Embracing Cultural Differences

In culture on June 21, 2010 at 5:45 am

In my opinion, one of the greatest aspects of living in a country like the U.S. is the fact that there are so many people from so many different countries and therefore living with so many different cultures.

And, what makes it even more interesting is when these people and their cultures mix…creating a fusion of cultural dynamics that don’t necessarily exist in other more homogeneous countries.

I want to focus on those instances when people’s cultures collide, specifically when one of those cultures is Hispanic mixed with another culture.

For example, I’m married to a Filipino, and while both of our countries were conquered by Spain, our cultures are very different- not just in the food we eat, the languages we speak but even in the way we enjoy parties.  While I’ve been brought up to move every furniture in the living room to make room to dance at a house party, at my husband’s Filipino parties we make sure everyone has a shot at the microphone as the main event is karaoke- regardless of gender, age or your talent at singing. Thank goodness I like to sing!

So, what happens when my parents visit my in-laws? Since most of the songs are in English or Tagalog (language spoken in the Philippines) my parents enjoy singing the few songs that are available in Spanish such as “La Cucaracha” and “Las Mañanitas” in front of everyone – it’s hilarious!

An even funnier experience happened to Alex, a Latino who’s cultural difference is seen when he went to  meet his American girlfriend’s mom for the first time and the regular hello kiss was interpreted a little bit different…check out as he shares his ‘Mundo’ with us (it’s in Spanish):

While these examples can be pretty funny and quite memorable, this is becoming more common in the U.S. than in the past and I have a feeling the new Census numbers will be a good indicator of that. In fact, a recent Pew Research Center study indicates that one in seven new U.S. marriages are interracial or interethnic with a record of 14.6% in 2008. Among all newlyweds in 2008, 9% of whites, 16% of blacks, 26% of Hispanics and 31% of Asians married someone whose race or ethnicity was different from their own. That’s a lot of mixed marriages especially among White-Hispanic couples who account for about four-in-ten (41%) of such new marriages according to the same study.

So, when we say that America is composed of a General Market we should really start re-thinking what this General Market will look like in the near future as more and more ethnicities/races continue to inter-mingle and create an America that isn’t as black and white and brown as it may be seen today.

  1. […] To read entire article click here. Liliana @Latinminds […]

    • yes thats right lili! i prefer to use the term Total Market and am pushing for dialogue on “cross-over” marketing, what that looks/feels like and the evolution of acculturation models, particularly in how second cultures influence the primary culture. it goes both ways, but we seem to focus more on the direction toward assimilation. why is that? in particular, i like that you mention the cultural differences in partying (fun example and it illustrates the point perfectly). this is such a timely topic. nice one!!!

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