 1,200,000 Dominican Americans, both native and foreign born.

Since the early 1960’s, economic problems and political turmoil in the Dominican Republic have led to a vast migration of Dominicans to the U.S., mainly to east coast cities, particularly New York City, New York, (Washington Heights, Manhattan, Queens, The Bronx and Brooklyn). Americans have settled in these areas largely because of the already existing and growing Latino community found in these places, having come on the heels of a similar migration of Puerto Ricans. Dominican Americans are now one of the largest Hispanic groups in the United States, less numerous than the Mexican American majority and Puerto Ricans, and about even with Cuban Americans.

An overwhelming number of Dominican Americans are young first generation immigrants without a high school diploma. Many Dominican Americans also come from the rural countryside of the Dominican Republic. Many are poor, and have language barriers as well. Second generation Dominican Americans are significantly more educated, as reflected by their higher incomes and employment in professional or skilled occupations. Dominican Americans have college degrees, slightly below the national average, but significantly higher than U.S. born Mexicans and U.S born Puerto Ricans. This signals that Dominican Americans are progressing. Dominican Americans are statistically the poorest ethnic group in the United States.

Hispanic American Diversity 2

As soon as the Dominicans set foot in the U.S., many of them went right into business. Spanish is undoubtedly the first language of choice, especially for recent arrivals.

Dominican immigrants have a long way to go in the process of political empowerment, but signs of improvement are already visible. The U.S. House of Representatives does not yet have a Dominican member, although at least two dozen Dominican Americans are elected as councilmembers, county legislators, and state legislators throughout the United States.

The electoral participation of Dominicans in the United States may improve as a result of the 1994 approval of dual citizenship by the Dominican legislature, which makes it easier for migrants to become U.S. citizens without relinquishing their Dominican nationality. Traditionally, Dominicans living in the U.S. are passionately involved in politics back home, but unlike other Spanish-speaking ethnic groups, such as Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans, Dominican Americans are not as inclined to take an active part in U.S. politics, partly because many dream of eventually returning to the island.

Dominican Americans view themselves as racially mixed, neither white nor black, nor other single race. In 1990, 29.2% of Dominican Americans have responded that they were white, while 30% considered themselves black.

Music is the heart of the Dominican culture. Dominican music includes meringue and bachata, a modification of bolero. Bachata, as well as hip hop, and reggaeton, has become popular among many Dominican American youth.

Hispanic American Diversity 3

Almost 90% of all Dominican Americans are Roman Catholics, Dominican Catholics are involved in the cult of the saints, and the cult of the national virgins, Altagracia and Mercedes, which are strong symbols of Dominican identity as the flag.

Dominican food features white rice, habichuelas (beans), yuea, plantains, mangu, beef, and sancocho. Presidente is the most popular national beer while the national drink is rum made from sugarcane.

Since most Dominican Americans are first generation immigrants, many are in a transition of retaining their culture while at the same time assimilating to the American culture.

Cuban Americans

Cuban American is a United States citizen whose trace their ancestry to Cuba. Many communities throughout the United States have significant Cuban American populations. However, Miami, Florida stands out as the most prominent Cuban American community, partly because of its proximity to Cuba. It is followed by North Jersey and West New York.

In the late 1800s, a Cuban entrepreneur named Vicente Martinez-Ybor started a cigar making business in Tampa. Soon, other Cuban businessman followed Ybor’s example. Within several years, Tampa had a thriving cigar making industry. Numerous Cuban families lived and worked in the area known as Ybor City near Tampa, and there are many third and fourth generation Cuban Americans who trace their Cuban heritage

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directly to this early immigration. The majority of an estimated 100,000 Cubans arrived in the time period usually came for economic reasons.

Political upheaval in Cuba created new waves of Cuban immigrants to the U.S. In 1959, after the Cuban revolution led by Fidel Castro, a large Cuban exodus began. From 1960 to 1979, hundreds of thousands of Cubans left Cuba and began a new life in America. Most Cuban Americans that arrived in the United States came from Cuba’s educated, upper and middle classes. Like many immigrants, the Cuban Americans often had little money.

In order to provide aid to recently arrived Cuban immigrants, the United States Congress passed the Cuban American Adjustment Act in 1966. The Cuban Refugee Program provided more than $1.2 billion of direct financial assistance. They were also eligible for public assistance, Medicare, free English courses, scholarships, and low interest college loans. Some banks even helped Cuban Americans with business loans. These loans enabled many Cuban Americans to secure funds and create their own businesses.

With their Cuban-owned businesses and low cost of living, Miami, Florida and Union City, New Jersey were the preferred destinations for many immigrants, and soon became the main centers for Cuban American culture. The culture of Cuban Americans varies from community, and from person to person. However, there are distinct features that characterize most Cuban Americans.

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Cuban Americans represent a total of only 4% of the Hispanic population in the United States. Compared with the rest of the Hispanic population in the United States, Cuban Americans are older, have a higher level of education, higher median household income and higher rate of home ownership.

The median household income for Cuban Americans is $36,671, a figure higher than other Hispanic groups, but lower than for non-Hispanic whites. Native born Cuban Americans have a higher median income than even non-Hispanic whites, $50,000 as compared to $48,000 for non-Hispanic whites.

25% of Cuban Americans have a college education, about twice the average of all other Hispanic groups, and lower than that of non-Hispanic whites, of which 30% are college graduates. However, 39% of native-born Cuban Americans have a college degree or higher.

