"Leave Your Name at the Border” by Manuel Munoz

Brief Summary of the Reading

In “Leave Your Name at the Border” Manuel Munoz states that he is a Mexican American living in a small California town. He illustrates the impediments faced by people who try to assimilate with a different culture through the lens of the very factual form of identity. As he grew up, he and his peers spoke English at school and Spanish at home. Manuel Munoz illustrates that the English language was for public display, while the Spanish language was for confidentiality.

 

He focuses his main argument on the Anglicization of migrant names and their way of life. Manuel Munoz makes use of stylistic methods, tragedy, narration, and comparison to express how the immigrants had to relinquish parts of their individuality and culture at the border. The frontier signifies the indiscernible line that settlers cross when acquiring American nationality.

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My main concern lies in the American naming. The author believed that his unquestionably Mexican first name was at all times a mark of his background. According to him, the outmoded names were hard to understand for contemporary Americans. Their articulation required a grip of the Spanish language, and integration was supposed to wipe out this difference.

How the Reading Is Arguing From Personal Experience

Manuel Munoz wrote the article based on personal experiences. He evaluates how incorporation forces settlers to look like Americans and change accents. Through his nieces and nephews, Munoz elucidates how this absorption is comparable to the eradication of other cultures. He further explains how foreign languages are regarded with disbelief, related to underprivileged immigrants, and viewed as a cause of discrimination in learning institutions. What is more, his stepfather was ultimately forced to take up an Anglicized name. He had to change his name from Antonio to Tony.

The author explicates that without changing to an Anglicized name, immigrants will not secure employment. In his arguments, he enunciates that this part of assimilation aimed to make immigrants show reverence and subservience. This struggle has served to illustrate who fits in America. “Anyone with an Anglicized name belongs but those who do not have such do not fit” (Bukowczyk). Finally, Munoz comes to the power of recognition. He appreciates that settlers must not let their names be governed by the America’s class structure. He is indirectly calling for an end to the involuntary elimination of immigrant culture.

What I Liked about the Reading

This essay has helped me realize how Americans live in integrated cultures. It explains how these people are trying to be American despite being of a different race and culture – for instance, Mexican or Asian. I appreciate the way the author used his life experiences to demonstrate how they have influenced him and others. I also enjoyed how he expressed language as a means of misrepresentation. Moreover, I liked how he explained that his name made an impact in his life. I agree that expediency outdoes eminence. Overall, I liked the straightforwardness of the essay.

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What I Disliked about the Reading

I disliked how the writer discussed that being bilingual is not as good as speaking only English. I believe that being multilingual is a gift. In my view, if one is not a multilingual person, that means he/she is not ready for dynamism and remains trapped in the past. I also dislike the fact that Americans force other people to change their cultural names to fit the American standards. It is inappropriate to despise people who speak Spanish and regard them as illegitimate immigrants. I detested the fact that the citizens who spoke the Spanish language were only permitted to use their language at homes or in private areas. This act infringes the right of expression and makes the Spanish-speaking U.S. citizens uncomfortable. No one should judge a different culture in such a way.

Conclusion

In conclusion, this article provides thought-provoking awareness into an apparently underappreciated area. As a matter of fact, it should be one of the most significant fragments of ethnic adoption. Assimilation should not advocate segregation and abuse of cultural values.

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