Hispanic American Diversity
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Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cubans and Columbians are groups that have been chosen for identifying the linguistic, political, social, economic, religious and familial conventions and/or statuses of Hispanic groups living in the United States. These four groups are from different regions but have been placed in one category due to the similarity of their language. The primary language spoken by these groups is Spanish but the accent and the meaning of certain words are different.
The Mexican American population is the largest minority group in the United States, with over 25 million people. The Mexican Americans come from all over Mexico resulting in a wide variety of linguistic varieties amongst them. MexicoÐ²Ð‚™s language is derived from Spanish but varies from different regions in Mexico. Many Mexican Americans, especially school-aged children, do not speak Spanish except in their homes. Some do not speak Spanish at all. 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. Due to the lack of education, the social status of the Mexican Americans is poor. Very few Mexican Americans further their education after 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 Ð²Ð‚ÑšSubstantial 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 United States are Catholic. 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 provider and the mother runs the house hold usually by doing the cooking, cleaning, and shopping. The grandparents also play a large role in the family by helping to carry on their customs.
The Puerto Rican language is also Spanish; however, the majority of Puerto Ricans speak English. Puerto Ricans use body language, such as hand and facial gestures, as an important form of communication. Socially the Puerto Ricans consider themselves American but they are extremely proud of their island and culture. Rather than calling themselves American they consider themselves to be Puertorriquenos or Boricuas. Here in the United States, the Puerto Ricans remain very close to one another and hold a high regard for their island even though they might have been born here. Economically, the Puerto Ricans do very well. Education is a high priority for most, in which they further their education through college and earn their degrees. The majority of Puerto Ricans are Catholic with some Protestants. Family is very important in Puerto Ricans and ultimately, respect is the tie that holds it together. In a statement written for OSU it says: Ð²Ð‚ÑšRespect 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.Ð²Ð‚Ñœ (Syracuse, 1995)
The main language spoken by Cubans is Spanish, but like the Mexican Americans and the Puerto Ricans, most speak English. According to the 2000 United States Census, there were over 1.4 million people of Cuban descent in the United States. Upon arriving from Cuba, most Cuban immigrants chose to stay in the Miami area of Florida, even after being encouraged to relocate to other parts of the United States. There are also large communities in New York, New Jersey, and California. Together, these three states account for 23 percent of the Cuban American population. Florida, Miami more specifically, is the center of the Cuban American community.
The Cuban American community is well assimilated in the United States. 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. 78 percent of Cuban Americans had registered to