Hispanic American Diversity


Hispanic is the most diverse ethnic group in America, with their differences being indicated by race, regional separations, national origins, economics, and migration history. The Mexican Americans and the Puerto Ricans are of American origin by birth but Cubans entered the United States as political refugees (Kanellos, 1994). The latter is said to be of mixed African, native, and white racial heritages whereas the former were large of European or “white” ancestry according to Rodriguez (1999) some Mexicans have lived for long in the United States and qualify for amnesty but not citizenship, while others work in the United States to support a family in Mexico while others are illegally present in the United States (undocumented aliens). Differences can even be noted within the subgroups of the group components of the Hispanic Community. For example, those Mexican Americans living in New Mexico have differences in dialect, self-identification, occupational status, and economic status from those in places like Texas, California, and Arizona (Kanellos, 1994). In the 1960s wave of Cuban immigrants was largely middle class and educated and the group had professionals, whereas the Mexican Americans and the Puerto Ricans happened to be the working class many of whom were menial laborers (Rodriguez, 1999).

Mexican Americans and Cubans mostly, have been economically successful whereas the majority of the Hispanics continue to experience poverty and discrimination. Politically, all Hispanics do not express support for one party through voting as compared to the blacks (Kanellos, 1994).

Language and Culture

Recent immigration is what makes the Spanish language dominant among Mexican Americans. Those Mexican Americans who have lived in the United States for 10 years can speak the English language well according to Alba (2006), with English being dominant for the second generation and monolingualism for the third generation. Spanish is the primary language in Puerto Rico, while English is taught in most elementary schools. The Puerto Ricans speak Castillian Spanish language, an origin of ancient Latin. The Cuban group originated from Carribean land after 1959 and occupied Miami, Florida as a place of their exile. Many political refugee asylums entered the United States during the cold war.

Through reverse acculturation, the Cuban Miami occupants became accustomed to the Cuban economic system and dominance in politics rather than assimilating American cultures and language. According to Cato (n.d; qtd. in Angel, 2008), the Haitian group faced racism and alienation on entry into the United States and changed the typical assimilation by adopting the attitudes and dress of the African American inner-city youths. The Dominican group speaks Spanish as their native language although some speak English. Dominicans are familiar with the American culture and practices which are copied at home. The group establishes Dominican American culture as a result of resistance to assimilation on entry into the U.S, and a lack of abandonment of their home culture and community. According to Buffington (n.d; qtd. in Angel, 2008), the Dominican families tend to decrease in size. The community was faced with poverty and particularly single families headed by women relied on public assistance in the 1990s. Americans believed that the Dominican migrants came from the poorest and least educated segment of their country of origin, and were viewed as placing burdens on the federal and state social services. These ideas have been reported as false from research conducted in the 1980s.

Economic and other systems

The Mexican group according to Alba, poor education systems provided to them and the amount of education are partly to blame for the group’s seemingly little progress in moving up to the status of the mainstream society from the immigration status. The group does not have many entrepreneurship or wide-spread ethnic economy that is notable of the Cuban group in Miami according to the author. The Puerto Rico group living in the United States (25%) and that in Puerto Rico (55%) is faced with many problems and poor access to education opportunities, breakdown of familial structures, crime, and drug use is encountered by Puerto Ricans despite the privileges for American citizenship (Green, n.d; qtd. in Angel, 2009). Many of the Dominicans migrate to the Dominican Republic for business interests there. The proportion of those educated Dominicans was found to be higher among the immigrants than the Island dwellers, and 15000 of those who entered the United States between 1986 and 1991 were professionals. However, a study carried in 1997 by the City College and Columbia showed that the poverty level among the Dominicans was 45.7% while 50% of the Dominican American households were headed by a woman.


Dominicans are mixed Jewish, Afro-Christian, and Protestants though they practice primarily Roman Catholicism. Roman Catholicism is the primary religion for all the discussed groups but there are a variety of beliefs among the groups (Angel, 2008).


Puerto Ricans are considered American citizens whether born on the Island or in America (either migrants or immigrants) due to the commonwealth status (is a commonwealth of the United States) Puerto Rico is governed by its constitution and legislature and has a governor. The political system (legislature, commonwealth status, and governor) is subject to the executive authority of the United States. The Puerto Ricans have made the greatest impact in the social and political context (Angel, 2008).


Alba, R. (2006). Mexican Americans and the American dream. Political Science & Politics. American Political Science Association.

Angel (2008). Hispanic American Culture Diversity. Web.

Buffington, S. (n.d.). Dominican Americans. Web.

Cato, J. (n.d.) Becoming American in Miami: Reconsidering immigration, race and ethnic relations. Center for Latin American Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

Green, D. (n.d.) Puerto Rican Americans.Click. Web.

Kanellos Nicolás, Francisco A. Lomelí, Claudio Esteva Fabregat, Felix M. Padilla (1994). Handbook of Hispanic Cultures in the United States: Sociology. Félix Padilla (Ed). Arte Publico Press.

Rodriguez America. (1999). Making Latino News: Race, Language, Class. SAGE.

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