Category Archives: Ethnicity

Life on the Mexican-US border.

Susana Gallegos

Alex Bullen

Human Geography

December 2, 2013


Life on the Border

            The border of Mexico is quite different from more distant states from Mexico, since the border towns are “connected” to one another. The border stretches between the United States and Mexico. It is an “invisible” line on maps, a physical wall in person. The separation between two countries does not prevent an exchange of popular culture: food, lifestyle, and language are all cultural characteristics that diffuse from place to place; a connection that is impossible to deny.

The United States and Mexico border is nearly 2,000 miles long (International Borders of the USA). I grew up in Mexico, right on the border, in Agua Prieta, Sonora and Douglas, Arizona.  Growing up I notice that the wall that divided the USA and Mexico were always changing. Never paid attention on how the people from my both towns was influenced by the popular culture, until I visit my family from Gomez Palacio, Durango Mexico; I was ten years old, talking to my cousin and I asked her to pass me the “tape” and she looked at me with this blank expression on her face, and replied: “el que?” (the what?) I repeated: El tape, pasame el tape (The tape, give me the tape) and still my cousin did not move. I grabbed it and said well how do you call this, she said, cinta adhesiva. It was the first time I have ever heard that name, and of course that is the correct name in spanish.



When I went back to Agua Prieta, I noticed the spanglish. Words like

pushale- to push, raite- give a ride, parquear- to park, quitear- to quit, lonche- lunch, and many more. Although many people from that live in Douglas, have not really adopted spanish words but they understand them, and the their accent is different as well.

Food is also influence by the two borders. In Agua Prieta we eat a lot of hamburgers and hot dogs, but with a Mexican twist. For example hot dogs that are typically in my home town are wrapped in bacon and with pinto bean, and salsa. There is also many American restaurants in Mexico, like McDonald, Burger King, Pizza Hut, Domino’s Pizza, Applebee’s. In Douglas, AZ there were small business selling Mexican food or Tex-Mex food.

Lifestyle personally I believe that the Mexican side of the border have more popular culture than the American side. When I live in Agua Prieta my parents will buy some of the groceries on Douglas. It is common to buy clothes sell in American stores, since in a way there were cheaper than some of the stores of Mexico.  The American side will buy more furniture, decoration, and sometimes pets. Food was not allowed to go through the border back in the states. Monetary also is used in both border, in some stores in Douglas one can pay with Mexican money, and in Agua Prieta one can use American money everywhere in town.


Living in the border I can conclude that the Mexican side of the border has higher influence in some of the American popular culture, but still keeping their own folklore culture. It is a mixture that was easily seen when I visited my family in Gomez Palacio. The border is a different way of living that I would recommend to visit the border and experience the exchange.



Gigi. “Do You Want It in English, Spanish, or Spanglish? :-D.” A Better Me Day                           By Day. N.p., 14 Aug. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2013


“International Border of the United States and the Defense of These                      Borders.” Border Control. Numbers USA, n.d. Web. 01 Dec. 2013


N.d. Photograph. God’s World Photography. Web. 2 Dec. 2013


Rubenstein, James M. “Folk and Popular Culture.” Cultural Landscape.                                                     Harlow:Pearson Education Limited, 2014. N. pag. 108. Print.




Kyra Binaxas

            The novel Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup is an excellent rendition of slavery in antebellum society and greatly exemplifies how politics effected views on African Americans, as well as how it dictated their religion and literacy.

This novel tells the story of one free mans true account of his being captured and sold into slavery, subjected to its brutality for over a decade of his life. The propaganda and explanation for holding the slave population captive was directly the result of political influence. It was for the best of the southern economy and was successful in convincing much of the white population that African Americans in fact enjoyed their lifestyle and were unable to comprehend the idea of what it was to be a free man. The religious stories told to the slave population were those of obedience and reform. The way religion was utilized was political itself, although still providing a form of salvation, was not spoken of or taught in much of the same way that it would be exercised it today. The novel not only depicts this usage but also the difference in literacy of that of the free man and the slave. Human beings born into slavery were purposefully not taught to be literate specifically for a political agenda. The difference between communication among those born to slavery and those who were not depicted in the novel is truly great.

Works Cited

  1. Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years A Slave . Dover Ed. Auburn, NY: Dover Publications, 2000. Print.
  2. Rubenstein, James. The Cultural Landscape. 11th ed. Pearson Education, Print.

