The first level of acculturation model is the Unacculturated Hispanic or as we refer to them: The Anchored and Nostalgic. Here’s a glimpse into their world…
Rolando, 42 years old, grew up in a small town outside of Guadalajara, Mexico. Six years ago, he moved to the United States with his wife and three small children in hopes of securing a good job and providing his children with a better education. He rents an apartment in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood, and works as a cook in a nearby restaurant where fluent English is not required.
Rolando’s identity is firmly anchored in his home country and he spends much of his time among people like himself who are from Latin American nations and who exclusively speak Spanish. Living in the U.S. can be complicated for Rolando and when he needs services or is unsure of how to handle a situation, he heavily relies on his friends for advice and guidance. This is how he and his friends collectively navigate the system that can seem so difficult and alienating.
Rolando is nostalgic for his home country and is constantly seeking ways to stay connected to his roots. Rolando and his wife maintain many of the customs they grew up with, passing these along to their children. The family celebrates all Mexican holidays, cooks mostly traditional foods and is avid fans of the national soccer team. Rolando prefers to consume all media in Spanish, including T.V., newspapers and searching the web. Keeping in touch with loved ones in Mexico is a top priority for Rolando. He typically calls his extended family using a calling card once a week and tries to visit once a year.
Rolando’s wife handles the majority of the shopping for the family. She is extremely brand loyal and tends to buy household items and groceries at the neighborhood bodega or at Super Wal-mart for bigger shops. The family also favors Kmart and Sears for clothing, electronics, and home furnishings. Rolando, though not a big shopper, enjoys browsing Home Depot and purchasing items to fix up his family’s apartment. He and his wife don’t have much, but they take great pride in what they do have.
Rolando recognizes that he is excluded from a lot of things in the United States because he doesn’t speak English, but he is working on changing that by taking language classes and practicing. He knows that the effort and sacrifices he makes now will benefit his children and that they have greater opportunities as a result.
Stay tuned for Part II of “A Lesson in Acculturation,” focusing on the Spanish Dominant Bicultural Hispanic: The Cultural Nomads.
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