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Autor: anton 05 January 2011
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Hispanic American Diversity
The four groups Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and South Americans have been chosen for identifying the linguistic, political, social, economic, religious and familial conventions and/or statuses of Hispanic groups living in the U.S. All these groups are from different regions but have been placed in one category due to the similarity of their language. The base is Spanish but the accent and the meaning of certain words are different. Two groups; Mexican Americans and South Americans, even though they are the same region have different dialects as well.
The Mexican American population is the largest minority group in America. The Census Bureau data shows a record of over 35 million as of March 2005 (legal and illegal). The Mexican Americans come from all over Mexico resulting in a wide variety of linguistic varieties amongst them. MexicoÐ²Ð‚â„¢s language is derived from Spanish but varies from different regions in Mexico. A majority of Mexican Americans do not speak Spanish at all, native born mainly. The Mexican American population is very much into the political civil rights in America. They are active in many civil rights movements, from workers rights to voting rights. The social status of the Mexican Americans is poor due to the majority not having an education. Alba (2006) states that, a very low level of Mexican-American educational advancement beyond high school, regardless of generation. Because of the poor education, economically the Mexican Americans are behind White Americans. A writer for the Public Policy Institute of California writes
Substantial education and wage deficits persist between people of Mexican descent and other Americans. Third generation Mexican Americans in California average a year and a half less schooling and about 25 percent lower wages than non-Hispanic whites.
(Grogger, 2002, p.132)
The majority of the Mexican Americans in the U.S are Catholic but there is a fast growing religion of Evangelical Protestantism amongst the immigrants. The family unit is the single most important social unit in the life of Hispanics. Family responsibilities come before all other responsibilities. The father is the leader and the mother runs the house hold, doing the cooking, shopping and cleaning. The grandparents play a large role in the family by helping to carry on their customs.
The Puerto Ricans language is Spanish but the majority speaks English and is known for being lively with their hands and facial gestures. Puerto Ricans use body language and it is an important form of communication. Socially the Puerto Ricans consider themselves American but are fiercely proud of their island and culture. They do not call themselves American but Puertorriqenos or Boricuas (Hosay, 1977). Here in the U.S. the Puerto Ricans stick tightly together, and hold a high regard for their island even though they were born here. Economically the Puerto Ricans do very well for they hold education very high, most going on to college and earning degrees.
The majority of Puerto Ricans are Catholic with a few Protestants. The family is very important in Puerto Ricans, and respect is the tie that holds it together. In a statement written for OSU it says:
Respect for family is critical in the Puerto Rican culture. Mothers and elders are adored and duty to the family, including the extended family, is essential. Family ties are strong. Families often gather for holidays, birthdays, and weddings. Machismo is a critical element of the society. Women usually make decisions on foods purchased and served. Traditionally meals are served when the entire family is together.
The main language spoken by Cubans is Spanish, but like the Puerto Ricans speak English, and according to the 1990 U.S. Census, there are nearly 860,000 persons of Cuban descent in the United States. Of these, 541,000, or almost 63 percent of the total, live in Florida. Most of these live in Dade County, where Miami is located. There are also sizable communities in New York, New Jersey, and California. Together, these three states account for 23 percent of the Cuban American population. Florida and Miami specifically, is the center of the Cuban American community.
The Cuban American community is well assimilated in the United States. Moreover, because of its size, it has significant political influence. In 1993, the Cuban American National Foundation lobbied against and successfully prevented the Clinton administration from appointing an undersecretary of state for Latin American affairs whom it opposed. Fully 78 percent of Cuban Americans had registered to vote in 1989 and 1990, compared to 77.8 percent of non-Hispanic white Americans. Cuban Americans also enjoy greater economic security than other Hispanic groups. The average family income of Cuban Americans was $26,770Ð²Ð‚â€ $2,700 less than the average for all U.S. family incomes but $6,700 more than the average for all Hispanic American family incomes. Cuban Americans are also highly educated; fully 17 percent of the Cuban American population has completed college or college and some graduate schooling
The Cuban American family is less strict than that of the Cuban families. In Cuba the family is characterized by a patriarchy, not so in America. The women have a greater authority here and can contribute to the household. The majority of Cubans are Roman Catholic with a few other religious affiliations.
The language spoken by the Columbians is Spanish but English is spoken by most. The Columbians number close to half a million, large number of them are here illegally. The Columbians follow the same political role of the Mexican Americans, lobbying for better and fairer pay. The social and economical roles they play in America are small. Colombians have established restaurants, travel agencies, and real estate firms that serve other Colombians (Schaefer, 2006).
The main religion for Columbian Americans is Roman Catholic with few as other religious preference. The Columbians hold family life very high and the men are very paternal holding a lot of honor and virtue for their unmarried daughters. The wives are second in command to the husband and uphold the domestic activities.
The similarities between the four groups seem to be religion, family and language. The biggest though is their dream to find a better opportunity here in America, for themselves and family. The biggest difference between them all is contradicting to the similarity of language. Yes it is Spanish that they all speak, but if you ask a Mexican American to translate for a Puerto Rican they would have a hard time. Another big difference is their cultures, each having their own.
Alba, R., Mexican Americans and the American Dream. PS: Political Science & Politics June 2006.,
Retrieved November 09, 2007 from
Gogger, J., Falling Behind or Moving Up? The Intergenerational Progress of Mexican Americans. 2002
Retrieved November 09, 2007 from
Hosay, Philip M. "The Puerto Rican Experience. 1977. Retrieved November 09, 2007 from
PÐ“Â©rez Firmat, Gustavo. Life on the Hyphen: The Cuban-American Way. Austin: University of Texas
Schaefer, R., (2002) Racial and Ethnic Groups (10th ed.). Prentice Hall p. 251-253.
Syracuse, C., Cultural Diversity: Eating in America. Retrieved November 09, 2007 from
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