The Commonality and Differences of the Hispanic Culture in the United States Hispanics represent a variety of cultures from Mexico, the Caribbean Islands, Central and South America. Of the many Hispanic cultures now living in the United States, four will be used to examine the political, linguistic, religious, and socio-economic behavior of Hispanics. Mexican-Americans: Mexican-Americans have either had families that have lived within the United States for over 400 years, some not as long, and others have just recently emigrated to the U. S. from Mexico. The Spanish of Mexicans is influenced by the Spaniards who occupied Mexico and a heavy Latin influence as the policy of linguistics, a sort of lingua franca, was greatly influenced by the Spanish Crown who was often at odds with the Catholic Church in this regard, which also reveals quite a bit about the religious influences of Mexican-Americans, who are primarily Catholic, although there is a variety of religious sects within that culture, such as the Santero tradition, and many others. 1) (2) Because Mexican-Americans are one of the most economically disadvantaged groups in the United States, (3), religion plays a big part in how they cope with this disadvantage, and while there are claims that they are underrepresented in politics, there is The League of Latin American Citizens, a political rights advocate group for all Hispanics, founded by Mexican Americans in 1929. Puerto Rican-Americans: The language of Puerto Rico is considered to be a Caribbean variant of Spanish that is a combination of Spanish, Taino, (the indigenous language), and Kongo, which was imported from West African Slaves. (4) However, Puerto Rican-Americans also can be people who only speak English, are bilingual, or only speak Spanish. While Puerto Ricans can have a variety of genetic influences and not at all look “Hispanic”, it is not how they look; however, that is a determination for many Puerto Rican-Americans as to who is Puerto Rican as much as it is their ability to speak Spanish. 5) Since the passage of the Jones Act of 1917, when Puerto Ricans were made American citizens, a cycle of immigration has developed where Puerto Ricans will immigrate to the U. S. to improve their economic status, stay as long as there is improvement, and when not, move back to their homeland, and as is with most Hispanics, their religion is primarily Catholic, but also heavily influenced by the Santeria, and voodoo cults. (6) Cuban-American: Of all the Hispanic cultures within the U. S. Cuban-Americans are perhaps the most affluent and politically connected. After Castro’s coup the first wave of Cuban immigrants did very well economically, assimilated easily, thus the language of many Cuban-Americans from that first wave is primarily English, with subsequent waves of Cuban families not as successful economically, partially because they lacked the financial acumen of the first wave who were not raised under a communist regime. (7) Cuban-Americans are perhaps the most conservative of Hispanics in the U. S. , mostly Catholic, although due to the anti-religious bias of Castro’s Cuba, there are some who do not claim any religion at all, and a emphasis on their children’s learning English, even at the expense of Spanish fluency common, although the women of middle class Cuban families view a competency in Spanish as essential for themselves. (8) Uruguayan-American: Because the economic and political status of Uruguay was very westernized and strong for many years, Uruguayans did not really begin immigrating to the U. S. ntil about the 1960’s. Even then, many Uruguayans were more inclined to immigrate to Argentina, due to its proximity and shared language. Spanish is the language spoken of most Uruguayans, although many are bilingual due to the excellent education provided in Uruguay, and there is a slight difference in pronunciation in their Spanish than other Hispanics. Uruguay is also a fairly secular state, so those who are not Catholic or Christian tend to be secular in their religious views, and their political status within the U. S. is indiscernible currently as they represent a much smaller portion of Hispanic immigrants who have only recently begun to immigrate. (9) The obvious commonality between these groups is the Spanish language, although there are differences in that language depending upon the founding effect, and the region of which they came. Catholicism also tends to link these groups together, although not so much for Uruguayans, and of course, there are differences there as well, as not all are Catholics. There are far more differences than common features of each culture, and while many of each prefer to view themselves as simply Americans, those who do identify as hyphenated Americans tend to illustrate the variety of differences between each culture, which are vast and as wide as the mileage between their homelands, and what is clear is that Hispanics are not simply just one united culture, but are a disparate mixture of many cultures. References: Espinoza, Gaston & Garcia, Mario T. 2008). Mexican-American Religions: Spirituality, Activism and Culture. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. Ballestra, Alejandra, Martinez Glenn, & Moyna, Maria I. (2008). Recovering the U. S. Linguistic Heritage: Socio-historical approaches to Spanish in the United States. Huston, TX: Arte Publico Press. Public Policy Institute of California. (2002). The Economic Progress of Mexican-Americans. San Francisco, CA: Grogger, Jeffery & Trejo, Stephen J. Center for Applied Linguistics. 1974). A Socio Linguistic Study of Assimilation: Puerto Rican English in New York City. Washington, D. C. : Wolfram, Walt. Garcia, Jessica & Nieves-Ferris, Kristin. (2001). Hablas Spanish? : The Linguistic Culture of Bronx Puerto Ricans. Retrieved from http://www. nyu. edu/classes/blake. map2001/puertorico. html Green, Derek. Puerto Rican Americans. Retrieved from http://www. everyculture. com/multi/Pa-Sp/Puerto-Rican-Americans. html Buffington, Sean. Cuban Americans: History, Slavery, Revolution, Modern Era, Significant Immigration Waves, Settlement Patterns, Acculturation and Assimilation, Education. Retrieved from http://www. everyculture. com/multi/Bu-Dr/Cuban-Americans. html Lambert, Wallace E. & Taylor, Donald M. (2010). Language in the Lives of Ethnic Minorities: Cuban-American Families in Miami. Oxford Journals, volume 17(issue 4), pages 477-500. Spear, Jane E. Uruguayan Americans. Retrieved from http://www. everyculture. com/multi/Sr-Z/Uruguayan-Americans. html
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