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California's Mexican-Americans And Asian-Americans

The United States of America is a melting pot for many different people, from many different ethnicities and cultures. In no state is this more true than in California, where the two particular cultures I studied, Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans play an integral part in the population and economic growth; as well as the richness in culture and diversity. According to the U.S Census Bureau, California has had the largest increase in Asian American population among any of the 50 states. (2005). Hispanic Americans make up 14.1% of the population (Hispanic, 2007), with Los Angeles county in California housing over 4.6 million Hispanic Americans. This 4.6 million Hispanic population is the largest of any county in the entire nation!

With California being my home state, and the population so heavily diverse, it is apparent that the educational system would also be full of such diversity in ethnicity and culture. In order to be able to reach out and identify with the major minority groups of the state, learning and being able to apply as much knowledge of the cultures if essential! With the intensity of the growing population, it seems that knowledge of Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans is the only way to properly educate the children of the state of California. Being able to actively and effectively incorporate both Mexican and Asian lessons will take an immense amount of research and study. It is this which I hope to gain from doing this particular paper. I wish to gain a better understanding of the cultures that make up California. I wish to learn more about the importance of family, politics, traditions and holidays, the population impacts and growth, and the social impacts and educational concerns. With this knowledge I'd like to gain a better understanding of how education fits into these things.

In seeking the aforementioned information, I found a number of primary and secondary sources indispensable. As an initial resource I sought out the popular internet encyclopedia Wikipedia. The information Wikipedia provided me with a solid basis to begin my research on both Asian-American and Mexican-American cultures. It gave me an idea of exactly which aspects of both cultures were significant and of most interest to me both personally and professionally.

From Wikipedia I went on to a number of different web pages, webzines, and government websites to fill in the blanks about the categories I selected. I found the U.S Census Bureau, and USA today particularly useful for the fact-filled information they provided. Additionally, I sought out books dealing with the sociology of both the Asian-American and Mexican-American communities. Through a local library search and various e-book purchases, I was able to gain a great deal of information. The Handbook of Asian American Psychology, Asian Americans: Contemporary Trends and Issues, and Handbook of Social Support and Family were of great use.

For primary sources I turned to works of literature contributed by authors of both cultures. Included in my research were some very interesting and insightful novels such as The Joy Luck Club, by Amy Tan; and The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros.

With this knowledge I was able to create a very precise inventory of all the gathered information and put them into clearly labeled categories. Categories such as: family life/values/mores, political trends, social impacts/importance, holidays/traditions, educational impacts/concerns, among several other smaller categories. Once each category was filled in with information from at least two sources, I was able to add the information I gained through researching the literary works of the culture.

After a rich amount of research I was able to learn a great many things about both the Mexican-American and Asian American cultures. As a starting point I'll begin discussing the Mexican-American culture, one of the most prevalent cultures in the entire U.S and especially the state of California. Just to emphasize the importance of the Mexican-American community on our country, from the period of July 1, 2003 to July 1, 2004 there was a 3.6% population growth rate. This population growth was higher than any other ethnic group in the United States. (Wikipedia, 2007). Equally important is the fact that 31 million of the United States' Hispanic residents from the ages of five and up speak Spanish at home. (U.S Census Bureau, 2005) Only just over half reported to the U.S Census Bureau that they spoke English "very well." (2005) Unfortunately that leaves the education system with the large task of educating both students whose English skills need special assistance, and student who don't have the advantage of practicing English at home. These students tend to be at a disadvantage as often their language usage is limited to school time. Furthermore, Hispanics have the highest dropout rate of any ethnic group in the United States. (El Nasser, 2006). That, coupled with the nation's 18% Hispanic student population and the Census Bureau's report that only 58% of Hispanics age 25 and older had a high school education, creates a crisis for teachers heightened awareness of the culture and how to suit their lessons to appeal and identify with the Latino community.

One great way to help educators better understand their students is to begin by understanding a little more about the culture, traditions, and origins. All of which are very easy to become educated with and easy to share with students.

Most Mexican-Americans are simply regarded only as being from Mexico. Few people actually look back into their origins to figure out a little about their history and where they actually came from. The Mexican people are actually quite diverse and come from a variety of different places. In fact, some Mexicans had been inhabiting the Southern and Western regions of North American long before the European explorers and Western settlers arrived. (Library of Congress, 2005). Spanish settlers and indigenous peoples also make up the diverse cultures that came together to form modern Mexicans.

