Latinas in the United States

In the chapter, Latinas in the United States: Bridging Two Worlds, the author uses several of her patient's true life challenges, along with a vignette from her own life, to illustrate the struggles that Latinas often have in adapting to American culture. Traditional Latino culture is based on a patriarchal structure, where the man has all of the power. According to this culture, women are put on this planet for procreation and to care for the family as housewives and mothers. Strict upbringings, following these beliefs, often clash with American values when Latino families immigrate to the United States.

Latinas are Latin women, living in the United States, who come from a variety of countries, races, cultures, and socioeconomic groups. There are several variables that affect their adjustment to life in the United States. These include why they've come to America, the support systems they have access to in the States, their skin color, their education level, and how fluently they speak English. In addition, what part of America they move to, as well as their age when they arrive is important in how well they are able to adjust (Garcia-Preto 330).

One of the most effective ways for Latinas to adapt to life in the United States is by using selective adaptation. With selective adaptation, Latinas are able to hold onto their Latin roots, while incorporating some of the aspects of American culture. The process includes choosing which values are important from the old world, and which they choose to implement from the new world.

However, prejudice and racism often serve as a significant deterrent for Latina women who are trying to adapt. Both events create an environment of oppression, one that is oftentimes reminiscent of the patriarchal society they've left in their home country. This treatment can lead to anxiety within the women, who are so unsure of how they fit into their world. It can also lead the women to become withdrawn and reclusive, avoiding contact with those who may be prejudice against them. This can also lead to them turning away from American culture, in general, making it that much more difficult to adapt.

There are certain expectations of young Latinas and these often lead to cultural clashes. Good girls, according to tradition, are expected to act ladylike and feminine. Roughhousing had sports are not appropriate, as an example. Latinas are expected to live at home until the time they are married, even if this means attending college at a school that is nearby the family home. As youngsters, they are expected to stay inside the house, not be outside hanging out with their friends. Dating occurs much later in life, than for their American counterparts, and these dates are typically chaperoned, to protect the Latina's reputation. Most importantly, they are expected to remain virgins until they are married.

These strict expectations often lead to cultural clashes. One such clash often occurs with the Latina's friends and potential boyfriends, who…