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Latina Lista: News from the Latinx perspective > Culture > New Poll Forces an Examination of What Defines American Culture

New Poll Forces an Examination of What Defines American Culture

LatinaLista — A poll of 1,200 likely voters conducted last month by Rasmussen Reports, revealed that 59% of them believed that American society was “fair and decent.”
What this poll underscores, and one we always seem to forget to understand, is that the people being surveyed are only speaking for themselves. If one doesn’t experience discrimination, it doesn’t exist as far as they are concerned.

The flaw of polls is when media and others interpret the results to make it sound like a blanket statement of truth for all Americans.
Well, there’s no way that city officials in Texas’ Rio Grande Valley would agree that American society is being particularly fair or decent with them.
They are showing the federal government what happens when the government refuses to play fair.


Homeland Security is still butting heads with the residents of the Rio Grande Valley over building the fence between Texas and Mexico.
Even after two months of non-stop weekday and weekend protests and symbolic gestures of solidarity with Mexican border officials, Homeland Security still refuses to see it any other way but their own.
So, now border mayors are staging their own silent protest — they’re not granting federal workers and Border Patrol officials access to city properties to build the fences. The mayors have other alternatives that they say are just as viable in accomplishing the goal of any physical eyesore, but the government doesn’t want to hear it.
The outrage that exists along the Texas-Mexico border is from the idea that outsiders, who don’t know or appreciate what living a bicultural life entails, would come in and not just disrupt it, but severely impact it.
Yet, the government isn’t the only one insensitive to biculturalism.
Remember that poll? Seventy-six percent said anyone who moves to the United States should adopt American culture.
But what is American culture, other than speaking English?
Immigrants, undocumented and legal, are overflowing English as a Second Language classes to either perfect their English or build up their confidence levels enough to speak it in public. But what else is American culture?

Biculturalism fosters greater tolerance.
Baseball? Last I heard, Latino surnames practically dominate the sport, and let’s not forget that the country’s dream team, the Dallas Cowboys, has a Latino as their star quarterback.
So, we’re still left to ask, what is American culture?
Doing time in the military? Latinos have already proven that we go above and beyond when it comes to serving our country.
American culture for most Latinos is a bicultural existence that can’t have fences, physical or mental, trying to divide it.
All for a simple reason — one doesn’t survive without the other.

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Comment(20)

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 2, 2007 at 9:11 pm

    Building the fence has nothing to do with any bi-culturism. It has to do with our national security. Some people obviously don’t have their priorities straight.
    America is not bi-cultural per se but has it’s own identity. Anyone who has to ask, “what is American culture”, isn’t really an American then.

  • Avatar
    nezua limón xolagrafik-jonez
    October 3, 2007 at 9:19 am

    Some people don’t know how to write or speak without littering their comments with logical fallacies, outright falsities, empty rhetoric, straw men, and other forms of even less impressive confusion.
    Secondly, writing “per se” doesn’t make you either smart or correct. But giving the “its” an apostrophe before the “s” does tend to make you look a little silly, Frank.
    What I guess I don’t understand is how being a trollish antagonist is enough for some people. Don’t you yearn to break out into bigger vistas? Perhaps one day even write your own blog that exists just to trumpet idiocy and fear? But maybe you’re not actually a creator. Just a vandal.
    Clear the bridge, troll.

  • Avatar
    David O.
    October 3, 2007 at 9:39 am

    So Frank, what is American culture?

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 3, 2007 at 10:08 am

    American culture changes with what our government is able to convince our people is the right thing to do to push its agenda. In the 1950’s the culture was one of hiding underneath your desk at school as the sirens went off to keep you on your toes for the next atomic bomb attack. It changed again as people felt the need to protest the government on the war in Viet Name and that culture took it out on the returning GI by at times spitting in their face and calling them baby killers.
    It has changed again with the events of 9-11. Now our government is once again in an unpopular war and has defined immigrants coming into this country as being potential terrorist and a fence has to be built to stop the threat.
    Terrorism
    As defined by the FBI:
    The unlawful use of force or violence against persons or property to
    intimidate or coerce a Government, the civilian population, or any
    segment thereof, in furtherance of political or social objectives.
    I do not see many fitting this definition in the groups of children, poultry farm workers and day laborers that are being rounded up and deported.
    The American culture of today is once again to find a reason to duck under the table and find someone to blame for the misguided agenda of our government in this war. I think money and effort would be better spent on gathering intelligence by profiling those that are very public about hating us and doing what we need to do to stop them rather than using the terrorist card to fan this latest change in American culture. Illegal = Terrorist.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 3, 2007 at 2:45 pm

