I am a Hispanic born and raised in San Antonio, Texas. When I was at the age of 5, my mother passed away and I was sent to Mexico for about three years to stay with my grandparents. My ancestors had lived in Mexico for quite some time, my grandmother and parents were all born and brought up there. My ancestors arrived to Mexico in the 16th century under the leadership of the Spanish explorer Hernán Cortés. Cortes and the other explorers arrived to Mexico in Yucatan Peninsula in 1519. They arrived with 11 ships carrying five hundred men and thirteen horses. They also had some canons. Their arrival was followed by several waves of Spanish immigration throughout the 16th century. When the year passed after I had been sent to Mexico, my grandparent relocated together with me to San Antonio, Texas. My grandparents brought me and our culture to San Antonio.
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However, our arrival was followed by the resistance from the natives. The Spanish solder managed to quell the resistance and opened the land to the wave of the immigrants that followed. The immigrants came by sea on ships. The immigration waves of people of Spanish origin into Mexico did not end in the 16th century. The immigration continued and is still ongoing. Unlike in the 20th century, travelling between continents in the late 19th century backwards was by seen and ships took several months to reach their destination.
With my ancestors been born in Mexico and with parents of Hispanic origin, I consider myself a Hispanic culturally, which in my view consists of influence of both Spanish and Mexican culture. I was brought up in Mexico eating the Mexican food and observing Hispanic cultural traditions and celebrations such as Piñata, Aztecs, Quinceañera, Cinco de Mayo and Mexican Independence Day. I became aware of my culture when I started participating in social activities as a child being in seventh-grade.
As I grew up, I noticed different attitudes toward other minority groups from my relatives, friends and teachers. My relatives especially the elderly ones treated other minority groups with stereotypes and sometimes distrust. The people of the much younger generation like my parents had little distrust towards the minority groups while my friends either showed lack of concern on differences between different groups or aped the parent’s attitudes. Teachers were the most neutral and it was never easy to tell their attitudes or perception toward one or the other group. However, they showed a close association with members of their own groups.
I greatly value my culture irrespective of the different attitudes it has toward other cultures. I value my culture because it gives me a sense of identity and belonging. Now that I am an American, I would like to state that America means having a home, and a country I can be proud of. Being American means experiencing a life full of educational, economic and social opportunities. It means having access to democracy and opportunity to be appreciated for who I am. Citizenship like culture gives one a sense of belonging and identity.
Education, culture and socialization shaped me into who I am today. I have been a teacher for over five years now. Having been born in San Antonio to Hispanic parents and brought up under Hispanic traditions, I am culturally Hispanic. In my life, I have socialized with many people and even took bilingual classes in all my elementary years. All these have shaped the way I perceive and look at other people especially those who are different from me. I have learned to value diversity and thus encourage multicultural education. Multicultural education it that which makes learners aware of cultural differences in their society and consists of classrooms that are not divided on cultural lines. Certainly this education should vary incrementally at different grades. In early childhood education, multicultural education should take a celebratory approach, a critical approach in elementary education and a transformational approach in secondary education.
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