Latino identity and subsequently Latino culture might be one of the most complex and unique cultures within the human race. Latinos come from all backgrounds - and all parts of the world - forming a culture founded from a melting pot of African, European, and American indigenous roots. It is a mixture of colors, sounds, and knowledge that spans a variety of countries all based in what is now considered Latin America --but united together outside those borders in all countries on all continents.
No country outside of Latin America has felt that impact more than the United States. The influence of Latino culture is present from the moment a child goes to school. In many elementary schools as well as middle schools and high schools, Spanish is a mandatory class.
Americans feel Latino influence in all forms of entertainment. From watching movies with heroes like Zorro, listening to music from Selena, Shakira, or Daddy Yankee, or even going to the theatre and seeing Broadway shows like West Side Story or Lin Manuel Miranda’s In the Heights, Latino culture is there and very much a part of everyone’s lives.
Even American cuisine today includes staple foods from Latino culture, and Mexican cuisine especially continues to gain notoriety and is ranked among the best in the world. Apart from fast food chains like Taco Bell or Chipotle, the influence of its food is evident through the creation of popular fusion cuisines like Tex-Mex or Cali-Mex.
So, whether you’re deciding between a quesadilla or a Cuban sandwich or watching Jane the Virgin or the news with Jorge Ramos, you don’t have to look far to experience the impact of Latino culture around us.
Latinos could have chosen to separate themselves by their nationality, they chose to instead, to unite over shared commonalities. Together, Latinos who have immigrated to the USA have not only expanded the limits of what represents Latino culture but expanded the limits of American culture.