Edited by:

Jessica Silvestri, Ellie Strandquist, Jacob Standofer

Kyra Binaxas

            Egypt greatly exemplifies a country that bases its political movements around language, ethnicity, and religion. Among many other Middle Eastern countries Egypt is at a crossroads between tying its political policies with strong Islamist values and religion or moving forward to having a more westernized influence, yet still identifying strongly with Arabic culture. Khairat El-Shater’s candidacy for president of Egypt became a conflict that clearly shows this constant battle between religion and ethnicity.

Khairat El-Shater is the chief strategist and financier for an organization called The Muslim Brotherhood. By definition The Muslim Brotherhood is, “ A religious and political group founded on the belief that Islam is not simply a religion, but a way of life. It advocates a move away from secularism, and a return to the rules of the Quran as a basis for healthy families, communities, and states.” (Jones). This organization holds most of the power in Congress and if Shater were to gain presidency it would therefor result in The Muslim Brotherhood obtaining a complete political monopoly over Egyptian politics fixed on the basis of Islamic religion.

Hosni Mubarak- Egypt’s former president- outlawed The Muslim Brotherhood. The majority of the educated youth of Egypt are against holding traditional Islamic values as the basis of their political influence. They fight for a more westernized and liberal society. Although they fight for westernization and democracy they do not want any outside help. They still view non-Arabic people who are trying to speed up the process for westernization as intruders. So they essentially still hold ethnicity to a high degree of importance. Whatever the result may be of Egypt’s political dilemma both hold influence centered around concept that unify how people identify themselves in the Middle East- either religious value or ethnicity and language. Hopefully one day Egypt, along with the rest of the Middle East may become societies of peace, correlating their political movements with that of which are best for all their people.

Works Cited

1) Kirkpatrick, David. “Islamist Group Breaks Pledge to Stay Out of Race in Egypt.” New York Times [New York] 31 03 2012, n. pag. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. <;.

2) Kirkpatrick, David. “Keeper of Islamic Flame Rises as Egypt’s New Decisive Voice .” New York Times [New York ] 12 03 2012, n. pag. Web. 5 Nov. 2013. <;.

3) Jones, Bryony, dir. What is the Muslim Brotherhood. Writ. Susanna Cullinane. CNN.Com, 2013. Web. 5 Nov 2013. <;.

Edited By:

Jacob Standofer, Oren Paisner, Jessica Silvestri

Ethnicity, politics, and its conflicts.

Ethnicity, Politics, and its Conflicts

Ethnicity deals a lot with religious based conflicts. The Middle East has one of the highest concentrations for religious segregations among countries. Religious tolerance is at a boiling point among the Middle Eastern countries. For example, Lebanon, this country has “four million people in an area of 10,000 square foot.” The whole country is divided into different sub-units of religion. Christians in the South and Northwest, Sunni Muslims in far north, Shite Muslims in the northeast, and Druze in the south central and southeast (Rubenstein). Correspondingly, the conflict in Syria has taken a turn towards a religious war. A recent report stated that Shite Muslims from Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran have “flooded into Syria to defend sacred sites” the Sunni Muslims, some whom are affiliated with the al Qaeda joined with rebels. Now both sides are calling one another “infidels” and “Satan’s army,”(Religion. Blogs) all these religious rhetorical cries make this Middle Eastern battle a muddy radicalization. Moreover, we can start to see that religious segregation creates conflict among nations. Religious battles, has, and always will reoccur.


This map shows the areas of conflict in the Middle East.


Work Cited

Rubenstein, James. The Culutural Landscape. 11th edition. New Jersey: Pearson, 2005. 240-241. Print.

Edited by:

Jacob Standafer

Kyra Binaxas

Ellie Strandquest

Ethnicity in Nigeria.

Kishan Pachhai

Prof Alex Bullen

GEO 106-101



                    Ethnicity is a source of pride to people. It is a link to the experiences of ancestors and to cultural traditions such as food, clothing, and music preferences. It is also belonging to a group with which they share cultural background. Ethnicity matters in places of discrimination by one ethnic group, against the other. An ethnic group is tied to a particular place because of members of the group, their ancestors, and place born and raised.  Ethnicities have distinctive traits. The trait displayed by ethnicity derives from particular conditions and practices. Nigeria is a home to more than 500 ethnic groups, but it is primarily made up of four main ethnic groups including Hausa, Fulani who are Muslims, Igbo and Yoruba who are about sixty percent of the population. Reasons behind the violence in Nigeria are ethnic or religious differences due to scrambles for land, scarce resources, and political clout. Poverty, joblessness, and corrupt politics drive the country and even though nation rakes in billions of dollars in oil. The majority of Nigerians scrape by less than a dollar a day. Differences in ethnicity and the need to be superior to the other is the cause of the civil war, violence, and lack of development in the country.

