Hispanic Identity Tammy Simpson University of Phoenix Hispanic Identity Names are very important and when discussing the differences between racial or cultural, it is very important to remain culturally sensitive.Explaining the differences between Hispanics, Latino, Chicano, and Mexican American may give you a better understand of why some people choice what they want to be called.Because people should be able to choose how he or she is called and names disempowered can have serious repercussions.
Hispanic or Latino Americans are categorized as a group of people made up of distinct characteristics.
Every group should be allowed to choose their own name as well. When individuals or groups are called names that we do not wish to be called they can become upset or even annoyed. Some want to be called Hispanic and others Latinos, so how do you vary or distinguish. Well Chicano is just too narrow, encompassing only members of the Mexican-American community or anyone else of Mexican heritage. The word “Chicano” was once considered derogatory when it first emerged, but later generations of Mexican-Americans have since considered it acceptable and embraced the term, at least unofficially.
The Term Chicano was thought to have originated as slang that described immigrants from the Mexican revolution, but later evolved to define the uprising of Mexican American reformers. The Chicano Movement changed Mexican Americans’ lives in the United States’ economy. It was a movement that secured these people in the economy with civil rights and economic opportunity. They used tactics such as civil disobedience as an influential way to make it known that “change” was inevitable.
Marches, hunger strikes, and litigation were methods that they used. Mexican Americans consist of the largest Hispanic group within the United States. Their history has covered over 400 years within America, varying in different regions. In such states as California, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, and Nevada, great portions of Mexican Americans subsist there. (“Mexican Americans,” 1997-2007) The word “Hispanic” is more worldwide then “Chicano”. Historically, areas that were conquered by the Spaniards were considered part of an area called Hispania.
Countries that traced their history to Spain are considered to be Hispanic and include Mexico, Central America, and most of South America where Spanish is the prime language. Latino is extremely close in meaning to Hispanic, but is also includes other countries such as Brazil. Latino was popularized during the social movements of the 1960’s. While “Latino” may be politically and socially correct, it is still better to be ethnically aware of a person’s heritage then referring him or her to the broader term Latino.
Descendants of pre Columbian populations from Latin America and most of those from parts of the United States who were part of the Spanish Colonial Empire are considered Latinos/as. However Native Americans, United States citizens who are of pre –Columbian derivation, but whose ancestors lived in areas outside what constitutes United States territory today are not considered Latinos/as. The children born in Latin American from Spaniards are considered Latinos/as, but Spaniards themselves are not (Latinos or Hispanics?
A Debate About Indentity, 2003) Hispanic population today has expanded immensely over the years. The growth rate of the Hispanic community has grown faster than any other racial and ethnic group in the nation. The Hispanic community and culture has populated around the United States, and introducing new traditions and customs. Hispanics or Latinos are defined as people of Mexican, Puerto Rican, Cuban, and other Spanish speaking cultures and if you travel to different cities in the States we will see a wide spread of Hispanic communities.
For instance in New York the Puerto Rican culture is dominated, and in Miami the Cuban culture is populating the area (Cattan, 1993). Hispanic groups are known in the social economic, politics, labor force, and religion. Spanish culture has an effect on a variety of areas such as music, food and language. Learning about others culture is always good, especially when visiting other countries. Our differences are what make us fascinating and such a diverse country. Hispanics in the United States have significantly contributed to much of our society’s culture and way of life for centuries.
Ranging from politics, public service, military, business, science, organized sports to even the entertainment industry, you can find their imprint everywhere if you take a closer look. It is quite a wonder as to the many historians whom have not acknowledged Hispanics’ impact on history, as they are just as woven into America’s history as any other race or nationality. Many of our folklore and achievements are given credit to them. The United States is a major representative of all immigrants of the world into the symbolic “melting pot” that we are known for today. “Contributions of,” n. d. ) The Hispanic group adds to that diversity. A survey of the community conducted last year by the Per Hispanic Center of Washington found that nearly all people from Spanish speaking backgrounds identify themselves primarily by their place of national origin (Latinos or Hispanics? A Debate About Indentity, 2003). When the Mexican Americans came to America in search of the American dream they never thought the lack of education would stop them from advancing to a higher paying job. But in the labor field Mexicans are getting fair pay.
There are both positive and negative views on parts of the economy pertaining to the Hispanic culture. The more we spend has a positive effect on the economy and the employer benefits from the cut cost on labor by employing Hispanics for lower pay. There is a downside to employing workers for lower pay is the impact on government debt. Because workers are using government programs and schools but not paying taxes it depletes government spending. Marketing and consumer behavior is becoming increasing important in the Hispanic-American culture in the United States.
Cuban Americans do not have rights in and liberty and flee to the United States not as immigrants but political refugees seeking freedom. Cuban Americans had the highest rate of business ownership among Hispanic groups, with approximately one ethnic-owned enterprise for every 16 Cuban Americans (MSN, Ecarta). Cubans are generally Roman Catholics; however, it has been greatly modified to “syncretism” by large amounts of support since Catholicism’s early introduction into Cuban’s history. (“Religion in,” n. d. Mexican Americans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans and El Salvadorians are just to name a few who are a part of the Hispanic group. But each and every one of these groups shares a part of their Hispanic culture with one another, but they also vary in distinguished ways. Although they share the Spanish language the dialect can be different and the words pronounced the same many have different meanings, which gives them the distinctiveness within their group. Hispanic Americans, on the basis of language have a rich cultural identity (Noble, J and LaCasa, J).
Being able to speak the Spanish language gives you a competitive edge in the job market. Being bilingual is imperative to the Unites States economy. The Hispanic culture is becoming more involved in the politics. I believe many Hispanics follow the Republican Party more so than Democratic. Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans prefer liberal nominees in national and state elections. Hispanic Americans cultural variety is imitated in the different groups as well as in the foundations of the individual cultures.
Hispanic culture has been known to be swayed to different degrees by many customs, but the Cuban Americans stay within the culture tradition and stern values. Hispanic families raise their children to realize the importance of values, ethics, and respect for their elders and authority. The church plays a significant role in the quality of life and the greater part of the Hispanic community is Roman Catholic. I feel that is one of the Hispanic’s group strong point is the balance of spiritually and how it important to the family way of life. Hispanics are becoming a large part of the economy in the America and its community.
The Hispanic culture is as unique and special as any other, and should be treated with the correct hospitality as anyone else. From pop music to food to political campaigns and corporate marketing the Hispanic community has made very strong present in the United States. I think as the years goes by we see that the Spanish community will become the majority, instead of the minority. I’m really drawn to the Hispanic ethic group. I admire their traditions and how they are very family oriented. The overall Spanish culture has brought a lot of traditions and culture to add the American diversity.
Although current terms such as “Latino” and “Hispanic” function both as forms of self identification and also to mark Latin American populations in the United States as recognizable civic bodies, these terms, in their current popular manifestations, not only “refer to different dimensions of collective social experience,”(Flores, 2000,p. 194) Hispanic is pragmatic, because no matter what one says Hispanics first and foremost applies to Spaniards and this can be used to refer to Latin Americans and Latinos/as only secondarily or derivatively.
Not only does Hispanic imply derivatively Spanish, but in many places it is associated with negative qualities: for example laziness, lax morals, lower class, deficient education, and so on. (Garcia, 2000)
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