Hispanic Cuban Americans’ Cultural Heritage and Traditions
The theme of this paper is about my Hispanic Cuban family. I am a resident of the U.S., and of Antilles descent. I am 41 years old and hail from a middle-class family. I am a Christian, of heterosexual inclinations and without any physical or mental disability.
In this paper, I describe my culture, heritage, and traditions and compare them with those of families from different ethnicity. Also, I deliberate on the influence of media coverage on how the public perceives the Hispanic culture. Finally, I suggest what inclusion strategies managers can employ to moderate media’s negative coverage of Hispanic people and promote interracial cohesion in workplaces.
The Family, Cultural Heritage and Traditions
The Cuban American’s culture and traditions are a blend of Spanish customary practices, different homeland Cubania heritages, and the US lifestyle. Inter-ethnic marriages are common in Cuba, and even in the US. Similarly, the expansion of the US into the Caribbean around 1898, brought with it an influx of US capital, political influence, cultural values, and colonization (Rodr´iguez, 2013).
These have profoundly influenced our culture, values, and perceptions. We are proud of our cultural values and heritage, a fact that has led to slow assimilation into the American culture. In fact, most Caribbean societies tend to reconstruct aspects of their culture and countries of origin when they migrate (Perez, 2013).
We express our culture and heritage in traits such as language, food, art, religion, and entertainment (Chambers, 2017). Most of us are bilingual although Spanish is our native language. Those born in the US prefer to speak English. When at home with our parents, the conversation is through Spanish or a mixture of the two languages christened “Spanglish.” Similar to other ethnic groups, the family is the fundamental social unit among Cubans.
These families exist as two-parent, single parent or extended families. The family occupies a valued place as a resource for dealing with life challenges. Its preservation is essential if a social, political, religious and cultural order is to be continued (Mastropasqua, 2015).
The ménage plays a very vital role. Extended families stay close since this bond is essential for the transmission of traditional values and practices. Recognition of the parental authority and respecting them is highly encouraged. Children are expected to take instructions from parents ungrudgingly.
Education is part of our culture. For us, in addition to schooling, training describes how values such as politeness, sociability, responsibility, respect, regard for one another, and respect for authority are inculcated in children (Mastropasqua, 2015).
In most families, the verbal engagement between parents and their children is highly encouraged. Parents and extended family members talk, tell stories, and sing to their children. Besides, families have a culture of reading. The content varies from religious, lifestyle, historical, poetry, to personal development books (Mastropasqua, 2015).
The home language and culture enlighten children about the world, conveying a worldview. Linguistic and cultural engagements help to shape children’s identity and define their capacity to make life choices. They enable people to know a family’s history and to be aware of the world beyond their normal society.
Communication conveys ethnic identity, pride and an appreciation of the family’s position in the community. The Spanish language has served both as a vehicle for expressing Cuban history, patriotic values, anti-communist ideologies to children, and as a means of imparting social democratic, capitalist and pro-US worldview (Chambers, 2017). Also, it has shielded our cultural identity from the threat of acculturation.
Many aspects of my culture make me proud. These comprise the value of hard work, resiliency during periods of political uncertainty in Cuba, diversity of languages, strong family ties and interdependency, and the Latin food that is delicious (Mastropasqua, 2015).
Our food is finely seasoned and full of flavor. No other food tastes like it. Solid Catholic religious beliefs, strong extended family ties, and interdependence between its members make our culture a little different from that of the White Americans.
For instance, as teenagers, we were not allowed to go to movies or freely interact with friends of opposite sex without being accompanied and looked after by parents. Also, it was a tradition for parents to select godparents who would provide additional care to their children.
Such parental approaches contrast with those of White families. My thought on this is that granted teenagers do not abuse this freedom of interaction; there is no need for chaperones. Also, due to interactions of Cubans with other ethnic groups, these practices are diminishing among Hispanic Americans. Therefore, my family culture does not differ significantly from the mainstream one.
The Media Coverage
The mass media cover social issues, and these analyses supposedly define public views (Kulik, Perera, & Cregan, 2016). For instance, exposure to news reports of law-breaking leads people to perceive racial minority as threatening.
As such, dismissive coverage or underrepresentation of our culture by the media creates negative social images of us. Past research on the influence of media coverage on the public’s perception of the Hispanic people has revealed that severe portrayals have resulted in propagating discrimination, myths, stereotypes, and social alienation, and fashioned harmful self-imagery (Kulik et al., 2016).
The outcomes have been the minority suppression, disinterest, and structural and sociopolitical domination by whites (Kulik et al., 2016). However, since Cubans are more politically conservative middle class, and inclined towards the Republican Party, they do not suffer too much negative media coverage as other minority groups (Kulik et al., 2016). Therefore, the public perception of our culture and traditions are not very biased.
Similarly, our solid economic history and greater self-confidence about our culture and tradition provide a stable immunity against negative publicity, and the related change in the public mindset (Mastropasqua, 2015).
Prejudices negatively impact performance outcomes at workplaces. Negative imagery affects domain identification, job engagement, career ambitions, openness to feedback, and may change other areas such as leadership, entrepreneurship, negotiations, and competitiveness (Casad & Bryant, 2016). Also, intrapersonal, interpersonal and employee-employer outcomes are affected.
Experiencing discrimination can lead to a series of processes that include “attentional, physiological, cognitive, affective, and motivational mechanisms” (Casad & Bryant, 2016, par. 5). A misguided personal understanding of circumstances generates wrong stereotypes.
Thus, interventions can modulate the opinion created. Interventional strategies aim at institutional, structural features of the organization, and individual factors associated with biased judgments of environments. They include addressing environmental indicators of prejudice, valuing diversity at the workplace, thoughtful feedback, promoting organizational mindset, fostering mutual goal affordances and interdependent worldviews (Casad & Bryant, 2016).
These are aimed at creating a sense of belonging, social worth, competence, a feeling of purpose, and group identity for the members of the society who feel they are discriminated.
My family culture, traditions, behaviors are unique and are cemented on themes of religion, entertainment, and language. Because of living in the diaspora, we maintain a collective memory of our ancestral homeland, relate to it on a personal level, and it shapes our identity.
Frequently, immigrants suffer from discrimination and negative stereotypes in the new society due to their foreign origins. These affect their health, social and economic lives. However, through interventions discussed above, minority groups can be fully integrated into the society, and with time, they may lose that strong homeland connection, and even their culture and traditions.
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Chambers, G. A. (2017). Color-blind nationalism, US empire, and the conundrum of race in the late nineteenth- and twentieth-century Spanish Caribbean. Latin American Research Review, 52(5), 895–900. doi:/10.25222/larr.2 7089
Kulik, C. T., Perera, S., & Cregan, C. (2016). Engage me: the mature-age worker and stereotype threat. Academy of Management Journal, 59(6), 2132-2156. doi:10.5465/amj.2015.0564.
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Perez, R. M. (2013). Paradise lost: older Cuban American exiles’ ambiguous loss of leaving the homeland. Journal of Gerontological Social Work, 56(7), 596-622.doi: 10.1080/01634372.2013.817496.
Rodr´iguez, A. (2013). Research reflection, the Latino assumption: a research note.
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