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Mexican American Culture

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Submitted By jnnschnd29
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Chapter 2. Overview of Mexican Culture
This chapter provides an overview of Mexican culture in terms of social structure, family, gender, religion, language, literacy, communication styles, socioeconomic position, traditional health beliefs and practices, and health care-seeking behaviors. Readers are cautioned to avoid stereotyping
Mexicans on the basis of these broad generalizations. Also note that Mexican culture, as all others, is dynamic and expressed in various ways, owing to individual life experience and personality. Some
Mexicans living in the United States may be more or less acculturated to mainstream U.S. culture.
Social Structure, Family, and Gender
Typically, Mexican households in the United States consist of five or more people (Therrien & Ramirez,
2001). The traditional patriarchal structure grants the father or oldest male relative the greatest power, whereas women are expected to show submission
(Kemp & Rasbridge, 2004). Though a matriarch often determines when a family member needs medical care, the male head still gives permission to seek treatment (Smith, 2000). The entire family, however, may be involved in the decision-making process (Galanti, 2004).
Christianity is the most common religion. Most
Mexicans (89%) identify themselves as Catholic, while a smaller percentage (6%) identify themselves as Protestant (U.S. Department of State, 2004). Faith and church are often central to family and community life; this is especially apparent in the understanding of illnesses and healing (Kemp & Rasbridge, 2004).
Although the Aztec religion, a system of animism
(belief that spirits inhabit natural objects) and polytheism (worship of more than one god), is nearly extinct, some aspects are preserved in traditional medical beliefs (Smith, 2000).
A woman and child in Mexico.
© Rick…...

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