Immigration And Cultural Identity

793 Words4 Pages
Whether fleeing violence, poverty, lack of opportunity, or answering a “divine” mandate of mission, leaving behind all that is familiar to settle in a strange land is no simple adjustment to make. The existential reality of the immigrant is a “hyphenated identity” that celebrates and seeks to preserve what is culturally familiar, while also seeking to adapt and adjust to a new host culture. Religious communities provide an important place for immigrants to navigate these waters of identity, maintenance, and change, celebrating and sustaining the culture of origin while seeking to harmonize within new cultural environs. This essay will explore ways in which religion provides immigrants with communities of shared experience and culture, and how it fosters cross-cultural identities. It is intended to deepen the understanding of various ways culture is sustained, maintained, and changed within diasporic religious communities. It seeks to address the following questions: how do religious groups affirm cultural heritage? How does religion affirm variegated identities while, at the same time, amending and augmenting them? What role does religion play in sustaining and amplifying cultural identities? This essay also seeks to uncover ways that Latino/a immigrants feel about and respond to the public discourse which disparages the very identities they themselves seek to compose, sustain and celebrate. The conservative public discourse disparages Latino/as by making wholesale claims
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