    I won’t reply to the person who called me a troll, obviously they can’t debate as a civil adult.
    Our culture has pretty much remained consistant since it’s founding. It has been a melting pot while still retaining the main ingredients in the pot. Some people today however, resent the main ingredient and would prefer we become a salad bowl instead or even change the flavor of the stew altogether. These same people have no problem however with Mexico for example being adamant about retaining it’s culture, language and heritage as the dominant one. Hypocrisy?
    miguel, none of the things you mentioned has anything to do with this country’s culture. You must not know what the meaning of culture is. It is likely with a porous border that there are terrorists entering our country illegally but no one is calling those looking for work, terrorists. A fence must be built to keep out both from entering our country illegally along with the drug dealers too.

  • Avatar
    David O.
    October 3, 2007 at 5:26 pm

    “Our culture has pretty much remained consistant (sic) since it’s founding.”
    For the white people I’m sure that is true, but not for the brown ones who lived here first.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 3, 2007 at 5:28 pm

    Frank,
    A basic description of culture is : A particular society at a particular time and place.
    The things I mentioned were and are relevant to my social circle and to the times mentioned. You seem to have settled on a main ingredient that is being somehow diluted by the influx of people from ‘other’ cultures. What is the culture that is made up from what you consider to be main ingredients? You appear to be old enough to have been around in the times I mentioned but you say society in your culture was not affected by the events of the time. After the culture of fear created by world powers after WWII we moved into the stirring speech by JFK when he announced the missiles in Cuba. I joined the service at that time because my culture of having lived in fear for close to 15 years was coming through and it had to stop. History knows the rest. What was happening to your main ingredients during these times. Isolated or standing up?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 4, 2007 at 8:45 am

    David, it doesn’t matter who was here first on this continent. Once the U.S. government was established in this nation, we took on an identity, culture and a mainstream language. language. Why complain when the “brown” people have Mexico and all of Latin and South America? Do you actually need the whole North American continent? White people came over from Europe and created this great nation and now we should turn it over to someone else?
    miguel, you still don’t have a clue what culture means. It is about a society’s social identity, language, customs, moral values, mode of dress, food choices,etc. You aren’t even close with your description.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 4, 2007 at 12:17 pm

    Frank wrote:
    miguel, you still don’t have a clue what culture means. It is about a society’s social identity, language, customs, moral values, mode of dress, food choices,etc. You aren’t even close with your description.
    Frank, It seems as if your main ingredient is showing and it is going in circles. Enough of this pissing contest.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 4, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Pissing contest? That is the correct definition of what a country’s culture is.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 4, 2007 at 8:55 pm

    Frank said: “Pissing contest? That is the correct definition of what a country’s culture is.”
    My culture it is one of seeking truth and understanding by listening to both sides of an issue not by just trying to be top dog. Your culture is different than mine. The sad part, it is the same country caught in the middle of this ‘culture’ clash.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 5, 2007 at 8:09 am

    Again, culture is language, customs, mode of dress, a set of moral and religious beliefs, ethnic foods and social identity.
    Most people of any culture can listen to both sides of the story and decide for themselves what is right and what is the truth. I don’t know what culture you practice but it certainly isn’t unique in that way. Are you accusing Americans or more to the point, White Americans of not being able to do that?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 5, 2007 at 8:14 am

    Here is another point. I have listened to your side of the issue and I still don’t understand it or agree with it. You have heard my side of the issue and you disagree with me also. How does that make me acting like “top dog” but you are not?

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 5, 2007 at 8:49 am

    Franks posts with points taken:
    Again, culture is language, my languages are English and Spanish
    customs, additional to American Holidays we hold special remembrance of our dead on Nov 1 and 2. Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead)
    mode of dress, I prefer jeans and boots with light colored cotton shirt.
    a set of moral and religious beliefs, follow the teachings of the Catholic religion to the T. Each to his own beliefs as provided for in our US Constitution .
    ethnic foods and social identity. Food of preference is the typical Mexican food from all parts of the US. Loaded with seafood and local favorites. Nothing against hamburgers and such either. Or hot dogs at a baseball game. The social part for a large part revolves around food as well. Brings the families together.
    Most people of any culture can listen to both sides of the story and decide for themselves what is right I agree but would add “Decide what is wrong”
    and what is the truth. The truth comes from doing the above.
    I don’t know what culture you practice but it certainly isn’t unique in that way. Correct Frank!
    Are you accusing Americans I do not accuse Americans because I am one. Maybe not one like you would like but one just the same. I believe if we are cut we will bleed the same color.
    or more to the point, White Americans of not being able to do that? The race card from you Frank?
    Here is another point. I have listened to your side of the issue and I still don’t understand it or agree with it. That is the right of us both.
    You have heard my side of the issue and you disagree with me also. Not on all points as noted above but on some of the open issues , yes..
    How does that make me acting like “top dog” but you are not? It doesn’t. I am just as guilty as you of doing it by even responding here, but it broke you out of “ The law is the law mantra drum beat you have been on.” At least this once.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 5, 2007 at 9:11 am

