America has been described as one of the richest cultural regions. According to Ramos, “perhaps no other group of people has quite the rich and storied culture as those of the Native Americans; they have a history rich in struggle, strife, and triumph.” The various aspects of modern life that is encompassed by the rich Indian cultures enrich the American culture. The Native American group is estimated to have inhabited the Mexican region thousands of years ago. “Reminders of their ancient presence are throughout our state: cliff dwellings and pit houses, kivas (underground ceremonial chambers), abandoned cities along ancient trade routes, and symbols etched in rock”.
This paper seeks to make use of selected resources to research and report on the Native American culture through the analysis of lifestyles, values, morals, and other characteristics of at least two minority cultures. This will involve an explorative and analytical study of the selected resources to retrieve as much relevant information as possible on the two groups. These two minority groups will consist of African American and Hispanic groups. There is abidance among available literature that have sought to analyze the cultures of these two minority groups on the existence of similarities as well as differences in regards to their cultural values. The main purpose of this essay is to examine the cultural values of these minority groups by analytical exploration of both primary and secondary that will form the sources of cultural information. Whereas there are basic similarities in most of the world’s cultures, this essay will seek to unravel those specific native cultures that are dominant within these two minority groups. The themes, cultures, and cultural values that will form the focus in essay will revolve around the social values in the two societies.
The Historical Value of the Hispanic and African-American Culture
American Department of Health and Human Services defines Hispanic community as the people with linguistic or civilizing background in Spain or Latin America. This research project will look at the lifestyles, morals, values, and religion of the Hispanic and African-American culture. As indicated by Ferrante, Hispanics are mostly considered as a colossal group in America where it is referred to have a mixture of cultures.
Additionally, the theme of lifestyle in Hispanic culture is well illustrated in the mode of learning in this culture. In this community, education is considered as the most priority thing and hence there are efforts of planning, delivery and evaluation of educational systems. As a minority group in South California, Hispanic group have their origins rooted in Spanish civilization. Hispanic culture is more characterized by cooperative unit where the demands of the family and the society take precedence over those an individual. In addition the above, as opposed to most cultures that values the future, the Hispanic culture attaches more importance to the present.
From the words of Tom and Ramos, the lifestyle of the Hispanic people has influenced so many other South California communities especially those living in the rural areas. On this basis, in terms of food the ingredients used in the preparation of Hispanic foods are mostly peppers, chilies and spices. Importantly, the Hispanic people usually have light breakfast in the morning while having the main meal at lunch time. When having the main meal, it is most commonly that all members of the family are gathered together after school and work. This denotes the importance of family within the cultural values of this culture. It should be noted that, Hispanic is one of the major groups in the United States of America but is not widespread in South California. When refereeing to the family values of the Hispanic community in South California, this community has a family composed of a close knit group which is termed as a social unit. The term family do not always refer to the nuclear family but also the general extended family. According to Tom, Hispanic culture is characterized by the paternal kind of a family where the father is the head of the family while the mother is usually responsible for the care of the children and other domestic chores. The Hispanic community has given rise to prominent figures have contributed a lot to the American society politics, law, and arts.
It should be noted that, religion and rituals in Hispanic culture have played a very significant role right from the ancient times. On this basis, the church and especially the Catholic Church has influenced the Hispanic culture giving it new meanings. Whereas there have been points of clashes between catholic beliefs and the Hispanic cultural beliefs, this minority has managed to maintain various aspects of their culture. The communication channel is also more formal and their culture is very permissive towards children. In terms of rituals, Hispanic culture has all along been celebrating children birthdays and other religious celebrations and rituals. As indicated by Tom, traditions and religion has been very helpful in shaping the morals and values of the Hispanic culture. Among the morals and values, children in Hispanic community are supposed to obey their parents and the elderly people in the society. In this relation, the information about Hispanic culture was retrieved from books and journals as the reliable and available materials.