Nigeria has been plagued by violence for decades. The poor distribution of wealth in Nigeria’s oil-rich southern Delta region causes militants to regularly blow up pipelines for greater revenue, and kidnapping foreign oil workers. Violence between Muslim and Christian ethnic group was always kept in check by military regimes, but it started again when Nigeria returned to Civilian rule in 1 October, 1979. The greater freedom of religious expression in Nigeria is due to democracy, as it intensified the political and economic friction between the ethnic groups. According to Buhayar, in “Ethnicity in Nigeria” says that rioting in 2001 killed more than 1,000 people outbreak in 2005, killed another thousand in 2008, and in 20009 small but vicious attacks claimed dozen of lives.

The current population in Nigeria has increased to over one hundred and sixty eight million, from one hundred and twenty two million back in 2000. Over time, all the ethnic groups grow much larger. Nigeria however continues to have its difficulties, successfully governing variety of people in which over four hundred different languages are spoken and on top the same number of separate cultures. The cities are very discriminative along ethno-religious lines, and usually an ethnic clash in part of country can trigger the riot or attack in other parts of the country. All major ethnic groups have formed militias to protect their own interest as the law enforcement is not strict.  I think that the Nigerians will continue to participate in its own civil war. Being so diverse in ethnicity, each has their own belief, so the need to take over and being superior to the other group, this is what prompts the wars and fights. According to Simon, in Ethnicity in Nigeria, It is known as “the Giant of Africa”, for being popular in Africa and seventh most populous country in the world. Its economy is the second largest in African and the 30th largest in the word as of 2012. So, if all the people from different ethnicity were to get together, I believe that Nigeria can be really developed country as civil wars only affect them from progressing in the long run.

Edited By: Araceli, Jason, Susana

Pic 1-1Image

Residents of the Nigerian village of Dogo Nahawa stand by a mass grave on March 8, 2010, as health officials cover bodies of people killed during a religious clash with the Hausa-Fulani

Federal Republic of Nigeria

Map of Nigeria exhibiting 36 states and the federal capital territory


Work Cited

 Rakov, Simon A. “Ethnicity in Nigeria.” Ethnicity in Nigeria., Aug. 2000. Web. 19        Nov. 2013. <;.

Rubenstein, James M. “Ethnicity.” Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. N.p.: Prentice Hall PTR, 2013. 224-55. Print.

How Political Movements Form Around Language and Ethnicity.

Oren Paisner

Professor Bullen

Final Project


How Political Movements Form Around Language and Ethnicity

            Throughout the history of human kind there has been struggle between different cultures and ethnicities. A good example of this, the ethnic cleansing that took place in Kosovo, demonstrates exactly what happens when there is a clash of political ideas in a country. Political movements form around language, ethnicity, and religion because of the beliefs that are associated with them.

Religion seems to be a strong motivator for political movements in a lot of countries. When China invaded Tibet in 1951 and installed a communist dictatorship in 1953, they destroyed many monasteries and temples. They did this to the Tibetans to show them who was boss. In this case, the political movement of the Chinese communist regime formed from the belief that Tibetan Buddhism was a religion that cultivated opposition to Chinese interests.


Political movements can also form around language. In the Canadian province of Quebec there is a separatist movement trying to make Quebec an independent country. A significant reason for this is that the main language in the province of Quebec is French. In the rest of Canada, English is the primary language.  Jane Jacobs, an American-Canadian journalist comments that “Canadians who are indifferent to the question of Quebec separatism are likely either to identify primarily with their own province, such as Newfoundland or British Colombia, or else to identify with a Canada which -for all they care emotionally- may or may not include Quebec.” (Excerpt of the Question of Separatism) This idea ties in with political movements forming around language because the Canadian provinces that are indifferent to the Separatism are dominantly English speaking provinces.


Ethnicity can be and often is a huge motivator for political movements. Kosovo underwent ethnic turmoil after the breakup of Yugoslavia which resulted in lots of violence and many deaths. “At its peak in 1999 Serb ethnic cleansing had forced 750,000 of Kosovo’s 2 million ethnic Albanian residents from their homes, mostly to camps in Albania.” (Rubenstein, 251) This clearly demonstrates how the desire for less ethnic diversity can motivate a political movement to try and reach that goal by means of violence.

Ethnicity, religion and language don’t only cause political movements to do unspeakable things, but often they bring people together in their differences. One of the things I never take for granted is living in a country where people actually bond over the differences they have instead of fighting over those differences. That is why it is important to understand how Ethnicity, Religion and Language influence political movements so that we can do our part as individuals to make sure that those influences are positive.


