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Spanish-Speaking Groups in the United States Essay

This research paper will identify the linguistic, political, social, economic, religious, and familial conventions or statuses of Columbian Americans, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Rican Americans living in the United States.|

Cultural Interests of Spanish-Speaking Groups in the United States Cultural interests of Columbian Americans, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Rican Americans that live in the United States of America are the focus because of the diversity and controversy that surrounds them. The United States grouped all the Spanish-speaking people that originate from Latin America, Central America, or South America together as one ethnic group referred to as Hispanics or Latinos. Cultural interests identified for each of these four groups will consist of their own group’s linguistics, political status, social status, economic status, religious status, and familial conventions. The first Hispanic group we will explore is Columbian Americans. Sturner (2012), “Spanish is the language of most Colombian-American households in the United States, where it serves as perhaps the surest means of preserving traditions” (Colombian Americans).

Columbians do not believe they will remain in the United States because of the immigration restrictions, therefore Columbian Americans traditionally devote themselves to politics in Columbia, and most do not become very involved with American politics (Sturner, 2012). Columbian Americans pursued professional careers and took employment as laborers, factory workers, domestic servants, and opened small businesses (Sturner, 2012). According to Sturner (2012), “In the mid-1990’s Colombian Americans had one of the highest average incomes among Latinos and many prospered in business, especially in in ventures in Miami related to trade with Latin America” (Colombian Americans). Socially, they develop strong ties with other Latinos through informal networks because they share a commonality of Spanish-language media, which provides news, entertainment, and music from Latin America (Sturner, 2012).

The Catholic church provides crucial support to Latin Americans throughout the United States and religious ceremonies are closely tied to important customs and traditions, such as compadrazgo (Sturner, 2012). Preservation has been assured in recent years as parishes have added Spanish-language services (Sturner, 2012). Columbian immigrants preserve their family traditions as a focal concern against pressures encountered in American society (Sturner, 2012). Their traditional roles are that the husband is the wage earner, the wife is the homemaker, and the children are taught to obey their parents and respect authority (Sturner, 2012). The second Hispanic group we will explore is Cuban Americans. Those born in the United States tend to be English Speakers and have less facility with Spanish, while those born abroad have greater facility with Spanish and more than half have some English ability as well (Buffington, 2012). Cuban American communities are well assimilated in the United States and have significant political influence because of their size (Buffington, 2012). Buffington (2012), “Cuban Americans are reputed to being conservative politically and to vote overwhelmingly for the Republican Party Elections” (Cuban Americans).

The most important political organization for them is the Cuban American National Foundation (CANF) because it is regarded as the representative of the Cuban American community (Buffington, 2012). Economically Cuban Americans closely resemble the total U.S. population and they have greater economic security than other Hispanic groups (Buffington, 2012). They are highly educated and a moderate percentage of their population has completed college or graduate schooling (Buffington, 2012). Most Cuban Americans report and perceive a non-discriminatory relationship with White Americans (Buffington, 2012). Cuban Americans overwhelmingly identify themselves as Roman Catholics, however a small percentage are some form of Protestantism, and one-quarter of native-born Cuban Americans say they either have no preference or have another religious affiliation (Buffington, 2012). Most Cuban American families have inherited the American way of life, which is significantly different from the traditional Cuban family in many ways (Buffington, 2012).

Compadres or grandparents are less likely to play significant roles of Cuban American children and Cuban American women are more likely to have greater authority in the family because of joining the workforce to contribute to the household income for security and independence of the family (Buffington, 2012). The third Hispanic group we will explore is Mexican Americans. Spanish has remained their primary language of all Mexicans in the Southwestern United States. It became necessary for workers and students to become proficient in English to continue to work and get an education. The Political Association of Spanish-Speaking Organizations (PASSO) and Mexican American Political Association (MAPA) were created to articulate ethnic political goals (Englekirk & Marin, 2012). Unhappy with both the Democratic and Republican parties in 1970, Mexican Americans created an alternative political party called La Raza Unida (LRU), which had remarkable success (Englekirk & Marin, 2012).

Traditionally the voting patterns of Mexican Americans have been Democratic at the presidential level. The majority of Hispanic-owned businesses existing in the United States are controlled by Mexican Americans, and this has contributed to the growth of the Mexican American middle class. Englekirk and Marin (2012), “Despite the diversification in employment into sectors of the national economy, wages have remained low for most members of the Mexican American community” (Mexican Americans). Englekirk and Marin (2012), “Following the Mexican-American War, increasing violence perpetrated by Anglo Americans made Mexicans and Mexican Americans intensely aware of their subordinate status within the American Southwest” (Mexican Americans).

Mexican Americans created a variety of social and political organizations that promoted ethnic solidarity to attempt to cope with their second-class status. The majority of the Mexican American population is of the Catholic faith with a small percentage that converted to Protestantism and other faiths. In the traditional Mexican American family their extended family and closest friends are just as much a part of their family as their immediate family because of a system of mutual dependence and respect for elders that creates a close-knit family unit. The last Hispanic group we will explore is Puerto Ricans. Proper Castilian Spanish is the native language of Puerto Ricans. Green (2012), “Although English is taught to most elementary school children in Puerto Rican public schools, Spanish remains the primary language on the island of Puerto Rico (Puerto Rican Americans). There is a substantially higher rate of voter participation among Puerto Ricans on the island than on the U.S. mainland.

There is political cynicism among the Puerto Ricans because of the lack of opportunity and education for the migrated population, but the Puerto Rican population can be a major political force when organized (Green, 2012). Some problems such as crime, drug-abuse, poor educational opportunities, unemployment, and the breakdown of the Puerto Rican family structure have caused them to be overall, the most economically disadvantaged Latino group in the United States (Green, 2012). Puerto Rican American social assimilation has been one of great success mixed with serious problems (Green, 2012). Green (2012), “Because many Puerto Ricans are of mixed Spanish and African descent, they have had to endure the same sort of racial discrimination often experienced by African Americans” (Puerto Rican Americans).

Most Puerto Ricans are Catholic, but dominance has been declining and the presence of many various form of Protestants has been increasing (Green, 2012). Among the Puerto Rican Catholics, a small minority actively practice some version of Santeria (Green, 2012). Green (2012), “Puerto Rican family and community dynamics have an extensive Spanish influence and still tend to reflect the intensely patriarchal social organization of European Spanish culture” (Puerto Rican Americans). Both men and women have strong roles in childbearing and place a high value on educating their children.

Since we have explored these four races, we can clearly understand the similarities and differences between them. They have been grouped together regardless of their origin because they share the Spanish language. We can be sure that Columbian Americans, Cuban Americans, Mexican Americans, and Puerto Rican Americans make up a very diverse ethnic group. Each race is unique in their cultural traditions about family and religious beliefs. Their economics, social status, and political views we explored are only a very small reflection of who they are and how they live their lives in the United States.

References

Buffington, S. (2012). Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved from http://everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Cuban-Americans.html

Englekirk, A. & Marin, M. (2012). Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved from http://everyculture.com/multi/Le-Pa/Mexican -Americans.html

Green, D. (2012). Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved from http://everyculture.com/multi/Pa-Sp/Puerto-Rican-Americans.html

Schaefer, R. T. (2006). Racial and Ethnic Groups (sixth ed.). Retrieved from University of Phoenix eBook Collection database.

Sturner, P. (2012). Countries and their Cultures. Retrieved from http://everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Colombian-Americans.html


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