Cultural Pluralism

Cultural Pluralism

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Immigration to the United States took place in 1962 from Ciudad Juarez Mexico. Members of the family consisted of a husband, a wife and two young boys ages one and four. The husband a skilled cobbler had a good grasp of the English language, although heavily accented. His knowledge of the language was centered around the necessity of business communication. Motivation for immigration was economics. The husband pursued an invitation from a shoe manufacturer to construct custom boots.
The family of four moved on to Oxnard California, a new city within a new country, amidst an unfamiliar wave of customs.. American customs were not all new to the husband. He was accustomed to crossing the U.S./Mexican Border weekly to conduct business, where he dabbled in the American culture. However, no amount of amateur dabbling could have prepared him for the striking cultural differences which he had encountered as a resident. The mother and her two young boys had never before entered the United States, furthering the families feelings of extraneous inhabitants. People looked slightly different and spoke a language which was incomprehensible for most of the family.
Daily life was a lonely life. Daily routines were handled different in the States. The mother would not dare venture out on ordinarily simple shopping errands. Signage and even weighing measurements were unintelligible. Indoor bathrooms, water heaters, and washing machines all further inhibited any outdoor skills and housekeeping activities.
The one aspect of life which the family was able to continue after immigration was religion. The family located San Buena Ventura Mission,. The mission gave the family the ability to continue their religious practices without cultural context. Religious interactions lead to a kind of socialization which extended beyond the church. The church was the first means for the family in becoming social in a new country.
Mexican customs which continued were religion, food, and interfamily relations. Religion was strengthened once the family found themselves alone. Food continue to be prepared in its traditional fashion with the exception of where the ingredients cme from. Vegetables no longer had to be picked in the garden, they were picked from a refrigerated case. Chickens did not have to be plucked anymore, the mother just had to point to the dead foul behind the glass pane of the supermarket. Family structure continued in its traditional Mexican customs. The father/Husband was the head of the household, who assumed full responsibility of providing for the family.

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The mother was in charge of keeping house as well as the child rearing responsibilities.
The family grew to a total of eight, with the birth of four girls. All children learned to speak Spanish. Family interactions with one another were in Spanish. As children entered grammar school they had to enter as non-English speakers, fully immersed in English. At the time there was not an opportunity for bilingual education or ESL programs since these children were the only non-English speakers.
All other family members abroad were never again visited or heard from. The new immigrant family was on their own. With little connection to the American culture the family was very closely knit. All family members had a responsibility to the family first. This ideas of family was engraved by the two parents. Family values were further encouraged because there were no extended family members around. The four girls never knew what it was to have a grandmother. The two young boys never again heard a story told by grandfather next to the wood burning stove. The most precious memory for the mother was that of her mother holding her son.
The family learned to adapt to new ways and customs outside of the house while retaining very strong cultural customs at home. Each member of the family had an individual internal battle. That is rarely discussed or observed. For this family in particular the mother could not keep up with the faster pace of her husband acquiring American ways. He was regularly encouraged and influenced by business. The mother was influenced indirectly by her husband and to a certain degree by her children, who were constantly influenced at school. The mother who possessed the richest part of their native culture was being left behind from her evolving family.
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