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Brenda Sanchez
Ali M. Meghdadi
English 39C/Section 33374
May 13, 2014
In Between Two Spheres
Estados Unidos Mexicanos is a federal republic in North America, standing as the fifth
largest country in the Americas. The border between the United States and Mexico is 3,169
kilometers (1,969 miles) from the Gulf of Mexico to the Pacific Ocean. With such a long border
between Mexico and the United States, migration between the two countries was not something
unexpected. Mexicans began migrating as early as the 19
th
century, typically working in the
construction of the railway systems or as seasonal agricultural laborers. The migration of
Mexicans into America has risen. Mexican migration has increased ever since 2000, Mexican
immigrants make up for 27.6 percent of the total foreign-born U.S. population in 2000
(Campbell). These events have had many effects on Americans, Mexicans and Mexican-
Americans. Thanks to my parents I was born in the United States and have access to all the
opportunities that comes with being an American citizen. Society tends to over look the issue of
being a first generation Mexican, every individual that lives in the United States stands for a
place in the world, a city, a state, or a country, all with different cultural backgrounds. Cultures
are beliefs, customs and arts of a specific society. Even though the United States is referred to as
a melting pot, in which there are a diversity of people from all over the world, it is hard for a
first generation citizen to assimilate from both their parents culture and the United States
culture. Dealing with bringing together the two spheres and making a new one is a never-ending
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process, as first generation Mexican Americans have to try to reconcile and learn how to live in a
place with two distinct cultures.


(These graphs show the change of countries that migrated to the United States, the one on the left
shows the countries involved in 1960 and the right shows the ones in 2000, Mexico taking the
lead.)
My mother was born in Mexico; she grew up with different customs and beliefs that
distinguish her from the American culture. My mother is always trying to keep my nephew and
his surroundings clean, this is something that she learned from her mother and her family. The
purpose is to keep the newborn or toddler as dirt-free as possible to prevent infections and
sickness and keep them healthy. As a newborn she would be extremely hygienic, always
worrying about having clean hands before carrying him and making sure there was not a lot of
bacteria present to avoid from getting him sick. Being careful, clean and taking extra precautions
with newborns is something that is common amongst the Mexican culture; my grandmother,
aunts and cousins all did the same thing with their children. However, after doing some extensive
research, I found out that everything my mother was doing to keep my nephew healthy was
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actually hurting him more than helping him. In the journal, Is your baby too germ-free, the
author states that exposure to bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms early in life helps a
childs immune system develop the proper defenses against disease. (The Week) After I
introduced this idea to my mother she complained about how it was wrong and that exposing him
to a high amount of germs was going to get him sick and that at such an early age he could have
complications. Without ever thinking about culture and how even though my mother and I are
both Mexican, I realized that the action of me being born here in the United States creates the
nurturing of two different cultures and customs.
In Mexican families, the primary care provider for the children is stated to be the mother,
in which her obligations range from preparing breakfast in the morning to being concerned about
the childrens education. Due to my mothers low education, she is extremely concerned about
my education. Education is a serious matter in my parents culture. Part of their culture is
wanting and being persistent on having their children achieve more then they could. I remember
as a child, my mother would always instill in me to pay attention, to do well in school and to try
my best. Although I am aware that every parent wants the best for their child, there is a vast
amount of pressure on the child to excel beyond their parents education. In Five Generations of
a Mexican American Family in Los Angeles, Christina Chavez acknowledges that although the
parents are not able to be actively involved in their childrens school since they did not speak
English they were always demanding the best education for their children. Letting down a parent
is one of the worst things that can be done, although there are kids who do not follow into their
parents educational steps, when one does not reach the goal the parents have dreamed for,
makes the situation tough.
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(The first column of Table 5.6 shows the years of schooling were higher amongst those whose
parents had more education and owned a home. The second column shows the relationship
between parental status-resources and education. Proving that both parents education has
independent and positive effects on the education of first generation Mexican-Americans. Table
5.4 shows that Non-Hispanic whites pass on their education the best, followed by blacks and
staying last the Mexican Americans. This proves that it is harder for Mexican-Americans to
graduate high school if their parents did not but are still encouraged to.)