Although Mexican history can hardly be summed up in less than a paragraph, the separation of Mexico and America came in 1846 when the Mexican American war broke out. In 1848, when the war ended, Mexico and America became forever separated with Americans taking victory. (VandeCreek, 2004). At that point, Mexicans inhabiting California and New Mexico had the choice of moving back to Mexican territory or staying in the newly American acquired territories as U.S citizens. Most opted for the latter and lived alongside the American settlers in the area. (Mexican-American War, 2007).

Another with these diverse origins come diverse holidays and traditions, two of which I'll discuss in this paper. One holiday of the Mexican-American culture, and probably the biggest ethnic holiday in the U.S, is Cinco de Mayo. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on the 5th of May, and is generally misrepresented in the U.S as being Mexico's independence day. Where the misconception came from I can't say, but the Cinco de Mayo celebration actually deals with the commemoration of the Battle of Puebla. The Battle of Puebla was a battle between the Mexicans and the French. (Cinco de Mayo, 1999). so when celebrating Cinco de Mayo, were really celebrating the unity and patriotism experienced by the Mexicans during the Battle of Puebla with the French.

Celebrations for Cinco de Mayo commonly include parades, mariachis, music, folk dancing, (M., 2006) and lots of traditional Mexican food! With the varied Mexican heritage no celebration is exactly the same, and food varies according to family and region. Foods from the Aztecs, and Spanish conquistadors and settlers are combined to create a fantastic Cinco de Mayo menu. (M., 2006). Some traditional foods, and easily recognizable in the U.S, are salsa, guacamole, tacos, enchiladas, rice and beans, among others.

Another important Mexican holiday is the Day of the Dead, a holiday that commemorates the deceased. The Day of the Dead, despite its deceiving name, is actually two days. November 1st is used to commemorate deceased children, while November 2nd is celebrated in commemoration of deceased adults. (Kastelein, 2006). The Day of the Dead is a unique holidays that blends the beliefs of the indigenous Mexicans and the Christian faith (more specifically Catholicism) brought by the Europeans. (Andrade, 2005).

During the celebrations Mexican families construct alters for the dead and visit the tombs where their ancestors lay. Candles are placed by the tombs to light the path for the dead. Water is given for them to drink, food to eat, and salt for their journey to the other world. (Kastelein, 2006). One traditional offering to the dead is bread that is made and left at the tomb, as well as made and eaten at home in commemoration. Western countries often perceive this holiday as rather morbid, grim, and sad. However, it is important to remember that Mexican families are celebrating the lives of the deceased and honoring their memories. It isn't meant to be a sad holiday, but one of remembrance.

Each of these holidays can be taught and celebrated in the classroom to help enhance cultural understanding. Ideas for such implementation shall be addressed later in this paper, but for the time being I'll shift the focus to another important aspect of Mexican culture.

The Day of the Dead may seem an odd tradition for a culture predominantly Catholic, but as Rudolfo Anaya vividly displays in Bless Me, Ultima, there is a sense of old world mysticism to Mexico that even the Catholics tend to bring along with them. At the end of Bless Me, Ultima, there is a great internal resolution within the main character. A resolution that allows him to practice an old custom without the feeling of betraying the God he believes in. It is this sort of feeling that carries the Day of the Dead, and allows Catholics to practice the rituals of the day.

Along with holidays and traditions, educators should be well educated with family values and mores of different cultures. Such understand can help in both dealing with students and their families. Additionally, understanding where someone comes from can help educators choose more appropriate and culturally sensitive material. Keeping this in mind it is important to remember that Latino place a great deal of importance on belonging to and serving a group. This is one of the reasons why the Latino community is seen as being so close and exclusive. This also makes family very important, so important that Latinos see family as the center of their community. Latinos tend to show a strong sense of identification with their family members, even those that are not immediate.

This closeness and identification with family further extends into how Mexican-American families communicate and present themselves. For example, where in many families physical contact is generally avoided, and personal space kept at a distance, Mexican-American families tend to embrace physical contact and closeness. Furthermore, this closeness creates a strong sense of obligation between family members. This trait is the second reason why the Mexican-American community seems so close-knit and supportive. Perhaps Sandra Cisneros best described these close family ties is her book House on Mango Street. The main character of the book is a young girl named Esperanza. When Esperanza moves to Mango Street, she envisions herself as a red balloon. A red balloon which symbolizes her separation from any particular group around her. "...I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor." (Cisneros, 1991). It symbolizes her lack of belonging , she feels as though there is no one in her new town that can understand her, her thoughts and her humor. Even after making friends with local children, Esperanza still has this sense of isolation between herself and the community around her. It is only when Esperanza looks to her sister Nenny that there is a feeling of belonging. Nenny seems to understand her. It is "Nenny, not her new friends" that laughs at her jokes. (Martin, 2006).

