Cultural Diversity

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Abstract

Cultures and societies differ from one region to another in the world. This paper aims at presenting the contrasting social, political, and economic histories of the English and the Hispanics in the United States.


 Introduction

               Anthropologists all over the world have noted that there are various cultural differences that exist between people in terms of dressing code traditions, language and the general organization of a society.  These differences come about with the shared conception of morality in the adaptation of the environment. Cultural diversity has been the essential aspect in the long term survival of humanity.  This happens as communities involve in conservation of indigenous cultures; this being one of the most essential element in humankind. This is similar to the conservation of ecosystem and species is to life in general.


The Universal declaration on cultural diversity according the UNESCO is that cultural diversity is necessary for human kind as biodiversity is to nature.   In the United States each individual belongs to a certain ethnic group which he/ she is a member of.  Some have been in the US for generations while some are still new to the country. The Hispanic  Americans are the new  arrivals  in to the land and have a different culture compared  to the English  people who have  been  in  the US  for a long  period of time. Culture dictates the way of living in a particular social group and community.  These people share beliefs and values and behave in a certain way.People naturally and unconsciously acquire there own native culture.


  This is a process m known as Enculturation.  The US comprises of various ethnic groups with distinct cultures.  Most immigrants choose their own relationship with their newly acquired and their native culture. This happens through the process of assimilation and the later native culture slowly fades away. The result is that there will be a merging of the new culture and the old culture is indistinguishable after a period of time.The new immigrants may adopt a second set of cultural rules through acculturation which can coexist with the rules of their native cultures and replace the old culture rules. This process may also modify old rules so that they can complement the new rules.  Some immigrants have managed to maintain two cultures (bi-cultural) simultaneously with equal standards.


 Anglo culture

             Anglo American refers to the English speaking Canadian or European American (Mish, 1994, p 86).  Anglo is a term  that has  been  used  in  the discussion  of  English  Speaking  people history in  the US during  the Mexican – American  War but in many spheres, the term  has come to denote  English people speaking  people and third descendants regardless of prior ethic  background. The Anglo American is traditionally a large protestant group with few of the Roman Catholics. The Anglo American refer to all those from countries that traditionally speak the English Language. Those whose families became mainstream English speaking people in Canada and the United states are also referred to as the Anglo Americans.


They are the people who originated from Europe and are therefore European Immigrants or the Founding colonists. The First European decedent born in what is today’s America is Martin de Argüelles in 1566, San Agustin, La Florida (Figueredo, 2007, p 11). The English  Americans(9.0%), German  Americans(16.5%)and the Irish Americans(11.9%) are the largest three ethnic  groups  in the United States according  to statistics carried  out in  2008. The term European  American  came into use  in  1977 to replace the term ‘White’ as a racial  label  though up to now, European American is  not popularly used in  America. Approximately 53% of European Americans are of colonial ancestry today. 47% of them descended from Canada, Mexico and Europe. They are the descendants of colonial American stock who came in two waves of immigrants from Europe. The colonial stock comprising of the Welsh, Irish and Scottish descendants are dominant in the South. 


The French decedents are found throughout the country but mostly in Louisiana.  The Spanish decedents have dominated the South west. They are the primary Roman Catholic who has been assimilated with Louisiana Purchase and the Mexican American war. The first wave of European immigrants came to America after the Revolutionary war.  The immigrants came from Western Europe and, Northern Europe between 1820 and 1890.  Most of them were the Germans, Britons, Irish and these from Scandinavia and Netherlands. There descendants are still dominant in the West and Midwest. The second wave of the immigrants of European American ethnic group arrived in mid 1870s to the 1920.  They came mainly from Eastern and southern Europe. This wave includes the Greeks, the People, the Italians and Slavs Portuguese. The term culture has been defined in various ways to give different meaning but the term has today been used to refer to three basics sense.


