Leave my Name Where?
A women’s voice attempts to pronounce a Mexican man’s name over the loud speaker. She proceeds to produce an “Anglicized” pronunciation of the name. As Manuel Munoz hears it, he wonders what this lady looks like. Sure enough, she is Mexican. “Leave Your Name at the Border”, printed in the New York Times on August 1, 2007, is a writing about the Anglicization of Mexican names -- pronouncing the names as if they were English or abandoning traditional names in favor of non-Mexican English names. The author is Manuel Munoz, who grew up bilingual in the Central Valley of California. Throughout the article, he cites the many reasons why many Mexican immigrants are allowing their cultural roots to fade. Although Munoz’s argument contains a valid aspect of immigration, he fails to discuss the issues of real importance: as a result of American pressure, Mexican-immigrants are losing their desire to retain a cultural identity – they have given up the fight.
As the essay continues, Munoz proceeds to discuss his own experience with this cultural transformation. He is from the small town of Dinuba, California where there are basically two groups of people – white and Mexican. He explains how this created the necessity of the Mexicans to be Americanized in order blend in. Munoz uses his extended family as a model of how dramatically the second and third generations of immigrants have already adapted. The elderly of the family have a hard time understanding English, while the grandchildren have trouble comprehending Spanish, which leaves the middle generation to be the interpreters for the entire group. The children have even begun to lose the Mexican first names. Olivia and Estella are becoming Kaitlyn and Brandon.
Munoz explains that the Spanish language is viewed with suspicion: “Always the language of the vilified illegal immigrant”, while English is the path toward the richer, expansive identity of being American. Saying their names “in...
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