Social impacts on the community are also a huge part of a culture, and politics are part of that. Political campaigns at the local, state, and federal levels are constantly focusing on voter demographics and the political trends of the ethnic groups in each state of the United States. Mexican-Americans are on the radar as being a group rapidly rising in terms of how many get out and vote during elections. In the 2004 presidential election, 7.6 million Hispanic[1] citizens reported voting. This 7.6 million is a huge rise from the 5.9 million reported 4 years prior. (U.S Census Bureau Press Release, 2005). Why does this fact matter? Schools deal with politics also, and politics make up part of how people think and who they are. Thus understanding the political views of those in your community is part of understanding the people. In the U.S, the Census Bureau reports that Mexican-Americans tend to lean more toward the Democratic party. (2005). So whether you are a Democrat or a Republican, it is beneficial as a educator to know, understand, and be tolerant of political views aligned with the Democratic party.

Aside from politics, and equally as important, are further social statuses and roles Mexican-Americans play in the community. These aspects play a huge role in the implementation of lesson and choosing appropriate material. Unfortunately for the Mexican-American community, the median household income is only $35, 185. That made the poverty in 2004 23.6%, a large and alarming number. (Special Edition, 2006). I say unfortunately because it has been repeatedly reported that students from such backgrounds as these tend to be disadvantaged as far as education enhancing experiences outside the classroom go. Even more alarming is that only 12% of the Hispanic community, 25 and over, hold a Bachelors degree, and as aforementioned, only 58% 25 and older hold a high school diploma. (U.S Census Bureau, 2005). To make matters worse, there is an absence of adequate bilingual programs to assist in educating disadvantaged students. It is also reported in "A Call to Action" the inadequate social status of many Mexican-American families makes for inadequate schools. (A Call to Action, 2006). Schools simply don't have the resources to create programs or support systems to aid in educating Mexican-American students, especially those in disadvantaged situations or in homes where Spanish is the primary language spoken. Additionally, communities and governments are providing the kind of funding needed to implement proper programs or projects that are Mexican-American related. (El Nasser, 2006). Melissa Lazarin, the senior education policy analyst at the National Council of La Raza, a civil rights group advocating for Hispanic-Americans, emphasizes the need to "ensure that they're well-educated and they get the tools that they need to contribute." (2006)[2]. Lazarin's views as part of the Hispanic community are important to remember as the Mexican-American community is constantly growing, voting, and these students will eventually have their say in the nation. It is important that we understand them and educate them to the best of our ability alongside their peers, someday they will play an important role in communities across the nation.

The second culture highly prominent, and in need of more in-depth cultural understand is Asian-Americans. Before I begin I will clarify the term Asian-American as the term can and does constitute a wide variety of different cultures. However, for the purposes of focusing on California, I will be addressing the Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans. Each of these groups play a huge part in the education system, political system, and society of the state of California as they have higher population numbers in the state. Thus, when Asian-Americans are referred to in this paper, I am referring to Chinese, Japanese, and Korean Americans. In doing so, I hope to raise awareness on the similarities and differences associated with each of these cultures so that educators can better choose and implement culturally informative and sensitive material. That being said, I will follow the format used in the section on Mexican Americans and start with the origins of America's Asian population.

Chinese-Americans are the largest ethnic group among the U.S' Asian-American population, constituting a large 22.4% of all Asians in the U.S. (Chinese American, 2007). They make up 1.2% of the entire U.S population. (United States, 2005).

America's Chinese population began expanding during the 1840s when rumors of gold in California made its way around the world. Seeking riches and better lives abroad, Chinese laborers began arriving in large numbers. Unfortunately, few found what they were looking for. Still, until the Exclusion act, and several other regulations on immigration, were put into place in 1882 Chinese immigrants continued to pour into the country. (Library of Congress, 2003).

like the Chinese, the Japanese came to America as laborers, but generally worked farm labor as opposed to the manual labor (railroads and dams) that the Chinese contributed to. However, unlike the Chinese, the Japanese came to the U.S slowly and in small numbers. Although Japanese immigrants began arriving in California in the 1860s, their numbers didn't top the thousands until the 1880s. (Library of Congress, 2004).