First,  culture is an  integrated  pattern  of  human  belief,  knowledge  and behavior and  it depends  upon the capacity for social  leaning  and for symbolic  thought. Secondly culture has the sense of excellence in tastes in the humanities and fine art which is commonly known as the high culture. Last, is that culture can be defined as shared values, goals, attitudes and rustics that characterize a group, institution or an organization.  Some experts have defined culture as an individual behavior in his degrees in the adaptation and assimilation into a particular environment. Basically culture comprises the whole of humanity which includes art, law, knowledge, moral custom and values. European cultural linage can be traced back in Europe and its institutionalized form of traditions, civil education and government. Europeans may have been among the first in America according to Solutrean hypothesis (Gonzalez, 2009).


Latest findings have  however argued that  Gonzales  theory could  not be true and that the founding  native America  population  came  from  Iberia  through Beringia (American  Journal  of Human  Genetics. 583-592) White American culture is quantitatively large in proportion of the American Culture.  White Americans have significantly contributed  to literature , agriculture., literatures ,  food.,  language , clothing  styles and music of the American  culture.  This is why America has been considered as a nation of cultural transfers. The white American who took over the political system and culture was taken up as a diplomatic tool.  This has however been criticized because culture belongs to the realm of public taste, free enterprise, and creativity but not government.During the Cold war, the leaders sought to export American way of life abroad while the Soviet Union sought to export communalism. This was the mission of policy makers and public figures of which most of them were the American Whites.


The US after the V-day created a number of programs and organizations. One of these programs is the Fulbright exchange program and the United States Information Agency. These programs promoted transmission of information on American culture.  This exportation  of  culture by the US is  similar to the renaissanceperiod  when  European  powers  fostered  a variety of cultural  exchange  programs, for example Germans in Africa, French in Indochina, and the British in the Middle East and in India. They sent their own culture abroad a powerful tool, to strengthen commerce, trade and political influence. Today some of the European  Communities rely on  collective  cultural  diplomacy in  the creation  of  organizations  that promote  exchange of  culture including  languages of  cultural information. The Suburban Culture in the United States is a euphemism for white American culture used as racially neutral alternative.


The later European and the middle-Eastern Immigrants upon their arrival felt isolated from the mainstream, protestant American society that spoke English. This was because of cultural, language and religious barriers.  To overcome this, they quickly created closely knit neighborhoods of members of their own ethnic groups. The neighborhoods grew into large districts with shops and churches with signs bearing their native languages. Their ethnic districts include Hamtramck in Michigan, Little Italy inn New York, and little Canada in Minneapolis’s Paul and Irish Channel in New Orleans. Various religious sects have developed insular communities such as Amish community in Pennsylvania and the Hasidic Jewish and Orthodox communities in Brooklyn’s Borough Park and Mormons in Mesa, Idaho, Pocatello, Arizona and Utah.   


American socialist John Tomlinson has argued that American Cultural imperialism is inadequate because the phenomenon simply means the spread of modernity. According to him this a process of local cultural loss and not of bicultural expansions. Economic process and global technologies and the integration lessen the importance of national culture.  Most European Americans have assimilated into American Culture and they now express their infibulate ethnic ties symbolically and sporadically. They currently do not consider their specific ethnic origin to be essential in their identity. However the southern Europeans who are the Greeks and the Italians have started exploring their cultural traditions as an ideal of their cultural pluralism.  Other European Americans have started doing the same in exploring their cultural origins in expressing their unique cultural experience.


 Social culture

                 Values are not the absolute facts but the traits that are openly recognized and seem obvious and practiced by the majority. For example Anglo Americans have the values which tend   to consider their personal goals over group goals. This is because the Anglo Americans are future and goal oriented especially in terms of monetary security. The Anglo trait therefore is to prepare and save for the future along with their tendency to strive for comfort. Goal orientation asks also seen in their communication, as they converse.  The English people exchange information in an efficient and quick manner- direct question leads to a direct answers. Some people from other cultures may view this as being rude and pushy because they waste no time on small talk.


This is  not the case  with  Spanish  speakers because  speech  takes  most  part  of  communication . Another Anglo characteristics  which  differs  from the Hispanics   involves  the raising  of children ,  the children are reared under strict discipline which  may include  physical  punishment.  The typical Anglo Americans belief is that man has power over nature.  This means that every thing that happens can scientifically be explained. They have in them the spirit to climb the ladder of success.  This is an important aspect that one must strive to be the best. Hard work is rewarded. This hard work only comes when a one adheres to time schedule therefore wasting time on irrelevant issues is not tolerated. 


