Hispanic American Influence By Cristina Arra Hamilton

Here in the United States we place Hispanics in one basic category because we are so big on labels and grouping. The Hispanic-American or Latin-American populations is divided and to many ethnic groups which all have distinctive similarities and differences, one category just makes it easier for Americans to perceive. In this essay I will discuss four of the many different Hispanic ethnic groups in cultures that have migrated to the United States: Mexican American, Puerto Rican, Cuban and Dominican.Latin_Flags_168

The first similarity in comparing all four groups would be the obvious they all speak Spanish. Yes this maybe true however there is a difference in the Spanish dialect of each of the above mentioned Hispanic ethnic groups. We as Americans really don’t take the time to listen and understand their language and dialect because many Americans are under the notion that since Hispanics migrated to “our” Hispanics should conform and instantly take on the English language, many of us are ignorant and don’t notice their differences. Other similarities would be Hispanics all have migrated from “poor” tropical places, are servants who will work for less wages, and the food they eat has a different taste when compared to “American” food. Now if these Hispanic countries are so poor why is it millions of Americans travel to these tropical places for vacations and tourism.

Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans

According to Schaefer, R.T.,2006, Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans share the highest percentage of English -Dominant speakers with in the ethnic group. Puerto Ricans tend to be more English-oriented than the other ethnic groups, 39 percent of the population English-Dominant (meaning the first language is English despite the Hispanic Puerto Rican culture), 40 percent are bilingual and the rest have yet to conform to American ways (Schaefer, R. T., 2006). Is it possible that demographics has a lot to do with the conformation of both ethnic groups. Mexico borders the United States continent while Puerto Rico is U.S. Territory, thus making it easier for those who migrate here to conform, combine with the American “influence” on both countries and the pressure to conform in order to be “accepted” once they become Mexican American or “Puerto Ricans in the United States”,(Schaefer, R.T., 2006).

Both groups migrated to the United States seeking opportunity and equality. Both ethnic’s groups association with the United States began with a war. These groups as oppose to others put up a fight before the US promised to protect each group against a Native Americans and Taino Indians. One is left to conclude that each tribe of Indians had a working positive relationship with these ethnic groups until the “Americans” got involved. “Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans have lower incomes, less formal education and greater health problems than white Americans” well according to statistics all ethnic groups share these characteristics when compared to white Americans (Schaefer, R.T., 2006). Mexican American foods include, fajitas, tamales, rice, vegetable, tacos and other corn based foods, Mexican food is very popular in the United States. Both ethnic groups have strong family values and morals that many families try to pass on to the next generation however with the pressure put on immigrants to conform the culture will soon be lost.

Cuban Americans

Cuban Americans, though not the largest group within the Hispanic population, their migration process seems to have been strategic. Their beginning in the United States was hard and rough though over a short period of time Cuban Americans seem to have conformed quite nicely in comparison to white Americans. According to Schaefer, 2007 Cuban Americans traditionally have a love for baseball this would have assistance in the gaining “acceptance”in the United States being that Baseball is the “all American sport”. Cuban Americans have accepted and adjusted to the Anglo culture that exist here in the United States, but unlike many other Hispanic groups the will not give up their native language. Cuban-Americans have formed an organization, The Cuban-American National Foundation who strongly opposes Fidel Castro and any proposals to the United States improving its relationship with Cuba. In other words those who are out got out and those who are there remain there and “suffer until Fidel Castro is nevermore”. Another positive in being accepted into the American culture. Conform and forget those who you once knew.

cuban american

Cuban-American Relations

According to Schaefer, 2006, many of the Hispanic immigrants send a large portion of their earnings here in the U.S. back to their countries of origin to help their families, Cuba wasn’t included. Instead  we are left to believe that Cuba Americans have basically turned their backs on their country either, to become independent, work with the American Government or to create their own country within the United States. With the majority of the Cuban population living in Florida and the blatant hatred for the Cuban Government it is apparently clear some sort of objective is being carefully sought out.

Cuban American food is made up of rice, beans, the infamous “arroz con pollo” the most commonly known Cuban American dish, yuca and plantain are popular as well. The music includes salsa and the salsa dance which is a mixture of Spanish and African music.

Dominican Americans

Of all the Hispanic ethnic groups this group seems to be the least recognized. Dominican Americans migration to the United States was motivated by an U.S. invasion and the assassination of the Dominican military ruler Rafael Trujillo in 1961, (Buffington, S. 2009). Dominican Americans are now the fifth largest Hispanic ethnic in the U.S. The majority of the population are Roman Catholic, and according to Wikipedia 2009, music is the heart of their culture. Their foods include rice, beans, yucca , plantain etc. Also according to Wikipedia, 2009 “crime is an issue” (Dominican American Culture, para. 5 ) . Dominican Americans have achieved great success in various areas to include the arts, entertainment, sports and music.dominicans

Though there has been a significant amount of Dominican immigrants, migrating to the United States, Dominican Americans remain true to the culture of their island. According to Wikipedia 2009, “Dominican American music includes merengue, reggaeton and bachata”(Dominican American Culture, para. 4) . Also salsa has become popular with the younger generation. Dominican Americans, unlike other Hispanic ethnic groups are not as inclined to be involved United States’ politics because many dream of returning to their island (Wikipedia, 2009). This maybe why Dominican Americans are not as recognized as others in the United States, no political interest.


Each Hispanic ethic group is unique in their own way however many share the same qualities and face the same struggles as other ethnic groups in the United States especially when compared to White Americans. Similarities among these ethnic groups include, each group’s migration was motivated by some planned interruption by the United States resulting in War. Cuban Americans and Mexican Americans have strong political connections in the United States and many are likely to chose the Republican Party the party controlled by the majority, White American. Reportedly these groups will take jobs that many Americans will not with the exception of the Cuban Americans, these immigrants were educated skilled professionals and managers (Schaefer, 2006). The Cuban American educational backgrounds explains their independence and the formulating of the Cuban-American National Foundation. The distinctive similarities in food, music and education all four groups. While some groups face struggles the others may not, Dominican Americans are subject to racial discrimination because of their African descent and their skin pigmentation they are consider black by Americans, (Schaefer, 2009). Dominican Americans like the other groups progress educationally and professionally however the resistance to conform is motivated by the desire to return to their country of origin.


Buffington, Sean T. (2009). Dominican Americans: Countries and their Cultures: Retrieve 10/25/2009 from http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Bu-Dr/Dominican-Americans.html

Schaefer, R, T. (2006). Racial and ethnic groups (10th ed.)Chapter 9: Hispanic Americans. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Schaefer, R, T. (2006). Racial and ethnic groups (10th ed.)Chapter 10: Mexican Americans and Puerto Ricans. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall.

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.(2009). Cuban American. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cuban_American

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. (2009). Dominican American. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dominican_American

Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.(2009). Mexican American. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mexican_American


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