Ammon, U., African-American culture was less than two percent of the South Californian culture in some past decades but their population has increased drastically in this state. It is of importance to note that, unlike the Hispanic culture, the African-American communities mostly live in the urban areas of the South California state. In addition to the above, most of the African-American communities are still holding tight to the customary livelihood of domestic and manual labor. According to Ammon, this aspect of traditional occupations of the African-American communities dates back to the World War I where they were employed in the urban areas in war related industries.
In the opinion of Knight, the African-America communities in South California are mostly agriculturalists. This minority group of people produces food that is heavily utilized in the urban areas. This is an economic culture that draws its origins and concepts from the migration era. Additionally, these communities produce the agricultural products both for domestic and commercial purposes. Knight suggested that, the African-American culture has influenced the entire South California culture in terms of arts, literature, foods, agricultural skills, music and language among others.
In the political arena, studies have revealed that the African-American communities have in recent times been very vigorous in political issues. These minority communities have remained at the fore front in the fighting for the civil rights of the black people in South California. It is of important to note that, in the recent past the African-American were the victims of discrimination in the whole of America but they have decided to fight this discrimination cases out in South California.
Like the Hispanic culture, the African-American culture in South California is characterized by the protestant nature as a form of religion. In this culture, religion has played a major role of guiding and directing the society members on various social facets of the society. It should be noted that, through religion morals and values in this community are reinforced. On the other hand, rituals are mostly connected to religious teachings and encompass a major factor in the values of the society. On this basis, the baptismal rituals, naming rituals, and circumcision rituals are the most common among the African-American community in South California.
Similarities of Both Cultures
A point worth noting is that, these two cultures are similar in one way or the other. On this basis, as revealed from the information of the two cultures; religion has formed the basis of the morals and values of the two cultures. It is of importance to note that, Hispanic culture is Catholic dominated while African-American culture is Protestant dominated and therefore religion plays a great role in governing the community members. As a result of this, the devotion given to religion by the two cultures indicates that; religion is used as a guide to the society. Additionally, these two cultures in South California have influenced other cultures in terms of lifestyles and politics in particular. It terms of politics, African-American culture have been more profound in politics hence influencing Americans. On the other hand, the two cultures’ music and arts are very useful to the Americans. In this case, the African-American culture has a typical polyrhythmic music of the cultural groups of Africa. One profound similarity between the two cultures is demonstrated by the value attached on the importance of the family. The two communities not only value the component of respect to the superior in the society, they also attach greater importance to etiquette. Last, both Hispanic and African American cultures in South California are encompassed by greater value on the roles children play in the continuity of the family line.
It should be noted that, there are differences between these two cultures especially in terms of identity and origin. On this basis, the two cultures have different originalities as Hispanic draws its origin in Spain while African-American draws its origin in Africa. Additionally, there is the difference of identity where each of the two cultures is identified with different practices. According to U. S. H. H. S., African-American has been found to profoundly practice agriculture and reside mostly in the urban areas unlike the Hispanic community that resides in the rural areas. Further, as indicated earlier the African-American are Protestants while the Hispanics are Catholics and hence there is a difference in terms of religion and religious affiliations. It is of importance to note that, both the Hispanic and African-American cultures have strong sense of family issues but Hispanic culture has communication channel that is more formal and their culture is very permissive towards children. According to Knight, the African-American culture has followed a national trend where mothers take care of the children even without the help of the father which is the case in Hispanic culture. As indicated by Knight, these two cultures have music but the difference occurs in the rhythm of their dance. In this relation, the Hispanic culture has salsa rhythms while the African-American culture has blues and rap as their dance rhythms.
In addition to the above, the theme of lifestyles and characteristics African-American people are very generous and materialistic. In terms of generosity, African-American culture through their family links has been proved very open to all people especially those within their family systems. In conclusion, rich background information on native culture enhances the capacity to handle individuals from diverse and minority groups in with respect and dignity.