Index » Mexican Americans
Who are they?
They are Americans of Mexican descent and they account for more than 13% of the United States population (around 40 million of Americans listed their ancestry as Mexican as of 2007).
What race are the Americans of Mexican descents?
Around 50% of Mex-Americans self-indentify as white. Other 50% self-indentify as "some other race" such as Mestizo (European/Mesoamerican Indian) - around 45%, black 0.8%, etc. What language do they speak?
They speak English and Spanish. There are the Mexican American communities in the United States where English is not in use. However, on the other side there are many Americans of Mexican descent that speak only English.
What is their religion?
They are predominantly Catholics. Christianity has always been a very important part of the traditional Mexican culture which is why it is also important in the Mexican American culture.
Are they discriminated against?
Yes, throughout their history they have been discriminated against in many ways. But they survived and even grew stronger and prouder.
What are they like?
They tend to enjoy life as much as possible. They love music, dancing, good food and everything else that makes this life enjoyable and tasteful.
Family is very important to them and they have many and regular family reunions. They have very close family ties which gives them solid and strong social support.
In conclusion, the Americans of the Mexican descent are optimistic, hardworking, proud, trustworthy, traditional, brave, stubborn, passionate, religious and family oriented.
Very little is learned about the Mexican American history and culture in the United States schools.
This is very unfortunate.
However, what is even more unfortunate is the systematic attempt by the U.S.A educational system to change the history and by doing so to change the present.
For example, how would the American people feel about the Mexican Americans if they knew that the first European settlement in what is now United States was established by the Spanish explorer Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon, in Georgia in 1526; which is 80 years before the English immigrants arrived in Virginia in 1607?
Or what about the Mexican American war outcome?
How many Americans know the real reason for the Mexican American war and who started it?
Not that many.
Many historical facts were deliberately changed and altered so that the existing historical "facts" would make Mexico look like the aggressor and the United States as the liberator in the Mexican American war.
However, the only thing that the United States "liberated" in the Mexican American war was the 55% of the Mexican territory from Mexico.
The peace treaty that ended the Mexican American war (The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo) that was dictated by the United States to the Mexican government provided for the Mexican cession of 55% of Mexican territories to the U.S.
Territories that U.S. annexed from Mexico include the whole modern U.S. States of Texas*, California, Nevada and Utah as well as the parts of the modern U.S. States of Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona and Wyoming.
Also, even though the peace treaty promised that the landowners in this newly acquired territory would enjoy full rights and protection of their property as if they were citizens of the United States, many former citizens of Mexico lost their land as a result of legislation passed after the treaty.
Unfortunately many Mexicans (the first official-unofficial Mexican Americans) were not just robed by the American government but they were also ethnically cleansed.
Those that stayed in the United States were discriminated against and humiliated in many different ways.
During The Great Depression which occurred a decade before the WWII, the United States government sponsored a special "Mexican solution" (Mexican Repatriation program) which (officially) was intended to encourage people to voluntarily move to Mexico however hundreds of thousands were deported against their will.
More than 500,000 individuals were deported and the worst part is that approximately 60 percent of them were actually United States citizens (the Mexican Americans).
During World War II, between 300,000 and 500,000 Mexican Americans served in the US armed forces and defended the United States with their lives.
Mexican Americans were generally integrated into regular military units because at the time the Hispanics were included in the general white population census count in the United States.
This however didn't mean that they had the same rights as white American soldiers. Even though the Mexican American soldiers were good enough to die for their country they were not good enough for their country to take care of them when wounded or disabled in a battle.
Many Mexican American war veterans were discriminated against and even denied medical services by the United States Department of Veterans Affairs when they arrived home.
As you can see the big part of the Mexican American history is the discrimination, injustice, deportation, ethical cleansing, and suffering.
However, this didn't make the Mexican Americans depressive, pessimistic or hopeless; it made them strong, resilient and proud.
Mexican Americans are one of the most optimistic Americans. They love life and cherish every moment they are blessed with.
Mexican Americans are very religious people and religion plays an important role in their lives.
Many things in everyday lives of Mexican Americans revolve around religion, including religious holidays such as Christmas or Day of the Dead, Sunday family dinners, regular visits to the church, humanitarian work, etc.
Great majority of Mexican Americans are Roman Catholics (around 90%). Others are Evangelists, Jehovah's Witnesses, Muslims, Buddhists, etc.
Even though there are Mexican Americans that are not Christians it should be emphasized that there are many more Mexican Americans that are Protestants such as those that fallow the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints than those that are Muslims, Jewish or Buddhists.
