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Latin American Influences on Western Culture

Instructor: Artem Cheprasov

Artem has a doctor of veterinary medicine degree.

You might know that Latin America has influenced Western culture. But beyond language and food, can you think of anything else? If not, this lesson provides many examples of the connection between the two.

Latin American Influence on Western Culture

Hola! Do you know what that means? Even if Spanish is not your first language and even if you've never taken a class or read a book on the Spanish language you likely know that Hola is the Spanish word for Hi/Hello. Why? It's partly because of a large Latin American influence on Western culture. Let's discuss how Latin American traditions and ideas have influenced Western Culture, particularly in the USA.

Language, Food, & Performing Arts

Hola! Well, by now you should definitely know what that means. Hola, adios, and so many other simple Spanish phrases are now a part of our language thanks to the influx of people from Latin America. We even say these words without thinking about it because they are ingrained in our psyche.

Other Spanish and Latin American words that are second nature to Western societies are taco and burrito. That's because Latin American food has made its way into Western culture. You can find tacos and burritos in Taco Bell and a zillion Mexican restaurants in a town near you.

Another great food we can largely thank Latin Americans for ingraining into Western society is salsa. Of course, salsa is also a type of dance that's popular in many Latin American countries. It, or some of its movements, can also be found in many music videos, including those of famous Latin American musicians like Shakira & Ricky Martin. Be it music, dance, or something else, Latin America has also influenced the performing arts in the Western world as well.

US Navy Sailors Learning to Salsa Dance

Religion, Politics, & Economy

The role of religion, politics, and the economy are also heavily intertwined with Latin American influence on the US. Some politicians appeal to Latin Americans because they both share deeply religious Christian roots. Other politicians try to court Latin American votes because they are liberal in their stance towards illegal immigration of many Latin Americans into the United States. Some politicians want to build walls and others want to build bridges.

Further still, both sides of the political aisle in the U.S. can clearly see the great impact Latin American people have had on the U.S. economy. Some argue that Latin Americans have helped make the U.S. productive by providing cheap labor while others deride free trade agreements with Latin American nations as taking jobs away from the U.S. Regardless of what's true or not, it's obvious that Latin America and Latin Americans pose a great influence on Western religion, politics, and the economy.

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