In Search Of Your Own Identity Essay

This essay has a total of 2126 words and 7 pages.

In Search Of Your Own Identity


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 Mexico 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 Mexico, and thus, they
are Mexican. Sometimes I feel I belong here in the United States, but other times I feel
more attached to Mexico. 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 have an inferiority complex. We begin
to doubt our own abilities. This happens because of our culture. We are taught to listen
and stay quiet. On the other hand, Anglo-Americans are taught to voice their opinions.
There are many differences in both the Anglo-American culture and Mexican culture. These
differences are the reason why it is impossible to blend or mix. We are brought into a
culture that is the complete opposite of ours. This is the reason why Paz says that our
'Mexicanism'; simply floats. It never exists, and it never goes away. One of the ways we
react to this situation is by flaunting our differences. Paz talks about pachucos. They
are a group of people of Mexican origin that are known for their language, behavior, and
clothing. I remember when I went to high school and we had a pep rally, which landed right
on September 16, which is Mexico's independence. A group of friends and I decided to wear
red, white, and green to celebrate Mexico's independence. We were simply proud of being
Mexicans and wanted to show our pride. However, there were problems with several of the
administrators because it wasn't just my friends and I doing it, but other people as well.
The pep rally was canceled because they felt that our clothing would distract and cause
conflict with the other 'American'; students in school. As I was reading Paz, he mentioned
that Mexicans dress a certain way to stand out. They know they are rejected by the
'American'; society. They do this to be different and stand out. The disguise is a
protection because it hides and points them out. Somehow, they are doing this to 'belong';
Continues for 4 more pages >>




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