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Hispanic American Diversity

Essay by review  •  March 3, 2011  •  Research Paper  •  1,229 Words (5 Pages)  •  1,159 Views

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Introduction

The Hispanic or Latino Americans are a diverse group that share the same heritage, but have many other differences. The language barrier has only recently been recognized as an asset instead of a liability (Schaefer, 2006). Latinos include major groups, which consist of Mexican Americans, Puerto Ricans, and Cubans (Schaefer, 2006). People of Hispanic background have lived in what is now the United States since the 17th century. "In 2000 the U.S. census counted 34.3 million Hispanic or Latino Americans (Hispanic Americans, 2006)." In 2006 the Census Bureau released updated figures that estimated the Hispanic population had increased to 42.7 million as of 2005, about 14.4 percent of the total U.S. population (Hispanic Americans, 2006). Hispanic groups also have varied tastes in sports, cuisine, and political beliefs.

Mexican Americans

Some Mexican Americans are unresolved about Mexico. Many feel a deep sense of connection to Mexico, and some still feel betrayed by the sale of the lands of their ancestors to the United States in the 1840s (Hispanic Americans, 2006). Mexico's economy relies heavily on the income sent back home by illegal and legal workers in the United States. Many Mexicans look down on Mexican Americans as people who have abandoned their heritage. Mexico consistently ignores the cultural assets and minimizes the political power of Mexican Americans, even though that power has become increasingly decisive in Mexican internal politics. Mexican Americans have been identified with the "culture of poverty." This lifestyle involves no future planning, no commitment to marriage, and the absence of any work ethic (Schaefer, 2006).

Mexican Americans are starting to show interest in becoming more independent voters. They tend to support the Democratic Party which has not always been the case. Mexican Americans at one time created their own independent party in Texas. They were called La Raza Unida (LRU).

Puerto Ricans

Puerto Ricans came to the midland in small numbers during the first half of the century. They worked on railroads, food manufacturing plants, and copper mines (Schaefer, 2006). New York City was mainly where the Puerto Ricans migrated to. Now, they are more populated throughout the mainland's cities such as New Jersey, Illinois, and Florida. Puerto Rico is located about a thousand miles from Miami. In 1902, English was the official language, but Spanish was the language of the people. In 1992, Puerto Rico had established Spanish as the official language.

Political parties are based on the three traditional positions on status: autonomy in an enhanced commonwealth status, statehood, and independence. Currently, these positions are represented by the Popular Democratic Party (PPD), the New Progressive Party (PNP), and the Independence Party of Puerto Rico (PIP). The PPD was founded in the late 1930s by the architect of commonwealth status, Luis MuÐ"±oz MarÐ"­n, who became the first elected governor in 1948. The PNP emerged in 1965, succeeding an old pro-statehood party. The PIP was established in 1948 when a PPD faction split off because of MuÐ"±oz's failure to support independence. Its popularity peaked in 1952 but has decreased. However, the PIP plays an important opposition role.

Ongoing economic difficulties have produced high rates of unemployment. Puerto Rico receives federal aid but does not get equal coverage or qualify for most welfare programs. The local government is the main welfare provider. Although it has managed to sustain a relatively high standard of living, the cost of living is steep and Puerto Ricans accumulate high levels of debt. However, Puerto Rico's achievements in reducing mortality, increasing literacy, improving medical services, and raising life expectancy have placed it on a par with many U.S. states.

Cuban Americans

Cubans have had a long history of migrating to the United States, often for political reasons. Many Cubans, particularly cigar manufacturers, came during the Ten Years' War (1868-1878) between Cuban nationals and the Spanish military. Yet the most significant Cuban migrations have occurred in the last 35 years. There have been at least four distinct waves of Cuban immigration to the United States since 1959. While many of the earlier migrants were fleeing Cuba for political reasons, more recent migrants are more likely to have fled because of declining economic conditions at home. Cuban Americans also enjoy greater economic security than other Hispanic groups. In 1986, the median family income of Cuban Americans was $26,770Ð'-- $2,700 less than the median for all U.S. family incomes but $6,700 more than the median for all Hispanic American family incomes. Cuban Americans are also highly educated; fully 17 percent of the Cuban American population has completed college or college and some graduate schooling, compared with eight percent of Puerto Ricans, six percent of Mexican Americans,

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