The Anglos are also likely to be more aggressive   and competitive instead of cooperative.  They believe to be responsible in leading other people to great achievements or destiny and not fate. The Anglos  values to plays  a great  role  as  an integral  part of  their behaviors which  is reflected in how they respond in  life  issues  such as  in  education  and professional lives. For example a teacher can teach the fast learners and leave the slow learners behind. This is because the English teacher has the value of personal goals over group goals. On the positive side of this value is that the struggling students are helped to achieve great heights of academic at the expense of the rest of the other students. The Anglos are future oriented which clashes with the Hispanic value who have the tendency of living for today and lack of practical models for planning ahead.


Material comfort is highly valued among the Anglos but among the Hispanics this is overlooked. Communication skills are highly considered among the Anglos.The English Americans identify themselves as being simply Americans. This is because of the many cultural ties the country shares with their home country-England and their later impact to American population. The English language has contributed greatly to the Life of America.  It is the most spoken language in the US. Approximately one third of all native speakers use the language. Much of the American culture is influenced by the English culture. The common cuisine that characters the English is baked beans and peas, porridge, fried chicken.  They have standardized cooking methods and eating habits used in the British colonies in North America.


Baking was the favorite.  During the harvesting season, festivals of celebration were held which practice is done back in England. The festivals were characterized by praying, singing   and decorating the church with food and fruits.In Music,  the American  National  anthem  takes the melody of  an  English  song  sang  in the 18th  century known as, “To Anacreon in Heaven” by John  Stafford from England.  The Liberty song was written by an English defendant known as John Dickinson in 1968. The Architecture seen in the US  capital  Washington,  DC,  was  designed  by an  English  architect  called  Thornton  William,  the legal  system  has its roots    in the English  law. Most places in the US like New York, New Hampshire, Boston and Southampton are palaces named after the English Royal family.


 Political involvement

             The earliest colonists came into the US as settlers from England.  The descendants had political powers and made laws; many who were in England Government.  The thirteen colonies denominated by the English have English common laws.  The founding fathers of the US had English linage, for example Samuel, Adams   and Robert Morris. The committee  of five  who were  delegated to draft the Declaration Independence   were  John  Adams  of Massachusetts,  Thomas  Jefferson  of  Virginia,  Benjamin  Franklin  of  Pennsylvania  and Roger Sherman  of Connecticut. All of them had English roots. 


 Hispanic culture

               The Hispanic people are of any race who are of mixed race of African origin, Native American, and who come from a Spanish speaking culture in America. The people from Mexican Heritage are the largest among the Hispanic constituted in the UHS as being 66.9% in total. The Puerto-Ricans (8.96%) and the Cubans (3.7%) another group of the Hispanics  are those coming  from South  and Central America such  as the Nicaraguans,  Costa Ricans,  Panamanians,  Salvadorans and the Honduras who make  up a total  of  14.3% of the total  Hispanic  group. The history of the Hispanics dates back to five hundred years old marked by a variety of colonial experiences. They did not cross the bounder into their current territories but the borders crossed them. 


Material culture is the product of the people whose culture is derivative of Spanish Culture. The Spaniards brought their manifacts and artifacts with them to America from a variety of regional backgrounds. They brought with them their technologies, education, s skills and value styles which reflect to material culture that make up significant American landscape of the South west. (Kanellos, Weaver, Esteva, p 59). Their culture enabled them to prosper and survive in the new hostile environment. They have now built an environment which stands as their monument of their persistence, courage and creativity.The Hispanic culture has had a great influence in North America.  The Anglo American, Native American, Spanish and Mexican interaction has had a primary impact on the development of south western culture.


