Free «Local Practices» Essay Sample

It is hard to describe people of the Hispanic heritage because they are a unique and diverse culture. Their variations reflect subcultures that can be found in the US and Mexico. Nonetheless, the most common terms used to describe people of Mexican Heritage and Spanish-speaking populations include Hispanic and Latino. Other terms that describe their cultural heritage include American, Chicano, Ladino, Spanish American, Latin American, and Mexican American. According to research, Mexicans constitute the largest immigrant population in the US, which puts them on the list of the broadest immigrant population in the country. The following paper is a comparison of an interview with a Latino family and those from a book. It reviews their culture, religion, and way of life. Notably, most Hispanics belong to Catholics, which shapes their lives and religion. The family is the core unit of the community, where family members have a moral obligation to help each other in time of need.

Local Practices

In the last three decades, the Hispanic population in the United States has tremendously increased. They make about 11 percent of the U.S. population, including 3.6 million living in Puerto Rico. Majority of this large minority groups live in four states – Florida, New York, California, and Texas. Purnell (2012) affirms that Mexicans make the largest subdivision of the Hispanic population with about 64 percent, then Central and South American with 14 percent, Puerto Rican with 11 percent and the rest of the Hispanics with 7.4 percent. Notably, the US government created the term Hispanic as a common denominator to a huge and diverse population connected to the Spanish language. Latino is also another term gaining popularity.

Both the book and the family interviewed agree that the family acts as the most significant social unit in the Hispanic community. It is usually made up of both the nuclear together with extended family. Just like other normal families, the father acts as the head while the mother takes care of the home. Family members have a moral obligation to help each other when facing unemployment, financial problems, ill health, or any other hard life issues. According to the family interviewed, their family ties are incredibly strong; therefore, it is common for a travelling relative to spend time at their house for short visits like vacations or business trips. These sentiments were echoed in the book. Furthermore, the whole family usually gathers to celebrate birthdays, holidays, weddings, baptisms, graduations, and first communions. According to Purnell (2012), families teach their children to preserve the Spanish language and culture besides the usefulness of good manners, honor, and respect for the elders and authority.

According to the book, religion plays a vital role in the Hispanic community. Over 90 percent of the Spanish-speaking population is Roman Catholic. The family I interviewed was Roman Catholic. They usually go to church on Sundays and participate in spiritual and communal church work. They pray in the morning and during meals. The church exerts a lot of influence on the family life and greater communal affairs. It gives spirituality to the Hispanic culture. Traces of the religions practiced by African Americans and Indians living in Latin America can be found in the Catholicism that most Hispanics practice. This is the same with their culture. The family interviewed goes to hospital when they are of ill health. They do not follow their long time traditions as stated in the book.

Purnell (2012) asserts that the Spanish language offers various forms of both formal and informal address. For example, they use usted or tu in place of the English pronoun you. The language also uses familiar and polite commands, as well as, the use of respect before first names such as Dona or Don. In nonformal setting of the Spanish language, conversations are usually loud, fast, and full of animated gestures including the use of body language to stress vital points. Nonetheless, most Hispanics appear reserved about public speaking since they have profound foreign accent.  

In conclusion, both the book and the family agree that most Mexicans have their roots in Mexico. Others come from Cuba and Puerto Rico. The family I interviewed traced their roots back to Mexico. The father acts as the head and provider of the family while the mother as the keeper of the home. They have lived in the US for a long time since the beginning of the 20th century. Their ancestors moved to the United States during the Great Migration, documented by the book to be between 1900 and 1930. Undeniably, the family is the most significant social unit amongst the Hispanics.


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