It is important to note that when it comes to Hispanic groups in the U.S, they tend to diverse in an ethnic sense as opposed to a racial sense when compared to the Native Americans. Over time, we have had a substantial improvement in the visibility of Hispanic groups both at the economic as well as political front and this is a significant deviation from the past. In this text, I discuss four Hispanic groups living in the United States and identify their linguistic, political, familial, religious, economic as well as social conventions.
Cafferty et al. (2002) notes that a majority of Puerto Ricans can fluently speak English. This is in addition to Spanish. It is important to however note that there are sometimes gaping differences between the Spanish that is widely spoken and the Puerto Ricans Spanish when one takes into consideration a number of aspects including the accent. When we consider their political statuses, the Jones Act which was signed by President Woodrow Wilson allowed the Puerto Ricans to acquire citizenship (American) and as a result, their participation in the electoral process is guaranteed. It is also important to note that as far as social conventions are concerned, the fluency in English exhibited by the Puerto Ricans facilitates their interactions with Native Americans. On the economic front, it can be noted that Puerto Ricans are largely conservative. Their ability to access equal employment opportunities as a result of the Jones Act signing has not made a huge impact on their economic wellbeing. It can also be noted that Roman Catholicism is the religion of choice amongst Puerto Ricans but we still have a substantial chunk of protestant Puerto Ricans (16%). As far as family is concerned, Puerto Rican families are headed by the father. Puerto Ricans also happen to exhibit laudable links with other members of the family happening to be in the 2nd or 3rd generation.
Spanish is the Mexican Americans main language. It is important to also note that indigenous languages are also spoken by a substantial chunk of Mexican Americans. However, as Robertson (2009) notes, there seems to be a sustained decrease in the number of Mexican Americans fluent in indigenous languages going forward. As far as politics is concerned, Mexican Americans still play a big role in politics (electoral) if the census enumerations are anything to go by. With regard to social conventions, $ Robertson (2009) notes that the interaction (social) between Mexican Americans and native Americans is at times impacted negatively by language barriers. Issues are also not helped further with claims of Mexican American discrimination by their American counterparts.
When considering Mexican American’s economic prowess, it has been noted that their lack of exposure to education that can be considered quality impacts negatively on their economic capability. This is essentially because when it comes to employment opportunities, they happen to be at a disadvantaged position economically as opposed to other Hispanic groups as well as Native Americans. Cafferty et al. (2002) notes that Roman Catholicism is the religion of choice amongst a majority of Mexican Americans. However, there is also a substantial chunk of those who subscribe to different religious aspirations i.e. Jehovah witnesses. At the familial front, this Hispanic group is largely family oriented. While the mother is concerned with the coordination of familial matters, the father retains his position as the head of the family.
English forms the language of choice for a big chunk of Colombian Americans. However, there is still a minority chunk of those who are not fluent as far as English is concerned. At the political front, Robertson (2009) notes that Colombian Americans are not interested in elective politics as is the case with other Hispanic groups. At the social front, the ability of Colombian Americans to inter-relate well with their native American counterparts is founded on their social and jovial nature. Their preference for song and dance especially vallenato as well as salsa has also over the years cemented their interrelation with each other.
At the economic front, 90% of Cuban Americans are considered to be economically stable. Indeed, more than 50% of Colombian Americans own homes according to Cafferty et al. (2002) and this can be seen to be a higher percentage than any other Hispanic group. Further, it is important to note that Colombian Americans make more money in dollar terms as compared to their Hispanic counterparts.
Religion still remains to be central to the Colombian Americans with a majority being Roman Catholics. As far as family is concerned, it is important to note that the father and mother in a Colombian American household play equal roles as far as the family well being is concerned. However, the role of the father is still central as far as decision making is concerned.
Spanish still remains to be the Cuban Americans main language. According to Robertson (2009), Cuban Americans participation in politics (elective) most notably in Miami has been growing over time and it is expected that before long, the effects of Cuban Americans in national politics shall be largely felt going forward. On the social front, Cuban Americans are perhaps the only Hispanics group that maintains the closest relations between each other. However, apart from their excellent relations with each other, their relations with Native Americans still remain strong and solid. It can also be noted that a majority of Cuban Americans in the U.S. today still have powerful relations with their home country. On the economic front, Cuban Americans can be said to be better off as compared to other Hispanic groups. According to Robertson (2009), by dint of having been in the US longer than other Hispanic groupings, Cuban Americans have stellar education which aids them in the pursuance of their economic interests. Roman Catholicism is the religion of choice for most Cuban Americans with a slim minority subscribing to other religions.According to Cafferty et al. (2002), the fact that a majority of Cuban Americans in the U.S. today still have powerful relations with their home country informs their closeness at the familial level where the father is the family’s head.
Despite the fact that quite a number of Hispanic groups still pledge their allegiance to their cultures as well as homelands, they have over time integrated well within the American culture. It is also important to note that though they differ on a number of fronts, the various Hispanic groups also share some common characteristics as well as conventions.
Cafferty, P.S, & Engstrom, D.W. (2002), Hispanics in the United States; an agenda for the twenty-first century, Transaction Publishers
Robertson, W.S. (2009), Hispanic-American Relations with the United States, BiblioBazaar. LLC