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Hispanic and West Indies Culture

Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD
for U. S. Senate Florida 2016
Citizen for a Better America (CFABA)

Hispanic and West Indies Culture
Because I feel strongly about all Americans understanding other cultures, I have written this paper. In this paper, I will discuss the Hispanic culture on child rearing practices and customs, gender identity, health care practices and customs, and the role of religion/spirituality and I will compare and contrast these with and other West Indies Countries. It is also important to read other articles such as http://www.cfabamerica.com/ethical-dilemma-in-modern-society , http://www.cfabamerica.com/project-bring-jobs-home-made-in-america , http://www.cfabamerica.com/h-r-25-fair-tax-act-of-2011 .
The culture systems may have different beliefs between cultures. Whatever a culture believes forms the foundation of that culture. Child rearing practice changes from culture to culture and what may seem unusual in one culture may be perfectly fitting to another. Each culture raises their children differently so that the child can achieve his or her goals according to the culture of the parent.
Hispanic population has displayed tremendous growth in the United States and is one of the fastest growing populations. According to Matsumoto and Juang (2013), the Latinos population constitutes 15.1% (U S Census Bureau, 2005-2006). Miller and Washington (2013) found that 308.7 million people resided in the United States in April 2010, of which 50.5 million (or 16%) were of Hispanic or Latino origin (p. 223). According to Quinlan (2010) the Common Wealth of Dominica as an example, are bilingual in Creole English and French Creole. Its population is approximately 68, 000 and is of mixed African, European (French and English) and American (Island-Carib or Kalinago) descent (p. 2). There is no population census for Carib in America which I believe is an oversight of our census.
The Hispanic parent embraces the interdependence. The extended family is important to them. The Bible says, that God said, the man has now become like one of us (Genesis 3:22). The Trinity shows an example of interdependence. Perez Rivera and Dunsmore (2011) noted that “Latino populations have a tendency to emphasize group conformity, repeat, and harmonies social interactions” (p. 325). The Latinos is a collective culture, and they work in groups.
Child rearing practices and customs
First, I examined the cultural value of West Indies and Mexican mothers of preschoolers, and Durand (2011) found that “respect, family, and religion were the most important values that mothers sought to transmit to their children, and education is another consistent Latino child rearing goal that has been described in the literature on Latino parenting” (p. 258). The Latinos have good family values, and they grow close to each other and takes care of their parent when they get old. Likewise in the West Indies, mothers applauded to support a child’s demonstration of respect. Though parents are loving, they are also stern. For example, if children don’t show respect to their elderly, they would be held reliable for the consequences of their wrong behavior. Therefore, this may result in punishment such as sending the child to his/her room and they must stay there until the parent gives the consent to leave the room. The Families of West Indies are also a collective culture as the Hispanic. As a collective culture people work together and help make educational decisions for the group. Parents demonstrate good ethical behaviors such as fairness, equality and dignity.
Durand (2011) discussed research that examines parenting among the Latino families with strengths based perspective, that describes and have the capability to adapt, culturally, relevant view of practice that promote healthy child outcomes is critical. In the Mexican family, the mothers have been described as the primary socialization agent responsible for maintaining cultural beliefs, values, structuring the family environment, and to support and maintain those values, women’s status rises when they become mothers, due to the belief among Mexican Americans. Their belief is, maternal love is greater and more sacred than spousal love (p. 256).
Bermudez and Stinson (2011) discuss conflict resolution unfortunately, cross-cultural studies related to Conflict Resolution (CR) among intimate partner relationships are scarce, especially as they relates to Latino couples living in the United States. Through the present study, the authors introduce findings from newly formed CR styles adapted for Latino couples, examining the roles of gender and culture (p. 72). Bermudez, and Stinson further noted Latinos represent 23 countries in North, Central, and South America and the Caribbean and are considered a heterogeneous ethnic group in the United States with a multitude of contextual factors creating vastly different immigration experiences. Considering if a Latino is an immigrant in the United States or not is important to note because being either native or foreign born will generate vastly different experiences and world views affecting communication and family life. Language is also a critical and essential aspect of Latinos’ experience in the United States. For immigrants, not being fluent in English can be a stressor due to experiences of marginalization, discrimination, and lower upward mobility. The United States native born Latinos, not being fluent in Spanish can be stressful and cause shame and family conflict, given that the Spanish language is what most commonly unifies Latinos and anchors their ethnic and collective identity. Language also enables the Latinos to maintain aspects of their original culture and extend into the new culture and across generations, as well as to connect thoughts and emotions to cultural heritage (p. 74).
Traditionally, fortunately in the West Indies they are bilingual so the transition is more of a culture shock then language barrier. Lenik (2012) noted through a multisite approach restricted to a region of the Common Wealth of Dominica, an island that people known as Carib have inhabited continuously since 1492, archaeological testing between 2005 and 2007 demonstrates that the Carib label obscures heterogeneity among native peoples of West Indies (p. 81).
Gender identity
Gender identity is another way of one’s perception awareness of their belonging to a particular gender role. Health care practices and customs can work together with Spirituality and religion. Spirituality is a set of beliefs and practices related to the issue of what is veiled beyond one’s comprehension, whereas Matsumoto and Juang (2013) suggested, religion ties together cultures’ attitudes, values, belief, the things of the world. Both Spirituality and religion can sometimes work with health care practices. Durand (2011) found that Mexican American mother are primary caregivers and fathers the sole disciplinarians is changing, due to mothers’ increasing participation in the labor force, which may influence traditional patriarchal family structures and roles. Views on gender roles around parenting suggest that more complex dynamics are evolving. Although a patriarchal view of gender roles persists among Mexican Americans, factors such as decision making are often shared by the parents, or involve a process in which the mother commands much authority, contributing to a more advocate gender relationship (p. 256). This same trend is also more prevalent now in America with increasing negative consequence of one parent family.
Matsumoto and Juang (2013) noted that “the differences in parenting styles and child rearing provide learning platforms for child that allow them to achieve developmental goals foster by their particular cultures” (p. 87). Many of these styles later changes the multimedia such as television.
When an immigrant comes to the USA they find it difficult to adapt to the different religions. In the West Indies as well as Hispanics the main religion is Catholic.
Health care practices and customs