Growing up in a Mexican household, there is only one destiny for each individual and it
depends on the gender. Mexican parents are demanding and have specific gender roles for both
the female and the male. In my household, the women cook, clean and attend to the men. The
womans role is to be feminine and submissive; she attends to her husband, raises the children
and takes care of the house. This is what my parents have taught me and have insisted that I do
because that is what they did. Growing up in Mexico, this is how gender roles play out, it is
expected from the female to fulfill all her responsibilities and it is accepted. Although my parents
expect this from me, I am not sure if that is necessarily what I want to do. The United States
culture varies in the role of the women, in the United States women are much more independent
than the women in Mexico. In 2000, Mexican women averaged 39.8% of the work force in
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Mexico (INEGI) having a significant difference than the women who worked in the United
States averaging 77%. (U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics) There are different gender roles in
Mexico and the United States, where more women have a job and take on different obligations
then in Mexico. In a marriage in the United States, the women can also be the provider and have
a job and not necessarily have to cook every night. This ideal gender role creates a critical
conflict between my parents Mexican culture and the American culture I live in. I have
mentioned to my mother a couple of times that I might want to work after I get married and her
response is negative. She always responds that I can work up until I get married and then it is my
husbands job to take care of me financially while I take care of him and the house. Living in the
United States and seeing this notion of women brining in their own income after marriage seems
like a great idea to me but conflicts with what my parents believe I should take on.
In this country, Mexicans have been told that they are not American enough and
foreign born Mexicans have told Mexican-Americans that they are not Mexican enough.
Somehow Mexican-Americans belong to both countries but not to either one of them. The
United States population of Mexicans entering the country illegally or legally has continued to
rise and due to experiences and successful triumphs, Mexicans will keep on migrating in search
for a better future, in search for the American Dream. However what is often looked over are
the many disadvantages they will face in the
United States, not only them but the continuing
generations as well. Just because the first or
second generations are born in the United States
does not mean they will belong.

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Authors Note

For my composition I put together an argumentative analysis on the problems that
Mexican-American first generations face in the United States. The reason I decided to focus on
the assimilation of Mexican-Americans is because I am a Mexican-American and I encounter
these problems daily and it is interesting to learn how often and how big the problem actually is.
I come from a family that basis majority of our actions on beliefs and ideas that are passed down
from generation to generation; including gender roles. Having a specific gender role assigned to
me is what encouraged me to write on this topic. It seems absurd for me to have to follow a
womens role, a role that requires not working after marriage and being a housewife. From
personal experience, this is a situation where I am stuck between my parents culture and the
culture of the United States.
Overall I expressed my concerns throughout the composition with quotes and ideas to
support me. The increasing number of Mexican immigrants only extends the problem more.
Mexican-Americans deal with different beliefs, gender roles and education expectations that
difficult the process of becoming one with the United States of America. It is important to
address and be aware of this issue because people assume that once Mexican immigrants have
children here, the children are privileged and no longer have to suffer but that is not the case.





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Works Cited
Campbell J. Gibson and Emily Lennons Historical Census Statistics on the Foreign-Born
Population of the United States 1850-1990 (Population Division Working Paper No. 29,
U.S. Census Bureau, February 1999); and Profile of the Foreign-Born Population in the
United States 2000 (Washington: U.S. Census Bureau, Current Population Reports,
Series p23-206, 2001).
Central Intelligence Agency. Central Intelligence Agency, n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.
Chang, Nai-Ying, and Tung-Yuang Liou. "A Study of Latino Parenting Culture and Practices:
Listening to the Voices of Latino Parents." (2009): 1-36. Web. 01 May 2014.
"Changes in Womens Labor Force Participation in the 20th Century: The Editors Desk: U.S.
Bureau of Labor Statistics." U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. U.S. Bureau of Labor
Statistics, n.d. Web. 28 Apr. 2014.
Chvez, Christina. Five Generations of a Mexican American Family in Los Angeles. Lanham:
Rowman & Littlefield, 2007. Print.
Huntington, Samuel P. Who Are We?: The Challenges to Americas National Identity. New
York: Simon & Schuster, 2004. Print
Instituto Nacional de Estdistica, Geografa e Informtica (INEGI). Encuesta Nacional de
Empleo Urbano (ENEU), Aguascalientes: 1990 and 2000; Encuesta Nacional de Empleo
(ENE), Aguascalientes: 2000; Matthew Sobek, Steven Ruggles, Robert McCaa, et al.,
Integrated Public Use Microdata Series-International: Preliminary Version 0.1
Minneapolis: Minnesota Population Center University of Minnesota, 2002. The IPUMS-
International datasets are integrated versions of INEGIs Cdice 90: Muestra del uno
porciento del XI censo de poblacin, 1990, Aguascalientes: 1994; Contar 2000. Muestra
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del diez porciento del XII censo de poblacin, 2000 (cuestionario ampliado),
Aguascalientes: 2001.

"Is Your Baby Too Germ-free?" The Week. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Apr. 2014.
Kruzykowski, Katerina G. "Reconciling Two Cultures: The Experience of Immigrants and First
Generation Americans from Non-Western Countries." Http://repository.wcsu.edu/. N.p.,
02 Sept. 2011. Web. 17 Apr. 2014.
Telles, Edward Eric, and Vilma Ortiz. Generations of Exclusion: Mexican Americans,
Assimilation, and Race. New York: Russell Sage Foundation, 2008. Print.
"U.S.-Mexico Border." - National Geographic Education. N.p., n.d. Web. 01 May 2014.