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High 5: Latin Influences in American life

Illustrations+by+Veronica+Trejo.
Veronica Trejo
Illustrations by Veronica Trejo.

Hispanic Heritage Month is dedicated to the influences and effects that Latin American culture has had upon the growth of American society. It is celebrated from Sept. 17 to Oct. 15, and was originally introduced on Sept. 14 of 1989 by President George H.W Bush. Since its introduction, many major Latin influences have been captured and proudly displayed in our everyday lives.

The largest and most prevalent influence seen in America today is the Hispanic effect on cuisine. This stands true as according to spanish.academy, around 90% of non-hispanics consider food to be the biggest Latin impact in America. For instance one of the simplest meals, tacos, originates from Mexico and was not a part of American cuisine until the early 1900s. Another large influence of Latin culture on U.S. cuisine would be the creation and enjoyment of Tex-Mex food. Tex-Mex is a very popular cuisine that has existed since 1875 and slowly spread throughout the United States in many various forms.

Further Hispanic influence can be found in the music Americans listen to. Many Latin artists in America are largely influencing music because they are loved for their style and how they slam American and Latin lifestyles together for amazingly unique music. For example, in 2020 and 2021, Latin American artist Bad Bunny was the most streamed artist of the year, with over nine billion streams according to spanish.academy.

 

Another latin influence in America would be language as slowly but surely Spanish has established itself as the second most common language spoken in the United States. This is largely apparent in the various ways information is presented such as menus, forms/applications, or even books being printed in Spanish.

 

Hispanic influence can even be found in clothing. A typical clothing item such as a colorful / vacation shirt has been influenced by Hispanic culture. This is because these “ vacation shirts” used to be known as guayaberas which were colorful formal shirts that were made of light fabrics with short sleeves and buttons going down. Another typical clothing item with Latin influence would be cowboy boots. Cowboy boots originate from the Gaucho, which is an Argentinian Cowboy. However, nowadays, cowboy boots are mostly related to the American cowboy.

 

In the modern-day United States, American culture has diversified and adapted itself to the loves and pastimes of its citizens. One pastime that has gained popularity due to Latin influence is soccer. Soccer has become increasingly popular in the U.S. during the last 18 years and it shows no sign of stopping according to justice.org. This is shown through America’s increased focus on the sport as the country acquires superstars such as David Beckham and Lionel Messi while also looking to host several World Cup games in 2026.

 

In all, Hispanic Heritage Month should not just be celebrated, but recognized for the many wonderful influences and experiences that have helped shape America. Whether it be a small influence like clothing items or a large influence like cuisine and the popularization of Mexican food, Hispanic influence can be found all over the United States and will be around for as long as people like tacos.

 

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Veronica Trejo, Graphic Designer

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