Works Cited N.p., n.d. Web.

Jacobs, Jane. “Excerpt of The Question of Separatism: Quebec and the Struggle over             ____Sovereignty by Jane Jacobs.” – Independence of Quebec. N.p., 12 Apr. 2011. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Rubenstein, James M. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. Upper _____Saddle River, NJ: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 2005. Print.

“Where Is Tibet?” YoWangducom. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.

Edited by: Ellie, Jacob and Kishan

Social Movements.

Araceli Garcia

We exist among a vast diversity of people from all over the world, and even though complete equality is ideal among different groups of people, that is not the case. Our differences are valid, yet have established social movements based on the standards that each culture has on its values. It is not to say that movements have not erupted due to geographical problems or political leadership disagreements, but the majority have formed around ethnicity and race, and have been motivated by their values and their reaction to violated human rights.

Such movements attract people with similar identities, whether it be identifying with a particular language, religion, or custom(Rubenstein). Any form of discrimination is aimed towards a group of people who share something in common and are therefore subject to classification by everyone around them. What we look like, what we do, and what we believe in all constitute a part of our identity. We therefore try to bring awareness to the public that we are being judged unfairly when it is clearly evident that we are all different.

The conflicts among different races we see today is a continuation of the struggle of the 19th century between ‘African Americans’ and ‘European Americans’.  African Americans had no chance in defending themselves due to the fact that they lived inferior to the “dominant” culture who had written laws that purposely ensure their subordination (“Revealing Histories”). A successful movement, according to Gamson, is based on two factors: solidarity, which is the identification and loyalty to a particular ethnic group, and mobilization, which is the capacity to obtain resources. African Americans tried to stay together because it was the only way to feel accepted and comfortable around people who were going through the same type of judgement, but they were at an economic and political disadvantage.

They were frustrated with the rejection to integrate into a society that they had been forced into , and broke out in violence when they could see no good results. The violent episodes continued to cast them out and placed a negative association on their behalf. It took activists such as Martin Luther King Jr. for example, to project the words of so many people who were shut down by fear. It was infact his written words that justified the disobedience as a result of unequal treatment. It was King’s attempt to place the American people in different shoes to view the situation from an oppressed perspective; as King simply stated, “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere”(Dinar).

The ongoing prejudice only divides people to a greater extent, and we continue to see these problems today. Boundaries are set due to physical traits; characteristics that we cannot control such as skin color. We see unequal treatment in jobs, schools, and even in people’s own homes. An additional law has not been enough to blind the nation of discrimination and prejudice.

The development of a society and a strong political government encourages competition(Abel), unfortunately, competition calls for the rise of some and the fall of others. This means that we will always be in some kind of disagreement, violating rights that do not give people the opportunity to feel equal. We are all different after all and should have the freedom to express our true entities. So as long as one individual speaks up, we will continue to see political/social movements arise to defend the equality of mankind.

Edited by: Kishan, Jason, Susana



( High concentration of African American culture in the South is due to the forced migration beginning in the 17th century.

Work Cited

Abel, Donald C.. Fifty Readings in Philosophy. 3rd ed. Boston: McGraw Hill, 2008. Print.

Dinar, Ali B.. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail [King, Jr.].” African Studies Center. N.p., n.d. Web. 3 Dec. 2013.

Gamson, William A., and Aldon D. Morris. Frontiers in Social Movements Theory. New York: Yale University, 1992. Print.

“Revealing Histories: Remembering Slavery.” Slavery Over Time and the Abuse of Human Rights. Renaissance North West Museums for Changing Lives, n.d. Web. 4 Dec. 2013.

Rubenstein, James M.. The Cultural Landscape: An Introduction to Human Geography. 11th ed. Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Pearson/Prentice Hall, 20011. Print.

Acculturation into a new culture.

Araceli Garcia

Very few people enjoy stepping out of their comfort zone. So it would seem appropriate for those people to live in and around the things that are routinely similar and recognizable. The states, cities, and neighborhoods we chose to live in therefore play an important role in identifying people’s lifestyles. Different factors may however  push or pull people into a new location due to financial, religious, or political difficulties. The U.S. is known for its multiculturalism, welcoming folks from all over the world who have struggled with such factors in their country of origin. What most of us are not aware of however, is the distress that people undergo as they attempt to assimilate to a completely new culture.

