My friends, Pablo and Laura, wept as Argentina got kicked out of this year’s World Cup. Born and raised in a suburb outside of Minneapolis, their parents came to the U. S. from Cordoba 30 years ago. When I asked why they chose to root for Argentina over the United States, they looked at me in utter confusion. “We ALWAYS cheer for our home land!”
The 2010 World Cup saw a 41% increase in the U. S. viewership this time around. Miami, NYC and Washington, DC, were the top markets to watch the games. Unsurprisingly, those cities are culturally diverse with a high number of Latin American, Caribbean, African and European immigrants and their children.
Second and third-generation Americans represent the cultural link that binds our melting pot of a country. The connection to their ethnic roots remains strong through languages spoken at home, foodthey prepare and neighborhoods they may live in. Yet, they have become a part of the so-called American culture, speaking English, attending American schools and befriending other Americans.
Whether it’s a soccer team, a high-end ad campaign or food selection at your local fast food restaurant, the theme of closeness with one’s cultural background keeps resurfacing and has become a reality of today’s society.
It’s no longer about ‘either/or’anymore. It’s about AND. You can straddle two worlds – you don’t have to pick one or the other.