Therefore since more than 95% of Mexican Americans are Christians most of them celebrate Christmas, Easter and other Christian holydays. In fact one of the things that makes Mexican Americans religion unique are the Mexican American Christmas traditions which are very family and community oriented.
Traditionally the whole neighborhood takes part in the Posada (Mexican American Christmas Tradition) and everybody enjoys this celebration including children and the adults.
The Posada, which is the event when family members, friends and neighbors act out the night when St. Joseph and Virgin Marry were looking for lodging, is designed in such a way to bring together the family, friends and the entire community.
This is one of the main reasons why Mexican American Christmas traditions are unique, worm, special and practiced by millions of Mexican Americans across the United States, from the bordering states such as Texas and California to northern states such as Illinois (Chicago).
It is well known that Americans in general are quite religious and that religion (God) plays an important role in American society.
Mexican Americans are probably one of the most religious groups of Americans. This however doesn't mean that they are fundamentalists but ardent believers that are devoted to their religion and its way of living.
Hello, traditional Mexican culture crew!
I spent hours reading your articles about Mexican culture and I have to say that I'm impressed.
The reason why I've been reading your articles is that I'm getting married to a beautiful Mexican girl and in a week I'm going to meet her family for the first time.
We've been dating for nine months and when I asked her to marry me she said that I have to talk to her father first. In the beginning I thought she was joking but I soon realized that she is not playing.
I live in New York City and that is where we met. She came here from California and is about to graduate from college.
Now, in one week (actually six days) I will be meeting her father, mother, sister, brothers, cousins, grand father, and everybody else.
What I would really appreciate is some tips on how to act, react and what to expect.
I'm 29 years old, I have a very good job, I am normal guy from the City and I just want to marry the woman of my dreams.
She is 22, beautiful, conservative and of course Mexican American.
This is why I have to know everything about Mexican American culture and practices, and I have to know it by Friday.
Oh yeah, her family is extremely rich, and her father is some big shot that everybody respects and love (I just though you should know that).
Also, her family lives in the United States for almost 100 years but is still very Mexican American. That's what she told me. I just don't know what that exactly means.
Am I supposed to brig something? If yes, what should I bring? How should I ask her father for his daughter's hand? What should I talk about with her family?
Oh, God, what if they ask me if I know some Mexican jokes?
Right from the beginning you should know that Mexican and American cultures are quite different.
Both of these cultures are interesting and have many unique and great traditions, however many of those traditions differ greatly.
This is the reason why it is difficult to pinpoint the biggest difference between American and Mexican culture.
There are simply so many differences that it is easier to number what Mexican and American Cultures have in common than to number their differences.
However, having this said, it is safe to say that probably the biggest difference between Mexican and American culture is the life style or way of life, if you prefer.
If we put aside numerous cultural differences such as the national holidays, working hours, family relationships, religion, food and cuisine, weddings, celebrations, funerals, music, clothing, taboos, etc; then we can talk about one of the most important differences in Mexican and American culture, which is the way that Mexicans perceive and live life and, on the other side, the "American dream" that most of Americans dream and are ready to do almost everything to achieve it.
For example, Common American man is whiling to sacrifice time with his wife, children, parents and friends in order to work long hours so that he can reach the "American dream". Little does he know that by doing so he is sacrificing his life. In other words he is sacrificing too much.
Mexican men, on the other side have another dream, which is to spend as much time as possible with their wives, children and friends. They always look to find the way to relax and enjoying life to its fullest.Mexicans and Americans have many things in common due to the facts that Mexico and United States are bordering countries with very long border line.
Also, there are close to 31 million Mexicans or Mexican Americans living in the United States which is some 13% of the country's population.
In some parts of the United States, especially in some cities like in San Antonio, Texas or Santa Ana, California you would feel as if you were in Mexico rather than in the U.S. The reason for this is that is those American cities and other alike the majority are Mexicans (Mexican Americans) and the influence of the Mexican culture is most evident.
In other words, when talking about Mexican and American Cultures and especially when analyzing the Mexican American culture differences you should keep in mind that there is American culture, Mexican American culture and Mexican culture.
In this article we will not discuss the Mexican American culture but the differences between these two great cultures.
Firs and foremost, there is no better culture or worse. There are only different ways of living and not the right ways or the wrong ones. What is considered desirable behavior in one culture in some other is immoral, however that don't meat that it is so ultimately. It is very important to be open-minded when meeting with, or reading about, some other culture that is not ours.
Maybe the best way to describe the difference between the Mexican and American culture are some saying and proverbs on this subject: