When comparing Latin culture to American, there are a few things that Americans do every day that they may not realize that are so different than Hispanic/Spanish people. Latina Author Lucila Ortiz Smith pointed out a long list of them. For example, when it comes to the personal space of Americans, she noticed that many of them don’t like people within an arm’s length of their bodies, while Hispanic/Latino people are the direct opposite, and are more inviting towards someone being that close to them (Smith 2014). Another thing she pointed out was the way that people greet each other in American fashion when compared to Latino. In her opinion, being Latino herself, she noticed that when Americans greet each other they prefer a firm handshake, while many people of Latin heritage will normally give a more gentle handshake, and may follow it up with a hug and a kiss on the cheek.
A personal sense of control is also a trait she pointed out, in that Americans believe they are in control and that change is good, while many Spanish/Hispanic/Latino people believe more in destiny, and that change can actually disrupt harmony.
Latin/Hispanic citizens’ positive effect on America
According to InterExchange, there are three States in the U.S. that are home to more than half of the Latin/Hispanic Americans in the country. Those States are California, Texas, and Florida (InterExchange 2016), but the influence of Latin culture goes far beyond these areas. For example, the food of Latin culture has been enjoyed by Americans for decades. Tacos, tamales, tortillas, and similar items are now infused into American culture because of popular restaurants like Taco Bell. Of course this is not the only restaurant in the U.S. that makes these Latin cuisine items famous, and there are lots more other than the aforementioned corn-based foods, such as the well-loved condiments pico de gallo, salsa, and guacamole..
Still, the most dominant difference in many cases when comparing American to Latin culture is the language. According to World Atlas, English is definitely the most dominant language in the United States, with over 231 million people who speak it. But, Spanish is right behind English at number two, with well over 37 million people who speak the tongue (World Atlas 2016). Still, it is not only people of Latin heritage who speak Spanish, and research shows that more Americans who are not of Hispanic descent are learning it.
According to Pew Research’s Fact Tank, 37.6 million people over the age of five speak Spanish at home, and 2.8 million of those folks are non-Hispanics (Gonzalez-Barerra and Lopez 2013). And, if things keep going in the direction that they have been in recent decades, there will be lots more non-Hispanic Spanish-speaking families in the U.S.
in the coming years. From the year 1980 up to 2012, there was an increase of 5% to 12% of the U.S. population that spoke Spanish (InterExchange 2016). WorldOmeters puts the current US population at 325,102, 343 as of 2016 (WorldOMeters 2016).
More Latin/Hispanic comparisons to Americans
Abasto ran one article that suggests that if a person could simply remember a few specific character traits about Latino/Hispanic people, then the differences between they and the average American could be easily identified. One of the traits was the degree of intimacy of Latinos compared to Americans, in that Hispanics tend to be more open and/or friendlier (Torno 2015). Other ones were the recognition of the presence of others (eye contact and authentic conversation and Latinos valuing it more), social harmony (Latinos having more trouble separating troubling business relationships from the personal one they have with an individual), personal space (being that it is common for Latinos and Hispanics be closer to each other physically than the average American would consider comfortable), and respect for authority (Latinos generally having more than Americans). #Latinculture #Latinheritage #speakspanish