Hispanic Americans population in USA has been increasing over the last few decades. Today, Hispanic Americans make up about 16 percent of United State’s population and are minority group in the country.
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Their presence is felt in various sectors; from work places, business, entertainment, to politics (Cafferty & Engstrom, 2002). As the number of Hispanic Americans increases, their culture is slowly becoming part of American culture.
The term Hispanic is used to refer to a diverse ethnic group united by their use of Spanish language. However, Hispanic Americans originate from various Spanish speaking countries especially in Central and Latin America.
The cultural group share common values by their shared Spanish culture but differ slightly by their country of origin. Hispanic Americans is a highly cultured ethnic group. Hispanic Americans’ family values, language, rituals and religions, etiquette, and eating habits are unique to other ethnic and cultural groups in the country.
The culture of Hispanic Americans has attracted high attention in the recent years. Many of Hispanic Americans maintain their cultures because most are recent immigrants. Family values, etiquette and use of Spanish language are the most distinguishing elements of Hispanic American. Hispanic Americans have high value for their families.
Hispanic American family extends beyond nuclear family and family members relate closely (Clutter & Nieto, 2008). The family is considered as the most important social unit and each family member considers helping other family members as a social responsibility. Family ties are such tight that Hispanic Americans have a habit of visiting one another or even living with other family members.
Spanish language and assent is what is most associated with Hispanic Americans. Most Hispanic American use both English and Spanish but the old and recent immigrants have difficulty in using English. Spanish, however, is the common language that used in Hispanic Americans homes or when speaking to other Hispanic Americans. Apart from language, Hispanic American’s etiquette is unique.
Most Hispanic Americans tend to be formal. For instance, a firm handshake is the common practice for greeting though slight hug and a kill on the cheek can be used among close family members (Clutter & Nieto, 2008). Another cultural feature of Hispanic Americans is religion and rituals. Most of Hispanic Americans are Roman Catholics and religion takes a central place in their lives (Clutter & Nieto, 2008).
Religious rituals such as prayers, attending daily and Sunday mass and celebrating patron saints make part of Hispanic Americans culture. In addition, Hispanic Americans’ eating habit reflects their origin and culture.
Impact of Hispanic Americans culture in American is evident. The most obvious impact is increased usage of Spanish in United States. Today Spanish is used in most parts of the country where Hispanic Americans live or work. A part from spreading Spanish, Hispanic Americans have been successful in small scale business, entertainment, sports and politics and their significance is being respected.
For example, Hispanic American musicians such as Jennifer Lopez, Gloria Estefan and Julio Iglesias and baseball players such as Juan Marichal have been very successful.
In addition, Hispanic Americans interact with other cultural and ethnic groups in the country; in work places, schools, churches and other places and share culture. Consequently, Hispanic Americans culture is slowly being accepted and integrated in American cultures. Hispanic foods, music, dance, clothing are becoming common with other cultural groups.
Hispanic Americans are the most culturally influential minority cultural and ethnic group in United States today.
The Hispanic cultural heritage month (15th September to 15th October) set aside by United States government, demonstrates the impact of Hispanic Americans in the country (Lamb & Johnson, 2008). The action by the government shows that cultural diversity is something to celebrate and invites all Americans to embrace cultural diversity.
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Clutter, A. & Nieto, R. (2008). Understanding the Hispanic Culture. Web.
Lamb, A. & Johnson, L. (2008). Latino – Hispanic Heritage. Web.
Cafferty, P. & Engstrom, D. (2002). Hispanics in the United States: an agenda for the twenty-first century. New York: Transaction Publishers.