What It Means To You Being Hispanic
I wanted to start Hispanic Heritage Month celebration by asking Hispanic Culture Online readers what is their meaning of the word Hispanic and what is being Hispanic.
Many of us know the definition of Hispanic and how it all started, but what I wanted to know is how true Hispanics feel and define themselves.
What Is Hispanic To Me?
Being Hispanic is mainly defined by my language and culture. That doesn’t mean a person who doesn’t speak Spanish is not Hispanic. His heritage may very well make him a true Hispanic. But for me is all about language, music, foods and culture around family.
When I started asking myself the question: what is Hispanic and the real meaning of being one, I knew for sure what Hispanics are not: a race.
My opinion is that we are a culture that has tangible and intangible characteristics like any other culture, and that those characteristics are quite different amongst many Hispanics depending on their particular heritage.
For Hispanics, the tangible elements of our culture are foods, like the usage of beans, rice, corn, plantains, etc., methods of cooking like using pottery, ingredients and seasonings like chiles, and other elements that define our foods. Another example is eating a corn tortilla with cheese for breakfast instead of a cereal.
The bright colors we prefer to dress with, and how we use them. We pretty much continue to use black for funerals and to carry “luto,” which is a time when we dress in black after the person we love dies.
Our music: bachata, merengue, salsa, etc., and the instruments that are prevalent in it. Our games and pass times like soccer, “sapo,” “Tejo”, and other games that we enjoy with friends and family, like an American football game for many Americans.
What is very interesting is that I feel we may define our culture in many ways in a subjective and objective way depending on where you come from and your upbringing.
But… What about the subjective elements of our culture? What are they?
The way we value life, pets (they are not as important for us as they are for Americans), religion and how it influences our lives, the value we place in family specially our parents, our general believes, and of course our emotions. We are very sensitive people, including men.
Our social behavior, we like to be close therefore we may touch you in the arm when talking or saying hello. The strong role of men and how we perceive them, are some examples of the characteristics that shape our culture.
Hispanics tend to avoid risk taking, we like the “known,” and tend to place child rising as top priority. Many Hispanics I know left the working world for a while to dedicate themselves to their children. After all, children are very important in our families and we think the mother is the one who should take care of them.
To complicate things more, Hispanic Americans are also quite different. They have assimilated the culture of the U.S. and in many cases have gone through the mixed marriage process which totally shapes our beliefs and those of our children.
As you may see, there are many ways to define what is Hispanic and what is the meaning of being Hispanic. Now let me hear your opinio… Please share your country of origin or heritage, and enjoy telling us what is Hispanic for you by filling out the form below.