Culture describes people’s way of life; how they interact with visitors and their loved ones, what and how they dress, religion, how they sit, food, and many other things. The United States population comprises immigrants from surrounding continents and Native Americans. Despite the recent efforts of the U.S. government to close its borders to new immigrants, there is a growing number of new immigrants every year, and this has made America culturally diverse.
The American culture is influenced by the multicultural ethos that includes Latin America, African, Asian, Native American, and Pacific Island, individuals. Nearly all world regions have influenced American culture, including the English people who colonized the nation. Therefore, it is essential to interact with people from different cultures to learn from them. This essay differentiates the skills, cultures, and attitudes of Native Americans and Hispanics based on intercultural interaction.
Detailed Description of the Experience
My intercultural interaction was with a Latino lady (Allen) that sat next to me in a restaurant. She was kind and friendly and, for this reason, it is was easy for us to interact and exchange our cultural backgrounds and experiences. Contact with Allen yielded plenty of information about her culture and history, including her ancestry, values, and perspectives on various societal aspects. Hispanics trace their ancestry back to North America’s indigenous people as well as to Spanish, African, and Asian roots.
They use the term familia to refer to both the nuclear and extended family. In most settings, the father is the family head, the mother is responsible for the well-being of the home, and other members have a moral responsibility towards others in the family. They have strong family ties, and they often gather for celebrations like birthdays, graduation, and weddings. Hispanic religion plays a critical role in daily activity. In Spanish-speaking countries, most people are Roman Catholics. The church gives spiritual meaning to their culture and influences community affairs and family life. Each local community gives greater importance and ceremony in celebrating patron saint’s day.
History of Hispanics in America
The border between the United States and Mexico has dramatically changed over time. Initially, a more significant portion of the now southwestern United States was Mexican. Although the movement of people across this boundary has not always been voluntary, it resulted in an exchange of ideas, goods, and culture. During the Great Depression, millions of Mexicans were deported from America, half of which were U.S citizens. Later on, U.S policy wholly changed, and the country became desperate for Mexican Laborers. Rather than deporting Mexicans and Mexican-Americans, they were drawn in to work as agricultural laborers due to World War II labor shortages. As a result, this led to the establishment of the Bracero program between the U.S and Mexican governments.
In the Bracero program, American employers hired Mexican laborers and guaranteed them housing, minimum wage, and other necessities. However, the wages remained low, and the laborers often experienced violent discrimination and had no labor rights. The initiative ended in 1964 due to the reasons above, and an organization named the United Farm Workers was founded in response to workers’ poor working conditions and low wages.
In the 1960s, the Chicano movement was formed to help Mexican-Americans fight for their rights and against anti-Mexican discrimination and racism. Additionally, it created a sense of solidarity and a new identity for Mexican-Americans. In the 1970s, activists fought for the inclusion of Hispanics on the U.S census to disaggregate the rate of poverty among Latinos. Since then, various terms to describe the diverse population have emerged.
Latinos emphasize on personalismo, which means that people hold more value compared to other things. The Hispanic culture appreciates working together, cooperating, and sharing for the good of the community. They also place great worth on authority figures and bestow on them decision-making powers. Latin Americans have been labeled on the basis of certain assumptions that have contributed to the widespread discrimination that they face.
One of the stereotypes is that Latinos are unwilling to learn English. People assume that the Latin American individuals that they interact with do not understand what they are saying or mock them with their limited English. Secondly, Hispanic people are associated with high rates of drug trafficking compared to Native America. Subsequently, this depicts that Latinos get involved in serious criminal offenses. However, Allen did not have any difficulties speaking fluent English, and she seemed to be law-abiding from the various topics we discussed.
Differences between the Hispanic and Native American Culture
The American and Latino culture differs significantly in terms of religion, individualism and collectivism, language, and food. First, the American culture is individualistic in that every person tends to be distinct from other people. Contrarily, the Latin culture is based on collectivism, and family is an essential part of the community. Language is also different between the two ethnicities as English is officially and dominantly used among Americans. On the other hand, Spanish is the primary language among Latin Americans, with approximately 37 million speakers. Another critical aspect of the Latin culture is their personal space and affection.