However, their immigration wasn't easy either, like their Chinese counterparts the Japanese experienced a great deal of hardships in their quest for an ideal life in the United States. During World War II, after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the U.S government began rounding up and arresting Japanese businessmen, journalists, teachers, and civic officials believing them to be risks to domestic security. (Library of Congress, 2004). Jeanne Watatsuki Houston, in her book Farwell to Manzanar, describes the sentiment regarding Japanese-Americans during the war. "I smiled and sat down, suddenly aware of what being of Japanese ancestry was going to be like. I wouldn't be faced with physical attack, or with overt shows of hatred. Rather, I would be seen as someone foreign, or as someone other than American, or perhaps not be seen at all." (Houston, 1983). The quotation expresses what sort of prejudice many Japanese-Americans had to deal with on a daily basis during and after World War II. It is a stark reminder of what both the Japanese-American community and the nation experienced in the 1940s.

As for the last group making up this paper's Asian-American section, I turn to the origin of Korean-Americans. As of 2000 Korean-Americans numbered around 1.3 million, with their largest numbers in California. (United States, 2005). Korean immigration really didn't start until 1903 when immigrants traveled to Hawaii to work on sugar plantations. (Korean American, 2007). In 1965 an immigration act was passed by the U.S government and Koreans began entering the country at a great rate.

In total, Asian-Americans[3] make up a total of 5% of the total population in the United States. (U.S Census Bureau, 2005). A large difference from the 14.1% of Hispanics. Despite this fact, the holidays celebrated by the Asian-American community are just as rich as those of the Mexican-Americans previously discussed. One of the most prominent of Asian holidays in both its native country and in the United States is Chinese New Year.

Chinese New Year takes place on the first new moon of the new year and lasts until the 15th. The 15th is called the Lantern Festival and is celebrated by lantern displays around the city, as well as parades in which children carry brightly lit lanterns. (Hartman, 2006). Chinese New Year is celebrated as a family affair, and for the duration of the holiday Chinese families travel around to visit both their immediate and extended families. New Years is celebrated with feasts in which dumplings and glutinous sweet rice play a large part in the meal. Children are given little red envelopes of "lucky money" from relatives as a way to kick off the new year.

Chinese New Year has its roots in ancient China where it used to deal with religious ceremonies. The tradition of fireworks came from the ancient custom of lighting bamboo stick, the ancient Chinese believed that the crackling flames of the wood would frighten away evil spirits. (Hartman, 2006).

Another widely known Asian holiday, and heavily celebrated in California in places like Little Tokyo, Los Angeles, is the Japanese holiday of Golden Week. Golden Week isn't just one holiday, in fact, it is four holidays occupying a single week. Hence the name "Golden Week." This celebrated week starts on April 29th with the celebration of the beloved Emperor Showa's birthday. Showa died in 1989, and until 2006 April 29th was commemorated with a day called Greenery Day or Midori no hi in Japanese. (Golden Week, 2007).

The next holiday making up Golden week occurs several days later on May 3rd. This day is the celebration of the institution of the new constitution that was put into place after the second world war in 1947. May 4th used to be called "in between day" until the Greenery Day was moved to this spot and the Emperor Showa's birthday alone occupied the April 29th spot. This day commemorated the Emperor's love for plants and other greenery. (Ward, 2005). The widely celebrated Children's Day is next on May 5th. Children's Day is celebrated in many different countries, although on different days. In Japan, Children's day is celebrated by putting up Koi streamers and with gifts of Samurai dolls given to the boys. The dolls are meant to represent their growth into a man, for success, and for strength. (Golden Week, 2007). Girls generally have their own day, but it isn't part of Golden week.

Lastly, one of the biggest holidays in Korea has a Western relative that makes this holiday particularly relatable to Western learners. Chu Suk, meaning Bountiful Abundance, (Korean Festival, Chu Suk, 1998) is the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving. Chu Suk takes place during the fall and celebrates the fall harvest. Like Western Thanksgiving, Koreans celebrate Chu Suk by making lavish meals and partaking as a family. It isn't uncommon for families to go traveling to see relatives and have their Chu Suk meal with them. Typical foods include Pears with honey juice, mushroom dishes, special soups, and grilled dishes. (Korean Festival, Chu Suk, 1998).

