In Search of Your Own Identity

Topics: Mexican American, Mexico, United States Pages: 5 (2189 words) Published: October 8, 1999
After various writings by Richard Rodriguez and Octavio Paz, I have come across several realizations. Who am I? Should I be a part of a nation and a “system” that does not value me, or should I be a part of a nation that does not acknowledge my existence? The United States as a nation does not value me, and México does not even know that I exist. These are difficult matters to discuss. We are all in search of our own identity. However, some of us are placed in a situation that makes it very difficult and confusing to know or understand. I have always asked myself, “Who am I?” I should put it in more crude words, “Where do I belong?” After this specific question is asked, I begin to realize that I have problems coming up with a response. My parents were born in México, and thus, they are Mexican. Sometimes I feel I belong here in the United States, but other times I feel more attached to México. I am a Mexican-American. However, I feel that I am denying in some way my heritage and my culture by saying that I am. I am denying my parents. I say that I’m Mexican because in a sense I am. I am also an American. I am a Mexican-American. What do these terms put together imply? They should imply that the person is Mexican and American. The term “Mexican-American” is the very reason why I find myself confused about who I really am. I need to search for my own identity, which leads me to the purpose of this essay. Rodriguez and Paz have discussed this particular problem of identity. All three have different viewpoints. Some of their ideas are similar but mostly contradictory, especially in the case of Rodriguez and Paz. As I was reading, I was able to relate to what they had to say, and in a much bigger sense, I was able to understand and know who I am. I was able to find my self. According to Paz, self-discovery is most than anything realizing that we are alone. Paz argues that our being or our identity becomes a problem and a question. It becomes a problem because of several reasons. We just don’t simply wake up one day and realize that we don’t know who we are. There are individuals who are placed in difficult situations that allow for these questions to arise. For example, the migration of Mexicans to the United States is a situation that will definitely cause many to question their identity. I agree because if we had not moved to the United States, I would simply consider myself a Mexican without a doubt. Paz strongly argues that different circumstances are likely to produce different reactions. This migration is a circumstance that will bring about confusion among the Mexicans about who they really are. It is ironic how a few miles can bring about such a change in you. Personally, I have experiences such a confusion by simply moving twenty miles North of where I lived. I lived in Reynosa since I was eight. Then, my family and I moved here to McAllen. At the beginning, you don’t feel quite like you fit. It makes it very difficult because it is a completely different world. Even though the majority of the people are of Mexican origin, it still makes it very hard. After the years, I became somewhat used to the life here and began to feel comfortable. However, I also began to question my identity. It is the moment we cross that border that we lose our identity. Paz argues that instead of asking ourselves questions, we should do something about it. We cannot go on contemplating who we are, rather, we should work with our situation and do something. Our questions are only an excuse for not facing reality. I agree with Paz because sometimes, we continue to complain and complain and simply think about our present situation. However, we do nothing to change it. I believe that Mexican-Americans need to stop talking about our injustices and discrimination and do something. However, Paz does mention that Mexicans...
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