Are There Other Sources of Latino Diversity Besides National Origin?
It’s very easy to see the initial source of Latino or Hispanic American diversity. Spanish speakers, after all, inhabit many different countries in South America, Central America, and other geographic regions. Even within these regions, there is a tremendous amount of local cultural diversity. For example, there are many dialect differences in Mexico.
A lot of people think that Mexico is some sort monolithic country. Some are even under the impression that once they’ve seen somebody from that part of the world, they have pretty much seen all Mexicans. This, of course, is quite laughable to somebody who is from Mexico as well as somebody who is of Mexican American extraction.
In Mexico, there are powerful and significant regional variations. We’re not just talking about whether a person lives in the north as opposed to somebody living in the tropical rainforest of Southern Mexico. This is not just a small matter of changes or differences in temperature or humidity. Not only do these geographic differences account for different food preferences, it also is reflected in different cultures.
Please understand that if you live in a fairly arid region, agriculture has to be done a certain way. At the very least, it must meet the objective requirements of the particular part of the world you live in.
This may seem like a small detail, but once you impact a person’s economic orientation as to how they grow their food or earn a living in that particular part of the globe, it also starts to have a chain reaction effect on the other things that they do. This impacts language, religion, interpersonal relationships, and so on down the line. Different economic relationships impact different group psychologies.
Varying group psychologies are crucial to different economic development, tolerance of change, willingness to innovate and other very important cultural features. These features may not be all that politically correct but they play a big practical role on how societies shape up.
This is not a small thing, and this is why there is such a thing as regional cultures in Mexico and elsewhere in the world. You only need to look at China to see this difference play out on a very large scale. There are tremendous differences in outlook as well as local culture between people who live in a wheat-growing area compared to the stereotypical Southeast Chinese rice-growing region.
Generally speaking, when people think of Chinese culture, they automatically think of Hong Kong or Cantonese culture, but that is just a tiny fraction of the wide mosaic of Chinese cultural expressions as manifested by the huge geographic reach of China.
I need you to think in broad terms when it comes to Mexico and also other Latin countries. This is the real driver of Latino diversity. This diversity doesn’t just translate in the form of food preferences, language variations, dialects, or religious affiliations, but it also translates to political points of view, creativity and other personal matters.
Now, there is no right or wrong answer, but to turn a blind eye to these differences would be to do a big disservice to the tremendously rich tapestry of Latino cultural diversity within as well as outside the community.