Acculturation is the process of learning and adapting to new behaviors. Studies provide a layout of stages that people go through as they accustom themselves to the U.S. specifically. The studies agree that most immigrants are primarily satisfied to be in a different country because so many aspects are unique, new, and exciting (Bradbury).. I on the other hand have never seen or heard of such enthusiasm probably due to the fact that migrating did not include the entire family. Both friends and family agree that their first impression was the complete opposite. Everyday was a countdown to the day they would get to leave. Their first stay here elicited fear, anxiety, and mistrust towards others- a phenomenon known as “culture shock”(“Culture Shock”), which results from the transitioning of one culture to another. The frustration arises from the significant contrast in language,  routine, and unknown faces (Ellers). Most of these people have come from small scale towns with a population large enough to have no excuse to forget anyone’s name. Everyone is part of the same religion, share the same values and expectations, and all speak the same language.

Migrating to the U.S. therefore not only has a toll on the person physically, but psychologically as well. New customs may cause confusion and could be the reason for immediate judgement. Gestures are certainly different and contribute for the misunderstanding of other people’s generosity for rudeness. The customary routine and strict notion of time and due dates also seem all too overwhelming in comparison to the self-directed work days back home.

The time it takes to assimilate and accept the new culture’s ideas all depend on the individual’s perception and judgement of new ideas. Adapting to the new culture is not the end of the battle however. People who find themselves visiting back and forth also find themselves putting a lot of effort into fitting in. Both cultures do not quite see that person the same anymore because the ‘default’ norms have shifted to satisfy both cultures. This idea is expressed by the term “culture shedding” which is describes the behavior change as a result of combining your own norms to the other cultures norms(“What is Acculturation”).

To acculturate is to lose some aspects of your old culture to accept and be accepted by the new one. This means changing pieces of your own identity; which may not be noticeable to the individual until someone else points it out. It may seem like an easy task to travel to another piece of land, but the challenge lies in the integration of different lifestyles.

Edited by: Susana, Kishan, Jason




Works Cited

Bradbury, Dr. Lorin. “The Delta Discovery – The real news for the real people.” Stages   of Acculturation. The Delta Discovery Inc, 25 Apr. 2012. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.

“Culture Shock and Acculturation in Self-Directed Target Language Learning in an Authentic Target Language Environment.” ERIC – Culture Shock and Acculturation in Self-Directed Target Language Learning in an Authentic Target Language Environment., English Teacher: An International Journal, 2000., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.

Ellers, Elizabeth. “Univision Communications .” Univision Acculturation Is Not A One Way Street . Univision Communications Inc, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.

  “What is Acculturation?.” HubPages. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2013.

Native American Gaming.

Jennah Reiman

Prof. Bullen

GEO 106-101

11 Dec. 2013

Article #3

Native American Gaming

            Along with ethnicity, comes distinct cultural traditions that define and differentiate various ethnicity groups.  Key elements of human culture are distributed across the globe alongside the ethnicities that uphold them.  Native Americans have strong traditions around playing games, and this aspect has followed their distribution.  In Oklahoma, Indian reservations are full of casinos owned by those with Cherokee, Navajo, Arapaho and many other Native American ethnicities. The distribution of ethnicity leads to the distribution of key elements of their culture such as gambling in the Native American culture.

Since the beginning of time gambling has been a large part of culture to those falling into the category of ethnic tribes in the Native American race.  They practiced two kinds of gambling games, according to the Santa Ynes Band of Chumash Indians they played, “games that required skill to play and games of chance”.  They went on to explain that, “our ancestors often gambled on the outcome of the games. Each village had a special area, called malamtepupi, where games were played” (History of Native American Gaming).  After the Civil War many Native Americans were forced from their homes and into reservations.  A large percentage of these natives still live on reservations, which have a high volume of casinos.  According to a writer for the National Bureau of Economic Research, Linda Gorman, “half of the Indians on or near reservations now belong to tribes that have opened Las Vegas-style casinos” (Gorman).  The more Native Americans in a location, tends to lead to a greater amount of casinos in the area.

In America, there is a higher population of Native Americans in the states on the South Western coast as well as the states near the great lakes.  When looking at the distribution of Native American casinos, it seems to follow the same trend.  Gaming is a key element many tribes that consider to be Native American, casinos reflect this as the distribution of these facilities follow the distribution of the population.

Edited by: Emily Flora, Jacob Ttandafer, and Jessica Silvestri

Works Cited

“History of Native American Gaming.” History of Native American Gaming. Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, 2009. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.

Gorman, Linda. “The Social and Economic Impact of Native American Casinos.” The Social and Economic Impact of Native American Casinos. National Bureau of Economic Research, n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2013.