South And Central American Culture

Differences between Latinos and African Americans

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The differences between Latinos and African-Americans are many, not the least of which is the cultural aspect of their presence in America. Black Americans are truly a transplanted group from their points of origin in Africa, while Latinos may have varying degrees of Indian blood, and actually be indigenous to regions presently called the United States of America.

Cultural differences arise from the generations of black Americans whose family units were ripped apart by the slave trade which caused their emigration from Africa. The family units were further damaged through the generations of living in slavery. The generations of black families since the abolition of slavery have never recovered the tightly knit family unit that may be observed within the Latino community.

While many within the Negro population never felt a part of the "new world" that America represented, the Latino population to a large extent feel that they are the rightful descendants of the Indians who once roamed, and owned that which we call America. Those Latinos who lack Indian blood are descendants of European families of Spanish origin. These light-skinned Latinos who trace their families to Spain feel immediate comfort in the company of other European immigrants who populated America.

A second area of great difference between the two ethnic groups lies in areas of religion. Most of the Latin American countries are populated by people whose religious predisposition is Christian, being Roman Catholics. As such, their moral compasses are in tune with most other Christians. The immigrants from Africa had no dominant church affiliation, and many had very different moral values from those found in America. Many converted to Christianity in one form or another, but retained some of the "old" ways of their native villages.

The competition for jobs, and competition at social levels have caused many areas of friction between the two ethnic groups. A micro-vision of the problems is visible within our prison systems. There are gangs composed of blacks, and infamous gangs of Latinos. Basically, they fear each other to the degree that violence is the norm between them. They are prime examples of two groups that truly don't willingly co-exist.

Striking differences between Latinos, and Blacks is obvious. This explains the "turf wars" which are common in urban areas where uneasy neighborhoods erupt in violence with great frequency. In a perfect world this would not be so, but no one lately has promised us that this is a perfect world!

More about this author: Bob Schmidt

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