    Frank wrote
    “Most people of any culture can listen to both sides of the story and decide for themselves what is right and what is the truth. I don’t know what culture you practice but it certainly isn’t unique in that way. Are you accusing Americans or more to the point, White Americans of not being able to do that?”
    The only thing that the point of “decide for themselves what is right and what is the truth.” To this I add decide what if right and what is WRONG.
    On the accusing Americans point, that is a dead issue. I am also an American.
    On the “more to the point, White Americans” Here is where you seem to be getting stirred up. You are trying to make this a race issue by playing the race card. Shame on you Frank!

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 5, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    This culture thing that seems to be such a heavy hitter. Does my desire to have Mariachi at my funeral to celebrate my short time here, a part of my culture? Are we the only ones that understand it?

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 5, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    No, playing the race card is what you and yours do. I do not put white people above the law nor do I think they are superior to other races. You and yours on the other hand, think it ok for illegal aliens to enter our country and should be above the law just because they are ethniclally like you. Show me where I played the race card in favor of whites anywhere in this forum.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 5, 2007 at 9:57 pm

    miguel, I am glad you could finally define the word culture in the correct way by describing yours, unlike how you tried to define American culture a few posts back. Now you are getting it! If you want Mariachi at your funeral that’s your choice. I have no problem with that. Mariachi is a part of your culture.

  • Avatar
    miguel
    October 5, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    Again: Frank wrote:
    ++=
    miguel, I am glad you could finally define the word culture in the correct way by describing yours, unlike how you tried to define American culture a few posts back. Now you are getting it! If you want Mariachi at your funeral that’s your choice. I have no problem with that. Mariachi is a part of your culture.
    +++
    Frank, the point you seem to miss in your remark is that YOUR culture does not apply to all. It is not the only one that defines us as American. I am as much American as you, like it or not.
    “No, playing the race card is what you and yours do. I do not put white people above the law nor do I think they are superior to other races. You and yours on the other hand, think it ok for illegal aliens to enter our country and should be above the law just because they are ethniclally like you. Show me where I played the race card in favor of whites anywhere in this forum.”
    A quote from Frank above:
    “Are you accusing Americans or more to the point, White Americans of not being able to do that?” Read it again Frank. Your words. You seem to think that views that oppose yours come from ‘other than Americans”. How shallow or limited is your view of the world around you that refuses to engage in any discourse that might lead to resolutions?
    Yes, I do want Mariachi at my funeral. What have you planned for yours? What is your legacy going to be? Spit hate so that your life will not have something that can be held accountable? Hide in your narrow view of being a true American and bask in the failure of judging others by their ethnic makeup? Admit that you are racist and at least we have a starting point to understand your views. Until you admit to yourself what you are, we are again in “a pissing contest” with no one winning.

  • Avatar
    Frank
    October 6, 2007 at 8:03 am

    miguel, there are minority cultures in this country and then there is the mainstream culture. To say that your culture is mainstream is ridiculous. It is the culture of Mexico/Latin Americans. That doesn’t make you less of an American, however. You have the papers that say you are and so do I.
    You are miscontruing a reply I made to your remark as racism. You said that your culture seeks truth and understanding and I was saying that so do those from the anglo/white American culture. How is that racist? I wasn’t implying that you and those who think like you aren’t Americans also. Maybe I just didn’t clarify myself very well. Does that clear it up?
    There was no reason for your personal insults in your last paragraph. I do not spin hate. I stand by the laws of this country and common logic. I don’t judge people by their ethnic makeup. I judge them by their actions. Entering our country illegally is an unlawful action. Why do the pro-illegals have to accuse every American who is for the rule of law as being a racist? Tell me this, if someone like you advocates the illegal entry into our country just because they are ethnically like you, what does that make you?

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