Tag: cultural values


Plot Twist

My wife is pregnant.

Yes, it’s pretty great news.

Our daughter is due in January. We’ve never been parents, so by next summer, I’ll be one of those annoying first-time fathers who believes the most important thing in the world is his baby’s capacity for drool. Just wait, I’ll be blogging about it day and night. This may cut into the readership of the 19.3 million mommy bloggers out there, so I apologize in advance for usurping their authority.

But with all the hectic preparation for the child’s arrival, and careful time set aside for crippling self-doubt and solipsistic panic attacks, I’ve barely had time to ponder the political ramifications of this kid. That has to change.

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Just Hanging on the Hacienda

As we all know, Hispanic culture has contributed much to the United States. A quick glance at the artistic, political, and social makeup of the nation confirms that Latinos are prime instigators when it comes to plotting the direction of the country.

Many of our new values have their roots in Latin America. However, there is one concept from the old world that should not be welcome here. Ironically, it is U.S. powerbrokers — people unlikely to be Latino — who are most clamoring for it to gain a foothold in this country.

I’m talking about the encomienda system, which hasn’t formally existed for hundreds of years, but which has never really gone away. Briefly, the encomienda system was set up by the Spanish Conquistadors, who divided Latin America among themselves. An encomienda was a land grant that gave a Spaniard property rights over Indian labor. Basically, the conquistador got a hacienda and indentured servants to make him rich.

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No More Getting Pushed Around

When I was a kid, my mother provoked a controversy in our neighborhood by demanding more funding for local schools. She even got in the mayor’s face about it during a public hearing.

Our neighbors, as well as the people who went to our church, were scandalized. It wasn’t that anyone disagreed with her about the pathetic state of the schools. No, what caused them to whisper among themselves was the fact that she had spoken up about it.

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Is There a Doctor in La Casa?

I’m not a stereotypical guy in at least one respect: When I’m sick, I go to the doctor.

There’s none of this macho “I’m only coughing up blood; it will go away” kind of denial for me. I want to know what’s wrong.

This trait may be rare among males, but it’s even less common among Latinos. We know, for example, that fewer Hispanics crowd into emergency rooms than other ethnicities, despite what you may have heard about ERs going bankrupt because of undocumented Latinos overrunning them.

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Two Positives and a Negative

Previously, I’ve written about the ironclad grasp of family in Latino culture. Once again, I’m not arguing that Scandinavians and Belgians and Koreans don’t love their families. I’m just asserting that Hispanics often prioritize family to a level that majority-culture America may find extreme.

After all, the whole idea of sending grandma to the old folks’ home when she gets to be inconvenient is not a Latino tradition. Similarly, it wasn’t Hispanic politicians who hijacked the term “family values” to justify why they hated certain groups of people (although many Latinos were only too happy to adopt that definition after the fact; but that’s another post).

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