Every person has his/her unique cultural identity that influences the development of his/her values, beliefs, behaviors, and attitudes. As for me, I belong to the Mexican-American culture. I know it because my parents are Mexicans and I was born in the USA. Consequently, I am Mexican-American. Some people would conceal their Mexican origin but not me. I am proud of my double cultural practices that make me more respectful to people of other ethnicities. The U.S. educational system and my parents helped me grow up learning about both cultures. The Mexican-American culture was chosen for studying to demonstrate the integration of Mexican people into American culture and becoming a part of it.
I consider myself a multicultural person as the mix of Mexican and American cultures makes me respect their traditions and customs and easily communicate with the diverse people. Consequently, my cultural identity is the basement for shaping me as personality, understanding the sense of culture, and being devoted to the particular norms, values, and beliefs. As a result, current paper intends to reveal the peculiarities of my cultural identity as Mexican-American, sharing cultures, its historical origin and traditions, and misperception of Mexican culture in the USA. Moreover, the essay proves that Mexican-American people differ from Americans as they are more religious and family-devoted individuals.
Sharing a Common Culture
According to Banks’ Model (1999), culture is realized in the following dimensions: empowering school culture, equity pedagogy, prejudice reduction, knowledge construction, and content integration. Empowering school culture of Mexican-American students is done with the help of creating the equal opportunities for the diverse students. As for me, I studied in a favorable learning community that did not insult my cultural identity. Equity pedagogy is the approach to the students with the different cultural background that makes their education more successful. I cannot say that equity pedagogy was absolutely fair as teachers cannot be objective to everybody. Prejudice reduction is the aspect that presupposes shortening the level of insults, offenses, and discriminations (Samovar et al., 2012). As to Mexican-American, they will more confident that Mexicans who are still diverse for the USA. Knowledge construction includes awareness of language, traditions, and customs of the Mexican-American culture. Content integration is the ability of adaptation to geography, customs, traditions, and language.
The Mexican-American culture expresses itself through the arts. One should say that art has become the bridge between the two cultures. It is evident that the generation of Mexican-American artists has created the possibility to revitalize the cultural identity of Mexicans in the USA. Eduardo Carrillo, Roberto Chavez, Dora De Larios, and Alberto Valdes are the most famous artists that contributed to the growth of Mexican identity in the American community. Mexicans were the most successful in performance and graphic arts.
My cultural identity is also influenced by the Mexican way of dressing. The clothing items are ethnic and brightly demonstrate their connection to the Mexican culture. I do not feel shame wearing such clothes as it was worn by my ancestors. Language is another crucial aspect of the cultural identity formation. I speak English, but my parents encouraged me to learn Spanish that is the language of Mexicans. My bilingualism is very beneficial for me as it makes me more sociable and intelligent. People of my group refer to themselves and their group as to Mexicans. The outside world is America for them. Consequently, my culture expresses itself through the wide variety of arts, colorful ethnic clothes, and bilingualism. As a result, my culture is rich and has the right to the existence not only within the group but outside it as well. Local cultural identities make it unique, special, and extraordinaire.
Sharing a Historic Origin and Traditions
Mexican culture emerged from the interaction between the Spanish colonists and indigenous cultures. Mexican history was formed in the result of difficult relationships with colonial powers. It means that from the beginning of their history Mexicans struggled for their cultural identity. Their traditions are related to secular celebration and commitment to religious beliefs. Secular celebrations of Mexican people include the Day of the Revolution, Independence Day, and the Battle against the French. It is evident that struggle for their cultural identity was the continuous process, therefore, Mexicans respect and honor these days as the most crucial moments in their history. At the present times, Mexicans also deal with many dilemmas in the USA. First, they should prove that they are part of the American history. Secondly, they struggle to save their national identity. Mexicans belong to the minorities. As a result, they deal with cases of discrimination and unequal treatment.
Religious beliefs of Mexicans are Roman Catholic. Their rituals are highly respected and conducted in Holy Places. Despite the struggle for saving their cultural identity, Mexicans managed to preserve their customs and pass them to the future generations. First of all, Mexican cuisine is very piquant and popular in the USA. It means that Mexican people have saved the traditions of their national cuisine.
Sharing a Sense of ‘Peoplehood’
A sense of ‘peoplehood’ is present among Mexican-Americans. Shared history and current experience reinforce the sense, encouraging people to be more devoted to their origin, history, and culture. The sense of ‘peoplehood’ allows people feel themselves like a detached and independent group. One should say that Mexican-Americans have a strong sense of ‘peoplehood’ and the racial discrimination and long way to independence had reinforced those feelings. As for me, the sense of belonging to Mexican culture is created with the help of the strong family bonds, cultural traditions, and practices. Having common values, traditions, and beliefs unites me with other representatives of my culture. For example, marriage with Mexican-American means preservation of the traditions for another generation and development of Mexican identity.
Sharing a sense of ‘peoplehood’ is related to the peculiarity of Spanish language that is different from English. For example, the words of Spanish have more emotional meanings. The relationships between Mexicans are based on such concept as confianza (a deep feeling of comfort and trust with another person). Moreover, even religion contributes to the sense of family unity. Consequently, Mexicans are united with each other with the strong cultural bonds that are also the ways of the preservation of their culture. However, the problem is that young representatives of Mexican culture have less sense of belonging that is lost due to the decreased adherence to the Mexican culture traditions and Spanish language usage. Moreover, there are young people who completely assimilate with the U.S. culture abandoning ethnical racial self-identification. I know that I belong to the Mexican culture as I speak both languages Spanish and English. The Mexican traditions have become the part of my life. Moreover, I have a family in Mexico with whom we are related with the close bonds. I recognize Mexicans by their clothes, Spanish speaking or English with Spanish accent, and desire of the person to communicate with other representatives of his/her culture.
Despite we are the part of the American culture, we undergo racial discrimination and have to deal with ethnic stereotypes very often. However, we form a unique and ancient culture segment that creates the American culture. Another common misperception is that Americans regard us as immigrants who create the social problems. However, we work hard and our family bonds decrease the rate of social issues as family values are the most crucial for us. Mexican people are safe and peaceful despite the existence of the negative stereotypes. Moreover, they are very educated and talented in restaurant business.
Another misperception is to regard Mexicans as lazy, drunk, and unable to speak English. However, Mexicans are very hard-working and tend to learn something very quickly. Even in the present times, many Mexicans suffer from overworking and poor payment. It means that discrimination still exists, preventing Mexicans from social and cultural integration. As to Mexican women, people create the image that they do not work and have many children. It is a wrong opinion as many Mexican women are educated and progressive. Having families is an important part of Mexican culture but it does not mean that women only perform the roles of housewives. Such misconceptions are inaccurate due to the stereotyping and wrong understanding of the Mexican culture.
In conclusion, it is evident that being a representative of Mexican-American identity presupposes being a part of a large and ancient culture that is famous with its art, linguistic peculiarities, rich traditions and customs, way of dressing, national cuisine, and strong family and ethnical bonds. Historic origins and traditions make Mexican-American culture unique and reinforce their efforts to struggle for independence and desire to protect their identity. A sense of ‘peoplehood’ underlines the strong cultural bonds and love of Mexicans of their origin. However, such challenges as stereotyping and discrimination prevent Mexicans from living happy and rewarding life. Moreover, there are some Mexicans that do not accept their culture and consider themselves Americans. However, despite all the negative issues Mexican culture remains unique and special.