Social Issues / Hispanic American Diversity
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Autor: anton 14 April 2011
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Hispanic American Diversity
In identifying the linguistic, political, social, economic, religious, and familial conventions and statuses of Hispanic groups living in the United States (US); the following remain as the center of attention: Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans, and Columbians. While there is distinctiveness in each groups' culture, their language categorizes them in one of two large groups known as Latino or Hispanic Americans. The Spanish language is communal between these groups, though all have exclusive dialects that set them apart. The commonalities and differences are not limited to just language, but span across every aspect of Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Columbian way of life.
Today in the US millions of people classify themselves as Mexican Americans (2005). The intricate and affluent Mexican American multicultural heritage is a direct reflection of influences from such places as Spain and Mexico (2005). The unique language of Mexican Americans is no exception to influences as it is derived from a combination of Mexico's national language, Spanish, and the national language of the US, English. Although sometimes described as an under-represented group in US politics, Mexican Americans were very active in the Mexican American Civil Rights movement. This movement included a wide-rang of issues, from rights for farm workers to the right to vote (2000).
As with their political status, socially Mexican Americans continually battle to fit in. Their want of having the American dream burns bright within the hearts and minds of all Mexican Americans and makes their social battle seem that much more important. Throughout the immigration history of Mexican Americans, little advancement has been made for progress from immigrant standing to mainstream social status. This is largely due to the lack of education provided and the vast amount of discrimination they received (2006). In education, another battle for Mexican Americans arises. Richard Alba (2006) stated, "Huntington presents data that appear to show very low levels of Mexican-American educational advancement beyond high school, regardless of generation.â€
A full comparison of high school education completion broken down by Hispanic origin.
Note. From Bernstein, R. & Bergman, M. (2005). Young, diverse, urban. United States Department of Commerce News. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/2003/cb03-100.html
Similar to the struggle noted with education, economically, Mexican Americans struggle for fair pay. During the Mexican American Civil Rights movement Mexican American economics came from the shadows to become one of the many issues faced. Today this harsh reality still burdens most all Mexican Americans. The one bright light may be their religious beliefs. Although, not always true, most churches today deliver separate mass for Spanish speaking parishioners. Religion remains a very strong factor in Mexican American family and culture. As with their religion, family remains quite strong in the lives of Mexican Americans. They have strong ties to not only immediate family in the US but family living in Mexico as well. This bond is so deep that some families continue to send money to their loved one's in Mexico.
Similar to Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans speak a derivative of Spanish as their main language. Politically, Puerto Ricans like Mexican Americans are under-represented in US politics. In fact their start in politics held them back from individualizing themselves. The progression of politics into Puerto Rican life in the US has gone from focusing on social and cultural issues in the 1950's to electoral participation and lobbying becoming the mainstay of their political ground (2003, p. 6). With all the strides Puerto Ricans have made politically, socially they have grown as well. They have integrated themselves into society, by fighting the same battles all Latinos fought: racism and discrimination. Although, they have a higher percentage of people graduating high school than Mexican Americans, they still maintain less than three quarters of Hispanic origin people.
As with education and politics struggles with economics also faced most Puerto Ricans. They struggled for fair wages and equal opportunities just as all Latinos did. Today that struggle has become less but still lingers in areas where there is still racism and discrimination. Very similar to Mexican Americans, religion remains a very strong factor in the family and culture of Puerto Ricans. Again most churches conduct separate mass for Spanish speaking parishioners, making it easier for Puerto Ricans to practice their faith. As with their religion, family remains quite strong in the lives of Puerto Ricans. They have strong ties to not only immediate family in the US but family living in Puerto Rico as well. The fact that all Puerto Ricans are US citizens makes family all that more important.
As with Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans, Cuban Americans main language is Spanish. Similar to Mexican Americans politically Cubans are under-represented in US politics. Most are just so happy to get out of the Dictatorship they lived in Cuba they would rather not get caught up in politics at all. The strides they have made politically have helped to advance them socially, economically and in their education. Out of the Hispanic origins Cubans are the second highest only being beat by other Hispanics for High school completion. According to Jason Cato (2003), â€œIn rising to dominate the centers of power in Miami, Cuban-Americans have reversed the traditional cycles of assimilation and acculturation." Seeking freedom from the oppression of Cuba has not removed the strong ties they have to their homeland. These ties have caused Cuban Americans to adapt parts of the US culture to their own. Striving for conventional culture is not a focus.
Religiously, Cuban Americans like both Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans are devout to their religion as it is a very strong factor in their family and culture. Again most churches conduct separate mass for Spanish speaking parishioners, making it easier for Cubans to practice their faith. As with their religion, family remains quite strong in the lives of Cubans. Family is their way of holding on to cultures and traditions from Cuba.
As with Mexican American, Puerto Rican and Cuban, Columbians also speak Spanish as their principal language. Columbian Americans are a very poor. Most migrated to the US to flee war and poverty seen within Columbia. They are often looking for work so that they can send money to their family still living in Columbia. Columbians rarely get involved in politics as they are very focused on family and making money.
Work related interaction is the limit, except for other Columbians, of their social standing in the US. As with politics Columbians have very little interest in US culture. Most are here to work to send money home. With work being their main objective while in the US, they do not have time for anything else. They live on very little money and scrape to send as much over to Columbia as possible. Their wages are very low and they work long and mostly very hard hours just to get by.
Similar to Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans and Cubans, Columbians are very strong in their religion. They have an opportunity to go to mass that is conducted in Spanish as well as practice their religion on their own. Family is so very important in a Columbian Americans life. Everything they do is to better their family's life. They have deep ties to family not only in the US but in Columbia as well. This helps them to keep their culture and heritage as strong today as it was yesterday. Everything in their culture revolves around their religion and family.
When comparing different Hispanic groups, the commonalities out way the differences in almost every scenario. The Similarities range from language, religion, and family to the reasons they came to the US. They also all care deeply and have very strong ties to their homeland and continue to focus on that rich heritage. The differences are few but stem more from social status and the want to be part of the mainstream. Politics, economic and social standings all differ for each group. This is largely due to assimilation and the different level of strides that have been made over time. The groups that have had more success politically have had the opportunity to advance socially and economically. These three combined in any order lead to an opportunity of the other. The strides and struggles that these four Hispanic groups have made has cleared a path for other Hispanic origin groups to make the same journey.
Alba, R. (2006). Mexican Americans and the American Dream. Political Science & Politics. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from www.apsanet.org/imgtest/PerspectivesJun06Alba.pdf
Bernstein, R. & Bergman, M. (2005). Young, diverse, urban. United States Department of Commerce News. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from http://www.census.gov/PressRelease/www/2003/cb03-100.html
Cruz, J. (2003). Puerto Rican politics in the United States. Centro Journal. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from http://redalyc.uaemex.mx/redalyc/pdf/377/37715101.pdf.
Cato, J. (2004). Becoming American in Miami: reconsidering immigration, race and ethnic relations. Center for Latin American Studies. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from
Mendoza, V., Chicano! History of the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement. (2000)., The Journal for Multimedia History. Retrieved March 1, 2008, from www.albany.edu/jmmh/vol3/chicano/chicano.html
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