Personal Identity

Richard Rodriguez and Manuel Muñoz are Mexican- American authors who wrote articles that included American adults of all ethnicities. Many people all around the world are influenced by various behavioral emulations that later on affect their originality. Our identities are hugely affected by multiple forces like fashion, social media and culture. Ethnicity, race, gender and sexual orientations are examples of our identities. Being Mexican immigrants, Rodriguez and Muñoz experienced various challenges after moving to America. Rodriguez chose to term himself as Chinese because he did not want to feel any different in his racial group. He lived in an environment with mixed ethnic groups with Asians being the majority. He, later on, gets carried away with the diverse American culture and receives critics about forgetting his original culture. Just like Rodriguez, Manuel Muñoz moved from his native home in Dinuba to California. There was a significant difference when it came to cultural understandings and emulation amongst the two authors.

There are various reasons as to why one gets an urge to express his/ her identity.  These reasons revolve around multiple issues like gender, ethnicity, religion, economic class individualism among others. These identities get influenced by forces like fashion, social media and various advertisements. The adoption of Americanism has however brought about cultural erosion amongst many people across the Globe. “The gate agent, it turned out, was Mexican. Well-coiffed, in her 30s, she wore foundation that was several shades lighter than the rest of her skin,” (Muñoz, 2007). The application of foundation by the gate agent meant that the lady was not comfortable with her skin tone. She felt the need of appearing lighter just to fit in. This situation is com among many women. The sense of having a lighter skin tone mobeing associated with beauty has brought about a lack of originality. It even gets worse when now the original names of people are being anglicized. “You can probably guess how she said it. Her Anglicized pronunciation wouldn’t be unusual in a place like California’s Central Valley,” (Muñoz, 2007). It is typical to see men trying to fit in a fashion such as Jeanswear and ear piercing to look cool or emulate the original looks of American celebrities. Individuals tend to demonstrate their belonging and membership to a particular social group by using fashionable items.  By so doing, a distant relationship will manage to exist between them and groups holding lower societal positions. It is very typical to find an individual from a particular ethnic group claiming to have forgotten his/her native dialect and speaking only English  To them it seems fashionable to talk in English, but in the real sense, it depicts evident culture erosion and hence ignores ethnicity as a marker of identity.  Anglicanization of names has become a common thing in the recent past. This act has jeopardized the existence of original ethnic names. It makes it challenging to embrace the innovative native culture. Having a particular accent has now become shameful because many would want to sound like Americans or English. Speaking original languages have now shifted from being some form of privacy to being shameful. “Spanish was for privacy – and privacy quickly turned to shame,” (Muñoz, 2007).

Social media, as well as media at large, has also played a significant role in influencing the identity of individuals as well as popular culture. Many people are now admiring to being like American idols such as Michael Jackson or Oprah Winfrey forgetting their originality “My culture? Lucille Ball is my culture. (I love Lucy, after all.) And Michael Jackson. And Benjamin Franklin is my culture. And Elvis Presley and Walter Cronkite. Walt Disney is my culture. The New York Yankees,” (Rodriguez, 2016).  The advent of social media groups like Facebook has diverted people’s attention from the original cultural as well as religious beliefs and family. Multiculturalism has undergone segregation, and civil rights have in turn been undermined “Less positively, the black civil rights movement was undermined by romantic separatism,” (Rodriguez, 2016). Many people are no longer participating in everyday culture, but they are practicing a dynamic lifestyle. Multiculturalism is nice, but if it ends up wiping out the original cultural beliefs, it seizes to be of importance and well-being. As immigrants move into a particular country, they are supposed to take with them some cultural practices of that particular country as they leave their own culture in that country “Even while America changes the immigrants, the immigrants are changing us. They have always changed us. Assimilation is reciprocal,”(Rodriguez, 2016).  This process is the reciprocities nature of cultural assimilation that is hardly practiced by individuals lately.

There is much diversity when it comes to ethnicity. People may end up exchanging in rather powerful ethnic confrontations. It is therefore subjective and is based on shared cultures as well as historical markers. Having defined socio-cultural behaviors is not enough to make up ethnicity. Ethnicity in general, demands individuals to overlook internal as well as external differences of individuals. A social interaction either brings people together or separates them. Looking down on someone just because he/ she are colored and different is unfair. There are some ethnic backgrounds like Hispanic for example, which embrace a remarkable diversity in culture. It is important to realize that we are one people regardless of our ethnic backgrounds. Every ethnic group has its beauty and ought to be respected. Individuals ignoring their culture and emulating other cultures should retrace their steps and love where they belong.

Even though adapting and emulating western culture is nice, people are not supposed to lose their selves. Self-acceptance is an essential aspect of an individual’s life. It is necessary for people to respect the ethnic backgrounds of immigrants living in their country. As for the immigrants, it is vital for them to remember their native ancestry and avoid losing their popular culture as a result of exposure.

 

 

References

Muñoz, M. (2007). “Leave Your Name at the Border.” Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2007/08/01/opinion/01munoz.html: Accessed on February 26, 2019

Rodriguez, R. (2016). “The Chinese in all of us,” “W.E.D Du Bois’ of our Spiritual Strivings.”

 
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