Culture is defined as “the structure of behaviours, ideas, attitudes, values, habits, beliefs, customs, language, rituals, ceremonies, and practices of a particular group of people that provides them with a general design for living and patterns for interpreting behaviour” (Anne E. Casey Foundation 2). Over the last few years with the increase of the Spanish culture in the United States, it is evident that through cultural diversity many a lot of changes have occurred in the American culture due to the Latino presence. This paper is a report on the cultural diversity brought into the U.S. by the Spanish culture as derived from an interview with Prof.Dr. Carlos Rodriguez a major player on identification and influence of Spanish-American culture mix.
A recent statistics report from the U.S. Census Bureau indicated thatthat in states like New York,Arizona, Georgia, Mississippi, and Maryland minorities comprise at least forty percent of the total population. Additionally, four other states namely Texas, California, New Mexico, and Hawaiias well as the District of Columbia are “majority-minority” meaning in this regions minorities make up more over fifty percent of the total population. (U.S. Census Bureau News, a). The figures from this report further stated that the largest group of immigrant were Hispanic, placing the population in the U.S. at about50 million by July 1, 2009; and increasing to 55.3 million on July 1, 2011 (U.S. Census Bureau News). The report similarly indicated that Hispanic population has expressively increased in the non- traditional Hispanic states of Georgia, Iowa, Nevada, North Carolina, and South Carolina (U.S. Census Bureau News, 2013b). From the provided demographic realities, it is evident with certainty that cultural diversity between the Spanish and American culture has become a core part of the landscape of the United States.
Through a recorder interview with Prof.Dr. Carlos Rodriguez this paper aims shows how much diversity has occurred due to this increase of Hispanics in the country.Prof.Dr.Rodriguez, a 45-year old Latin-American who clearly identifies himself with Spanish community in America. His Latino background and expertise allows him to interact with many Hispanics through the “CONILL” agency. The Professor, mingles with Hispanics throughout his professional and social life, firstly he has a Latina wife, of whom they share three childrenwho though born in the US speak Spanish as their primary language. Secondly, he works as both a professor at the Portland University as a Spanish historic and cultural tutor as well as a volunteer at “CONILLS” one of the best and biggest Latino Agencies in the US. Through the interview, he answers several questions on how the American culture has been an influence to its surrounding. At the start of the interview the professor is quick to suggest that, “Three out of four Americans agree that Hispanics have had a significant influence on American culture…the United States is the fourth-largest Spanish-speaking country in the world”.Prof.Dr. Rodriguez through a past survey across America clearly understood how and where the Hispanics had made a change in American culture.According to his understanding, the Prof. explained that there are many ways the Spanish or Latino culture has influenced the American. “…food, music, sports, and television are the major influences of the Spanish culture in the US”
Latino-American Food Culture
Predictably, the touch point ranked by Hispanics and non-Hispanics as delivering the greatest influence on American culture is food.The Spanish culture has a rich history in regards to their foods, with each of Spain’s speakingcomes a range of unique cuisines. The Professor born in Mexico likes enjoying food he recognises from his past just as millions of other Spanish individuals in America. Surprisingly the Latinos are not the only ones enjoying this food such. Dishes likecroquetas,Tortilla Espaniola, Gazpacho or salmorejo,Pulpo a la gallega (which is the professor’s favourite dish) is an octopus dish is marinated with paprika (pimenton), crusty rock salt plus a trickle of olive oil and many more Spanish dishes have become famous in America because of the Non-Hispanics love of their taste. According to the professor almost 90% of non-Hispanics believe food is the most prominent impact to their cultural diversity, placing it nearly 25 percentage points ahead of the next greatest influencer, music (63%). On the other hand, he suggests that Hispanics see food in a slightly more modest share at 82%, and music was only seven points behind at 75% in cultural diversity.
Latino-American Music Culture
Tough ranked second in overall impact on American culture as perceived by all Americans the professor suggest that music stands to bring a significant change to certain Americans. “Hispanics in New York, Miami as well as Texas, derive a significant effect of Hispanic culture in music…these cities also comprise the top three markets for non-Hispanics on the music question, however the Spanish songs perform better than the Non-Spanish”. The Billboard top forty songs of 2014 is evident of this cultural mix. In this popularity music table almost a quarter of the songs voted as top forty hits were Latino more than any other minority group song. “Bailando” by Enrique Iglesias was as highly rated as being top ten in the country.
Latino-American Sports Culture
According to the professor, the Latino influence in sports is felt greatest among non-Hispanics in New York (72%) and smallest in Detroit (48%). Of all sports Baseballexhibits how deeply integrated Latinos are in American sports culture. The professor uses the National Baseball Hall of Fame event in New Yorkthat installed aneternalViva Baseball exhibit showcasing Latino contributions to one of America’s favourite pastime. Similarly he indicates that and the number of Latino players in the baseball league has surged in the last two decades, rocketing from a modest 13% in 1990 to 28% on opening day in 2010.
Latino-American Television Culture
As by the professors knowledge“Univision currently ranks as America’s fifth most watched TV network additionally two of the highest paid actors on TV from May 2011 to May 2012 Sofia Vergara of ‘Modern Family’ and Eva Longoria of ‘Desperate Housewives Both of Hispanic decent”. Even with the ascension of these actresses into mainstream television, however, negative stereotypes of Hispanics are viewed as a fixture in media, with 73% of Hispanics and 68% of non-Hispanics noting their presence.
When it comes to asserting the range of Latino influence on American culture,food, music, sports and TV influence take centre stage. It is clear that with the increase of more Hispanic community entry to America the cultural mix will be more evident due to cultural diversity.
Anne E. Casey Foundation/ AED Center on AIDS and Community Health. Cultural Competency:2003 Community Health Summit Toolkit.
United States Census Bureau News. “Hispanic Population Passes 40 Million, Census BureauReports”. Govt.Press 2010, 20111, 2012, 2013, 2014.