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Leave Your Name at the Border by M. Munoz - Essay Example

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The essay "Leave Your Name at the Border" is about the Mexican Americans living in Dinuba who change their name and adopt those of the American culture. Leaving their name at the border is used figuratively to mean that the Mexican immigrants discard their names as soon as they cross the border…
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Leave Your Name at the Border by M. Munoz
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Leave Your Name at the Border
Introduction
The essay is about the tendency of Mexican Americans living in Dinuba to change their name and adopt those of the American culture. This is in their quest to feel more accepted in the American culture. Leaving their name at the border is used figuratively to mean that the Mexican immigrants discard their names as soon as they cross the border into America. The Mexican do so in their attempt to feel a sense of belonging since retaining their uniquely pronounced name would make everyone identify them as Mexicans, something they do not appreciate. Another reason the Mexicans prefer to adopt the English names when they get to America is to make it easy for people who cannot easily pronounce Spanish names. However, Munoz feels that the main reason is attempt to hide their identity. Munoz argues that it has now become a custom for Mexican parents to give their children English names. He emphasizes on this point by giving an example of how her nephews as well as second cousins and other children in his hometown have evaded their Spanish name in favor of English ones. This paper is an analysis of Manuel Munoz essay, which attempts to demonstrate how Mexican Americans are increasingly deserting their culture particularly their names to assimilate English ones.
As Munoz argues, Mexicans appear not to be proud of their culture. As much as they argue that they change their names to make it easy for other people to pronounce, it is not understandable why they would do so even in their own hometown. It is for sure a cultural problem when people completely alter their own way of life to assimilate another one. Names are very crucial since they are used for identification. Most names tell where a person comes from hence his or her culture. Altering ones name is thus a sign that one does not want to be associated with his or her culture. However, I think that the Mexicans have a reason for this. It happens that a lot of stereotyping against the Spanish h speakers exists such that people tend to generalize when they speak of Spanish speaking people. A name being a way of identifying one as Spanish, then those who do not want to be associated with anti-Mexican stereotypes have no choice but to assimilate new culture and avoid being viewed as illiterate (Munoz, 2007).
Self-identification is very crucial and the fact that some Mexican Americans cannot even pronounce their names well and are astonished when some does it correctly, demonstrate the extent to which they have run away from their own culture. According to Munoz, a lot of prejudice exists against the immigrant Mexicans in America who are always regarded as under-educated or viewed as illegal immigrants. This is what could have pushed them to try to act like the Americans, and the best way to appear American is to have an English name. Munoz thinks that alteration of the way Spanish names are pronounced is not just meant to make them pronounceable but it is a way of Mexicans hiding their identity. The English culture is for sure a popular and almost global culture, however, Munoz argues that Anglicization of Spanish name makes them loose meaning in the Spanish culture. This is depicted by the way the airport agent pronounces a Spanish name, which makes it sound completely different and more English (Munoz, 2007).
Other that the idea that Spanish culture is increasingly being replaced by English one, the author also wants to how little people especially the young know about their names. To Most students, having a Spanish name means that you are an immigrant with minimal English skills. The Mexican students thus have to avoid being branded as illiterate by avoiding pronouncing their names in Spanish way. It is for sure appalling when people have to abandon their culture because other uses it to victimize them (Munoz, 2007).
Reference
Munoz, M. (2007, Aug 1). Leave Your Name At The Border. New York Times. Retrieved 21 Aug 2012 from http://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/opinion/01iht-edmunoz.1.6936607.html. Read More
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