Strunk, Townsend-Rocchiccioli and Sanford (2013) found that aging of America and the explosion of Hispanic immigrants into the United States are causing a tremendous burden to the health care system. The challenges already apparent in an overburdened health care system are examined, and useful strategies for health care providers are offered. The significant challenges facing the Hispanic population are presented, and the need for cultural sensitivity and its importance in providing culturally competent, patient-relevant care and health disadvantage, rates of mental health problems among Hispanics and other ethnoracial minorities. Strunk and et al., further discussed that neighborhood social environments shaped and perpetuate health disparities, beyond the influence of individual sociodemographic characteristics, and its economic disadvantage is associated with poorer self-rated health, and poorer mental health, including more depressive. In this regards, the explosion of immigration of the Hispanic population into the United States in recent years has placed considerable challenges on a health care system that is chronically overburdened and inadequate (pp. 45-46). The elimination of the IRS and passing HR 25 http://www.cfabamerica.com/h-r-25-fair-tax-act-of-2011 , will help to solve this problem in addition a 1% sales tax to help pay for Medicaid
Rios, Aiken and Zautra (2012) found that homogenous ethnic neighborhoods are linked to positive physical and mental health among Hispanics. Residents of high density Mexican American and Cuban American neighborhoods reported better health than those in low-density neighborhoods of similar SES. Within similar socio economic geographic areas, older Mexican Americans in ethnically homogeneous neighborhoods reported higher self-rated health than those in more diverse neighborhoods and teen birth rates among Latinas were lower in communities high in social capital. However, cohesion among ethnic enclaves may be coupled with social exclusion in the wider community. The question of how ethnic composition relates to aspects of social cohesion warrants further clarification, and neighborhood processes relating social cohesion to physical and mental health may lead to a greater understanding of how neighborhoods the contexts in which we live and work, thrive, and endure favor the health of some above others, and life in the USA is supplied with social and economic inequalities. In this same article they mentioned that, Health disparities have been increasingly well documented for ethnic minorities and the economically disadvantaged and racial and ethnic minorities in the USA achieve lower income and educational levels compared with non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanics consistently report poorer self-rated physical health compared to Whites (p. 50).
Ickes and Sharma (2012) stated considering the lack of physical activity among Hispanic American, and the associated barriers, the institute of medicine has expressed an urgent need to initiate intervention which influence obesity-related behaviors among diverse ethnic groups. In fact, Healthy People 2020 recommends increasing legislative policies for the built environment that enhance access to and availability of physical activity opportunities. Future interventions must attempt to combine such health promotion efforts to have a greater impact (p. 13). Quinlan (2010) noted that in some West Indies counties, there is a doctor available, but to get medical service few villagers own private automobiles, however, and rides are expensive and some-times difficult to arrange. Therefore all villagers rely heavily on traditional notions of illness and their corresponding home remedies a system locally called “bush medicine, and therefore, medical is expensive” (p. 2).
The role of religion/spirituality
Duarté-Vélez, Bernal and Bonilla (2010) discussed how spirituality or religion is another important value in many Latino families, the Judeo-Christian tradition being the most prominent, and traditional religion views same-sex relationships as wrong or evil. To develop a healthy sexual identity, sexual minorities within a conservative religious tradition may need to resolve a cognitive discord between two seemingly contradictory identities. For Latino youth who highly value family acceptance and conventional religion, this inconsistency is particularly critical. Latinos in their coming out process may fear hurting family members by coming out. Being silent about their sexual orientation could be a way of protecting parents and other family members, which, for men, is compatible with the values of manhood (p. 897). Lenik (2012) viewed during the posi-Columbia period, that the Common Wealth of Dominica natives’ as a heterogeneous people who experienced many changes after generations of encounter with European, African, nonlocal Amerindian, and Creole peoples, and the natives believed in natural remedies rather than conventional” (p.82).
Duarté-Vélez, et al. (2010) discussed Evidence Base Treatment (EBT) can be applied for the Latinos with integrity to the core components of the treatment and also with flexibility to the uniqueness of client characteristics. At times, the use of EBT and the consideration of the culture, context, and singularity of the person are framed as antagonistic positions. This case represents an integration of these two positions within the context of a clinical trial where it was possible to individualize the treatment and yet maintain fidelity to the protocol. Yet, beyond the consideration of cultural issues related to the manual, it was possible to individualize the treatment to the special needs of the client. (p. 904). Gillum and Griffith (2010) found that those Americans trace their ancestry to Mexico, where Native American health beliefs blended with Spanish folk medicine and Roman Catholic teachings. Upon encountering western medicine, belief in spiritual causation and treatment of illness may persist in parallel with utilization of allopathic medicine so that prayer and other spiritual practices may retain great importance, and Mexican society is less individualistic than US society, with greater involvement of extended family and others in healing practices including prayer (p. 284).
Caplan, Paris, Whittemore, et al. (2011) and Desai, Dixon, Alvidrez, Scahill, et al. (2011) suggested most Latinos engage in prayer daily and God is an active, intimate, presence in one’s day to-day life, and traditionally, the religious affiliation of individuals in Latin American countries has been closely linked to the influence of Catholicism that came with Spanish colonization. Caplan et al., further stated religiosity and perceptions about mental illness there is abundant evidence to suggest that religiosity and spirituality may play a significant role in the mental health and health outcomes related to Latino (p. 590). Quinlan (2010) mentioned that 77% of residents in Common Wealth of Dominica are Catholics as in most West Indies cultures, and prayer is a traditional coping mechanism such as a way to cope with depression, including exercise aerobics (p. 9).
Caplan et al. (2011) noted clinical and public health implications to provide culturally-competent services, primary care providers should consider integrating religious and spiritual practices into health interventions in order to promote overall well-being. The most common in Mexican culture, is curanderismo, a form of Hispanic folk medicine associated with spiritual healing and the maintenance of harmony and balance with nature. Providers need to be aware of and discuss the patient’s belief systems for the patient who acknowledges having a mental health problem, but does not specifically label it as depression, the provider should elicit the patient’s definition of the problem and reflect the patient’s illness label, rather than impose a diagnostic category of depression. Instead, one needs to convey acceptance of these beliefs and at the same time offer hope, encourage self-efficacy, and strengthen the patient’s coping resources. In terms of public health interventions, level of literacy is a key factor that most likely distinguishes participants with less than an eighth-grade education from those with greater education in terms of causal beliefs (p. 605).

