The immigration experience as a Latino-American is as diverse as the manifold cultures that the pan-ethnic identity, Latino, aims to subsume. With regards to the immigration experience, Zavella (1991) lays an emphasis on the notion of social location. The difference among Latinos in American society is embedded in their “social location within the social structure”, in which identity, or one’s sense of self, is emergent from the intersected social spaces formed by class, race/ethnicity, gender, and culture. In order to gain a sufficient understanding of the identity of the Latino-American immigrant, it is necessary to consider the subjective conditions under which individual experiences have shaped behaviors and attitudes. Through
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One way in which Latino immigrants are considered as resistant to American society is by their use of the Spanish language rather than what is preferred by the U.S. majority, English (Cornelius, 2002). American disapproval of Latino immigration has been expressed through the implementation of immigration laws, followed with a negative representation of Latino immigration in the mass media. America’s defensive attitude toward Latinos have stigmatized them with being “illegal”, which in turn, alienates Latino immigrants due to racialization effects from unwelcoming attitudes held by the larger society (Gomez, 2007; Martinez, 1998).
When first moving to America, Mr. Raya hardly knew a word in English. His initial struggle to incorporate into the U.S. social order was on account his lack knowledge of the English language. His capacity for effective communication was bound to the confines of the Spanish language. He shares his experience, “I felt alone. I couldn’t, well I say: Good Morning, How are you; that was it you know. Even if somebody talked to me you know I was like a clam you know. I couldn’t, I didn’t, I didn’t want it, those things you know”(p. 1, l. 23-25). Mr. Raya’s experience stresses the separation from the American community felt by the Latino immigrants described in the Chavez study. He explains how a deficit of the English language contributed to a feeling of loneliness. In contrast to the literature however, rather