Although I have thus far broken each Asian groups down to highlight specific points, there are similarities between different Asian groups. Family life and values are two places in which we find these similarities. Most Asian groups share the value of filial piety and family centeredness. (Lee, Nolan, 1998). Additionally, they share the importance placed on community and remaining in the good graces of it. Shame and harmony are highly looked upon and families place high importance on it. (Pierce, Sarason, Sarason, 1996.) This carries over into the classroom as well, Asian students tend to stick together, helping each other and forming a sort of community within their school. This can work to the teacher's advantage or disadvantage. Since students, as well as the rest of the Asian community, focus on group mentality the teacher really has to work to get to the student who leads them all. Individuals will generally do as the group says, so it is important to try and identify each and every student so that class time is harmonious.

Asian families tend to be large, not because there are many children, but because of the tendency for family both immediate and extended to reside in the same house. (Pierce, Sarason, Sarason, 1996). More specifically, the grandparents generally live with the family so their children can take care of them as they age. Where in Western families this would seem strange and maybe even a little bothersome, it is a tradition in Asian families, and a great deal of importance is placed upon one's ability to care for one's parents as they age. However, as Asian children age in the Western world, it seems their ties with their own communities aren't as strong. Although they tend to ban together, as many ethnic groups do, their connection with their heritage is lost on them. The importance of what their mothers and fathers knew isn't there; they are simply ignorant of it. This sort of experience can be seen in Amy Tan's novel Joy Luck Club. Joy Luck Club tells the tale of American born daughters of Chinese mothers. In the novel the characters seem to experience the gap between themselves and their mothers. "They are frightened. In me, they see their own daughters, just as ignorant...They see daughters who grow impatient when their mothers talk in Chinese...who will bear grandchildren born without any connecting hope passed from generation to generation." (Tan, 1990).

However, equally as important is the need to fit in within the group, as previously mentioned. Yet, the need is not only dealing with fitting in within their own communities, but also within the "American community" around them. In Maxine Hong Kingston's novel, The Woman Warrior, the author describes the trouble that she had in fitting in, in feeling connected, and in getting through the harsh words that affected her as she grew up. Believe it or not, Asians still have their stigma to overcome. Although they have adopted a great many stereotypes about being the "ideal immigrants, " it is still hard for them to get past these things whether they be good or bad. Such stereotypes and stigmas just cause added pressure on a student, employee, or family.

Another stigma sticking to the Asian-American community is that they are politically quiet and matter very little in the political arena. Where their Mexican-American counterparts are targets for political campaigns, Asian-Americans are commonly overlooked. However, the myth about a politically silent Asian-American community couldn't be further from the truth. One Asian-American coalition is trying to develop a comprehensive policy platform in an effort to encourage politicians to treat Asian-Americans with the same attention and respect that is given to African-Americans and Mexican-Americans. (Le, 2007). This coalition is due, in part, to the growing number of Asian-Americans in and entering the political arena. One need only look to the House and Senate for affirmation of this fact. Although different people of Asian decent have different political views and ideologies, nearly 2/3 of all Asian-Americans vote democrat in elections (Le, 2007), just one reason for other parties to put their head up and listen to their Asian-American constituents.

Further social impacts can be seen in the way Asian-Americans contribute to the college system. Almost .5 (49%) of Asian-Americans, 25 and over, are holders of a Bachelors degree, (U.S Census Bureau, 2006) a statistic which sets them apart from other groups and sets them up for great success in the workplace. Perhaps this can be attributed to the Asian-American attitude of striving for success. Asian-American parents tend to push their children to study harder than other students and achieve higher scores on exams of all sorts. Acquisition of better jobs can be attributed to the highest median income among all race groups in the U.S. On average, Asian-Americans make a whopping $57, 518. (U.S Census Bureau, 2006). It seems like all that studying pays off.

Educationally, Asian-Americans tend to do very well; and unlike Mexican-Americans they don't have a problem being recognized in school. Unfortunately, Asian-Americans are getting recognized far too much in the classroom causing teachers to expect all Asian-American students to be brainy over-achievers, especially in the fields of math and science. This expectation puts an unreal amount of pressure of Asian-American students to perform up to their teacher's standard, a standard that isn't as high for other students in the class. A standard that is completely unfair and unreasonable, and can cause Asian-Americans students to be overlooked when they actually need help.

Despite this, there is one similarity between Mexican-Americans and Asian--Americans. Like Mexican-Americans, Asian-American literature, history, socio-political contributions, and the like, aren't being taught in schools to an acceptable degree. Schools tend to highlight big events of famous people, but rarely focus on other aspects of the culture. In fact, Asian languages aren't even offered as an option in most California high schools! In order to reach and higher cultural and social awareness and understanding, it is important to teach all aspect of history and culture in our schools, and in the case of Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans, schools simply aren't doing it.

