Hispanics and Alzheimers

Note: Repost from the old blog. Interesting article shows that, tragically enough, Hispanics seem to be developing Alzheimer’s at an earlier age than Whites. Suggested factors were stress and low educational attainment. The low educational achievement is quite clear, since US Hispanic culture, while not made up of morons, places nearly zero value whatsoever on education. I don’t buy the stress thing though. I live in a mostly-Hispanic city, and these people do not worry about much of anything at all. They are some of the least neurotic people I have ever met. The whole philosophy is, “So what, take it easy, be apathetic, don’t worry about it, don’t think about it, take it one day at a time.” Hispanics seem to live very much in the present moment. Most of the time, they seem to be thinking about their immediate environment and reacting to it. I’m not sure that they think that much beyond the present moment and what’s directly in front of them. There are advantages to that, but it doesn’t create a forward looking society. I don’t buy that Hispanics experience massive levels of stress. They seem to be pretty stress-free, happy go lucky, people from what I can tell. The stress that does exist is in the form of acting out. Couples fight it out like wildcats and stress and distress over this. People go to jail a lot, and there are lots of health problems. Unplanned pregnancies are typical, and I am starting to wonder if any Hispanics ever have a planned pregnancy. Once you get to know them, the happy go lucky Hispanic will sometimes complain of depression. Ask him what should happen in his life to relieve his depression, and he is likely to say nothing. There is no hope. Misery will always be his secret company. Other Hispanics, like young gangbangers, sometimes say that they don’t care if they live or die. Sounds like a depressed person of some type to me. Hispanic females can be very quiet, such that they seem nearly schizoid, except that the emotional life is full, but the introversion is such that it cannot be easily glimpsed. It’s a very shy woman of few words and deep emotions. Obviously a personality type that could be prone to depression. The extent of depression in Hispanic females is not well-known. The culture is people-rich and there is probably a lot of somaticizing. There may be masked male depression, probably appearing most of the time as depression or drug abuse. Hispanic culture is a culture of action, not delay, introspection and denial of present action. The true extent of psychopathology in such a culture is not easy to discern, but the absence of observable neurosis and worry is clear. It’s not White culture at all; it’s something altogether different. Whenever I look for parallels to Hispanic culture, I keep getting reminded of the psychological type of the American Indians. To understand the Hispanic, first observe the Amerindian of the West and Latin America. There’s other stuff going on – machismo from Spain – but that’s a good place to start.

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3 thoughts on “Hispanics and Alzheimers”

  1. I would tag the mentality you describe as “fatalism” and I think it happens more among hispanic lower classes. Hispanics are very polarized by social class, even more than angloamericans, in my opinion. Depending on social class, values and mindset vary dramatically (and also the perception of what’s good and evil and gender roles). Perhaps in the US you lack some perspective because there aren’t many superrich Hispanic great landowners (most of Hispanics in the US have their roots in poor families from Mexico and other countries). Class polarization in countries like Mexico or Brazil is brutal and it doesn’t have to do only with wealth and living conditions. This huge divide of mindset and values depending on class is to be found in many Catholic countries (not only Hispanic).
    As for Spanish machismo… take a look at today’s Spanish society where it has diminished dramatically. “Machismo” may have been originated in Spain today’s mentality in the country is very similar to other West European countries… Today the stronghold of “machismo” in Europe are Italy, Greece, Portugal and the former communist countries of central-eastern europe such as Poland, Rumania… Even inside Spain until the 70’s there were strong mentality differences with regard to gender between the north of the country and the center and south (the north being more “European” and “liberal” and the south with more “machismo” values), but today the mentality is more “liberal” all over the country. This means machismo mentality can evolve.
    Unfortunately in Spain during the last 10 years massive migration from Moroccans, Latin Americans and Eastern Europeans (and all of them from lower classes) has brought machismo with them (in most of episodes of violence against women are involved immigrants, and the integration of muslim women in Spanish society is almost impossible due to their strong submission to their husbands and families). Spanish Gipsies have “preserved” a lot of machismo too, and, by the way, they fit a lot with the portray you make of US Hispanics. Each word of your text referring to US Hispanics could be applied to Spain’s Gypsies!

  2. I don’t believe neither the level of education nor social class one has is a factor at all. I am Hispanic and my father held a Masters in Social Work. Yet, he had an earlier onset of Alzheimer’s. Obviously, my family is middle class, so that can’t be it either. From what I’ve read, a hereditary predisposition and environmental factors probably influence the disease’s onset.

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