Hispanic Children: Pioneers For Cultural Change

Cecilia Yanez

Abstract


Hispanic children across the United States, but more specifically in Watauga County, North Carolina, are serving as cultural pioneers for their people. Through a recent phenomenon known as Cultural Diglossia, Hispanic youth are creating a new and unique culture evolving from the two most prominent cultures they experience in their day to day life: American and Hispanic. These youth have taken elements, such as traditions, customs, and languages from both cultures and combined them to create their current cultural standing. As if they have one hand in American culture and one hand in Hispanic culture, Hispanic youth have then taken part in cultural diglossia. Out of cultural diglossia comes a process known as selective assimilation. The Hispanic youth flourish in selective assimilation because it allows them to adapt to a variety of experiences they encounter regularly. For example, most Watauga County public schools have less than a two percent Hispanic population; on another note, many Hispanic families in Watauga County are often immigrants or contain parents whom are immigrants that come to this particular region to work in one of the abundant Christmas tree farms. Children in these Hispanic families encounter a very American lifestyle while at school, by associating with mostly white Americans, speaking only English and partaking in typical American customs. However, being immigrants or American-born children of immigrants, the term “selective” assimilation is almost unfitting, because in order for these children to be able to function in the widely varied aspects of their day, they have no choice but to “select” assimilation into whichever culture stands in front of them. After various interviews with Watauga County Public School employees, as well as the director of a local medical program working to serve Hispanics of all immigration statuses, children clearly create a cultural life for themselves, much different than the culture of their parents and older Hispanic generations, as well as the culture embraced by their American peers and neighbors. With a recent rise in Hispanics across the United States, most Americans are realizing that its not simply children who are our future, but instead it is Hispanic children. With the recent cultural accomplishments made by these Hispanic children, the support from Americans of various ethnicities will propel the United States into a better future.


Keywords


Hispanic, Children, Culture

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