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Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, Cuban American, and Latin Americans Kimberly Arroyo-Lopez ETH125 January 15, 2011

Jennifer Melvin

Hispanics in the United States have contributed much to our societys customs and culture for many a century. These contributions range from politics, public service, military, business, science, organized sports to even the vast entertainment industry, and you can find their mark worldwide. It leads many people to wonder why the many historians do not acknowledged the Hispanics impact on history; they are just as important within Americas history as well as any other race and/or nationality. ("Contributions of Americans," 1996)

Mexican Americans are one of the most prevalent Hispanic groups within the United States. Their history has a span over four centuries in America consisting in different regions. Such as California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada were great amounts of Mexican Americans reside. ("Wikimedia foundation, Inc," 2012)

Mexican Americans, although they live in the United States, normally talk in their own native language. Spanish is usually the language that is used in the home amongst family and friends most of the time. In the general community, English is widely spoken and some Spanish is spoken also but more English than Spanish. As the generations have expanded a new way of communications has become used more often, called Spanglish, which is a blend of Spanish and English.

Most Americans have been very tough on Mexican Americans. The citizens have had a very hard time trying to elevate their financial and social status in the United States. Also many Mexican Americans are judge by the color of their skin, but no ones color of their skin should determine a persons social status, or the content of their character. Many Mexican Americans are slowly emerging and breaking social barriers. The Chicano Movement changed many Mexican Americans lives in the United States economy. It was a movement that secured Mexican Americans with civil rights and economic opportunity in the economy. The Mexican Americans used tactics such as civil disobediences as an influential way to make it known that these changes were inevitable. The tactics that were used were marches, hunger strikes, and litigation. The Chicano Movement also sparked a political consciousness in the community, something that was never been heard of or experienced before by the Mexican American community. Many Mexican Americans are Roman Catholic, as it is a central institution within their culture. Their religious beliefs influence their perceptions on a lot of areas in their lives, including views on sex, education, and politics. The family structure of a Mexican American is one of which is traditional where the mother stays at home and the father went to work. This has undergone a drastic change within the last thirty or so years as both mother

and father have began to be the head of household. In the Mexican American focal point of family life is the home.

Puerto Ricans are the second largest group of Hispanics that reside in the United States, mainly in New Jersey and New York. Although they are not considered foreign immigrants, since they are technically American citizens because Puerto Rico is consider a United States territory. Puerto Ricans do not happen to have what is known as a proper language, but instead, they have what is known as Castilian Spanish. They are different from other Spanish-speaking groups in the sense that their pronunciation of the Spanish language is not the same as others.

The people are generally racially and very diverse, and recognize racial variance amongst them. Because of the racial variance amongst themselves, they do have social classification of each other, but generally refer to themselves as Negro in the sense that everyone is of color. It does not have any racial connotation behind it, as it does in some other cultures and terms. In the United States many Puerto Ricans are eligible for benefits here in America since Puerto Rico are a United States commonwealth. However, many feel that because they can be in the welfare programs it keeps Puerto Ricans within the cycle of poverty. The general population of Puerto Ricans that are not on welfare tends to work in the industries around New York and New Jersey.

There is a spilt difference in the Puerto Rican community when it comes to political views. There are those that belong to the United States association, and those that have radical view who are pushing for Puerto Rico to be independent from America. Most Puerto Ricans are generally Roman Catholic as well. The Roman Catholic religion originated with the Catholic missionaries that were established in Puerto Rico almost nearly four hundred years ago. In recent years it has been reported that only seventy percent of people consider themselves Catholic, while the majority of the Puerto Ricans consider themselves Protestant. Traditionally, like Mexican Americans, the fathers and husbands were seen as the head of households. Unlike Mexican Americans the sons have a responsibility of taking care of the womenfolk especially their younger sisters looking after them and making sure they were safe. Also showing respect to your elders is just as important as looking after younger sisters and brothers. They usually have extended families in the sense that households usually consist of large, extensive family members.

Cuban Americans are the third largest group of Hispanics that reside in the United States. Most Cuban Americans were born in Cuba but fled Cuba as a result of Fidel Castros communist dictatorship. Many of the older Cuban Americans carry on their prominent language of Cuban, but the younger generations have started to break away from their

cultural histories. Most of the time unlike their parents and grandparents the younger generation prefers to communicate in English rather than Cuban. Socially they have adapted to the large communities of New York City, northern New Jersey, and Los Angeles. However, they are well known in southern Florida, mainly Miami. In all most Cuban Americans are more successful in these communities because they surround themselves with others who have a similar cultural background. They are constantly redefining themselves as older generations pass on, some choose to keep cultural traditions others want to distance themselves from their cultural traditions. In estimates that one out of every fourteen Cuban American in Southern Florida has and owns their own business. Cuban Americans do have the highest rate out of many of the Hispanic groups who tend to do more entrepreneurial things. Many Cuban Americans live in little communities with other Cuban Americans and do not feel as much of a need to go outside of the community. As a result of staying within the community, a much higher rate of business ownership exists. Little Havana, located within the city of Miami is a great example of just one of the Cuban American communities. Many Cuban Americans have a very involved role in trying to redefine the American Political scene. As many of the Cuban Americans are against Fidel Castros communist governments and most movements or policies against the communist party are very supported within the Cuban American community. Any Cuban-related politics within the Unitized States legislation are significantly influenced by Cuban Americans

As with most Hispanic cultures Cuban Americans are generally Roman Catholics, Cubans are generally Roman Catholics, but it has been modified thanks to many different beliefs on what a true Roman Catholic. Like many of the Hispanic communities Cuban Americans have extended families, including parents, children, and grandparents, most of the time the elders are widowed or dependent on others. Most of the time intermarriage rate of marrying others outside of the community is usually frowns upon because this is a family value to many Cuban Americans.

Hispanic and Latino Americans basically the rest of the Hispanic cultures that reside within the United States, this does not include Brazilians. Many of them are still in the process of creating a unique place for themselves in the American culture as well as Hispanic cultures here in the United States. Of course Spanish is the natural language of the Latin Americans, yet English is even spoken as well as French dialect is often heard amongst the culture. Many of these Latino Americans come to the United States with a big language barrier and a poverty concern. Many Hispanic and Latino Americans are moving up very quickly from a previous immigrant status to a more conventional status amongst the common society of the United States. In the last few past decades, the economical status of Hispanic and Latino Americas has begun to spread it selves out, as racial acceptance has started to become the thing to do. It is also spread out across groups such as, Africans, Asians, and American Indians in the culture that may have Hispanic or Latino in them.

Many of these individuals in the Hispanic and Latino communities are moving up in the world through the local states governments, many of them are elected as officials and representatives in many different states. Again the main religion is Roman Catholic, most Hispanics and Latino Americans are Roman Catholic, being that a leading static says ninety percent of them are Roman Catholic. While the other ten are either Christian or Protestants with in their comminutes and culture and also African religious beliefs exist as well. In the Hispanic and Latino American communities discrepancies between young and old exist, the older generation believes in large extensive families, while the younger generation believes in modern and the latest beliefs of the American society. Interracial marriage is almost always an issues but it may cease to be one as new ideas emerge and are becoming established.

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