The United States of America is a cosmopolitan state with its population constituted by people from different racial backgrounds; the whites, African American and the Hispanic communities. Its superiority nature has been characterized by its wealth in cultural, economical, technological and industrial diversity. It is a destiny for better life and opportunity which have attracted many people from allover the world.
The Hispanic communities settled in the US from as early as the 16th century. They include the Matzos, Spaniards, Mexico-Spaniards, Mestizos, criollos, Indians and South American people. The assimilation of these communities led to the Hispanic community in the US. They assimilated with common languages; English and Spanish, cultural practices like customs, ethos, way of life and esthetics. The Hispanics are significant in the modern US multiculturalism. (Francisco, K.N, 1993)
The assimilation of the Hispanic community in the US is unique. They have lived in the United States from the 17th century. They inhabited parts of Northern America and are the majority if not the pioneers of some major states that constitutes the modern US. These states include: – Texas, Colorado, California, Florida, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada. In most of these places they inhabited, the Hispanic culture legacy dominates more than any other cultural background. This has been evident from their use of a common language that is Spanish and which its retention symbolizes a common assimilation. However, Spanish use varies in those states depending on their geographical distribution. In new Mexico and Texas a high of 90% use Spanish as the mother tongue while is states like California and Colorado, a rate of 30% users have been marked. The Hispanic communities ever since have continued broadening sometimes incorporating even communities from Latin America. From the 20th century, the Hispanic community has grown rapidly in the United States posing a concern to the general United State’s population. From 1980s the Hispanic population growth is much faster than any other community in the US, from 14.6 million to around 21.9 million in 1995 and towards the end of 1999. Presently, some states like California, Texas, Arizona and New Mexico still have a high population of the Hispanic population. However, out of the need of better opportunities, they have continued migrating to other parts of the country carrying with them their rich cultural values as well as their productivity (Bean, D.F & Bell-Rose, S 1999)
At Around 1995 – 2000, approximately half a million Hispanics migrated from the West to other part of US. Census done 2000’s has included the Cuban, Mexican, and Puerto Recant as Hispanic communities. The Mexican people dominated the Hispanic group with 59.3% of the overall Hispanic population, Puerto Rican were 9.7% Cuban 3.5%, central American 5.1%, Dominican 2.3%, South American 5.1% Spanish 0.3% while the remainder 15.7% include other smaller communities. (Ramire, R.R 2004)
Hispanic assimilation has a long history with most embracing in the 20th century. It can be referred to as the process the process of interaction between the Hispanics and the other US groups that has enabled them peaceful co-existence. Generally, assimilation can be defined as,
“A process of interpenetration and fusion in which persons and groups acquire the memories, sentiments, and attitudes of other persons or groups, and, by sharing their experience and history, are incorporated with them in common cultural life’’ Park & Burgess (1924).
The Hispanic community assimilation with other communities in the US can be approached from different stages; Cultural assimilation, structural assimilation, intermarriages, identification, value and power assimilation and Anglo-conformity assimilation
Cultural assimilation – Any unique society in the world has a unique cultural background. Every community has extrinsic and intrinsic cultural traits. The extrinsic traits have a major influence in assimilation these include; fashion, language, music among others while the intrinsic are the vital and essential of a society cultural heritage. These may not be exposed to assimilation these traits to assimilation. These traits include the strongly held beliefs. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
The Hispanic migration and settlement in some parts of the United States like Texas and others is a sign of assimilation. They have mixed up in religious practices. Some have left the past catholic doctrine to Protestants. They have adapted the way of life of the Native Americans. In fact, they have abandoned their original languages in favor of English. Studies have shown that the second and the third generation have adopted English as their first language. The ones who still use Spanish do it at home. The Hispanic culture has significantly contributed to their economic and institutional success of the United States. This is confirmed by the evolution that Hispanics are taking. They have learnt English and taught their children which increases opportunities and the feeling of being part of the United States. They have participated in the public life of the US. In 2000 around 9 million Hispanics participated in presidential elections. However they seemed to support party with less intermigration arguments. New Mexico, Texas and Indiana states are important political platforms in the US. These are the major habitation of the Hispanic people. (Marco, J, J 2005)
Structural assimilation includes assimilation reflected in primary and large scale institutions in a society. The primary institutions includes; educational institutions, health institutions, communal roles among others while the large scale institutions includes in politics, economy, military, entertainment among others. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
Their assimilation has been evident even in taking part in different roles in the US. They have held senior and important positions in the US government, education foreign affairs, and justice to other important sectors. They are present even in the US congress. In the entertainment industries, there are elements of Hispanic prominent actors and musicians. Other sectors include in the sports, science, technology and military. In the socioeconomic, the economic relation existing between the United States and its neighbors have been motivated by the Hispanics. Mexico and Cuba are US’s economic partners. They have assimilated in trade and provision of workforce. Majority of human lower income workforce in the US is dominated by the Hispania’s and the African American. They have contributed significantly to the economic superiority of the United States.