Due to Spanish influence, most Cuban Americans belong to the Roman Catholic Church. However, there are many Protestant, spiritualist, nonreligious, and Jewish Cuban Americans. Cuban food is varied, though rice is a staple and commonly served at lunch and dinner. A common soft drink is Materva, a Cuban soda made of yerba mate.

Many Cuban Americans have assimilated themselves into the mainstream American culture, but in the city of Miami and its surroundings, there is a uniquely molded Cuban American community. Cuban Americans live in all 50 states. Cuban Americans have been very successful in establishing businesses and developing political clout by

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transforming Miami from a beach retirement community into a modern city with a distinct Hispanic flavor.

Cuban Americans, especially in the Miami area, tend to be significantly more conservative politically than other Latino groups in the United States and form a major voting block for the Republican Party in the state of Florida. Cuban Americans in general tend to be significantly better off economically than the average Hispanic American, and the Miami area is one of the wealthiest urban centers in the country.

There are now four Cuban American members of the United States House of Representatives and two Senators in the United States Senate, as well as the Cuban American Secretary of Commerce, Carlos M. Gutierrea. In 2006 Marco Rubio, became speaker of the Florida State. Cuban Americans have also served other high profile government jobs including the first Hispanic White House Chief of Staff, John H. Sununu. Cuban Americans also serve in high ranking legislative positions as well.

Before the 1980’s, all refugees from Cuba were welcomed into the United States as political refugees. This changed in the 1990’s so that only Cubans who reach U.S. soil are granted refuge under the Wet Feet/Dry Feet Policy.

Puerto Rican American

Puerto Rican in the United States, also known as Stateside Puerto Ricans, are persons born or descended from parents or family born in the Caribbean islands of Puerto Rico

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who reside in the 50 states of the United States, outside of Puerto Rico. Puerto Rico is a territory of the United States and the residents of the island have been United States citizens since 1917 through an act of the United States Congress. There are now close to 4 million Puerto Ricans living stateside, with reports that this number exceeds the number of Puerto Ricans living in Puerto Rico for the first time in 2003. Despite the new demographic trends, New York City continues to be the home of the largest Puerto Rican community outside Puerto Rico, but Puerto Ricans live in all 50 US states and territories.

There are misconceptions, of Puerto Rican Americans, both in the United States and in Puerto Rico. Often seen as poor and apathetic, many Puerto Ricans are concentrated in the poor barrios or ghettos of the older cities of the Northeast, such as New York. They are also seen as gangstas and thugs. These misconceptions are similar to how Black-Americans are seen as well(Blacks and Latinos share the same neighborhoods) (Baker 2003).

While stateside Puerto Ricans have a long and proud history of fighting against prejudice and ignorance within the United States, there is a longstanding concern that the people of Puerto Rico are not as informed as they should be about the history and challenges faced by their compatriotas who have ventured Stateside since the mid-1800’s.

The Stateside Puerto Rican population is 99.4 percent its size. Among U.S. Latinos, the U.S. Mexican population, the largest Latino group by far, now over 26 million, represents the next largest percentage of its home country population, 25.4 percent. (Census Bureau 2004).

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Puerto Ricans have been coming to the United States since the 1800s and have a long history of collective social action in advocating for their cultural heritage. In New York City, which has the largest concentration of Puerto Ricans in the United States, began running for elective office in the 1920s, electing one of their first own to the New York State Assembly for the first time in 1937.

The Government of Puerto Rico has a long history of involvement with the Stateside Puerto Rican community. Along with the long history of organizing and institution-building, another indicator of the strong Puerto Rican identity of Stateside Puerto Ricans is their use of the Spanish language.

The strength of Stateside Puerto Rican identity is fueled by a number of factors. These include the large circular migration between the Island and Stateside, a long tradition of the Government of Puerto Rico promoting the Island’s culture among its population and those Stateside, the continuing of existence of racial-ethnic prejudice and discrimination in the United States that reinforce racial-ethnic identities, and the realities of high residential and school segregation in the U.S.

The Stateside Puerto Rican community has usually been characterized as being largely poor and part of the urban underclass in the United States. However, the picture of Stateside Puerto Ricans at the start of the 21st century also reveals significant socioeconomic progress.

Stateside Puerto Ricans, along with other U.S. Latinos, have experienced the long-term problem of a high school dropout rate that has resulted in relatively low educational

Hispanic American Diversity 9

attainment levels. While in Puerto Rico, according to the 2000 Census, 24.4 percent of those 25 years and older had a 4-year college degree, for Stateside Puerto Ricans the figure was only 9.9 percent. By 2003, for Stateside Puerto Ricans it increased to 13.1 percent, below the rate for Whites (26.1 percent), Blacks (14.4 percent), and Asians (43.3 percent).

The Puerto Rican community has organized itself to represent its interests in Stateside political institutions for close to a century. Today, there are three Puerto Ricans elected to the United States House of Representatives. There have Puerto Rican mayors of major cities elected. If there is one area in which the Stateside Puerto Rican community has been successful it is that of leadership in the electoral arena.

Latin American

More than one in eight people in the U.S. population are of Spanish of Latin American origin. This group is called Hispanic or Latinos. The Census Bureau estimates that by the year 2100, Hispanics will constitute about one-third of the U.S. population.

The Latino influence is everywhere, from major motion pictures, popular cable channels, and radio stations.

Latinos do not live in rural areas. They are generally urban dwellers, 91 percent live in metropolitan areas. Some Hispanics have moved away from their traditional areas of settlement. Many Mexican Americans have left the Southwest.

Hispanic American Diversity 10

The income of Latinos has gradually increased over the last 30 years and so has White income. The income of the typical Latino household in the 21st century has yet to match that of non-Hispanic Whites.



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