 Social aspects

           The Hispanics have popular music and dance and Folk which vary greatly among them. For example music from Hispanic America is a lot different from that of Spain although the two have highly exchanged most aspects. There is a lot of music in the different languages of the peninsula which are mainly the Basque, Catalan and Galician. Latin America has a wide variety of music though non from Latin language. Hispanic Caribbean music favors complex polyrhythm of African origin.  Mexican music has combined aspects of African American and Spanish origin.Literature folklore from the Hispanics is very rich and has influenced the literature of various countries. The Hispanic writers date back from the middle ages to the modern times. Those from Spain are Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra, Lope de Vega and Federico Garcia Lorca among others.  From Mexico are Octavia Paz and Carlos Funtes. Other Hispanic writers come from Peru, Puerto Rico, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Honduras and Chile.In the US 70% Latinos and Hispanics are catholic, 23% are protestant while the remaining 6% have no affiliation. Among them there is a group of Jews who are approximately 4%.


Religion has played a significant role in the daily activity of the Hispanics. The church has influenced the community affairs and the family life giving them spiritual meaning of culture of the Hispanics.The family unit of the Hispanic is a closely knit group which is the most important social unit. The family recognizes relations outside the nuclear family.  The father is the provider and head of the family while the mother is responsible for the care of members of the family. The families often gather to celebrate communions, birthdays, baptism, weddings, and graduations. The children are taught of the importance of good manners, respect of authority and the elderly and are also taught to honor. The use of Spanish language is used within the family and Hispanic homes in general to preserve the language.Spanish speakers emphasize on treating one another with formality as an attribute.  Firm handshake is a common practice among the Hispanics as a sign of taking a leave.


Hugging and kissing is a common practice among the Hispanic women. The Spanish language has both the formal and the informal way of addressing the other person.  While speaking, there is the use of gestures and body language to convey meaning.Hispanic eating habits is characterized by light meals for breakfast then the el almuerzo which is lunch as the main meal. A small supper concludes the end of the day. Children are added a light snack or sandwich or coffee in the early evening called the la merienda. Bilingualism is the norm in the Hispanic community at large. This is because the Latino and Hispanic immigrants have more then sixty percent of US born children and grand children. Most of the children above the age of five are fluent speakers of Spanish and English. Spanish is considered the oldest European language spoken in United States for four and a half centuries since the foundation of St. Augustine.


In the Hispanic society, the group and family needs takes precedence over the needs of individuals. This is an opposing aspect from the English. This affects student’s life and employment life where the Hispanics will tend to behave communally and cooperatively. The Anglos on the other hand are individualistic and more competitive. The cooperative tendency is seen among the Hispanics in sharing information and material objects.They view the Anglo perspective of looking at the future more like a misappropriation of the present.  Therefore, the Hispanic youths and middle aged people concentrate more on short term goals than the long term goals. They get tensed in environments with fast moving and closely timed activities.The communication style of the Hispanics is much more formal compared to that of the Anglos. When using formal titles, respect is depicted.


They show affection thorough touching.  Friends kiss while the male shake hands, hug, and pat each other. This has influenced the Anglos in the recent past.  The Anglos can view the Hispanic politeness as being servile and subservient. This politeness is seen in their common  phrases such as Mi reina(my queen), A sus ordenes (at your command), mi rey(my king) or para servile a Usted(at your service)  are common  Hispanic  expressions used on daily basis.The Hispanics have a very special way with children which unlike, the strict disciplinary ways expected of Anglo children it appears to be more permissive. In Church services of the Hispanics, for example, children are allowed to run to the altar and hardly can they be spanked by their parents in public. The parents playfully call their children with nicknames such as mamita (little mama) and papito (little papa).


The older siblings are expected to take care of their little brothers and sisters but are all dependent of their parents in decisions making. The child has a strong sense of identity with the ethnic group, family and the community.The Hispanics try to adjust and adapt to the universe and the environment and have high believe in metaphysical powers.   Even the staunch Catholics Hispanics believe in witchcraft, healing women, and curadora.  Herbs play a significant role in bringing good luck and in healing. These believe affect the way of living of the Hispanic people. They are more cooperative in work, communal projects and in school and in their various field they apply cooperative techniques of learning and working. In the perception of time, the Hispanic tends to focus on the present. They are shy in communication especially when praised for a good job in public.