Intermarriages assimilation (amalgamation) is one of the major influences of assimilation in any society in the world. Amalgamation centers the biological phase of assimilation. When people from different racial and cultural background intermarry, their children seal their originality background enabling them to fit in a new cultural unit. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
The presence of racial diversity in the US has resulted to the rise of new families in the US a strong sign of racial assimilation in the US. Hispanics have married the Black Americans the whites have married the Hispania’s. According to polls on marriage in the US, majority of the three major racial groups have had no problem with inter-racial marriages. Studies have shown that the modern Hispanic generations are more exposed to racial intermarriage than the older generations. Marriage is a bond that may bring two people or more holding distinct cultural background together. They influence one another through cultural assimilation. Its one thing that should be encouraged as it seals racial hegemony that may exist in some people. Intermarriage also influences assimilation in the new places they migrate in; there are the public facilities where they must interact. Their children may use to public schools, health services which by itself represents assimilation. (Edmonston, B & Lee, M.S 2005).
Identification assimilation occurs when different society has a common umbrella union. For instance, in the US, there are different societies; the African American, the whites and the Hispania. However their umbrella union is that they are all Americans. This gives them feeling that is common to all irrespective of their racial background. Citizenship and a common constitution constitutes to this American identity. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
Citizenship is a major dimension in explaining the Hispanic assimilation. The United States is reputable in its legalizing of immigrants more than any other nation in the world. Every year, the nation records a significant amount of new citizens. Among them are these Hispanic. Unfortunately, despite the effort the government has put in granting citizenship to Hispanics, some have illegally found themselves in the US. The Mexican – US boarder has been a major sneak-through rout. All these have been motivated by the quest of better life. Evidently, United State is a place of better opportunities which attracts desires to many people to work and live in there. These illegal Hispanic immigrants have worked their way to even acquire false citizenship.
Value and power influenced Hispanic assimilation. This occurred when the Hispanics and who are the minority evolved through discrimination from the dominating group. However, there still exist mild Hispanic discriminations. The Native Americans have received their behaviors and have civic assimilated. They therefore are unlimited to fully participation in American affairs. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
Anglo-conformity and consensus outcome also have influenced the Hispanic assimilation. Sometimes a minority group like the Hispanic has no choice other than conforming to the culture, structure, behaviors and identity of the dominating Native Americans. In the US, there exist Anglo-Saxon ideals and values that govern social institutions. For instance, the use of English language in schools leaves no option for students even from Hispanic communities to use English language. In addition most of the students use the language; therefore, to avoid any kind of discrimination, they are forced to know the language. This is evident in other institutions like; health institutions, media institutions among others. All these assert conformity pressure to the Hispanics. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
In the United States, discrimination has a unique history. The aftermaths of slavery and perceptions of different races has influenced this civil right violating behavior. The level of discrimination may depend on the level of assimilation such that those who are better assimilated have lower levels of being discriminated. This means that assimilation reduces discrimination and discriminatory perceptions. While the dominating groups may discriminate the minority group, some times the minority group may possess discriminatory perceptions. For instant, a Hispanic student with poor English language skill may refrain from mingling with other students, not because he is being discriminated but because he has that perception. Basically, Hispanics are discriminated in the following areas, making them unequal to their counterparts; economically socially, identity, geographically, constitutionally and structural discrimination. (Emily P, Estrada, B.A 2008)
Economically, Hispanic discrimination occurs when available means for attaining goals are limited. The Hispanics being a minority group have for a long time competed with the available means with dominating society. The few resources and open markets have been dominated by other Native Americans. They feel that they have a right over these limited means causing inequality in economic ability. Socially, the Hispanics have been discriminated. Deviations from social norms from the dominating Native Americans have increased discrimination. There are records of social discrimination in respect to race. Studies have shown that in Rental sales, the Hispanic communities are discriminated. There is no equality in provision of housing opportunities by tenants. This is also evident in house sale. They are limited to purchase of houses than their white counterpart. Not only do they suffer housing equality but also other social structures. In politics, racial background is an important factor voters consider in the US. Previously Hispanics have been neglected in political positions as their support is minimal. Politicians represent the entire community in the government affairs. Less politicians of Hispanic people has therefore led to misrepresentation, thus suffering from unequal distribution of resources; in health matters, education, judicial system and others. In the past the Hispanics have been discriminated in social institutions. In the history of discrimination in the US, they have been restricted from entertainment grounds and other related places.
