Mexican Americans are one of the minority groups residing in the United States. Regardless of the years that the members of this minority group have spent in the state, they are still subjected to discrimination and racism. This is partially linked to the cultural differences and varying approaches to values that this group has when compared to the dominant society. The main distinctions between Mexican Americans and the dominant society are religion and family relations.
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Mexican Americans are the largest Hispanic group in the state. However, their culture differs significantly from that of the main social group. Hispanic Americans often encounter racism due to the cultural and ethnic variations between them and the Anglo-American communities (Gibson, 50). Moreover, it is a commonplace to refer to this and other minority groups from Latin America as Hispanic, while there is a contrast between the groups of minorities from the countries of South America. Hence, Mexican American heritage is often overlooked by the dominant group in the society as the latter prefers to use the term “Hispanic” instead of acknowledging the origins of this social group and their cultural specifics.
The first difference between Mexican Americans and Americans is religion. The latter group is predominantly Protestant, while the former is Catholic (Gibson, 51). Moreover, the way these ethnic groups express their religious beliefs differs as well. For example, Mexican American men do not often go to church and express their alliance with their religion in different ways (Gibson, 50). In contrast, Protestant groups typically attend church ceremonies with their families, and it is common for men to be present.
Secondly, the values of Mexican Americans and the dominant group in society differ. For example, Mexican Americans commonly support the idea of “machismo,” which is a term describing male dominance, honor, and virility (Gibson, 52). The Anglo-American group does not have the same value system, as dominance and virility are typically viewed as negative features within this group. This difference in values and views leads to misunderstandings and issues in finding common ground for the two.
Thirdly, for Mexican Americans, a family has great value and importance, as opposed to Anglo Americans. The support networks and cooperation within this minority group are typically built on family ties (Gibson, 50). The fact that Mexican Americans emphasize the importance of family to them, they may approach friendships and other social relationships differently from other groups. Additionally, in line with the machismo value system, a man in a Mexican American family has to be a provider and a good father (Gibson, 50). In contrast to the dominant society, where both parents are viewed as equal providers and caregivers. Moreover, the dominant society is more focused on individualism and individual achievements, creating a conflict of values between the two groups.
The relationship between the two groups is shaped by the differences in the way the two approach culture, religion, and family relations. Evidently, there are major differences between the practices and values of Mexican Americans and Anglo Americans. Moreover, since the 1900s, Mexico has served as a pool of cheap labor that the businesses in the United States benefited from (Gibson, 50). Hence, this view of Mexican Americans as immigrants who work for low wages has also affected the way the dominant society perceives this group. In summary, there are many differences between Mexican Americans and the dominant society. These include religion, as Mexican Americans are mostly Catholic, family relations, and values, such as the practice of machismo.
Gibson, Carrie. El Norte: The Epic and Forgotten Story of Hispanic North America. Grove Atlantic, 2019.
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