 Political histories

             The largest Hispanic immigrants are the Dominicans who have in the recent decades been joined by other Latin American nations. They new comers have come from Guatemala and Nicaragua after being displaced by turmoil. The Dominants settled in the US after the political conflicts that happened in 1961 following the death of President Trujillo. Most of them therefore came as political refugees. In the recent years most of the Dominicans have come because of economic reasons.Colonization of the Americas by the Spain has negatively marked the history of the Hispanic and the Latino in the US. Five hundred years later the Hispanics continue to live the consequences of history of colonization and conquest in which most of their living standards have not improved.  This applies to the Latin both in America and out the country and to the Hispanic community.Constantly the Latinos have migrated from the South to the North of US border which is a reality in the US today.


This inflow threatens to divide the United States in to two people, two languages, and two cultures.  This is because  unlike the past immigrants groups  the Latinos  and the Mexicans,  did  not get assimilated  into the mainstream  American culture but instead  they formed  their own  linguistic  and political  enclaves-from  Miami to Los Angeles. This was a rejection of Anglo Protestants Values of building the American Dream (Hunting 2004, p 45).  The Hispanic have been more engaged in United States issues like politics for example, Sonai Sotomayor was the first Hispanic Judge to be in the Supreme Court. They are also engaged in social economic improvements and getting integrated into the American Mainstream culture by changing their religion and language.


 Economic history

           According to the 2000 census,  central  and South  Americans  and the Cuban  American  had highest graduate rate  of colleague  students  with a  four year degree. In comparison to non Hispanic White Americans, and non Hispanic Asian Americans, had a higher rate than any American group. The Non Hispanic Black American had the lowest rate of 14.5%.  The individual income among the Latino and Hispanic Americans was higher for Cuba Americans with $38,733 according to a research carried out in 2000.  and the  lowest  income  was recorded among  Domican  Americans with  $28,467  and Mexican  Americans  $27, 877. Among the Hispanics, Cuban Americans had the highest percentage of professionals in managerial occupations. According to findings by The American Community, the poverty rate among the Hispanics is highest on Dominican Americans of 28.1%. The Puerto Ricans and the Honduran Americans (23.7%).  The Mexican Americans Poverty rate is 23.6%. Poverty rate is lowest among Colombians Americans, Salvadoran and Peruvian Americans who are the South Americans).


 Conclusion

             Culture has a wide scope that affects the social, political and economic lives of a people. Culture has been divided into two. There is the surface culture and the deep cultures. The surface culture   includes aspects like food, holidays and festivities. The deep culture   deals with the attitudes and feelings   that a person learns with the group he/ she belongs to. These aspects differ from one group to another. People will behave differently depending on the learned personal values, thoughts and   beliefs; enculturation Therefore as  we live  in  this world  we  should  accept  the different ways of life we  have and respect  them for peaceful  coexistence of  the human  beings.


   References

Huntington, Samuel P. (2004). Who Are We? The Challenges to American National Identity. New York: Simon & Schuster publisher, p 189.

Gessler R (1998). The LanguageLearningCenter – Spanish. 1998. Hispanic culture capsules. Roanoke, Va. Gessler Publishing Co., Inc. p 45

Noble, J. and LaCasa, J. (1991). The Hispanic way: Aspects of behavior, attitudes, and customs of the Spanish-speaking world. Chicago, Ill. Passport Books. p 45

Rodriguez, S. (1995.) Hispanics in the United States: An insight into group characteristics. Department of Health and Human Services. Retrieved from

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Harrison D, Wodarski, J, and Thyer, S (2007)Cultural diversity and social work practice. Publisher C.C. Thomas, University of Michigan, p 234

Mish, F (1994) Webster’s Tenth New Collegiate Dictionary Springfield, Massachusetts, P 86

Figueredo D (2007) Latino chronology: chronologies of the American mosaic, Publisher Greenwood Publishing Group, p 11

Gonzales, S (2009) the Earliest Humans in the Americas: new evidence from Mexico, Journal of human evolution, 44, p 379-387.

Kanellos, N, Weaver, T, Fabregat, C (1994) Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Anthropology, Volume 4, Publisher Arte Publico Press, p 123-32


Josphine Morgan is the Author of this paper. She is a senior academic writer and an editor and she offers buy custom thesis online. Thus, people that doubt their own writing abilities can use the best custom paper writing service and forget about their fears and lack of confidence by visiting ModernGator.Com

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