The Hispanic Culture is Colorful and Rich Sophia Subayar-Silcox ANT-101 Dr. Judith Mairs-Levy January 28, 2012 The Hispanic culture is colorful and rich; it’s enriched with pride and heritage. Family values and strong moral foundation have sustained the culture for hundreds of years. The business that I’m in has allowed me the pleasure to consort and interact with people in the Hispanic culture most of my life. Dedication and hard work are the stables that bound the stigma of the Hispanic culture.
My cultural interview was with an old friend, 38 years of age and of Hispanic descent. While conducting the interview I learned a lot about the Hispanic culture. Many Hispanic like to be called Latino. Some do not like to be referred to as Mexican when they are from other countries other than Mexico. The Hispanic also use slangs within their culture just like Americans. Within the culture the male is the dominant figure in the household. All the decisions that affect the family go through the father.
If there is no father in the house, the oldest son fulfills that role. The older son may drop out of school so that they may assist the mother at the house in the absence of the father. In the Hispanic culture many usually marry fairly young and begin raising a family. When they get older they usually do not marry, but live together like husband and wife. The average number of members within the family is 7 including the mother and father. The mother is usually the caregiver and stays home to look after the children.
The oldest daughter steps in and helps the mother out whenever she can. The grandparents are considered the second mom and dad. Their cousins are regarded as an extension of their siblings. My interviewee has 2 brothers who she is very close to. If her brothers tell her to do something even at age 28 she really makes sure she follows their directives. Her mother is divorced from her father, but he still plays an active part in her and her brothers’ life. The relationship between the mother and father is still very close even though they are not married.
The relationship between the mother’s new boyfriend and ex- husband is very cordial and respectful in an attempt to maintain a loving and positive environment for their family. The Hispanic family is outgoing and likes to have fun; they usually they have many gathering and invite friends, family and extended members to these functions. When interviewing Maria she explained that she was a 22 year old Business student that arrived in the United States to continue her studies at USA. She had no idea things could be so different from the way they were at home.
She lived all her life in Guatemala with her parents and her brothers and this was the first time she would spend an entire year living alone in a different country. Her experience traveling was not abroad, she used to spend her holydays in the house her father inherited from his grandfather in Monterrico. Maria explained that she spent most of her life watching American movies and TV series so she felt she knew all about the American culture and that believed it was in many ways similar to the Hispanic one.
Things started to prove her wrong when her first encounter with difference happened in the airport when she arrived and her American host provided by USC went to pick her up. When Maria saw him waiting for her, she approached him and leaned toward him to do what she always does when she meets someone; give two kisses, one in each cheek. He, surprised by her warmness understood it as she was going to hug him and so he leaned toward her to give her a hug.
The situation was completely awkward, neither Maria nor Peter, her host, understood what the other one was trying to do, so they ended up hugging in a completely awkward way. This first experience and many others similar to it would teach her that people in the United States greet by shaking hands, by hugging or by just simply saying “hi” without any physical contact. She felt by this, that Americans are more distant than Hispanic people. In her country hand shaking is very formal, people hand shake in business situations for example.
On the other hand, she felt the hug was a bit artificial, bodies almost didn’t touch while hugging, so found them not warm at all. She found this “coldness” also when going out at night. I asked Maria “How do assumptions about cultural “norms” impact your behavior on a day to day basis”? Maria replied that she didn’t notice the expectations of the Hispanic norms from other cultures but rather more from her family and other Hispanics. She said “my family expects me to be a certain way, so I feel like I’m living two different lives sometimes”.
I continued by asking her the challenges that she confront by being outside the norm of her culture. Maria replied that, again, the challenges came from her peers and family rather than other cultures. She said her family is more “old school” Hispanics and that some of her family cannot speak English, so it’s as if she has to be a certain person while at home and another when out in the world. Maria said “I have a hard time relating to some of my family, they don’t want me to adapt to the American Culture in fear that I would neglect my own”. I also asked Maria, “What are your in the workplace”?
Maria replied that, she feels like she has been discriminated against in her employment. She stated that she’s been referred to with racial slurs at work while she also feels as though she is paid less and have reduced career advancement prospects than her Caucasian counterparts. She said that at her company there is a scarcity of Hispanic, Hispanics, Latinos and Mexican-Americans in management positions. There are many important aspects of the Latino American population’s history that are important to discuss in order to fully understand this group.
These aspects include, but are not limited to; the legality of immigrating to the United States for the Latino population, as well as the affect assimilation into American culture has had on the Latino American population’s family life including their children. These issues are also crucially important in understanding the Latino population’s current situation in the US. The 1990 US Census has reported that about 15% of all children in the United States are immigrant children, or children of immigrant parentage, and 59% of Latino-American children are members of the first or second generation (Growing Up American).
With an increasing amount of immigrant children being incorporated into the public school systems of the United States, family strains are becoming increasingly popular. Some students have reported not wanting their parents to come to school because they are embarrassed of their culture. Many of their parents cannot speak English, and still dress according to cultural styles of the country of origin.