Latino Assimilation to American Culture Essay

1306 Words Dec 15th, 2013 6 Pages
Latino Culture: The Struggle with the American ‘Melting Pot’
The year is 1776. In an act of defiance of the oppressive rule of the powerful nation of Great Britain, the political leaders of the British-American colonies sign into existence the United States of America. Even before this inception of the United States, North America had been seen as a place where one could move to start a new life and reap the full rewards for one’s work. These opportunities combined with the new United States government founded on the ideals of freedom and equity have attracted countless families from all over the world, making the United States truly a country of immigrants. Immigrants from European nations coming to America both assimilated and helped
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One such scholar is Pedro Pietri, a Puerto Rican who came to New York with his family. Pietri’s family was one of thousands to move to New York in the nineteen-forties seeking wealth and a slice of the ‘American dream’. Pietri’s first and most significant piece, “Puerto Rican Obituary” gave a profound insight into what life was like for the so called Nuyoricans. Nuyoricans were considered second class citizens and mostly worked in jobs that required unskilled labor (Velez, 193). This was in part due to the fact that most Puerto Ricans coming to New York lacked skills which made them employable, but mostly because cheap migrant labor was easy for New York businesses to take advantage of. In response many Nuyorican workers would do everything they could to imitate their white counterparts, because they associated the white culture with success. Part of the poem, “Puerto Rican Obituary” exemplifies this, “They are dead and will not return from the dead until they stop neglecting the art of their dialogue for broken English lessons to impress the mister goldsteins” (Pietri, 217).
In many cases parents would make their children adopt white culture as well with the hope that they will have the lives they themselves could not. Veronica Chambers is a Latinegra, or dark skinned Latina, who grew up in America and is now an accomplished writer in Latin American Studies. To all appearances Veronica was another African American growing up in Brooklyn and as a child she was

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