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I never really understood that I was any different than my Caucasian friends because we really weren’t.
We lived in the same neighborhood, went to the same school, and our parents had similar jobs.
Although I sometimes feel confused as to which world I belong to, there’s no question I’m first and foremost an American; I’m the product of my Mexican grandparents’ American Dream, I’ve never been to Mexico (besides Cancun, where there are probably more American tourists than Mexicans) and I can’t say certain words in Spanish without revealing my obvious American accent.
Growing up, I always lived in predominantly Caucasian neighborhoods in states that have very low Hispanic populations, thus the majority of my friends throughout my life have been Caucasian.
Even though I sometimes face confusion about my cultural identity, I know that, after all, America is a melting pot.
This debate within myself is the product of being fed the incessant mantra that we are truly a multicultural and diverse nation, and I’m sure Mexican-Americans aren’t the only ones in this country who experience this self-reflection.
One characteristic that is of paramount importance in most Hispanic cultures is family commitment, which involves loyalty, a strong support system, a belief that a child's behavior reflects on the honor of the family, a hierarchical order among siblings, and a duty to care for family members.
This strong sense of other-directedness conflicts with the United States' mainstream emphasis on individualism (Vasquez, 1990).
Indeed, Hispanic culture's emphasis on cooperation in the attainment of goals can result in Hispanic students' discomfort with this nation's conventional classroom competition.
Hispanic adolescents are more inclined than Anglo adolescents to adopt their parents' commitment to religious and political beliefs, occupational preferences, and lifestyle (Black et al., 1991).