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In order to identify the political, social, religious, economic, linguistic and familial conventions as well as statuses of four Hispanic Americans groups; the following groups have been chosen: Mexican Americans, Cubans, Puerto Ricans, and South and Central Americans. Each of the group has a rich culture though they have been placed under the same category of Hispanic Americans because of their language. These groups do share the Spanish language but have a divergent origin and dialect.
Over the last 30 years, the Hispanic populace has gotten a tremendous growth inAmerica. They comprise of around 11% of the American population (Ann & Ruben, n.d).
The approximate number of Hispanics living in theUSAin the year 2008 was about 46.9 million thus making the Hispanics the vastest ethnic group (U.S Census Bureau, 2009). Hispanic is the term that was used by U.S federal government in the year 1970 in order to offer a denominator to a diverse and a large population that connects with the Spanish language and culture from the Spanish countries. It is therefore imperative to discuss at length some of the Hispanic groups, their political, linguistic, religious, economic, social and other rational statuses as well as the major differences and similarities among the four Hispanic groups.
The term Latino Americans or Hispanics is a term that is used to classify a diverse population that does share a common language though divergent in many ways. Language is one thing that they have in common since all of them communicate in Spanish language (Richard, 2006). The Hispanics have a close family group that is knit together. Their family unit does not only include the children and the parents but also the extended family. Religion has also played a vast role among the Hispanics. More than 90% are Roman Catholics (Ann & Ruben, n.d). Puerto Rican, Mexicans, South and Central Americans have a lot in common though they remain to be different and separate ethnically. Most of them come to theUSAbecause of political asylum. Others were just escaping the economic and social conditions. It is estimated that by the year 2050 one quarter of the populace will be Hispanics (Hispanic American diversity 2, n.d).
There are numerous factors that do hinder them to participate politically and develop a unified bloc in voting. One of the factors is the youth. The younger a group is the less likely they will be in a position to be active in politics (Maria- Cristina, 1996). The median age of the Hispanic populace is 25.5 and some groups are quite young (Maria- Cristina, 1996). However though the Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans are the largest group, the Cubans have great levels of political participation since their average years is 35 while that of Puerto Ricans and Mexican Americans is 20 and 21 (Maria- Cristina, 1996). The other factor that hinders them politically is the fact that most of them are not yetUSAcitizens and the final factor is poverty. Poverty hinders them to participate in political processes.
The language of Mexican Americans is a mixture of Spanish and English and sometimes it is referred to as the Spanglish. Most of the Mexican Americans have managed to retain their language to date (Linn & George, n.d). In the census that was done in the year 2000, it revealed that approximately 75% of Mexican Americans spoke Spanish (Hispanic American Diversity 2, n.d). The Mexican Americans unlike the Cuban Americans have no many entrepreneurship or vast ethnic economy inMiami. The Mexican Americans have made little progress as far as moving from the immigrant status to the mainstream status is concerned because of discrimination and poor systems of education (Alba, 2006).
Politically, the Mexican Americans were quite active as far as the Civil Rights movement that was led byMendozawas concerned. Socially, the Mexican Americans want to achieve the American dream. Educationally, most of them do not go past high school regardless of the generation.
Most of the Puerto Ricans happen to be Roman Catholics and are mixed with divergent denominations of the protestant faiths. They speak in Castillian English (Hispanic American Diversity 2, n.d). English is taught in most elementary schools but Spanish remains to be the primary language amongPuerto Rico. Puerto Rico has its own constitution, and governor who is answerable to the executive authority ofUSA. Due to the commonwealth status, all the Puerto Ricans happen to beUSAcitizens. As far as politics are concerned there has always been controversy on whether or not they should maintain the relationship of the commonwealth in theUSAand go ahead to advocate for the entireUnited Statesor better still fight for their independence. Their assimilation has been both successful though distraught with catastrophes. Most of the Puerto Ricans still struggle with predicaments for example crime, drugs, lack of opportunities in education and breakdown of their familial structures (Green, n.d).
The future ofPuerto Ricopolitical status is a burning issue .There are three options as far as politics is concerned. One of them is commonwealth which is their current status that was developed in the year 1952; the second is statehood where Puerto Rico hopes to be a state of theUSAand finally the independence where it will become an independent nation and be in control of its all affairs (Puerto Rico, n.d).
The Puerto Ricans are Catholics though their rituals, beliefs as well as practices stray against the beliefs of Catholicism. Despite the rich values that are offered by saints, some of them still believe in evil eye, faith healing as well as witchcraft (Puerto Ricans, n.d). They value ceremonies and celebrate political and religious holidays with great interest. They have a rich historical background of folk music that incorporates the Spanish andCaribbeaninfluence.
The Census that was done in the year 1960 revealed that there were 79,000 Cuban Americans inUSA(Richard, 2006). By the year 2000, the number had grown tremendously to 1.4 million (Richard, 2006). The Cuban Americans exiled fromCaribbeanIslandafter revolution of 1959 that changedFloridaandMiamiinto what many have presumed to be theLatin America’s capital. The Cuban Americans have changed most of the things inMiamiand one of it being reversing the progression of assuming the societal culture and American culture. They have however been faced with racism as well as alienation because of being inUSA. Compared with other Hispanic groups, the Cuban Americans are doing quite well. They have a high rate of college completion as compared to other groups. Most of the Cuban immigrants are well educated and have managerial as well as professional backgrounds thus have a vast economic success than others. They have a strong force as far as politics is concerned inMiami. Their Cuban American National Foundation takes an immense anti-Castro position (Richard, 2006). They have gone ahead to oppose proposals byUSAto come up with a flexible policy on them. They have come to accept the Anglo culture and have maintained their Spanish language.
The Central and South Americans as well as the Cuban Americans have the highest number of college graduates among all the Hispanic groups thus they have the lowest rates of poverty. The Central and South Americans have no any cohesive group and have a diverse language as well as color gradient. Their social class also differ greatly (Richard, 2006). They face vast levels of unemployment as compared to the whites (Richard, 2006) though they are better educated as compared to most of the Hispanic groups. In future they might come to retain their independence like the Cubans and establish an economic base.
Puerto Rican Americans, Mexican Americans, Cuban Americans and South and Central Americans have a distinct culture that is rich in some familial ties though each has been grouped under Hispanic Americans due to their language. Though they do share the Spanish language, all of them have a divergent origin and dialect. Most of them are Roman Catholics and each ethnic group has divergent religious beliefs. Cuban Americans have made a vast progress as far as political and social front is concerned while the Puerto Ricans have made a lot of impact in their homes as far as economy is concerned. While most of the groups have rejected assimilation into the culture ofUSA, others have gone ahead to embrace it.