Beyond this, and several other painfully obvious similarities and differences between the Asian-American and Mexican-American communities, there are several other I'd like to discuss. For one, both Asian-Americans and Mexican-Americans focus on the importance of groups, family, and community. They place importance on taking care of their own and providing for their community. Additionally, both seem to carry similar political ideologies. Both have an overwhelming draw toward the democrat party versus any other political group. A strange phenomena considering the difference in social situations between them.

By social situation, of course, I mean the amount of money each group makes. As previously discuss in each respective section, Mexican-American's median income is a great deal lower than that of Asian-Americans. Where this causes Mexican-Americans to lack education enhancing experiences and materials, most Asian-Americans have theses available. Perhaps this is one reason why Asian-Americans have the highest proportion of college graduates of any race or ethnic group in the U.S. (U.S Census Bureau, 2006). Or perhaps the high proportion of college graduates comes from the intense emphasis Asian-Americans place on education, testing, and success. A pressure Mexican-Americans generally don't experience...which bring me to the last different between them.

Mexican-Americans due to this difference in achievement and ideology toward education, Mexican-Americans have different educational concerns. The problem with Mexican-American education is that there aren't enough or adequate programs available to really help the students achieve. Furthermore, their simply isn't funding for adding new programs, training teachers, or buying new materials. Since Asian-Americans place such a strong emphasis on education, they have incentive to put their children in better schools, and since they make better salaries, they have the money to fund and support their schools. This doesn't mean that Mexican-Americans don't value education or their children, simply that they don't have the same resources to support their schools or their families. Many Mexican-American students would rather find a means of supporting their families than worry about finishing high school. A sad problem since better education would raise their chances of finding the kind of job that would support their parents and children long term. However, communities and governments simply aren't willing to put money into the schools that really need it.

Until that happens, there are things that teachers can do to enhance the learning experience of Mexican-American students. For one, teachers can create lessons that allow students to be creative. Rigid instructions may limit students to one way of thinking or one experience that teachers assume all students have. Since we know students come from all walks of life, a creative lesson allows all students to take something away from the lesson and feel connected to their peers and teacher. It gives them a sense of value and worth as they are contributing to the group and teaching the other students a bit about their life. A lesson where students share something about themselves helps in gaining and maintaining a level of trust between themselves and the teacher. This is extremely important in both the Mexican-American and Asian-American communities, and can make a lot of difference in the classroom.

In researching both cultures I was able to discover new means of applying cultural diversity into the classroom. Teachers need see each and every child equally, but also as unique. They need to set high expectations for all the students so that all students feel the equality and know that they are equally valued and respected in the classroom. This takes the pressure of unreal expectations off of Asian-American students, and gives Mexican-American students something to strive for. Additionally, teachers can implement cultural lessons by having family members of members of the community come in during the year to lecture the class and share about their heritage, community, and culture. Lastly, teachers need to leave any and all assumptions regarding experiences at the door. A teacher cannot assume that every child has experienced the same thing. Some students may never have had or been to a birthday party, some may never have visited a restaurant or tried French food. Nothing should be assumed since all children are different and have grown up differently.

All cultures are unique and special, and in being such a melting pot, the U.S needs to step up its educational system to meet these diverse needs. The U.S is enriched by the presence of so many different cultures; education can be enhanced by it. The number of both Mexican-Americans and Asian-Americans is rapidly rising. It's time to create an educational system that meets the needs of each and every student.

**The term Hispanic is used throughout this paper in reference to the entire Hispanic community of which Mexican-Americans are a part of.

[1] The U.S Census Press Release where this information was taken was for all Hispanic groups in the United States, not specifically Mexican-Americans, although they are a part of it.

[2] Lazarin's interview was collected from a U.S.A today article written on March 3, 2006 and conducted by El Nasser cited in the references section of this paper.

[3] The term "Asian American here refers to all Asian-American groups in the U.S and not only the three mentioned in this paper.


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VandeCreek, D. (2004). Origins. Retrieved February 20, 2007, from The Mexican American War Web site:

Ward, G. (2005, June 6). Focus on Japan. Retrieved February 23, 2007, from AsijES Web site:

Ward, S. (2006) SparkNote on The Joy Luck Club. Retrieved February 5, 2007, from SparkNote. Website:

*Books were read in ebook format in which page number was available.

By Lain - Lain is a University instructor who frequently travels for work and pleasure. She writes on a variety of topics effecting her life and studies including: education, travel, lifestyle, and current entertainm...  

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