The Hispanic population (which includes Latinos) is very diverse – they come from deep in Latin America or just across the border in Mexico. Each has their own culture, but these five things came to America with the Hispanic immigration and tie them together – and can change our culture.
1. Language: Hispanic Americans are tied together by the Spanish language. From 1980 to 2012, Spanish speakers grew from 5% of the population to 13%. Over 38 million Spanish speakers live in America. The desire of the Hispanic families to pass on their culture to their children by teaching them the language or making it the language of the home coupled with an emphasis on bilingual education in American has helped Hispanics preserve their language. Odds are if you called your cell phone carrier or another nationwide business today, you were given the change to change the language of the call to Spanish.
2. Family: There is a strong belief in the family within the Hispanic culture. Generations may live together or in close proximity. Grandparents are important members of the family and are part of the upbringing of their grandchildren. Large Hispanic family gatherings are common – and if you’ve been invited to one, fun!
3. Soccer: “Futbol” is a passion for much of the world and for Spanish speaking countries. In the past – before soccer came to American TV — many American fans watched soccer on Spanish language channels. Univision and Telemundo Spanish-language TV certainly contributed to bringing soccer to America. Still, big fans, the Hispanic community has definitely played a role in increasing the popularity of soccer in the USA.
4. Entertainment: Think Jennifer Lopez or Christina Aguilera or Selena – Hispanic stars have risen to the top of American Entertainment. In 1986, Billboard Magazine started publishing “Top Latin Songs” and followed that list with “Top Latin Albums” in 1993 – to make this list the songs/albums have to have 50% of their content in Spanish.
5. Food: No one is going to deny that America hasn’t adopted Hispanic food as their own. Tortilla chips and salsa are one of the top-selling snack items. Grocery stores have rows of taco and tortilla shells so Americans can make their own Hispanic dinner. Guacamole graces many a snack table created for American football games. When you enjoy a taco or a tamale, you have the Hispanic community to thank for making them mainstream!
If you are enjoying soccer and a great “Mexican” meal, you know what culture helped make them part of our culture! Take another step in that direction and enjoy dinner at an Mexican Restaurant that serves food that blends both culture together. You may find beer-battered shrimp tacos are your new favorite.