Hispanics are friendly and loving people who often kiss with everyone to say hello and goodbye despite meeting for the first time. Conversely, in America, greetings come in a firm handshake. Hispanics place great value on appearances as a sense of pride, honor, and dignity. Formal attire is worn to work, church, social gatherings, and parties, while informal settings are attended in casual clothes, such as jeans and tennis shoes. When it comes to punctuality, Hispanics are a bit relaxed and flexible compared to Americans. It is socially acceptable to fail to make it on time to an event in Hispanic culture.
Context of Interaction
The context in which the interaction with Allen occurred was a social setting, where people choose what they want to eat and how to interact with others. She had come to the restaurant with her brother and his spouse to share a meal. Since we both had time to eat and exchange ideas in the eatery, the communication was seamless with little disturbance from people at the other tables. Moreover, it was easy to spend time together and understand each other without being in a hurry. The friendliness brought out through this intercultural communication illustrates the family love and togetherness that exists among Hispanics.
Latinos place a significant value on the role a family plays in their lives and, thus, spend a lot of time bonding, building, and solidifying their family ties. Allen shared personal memories of the exciting and fun family get-togethers she experienced as a kid with her Latino grandparents and other relatives. However, in most situations, fully grown children continue to live with their parents despite being outages. Conversely, most Native Americans leave their parents’ home at 18 and do not value shared memories with family that much. Most Hispanics are often social and inviting, unlike Americans who protect their privacy and consider visiting a person without prior knowledge to be very disrespectful.
Another significant attitude in the Latin culture is their beliefs, religion, and political approach. Latinos tend to be more traditional and conservative, an element that justifies chauvinism among Hispanic men. In contrast, most Native American men are not allowed to have certain prejudices and sexist behaviors towards women. With regards to religion, Catholicism has played a significant role in the daily lives of Latin Americans. The firm prevalence of religion among Hispanics resulted from the incursion of Spanish conquistadors in the region, and it has continued to influence and attract Latinos over recent years.
Popular phrases like “Dios te bendiga” to mean “God bless you” are evident in their historical background and everyday interaction with others. The Catholic Church dominates among Latino communities in the United States, and it influences their existence through spiritual cohesion to Latin culture. However, the political status of the Latin culture is filled with economic and social inequalities, which are evident in most Latin American countries. Many Hispanic nations have been captured by corrupt leaders, unlike the government of the United States and other European countries. Corruption in first-world countries, including America, is exquisite and only happens behind the public scene.
Application of the Attitudes, Skills, and Culture of Latin Americans
The attitudes, skills, and culture of Latin Americans can be applied in various social scenarios in America. First, Hispanics tend to be friendly and inviting to others in their surroundings. Since the Latin culture is more open and affectionate than the American culture, it can be applied in social gatherings to encourage more intercultural communication and sharing of ideas. The food and dining patterns of Latinos can also be incorporated in various settings to accommodate Hispanic participants.
In addition, Spanish is increasingly becoming dominant in the United States. Many Native Americans are incorporating Spanish terms and accents in communication and music. Some Americans who speak Spanish at home are not Latinos, yet they have learned the language and enjoy using it when communicating with others. Therefore, this shows that there is a retrogressive interest in learning Spanish by Americans who are not of Latin origin. Finally, globalization has led to the infusion of different cultures, and people in the U.S. enjoy Latin-inspired meals, for instance, tamales, burritos, and tacos. Similarly, on the other hand, it inspired U.S.-based chain restaurants to open up chain franchises in Latin American countries such as McDonald’s.
To sum up, the American culture includes various people from different ethnic backgrounds. The cultural differences that have been detailed in this paper are reflected most in familial affiliation, language, religion, and beliefs. Most Latin speakers in the United States have strong family bonds and have strong faith in the Catholic Church. Based on this contact, the Latin American culture is full of life, togetherness, friendliness, and warmth. On the contrary, most Native Americans tend to be individualistic and do not value relationships so much. Therefore, people need to understand and embrace the diversity between various cultures to know how to better interact with diverse groups.