Identity is one major area that discrimination exists not only in US but also in other societies in the world. An individual racial background for instance, has been so instrumental in job allocation, public services lending, migration and settlement, among many others. The Hispanics have been challenged by this too. Hispanic immigrants have also been discriminated out of their former nationalities. Mexican immigrants have been discriminated by police with claims to be illegal activities prone; drug traffic, identity forgery and the like (Haines, R.M & Steckes, H.R 2001)
Geographically, the Hispanics are limited to settling in some places. They are only comfortable in states where they dominate like Texas, New Mexico and the like. An issue like limiting them rental houses is an indication of how geographically they have been unequal. You will be surprised walking in some streets in New York with walls written ‘No Hispanics’, such are elements of discriminations.
The US government has a unique constitution and has greatly explored inequality among its citizens. While it is true that much have been achieved in eliminating such vices, some traces still exist like in security system, correction system, immigration just to name but a few. Hispanic communities have been associated with vices like drug trafficking and robbery. This perception affects even the law enforcers. Cases of wrongful arrest of Hispanics, judgments and victimization have been recorded over such claims. The 9/11 terrorism attack created a new perception about the Hispanic people. Some suspects were from Hispanic background. Structurally, the Hispanics have unequally been represented. Though their assimilation has been evident in these structures, it is not fulfilling. In politics, they are not dominant irrespective of their high numbers. In military and other public opportunities again they are under represented.
Human kind diversity, in terms of race and culture, is a strength. This is an understanding that everybody should note. A socially diverse society is a socially rich society. The superiority nature of the United States has been contributed by the efforts of its citizens; the whites, the Hispanics and the black Americans. The migration of the Hispanic in the US should therefore be viewed as strength; they have contributed greatly in the US economic supremacy, political supremacy and industrial supremacy. Their immigration should not always be viewed as competing with the available resources. In fact, to increase these resources should be the bother. While it is evident that assimilation has occurred, there is need to further make the Hispanic feel at home. This can only be accomplished through eliminating assimilation threats like discrimination. This can be accomplished by a number of ways; the government should be in the front line to come up with a constitution that would wipe discrimination in the US. In collaboration with law enforcers, this can be accomplished by putting violators into justice. Its respective ministries should ensure a fair distribution of resources irrespective of racial background of a region. The labor market should also take measures. While it is true that much of the cheap labor in the US is drawn from the Hispanic and Black communities, there are still a lot of specialized and literate labors among them. They are still suffering unemployment through discrimination.
Education is a key in eliminating any form of discrimination in any society, gender, racial, girl-child and the like. A literate society is a discrimination free society. Hispanic should be given opportunity to explore their full potential in education. Language is a major factor contributing to inequality. It is a great tool in communication which in turn reduces discrimination. Religion has a strong influence in social. It should take this as a role to preach equality for the whole mankind. Leafe, C.E (2007)
Civil movements need to put more efforts. They should support victims of discrimination to seek justice. They should pilot against unfair distribution of resources. Their major role is to challenge the government in its negligence. They should therefore be in the forefront in this issue. However, as an individual we have a role in enhancing a peaceful co-existence amongst ourselves. If only we could understand one another, understand our diversity as strength take up our natural roles in the society and exploit fully our potential, we will have made the United States a better place for all of US and the whole world too.
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Emily, P& Estrada, B.A (2008) outcomes of assimilation and discrimination: the case of Hispanic in America. Texas Tech University. Retrieved on Saturday, November 22, 2008 from http://etd.lib.ttu.edu/theses/available/etd-04022008- 102926/unrestricted/Estrada_Emily_Thesis.pdf
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Leafe, C.E (2007) Education is the key of eliminating discrimination of the girl-child: Media for global development Retrieved on Saturday, November 22, 2008 from, http://mediaglobal.org/article/2007-02-15/education-is-key-in-eliminating- discrimination-of-the-girl-child