The children of those parents and grandparents who have immigrated here to the United States are between two worlds. One world is their cultural heritage of their parents and grandparents and the world that they have been raised in, the United States. It seems that the young generation does not have that anchor to their past and so they grow up without the full knowledge of their language and heritage. My thoughts turn to the Cubans who, though they love their country very much, struggled to make it to the United States for a better life for themselves and their children and children’s children. If Cuba’s government improves for the better and allows those who have escaped back in, will today’s Cuban-American children find it a culture shock if given the chance to go back to the island of their parents’ and grandparents’? I’m sure they have read about it in books, watched it on television or have been told by their older family members throughout their lives, but to actually experience it in person will be totally different.
For those marketing to this generation, they have to be really careful how they communicate with them, they need to research the best way to capture not only their Latino heritage but the American one as well. For those who are deeply attached to our heritage, how can we encourage the children to keep it? I know some communities offer festivals and fairs that link to their Latin American culture. Universities and colleges offer Latin American studies that will enlighten those of their Latino past, I know it has for me when I took Latin American Studies at the University of Texas at Dallas, it made me realized how diverse we are and it also strengthened my love of my Puerto Rico. I always make an effort to visit, at least once a year. In fact, early this year, my family and I took my 4 year old nephew to see his Puerto Rican family for the first time and it was just heart warming to see them embrace him like he never left. My nephew is fluent in both English and Spanish, something that will benefit him in the future as the Latino population continues to grow in the United States. However, it’s up to us to maintain our original culture and pass it on to the next generation so it will never be lost.
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