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Hispanic American Diversity

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Mexican Americans:

Mexican Americans have faced many challenges in trying to become an independent race spanning over 400 years varying from region to region within the United States. While Mexican-Americans were once concentrated in the states that formerly belonged to Mexico -- principally, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Colorado and Texas -- they began creating communities in San Diego, Los Angeles, Chicago and other steel producing regions when they obtained employment there during World War I. More recently, Mexican immigrants have increasingly become a large part of the workforce in industries such as meat packing throughout the Midwest, in agriculture in the southeastern United States, and in the construction, landscaping, restaurant, hotel and other service industries throughout the country.

There is a very wide divergence among language experts on the actual number of linguistic families and dialects among the Mexican Indians, primarily because the definitions of dialect, language group, and language vary from one linguistic specialist to another. What one specialist may deem to be a language, another linguist may describe as a dialect. But dialects themselves are sometimes mutually unintelligible among people of similar ethnic groups.

Mexican Americans could vote and hold elected office in places such as Texas, especially San Antonio. They ran the state politics and constituted most of the elite of New Mexico since colonial times. However, property requirements and English literacy requirements were imposed in Arizona, California, Nevada, New Mexico, and Texas in order to prevent Mexican Americans from voting. Some eligible voters were intimidated with the threat of violence if they attempted to exercise their right to vote.

Mexican Americans tend to socialize in communities comprised of mainly their own race. They do not have social lives mainly due to their rich heritage which inspires them to work hard and save as much money as possible to support their families and community. The Mexican American economy is not full of riches, since migrating to Native America, most Mexican Americans are only able to hold minimum paying jobs.

The Aztec religion was the oldest religion followed by natives of Mexico, at the time however, in the mid-sixteenth century, Spanish Conquistadors conquered the land of Mexico, and thereafter introduced the Mexicans to Catholicism; by so doing, they forever changed the course of Mexican history. Five hundred years later, most Mexican-Americans (over 80%) still practice Catholicism. Mexican American holds strong Familial values. They are firm believers in the term "family comes first."

Puerto Ricans:

Most Puerto Rican immigration in the early 19th century involved Canary Islands' natives who at the time inherited their linguistic traits from Andalusia. The Puerto Ricans language is Spanish. According to Tara- Ivette, O. in his essay on Puerto Rican Migration and the Puerto Rican Political Experience in the United States; Puerto Ricans began in what was known as Class Politics, where no matter what ethnicity people in the same working classes banded together. Eventually this lead to a movement called the socialism movement, Tara-Ivette, O. "The early immigrants who settled in the United States were influenced by radical political ideas like nationalism, internationalism, and socialism." Still though many Puerto Ricans stayed out of politics and did not vote even though they wished to improve their circumstances in the United States.

Tara-Ivette, O. I agree with Richie Rodriguez when he states that "[Puerto Ricans] used their ethnicity as their basis for being a separate entity in America and sought to improve their socio-economic and political status as an ethnic group through politics". Unity is a big part of Puerto Ricans socioeconomic and family backgrounds. They tend to set themselves apart from the United States mainstream culture and remain their own entity within the U.S. Puerto Ricans' family values are very important and respect plays a big part in family relations; according to Jones Syracuse "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 as well as religious bonds. 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" (Syracuse).


Cuban Americans main language is Spanish, according to a study done by Jason Cato Cuban Americans have adapted parts of the US to their culture. Cato, J. "In rising to dominate the centers of power in Miami, Cuban-Americans have reversed the traditional cycles of assimilation and acculturation. Even though they seek freedom from the oppression of their country, they still have extremely strong ties to their homeland and instead of adapting to the mainstream culture, they have adapted parts of the US to their culture.

Cuban Americans religious ties are mainly with the Roman Catholic Church, however according to; "Yet, there are many Protestant, spiritualist (involved in Santeria), nonreligious, and Jewish Cuban-Americans." Family ties are close as they are a source of holding onto their traditions and cultural heritage. Cuban familial values are similar to that of other Spanish descendants. Their political goals are designed to improve their way of live and provide promise for the future. From an economic standpoint, Cubans have struggled over the past 400 years to be an established race. Sometime during the 70's, Cubans discovered a way to improve the quality of life and wealth by introducing drugs to the Northeast (primarily Miami, Florida). This not only increased their ranks amongst Spanish Americans but also socially put them on the map.

El Salvadorians:

El Salvadorians primary language is Spanish; economically speaking they are extremely poor. El Salvadorians immigrated to this country to flee war and poverty. They often come to this country looking for work so that they may send money home to their family.

Politically El Salvadorians are not very active and generally do not participate in elections, especially due to the fact that a large percentage of El Salvadorian immigrants are illegal residents of the US.




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