Esperanza is a member of many cultures, and she feels affinity for and experiences others. She is Latina, as her family comes from Mexico, and she is also a Chicana, which means an American person of Mexican descent. She is an American, as she's growing up in Chicago and experiences the American culture and way of life. She watches TV in English, knows about American ads and television shows, and goes to the library to read English-language books. She is also associated with the Catholic church and attends a school where nuns teach.
Living in a poor urban section of Chicago, she learns about other cultures. She has friends from Puerto Rico, like Louie, her brother's friend, and she hears different dialects of Spanish. She compares her own culture to Chinese culture and says of her great-grandmother: "She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse." She is a member of many different cultural groups and is exposed to others in her life on Mango Street.