Historically, the United States has been perceived by many foreigners as the land of opportunities, where one can be reinvented for good. This promise appears to become especially true in Minnesota, or that’s what Lorenzo Ariza thinks, a fellow citizen from my home-state Morelos and owner of Salsa A la Salsa Mexican Food Restaurant at Midtown Global Market.
But pushing the “reset button” through migration carries positives and negatives for your national identity. There are different opinions on this. But the line turns blurry especially when it comes to youth, since many young people of immediate Latin ancestry, by being raised in an American context, barely speak Spanish or are aware of their “other culture’s” traditions. To counteract this phenomenon, parents, non-profits and even governmental organizations are seeking to reinforce Mexican cultural legacy.
A less traditional view—which Lorenzo shares—would argue that culture is always evolving in a natural way, nurturing from diversity. “What does it mean to be Mexican, anyway?” He reflected while laughing. “Aren’t we absorbed by Minnesota’s way of life as much as Minnesotans are being transformed by Hispanic culture? His awareness on how cultural interactions feedback on each other was surprisingly overwhelming.
Lorenzo flows with the cultural movement; he is trusty of this transformation bringing us together despite races. This symbiotic perspective highlights culture as the “soft power” that can largely integrate society, no matter ethnicity, religion, age, socio-economic level, or any other condition that could mark differences between groups. Though, he agrees it is necessary to instill Mexican values and customs from one generation to another.
But preserving a 100% pure culture is almost impossible outside its origins, as its carriers will consciously or not select what it is important to transfer. Therefore, endless meanings of what is perceived as “Mexican” have and will flourish within and across U.S. States and even within Mexico.
I would then have to say that during my stay here I came across a new culture, the Mexican-Minnesotan.