According to Caplan et al. (2011) who summarizes it best when they write, public health campaigns to increase knowledge about depression among this population would therefore entail use of media, such as radio and television for public service announcements. The lay community health advocates could be employed to inform people of biomedical concepts of depression and serve as liaisons with the community and religious institutions (p. 605). If more emphasis was placed on integration rather than migration there would be a decrease of major health issue of people. The multi-culture make up of American as Hispanics become the majority, will soon change our view of their beliefs, and the Hispanic culture will influence the American way of life. The Hispanic communities have already been more vocal, and marriages between other cultures will have a causation effect.
In conclusion, the Bible discussed how “the wolf will dwell with the lamb, and the leopard will lie down with the young goat and the calf and the young lion and the fatling together; and a little boy will lead them. Also the cow and the bear will graze, their young will lie down together, and the lion will eat straw like the ox. The nursing child will play by the hole of the cobra, and the weaned child will put his hand on the viper’s den. They will not hurt or destroy in all My holy mountain, For the earth will be full of the knowledge of the Lord As the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:6-9, NASB). As we move into the future we will see the continued assimilation of race, creed color and religion. Once this is accepted, what is currently considered chaos, will be one normal practice. It is important to note America was once made up of the majority of European then Asian, and soon the Hispanic will outnumber both. With the changing of immigration laws and the tax structure, there will have a greater number of people immigrating to America. My experience is that the interaction with the peers and learning from each other helps form a new understanding between cultures.

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Charles Frederick Tolbert EdD
for U. S. Senate Florida 2016
Citizen for a Better America (CFABA)

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