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Kathy Huizar
Jennifer Rodrick
English 115
20 October 2016
Culture Creates Identity
What is the purpose to alienate and remove someone from their own identity because of
the difference in culture? Each sector of population has its own cultural ideas that prohibits one’s
own identity to emerge and honestly express themselves because of the standards society has
placed. In the Hispanic culture, people have been oppressed to mimic the actions of the
American society in order to “fit in”. Therefore, alter their own personality and move away from
their natural characteristics. Culture is the root of our characteristics to the extent that society
conforms our identities, particularly dehumanizing the Mexican culture.
Identities merge from cultural influences yet are trapped by society which removes
individuals from appreciating themselves. According to authors Usborne, et al, from the article,
“Understanding My Culture Means Understanding Myself…” describes that identities develop
from cultural influences. They emphasize, “even if an individual has multiple identities from
which to choose, his/her cultural identity is still likely to permeate many aspects of his/her
existence” (Usborne, et al. 441). It is crucial to understand that an individual’s own culture has
already created who they are. Their personality and behaviors result from their culture because
it’s been with the individual and most familiar with. However, being in a certain culture could
dehumanize one’s own identity consequently, not honestly accepting themselves. In the article,
“Classic And Contemporary Theories Of Latino Identity Development” points out a quote from
Ibarra, a higher education administrator who has been label from being Mexican:

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“My identity depends on who I’m talking to. It depends on which setting I’m in.
If I’m writing, I call myself a Chicana. If I’m in a group of people who are in the
community, who are the people who really are involved in community affairs like
arts, those kinds of things, writers, literary people, Chicana is what I use [because]
it’s more politicized in those circles. At home and talking to other people, I would
say Mexican American, and with people who speak Spanish I would say
Mexicana. Within the university, [because] these terms are used all the time.”
(“Classic And Contemporary” 27).
The fact that an individual is always shifting gears depending on certain areas presents the
removal of true identity. Therefore, being pressured by society’s standards categorizes different
types of Mexicans instead of presenting their own culture.

As noted in this illustration, the Mexican’s culture identity has even negatively reflect towards
their own culture. It is being criticize by their own culture because of society Americanization. It
is an issue that does not allow for someone to honestly prove themselves who they are because
the desire to find a place where they belong. This in fact dehumanizes the Mexican culture since

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society influences the culture to be “white”. The individual is not accepted, instead alienated.
Therefore, negatively results in “too white for the Mexicans” and “too Mexicans for the whites”.
Society conforms culture identities and in fact alienate the Mexican culture form
expressing their true identity. From the article, “Cultural Exploration Through Mapping” Schall
and Janine M explain, “It is common for people to have multiple cultural identities, which are
not mutually exclusive, but rather “cumulative layers, where the immediate cultural context
determines which layer is relevant at any particular time” (Schall and Janine M 167). In other
words, even though if people have various identities from different cultures their own culture still
creates characteristics. All are different “layers” but originate from the same cultural based ideas.
In addition, Schall and Janine M also claim, “…the social groups we belong to tell us what is
important to pay attention to and determine our interactions with other social groups. Our
cultural identities inform our interpretation of events and shape our understandings of others”
(Schall and Janine M 167). The social groups no matter in any population influences identities to
perceive different judgment because of persuading or dictating what is wrong and right. Society
guides culture to interpret one another or develop behaviors from them which is detrimental in
regards to the Hispanic culture.

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For instance, Mexicans have been removed such as not welcoming them oppressively. The
standards is to be “white” and not their own cultural identity. Society is against having Mexicans
because the fear of change and instead think that it is the Mexicans who will destroy the
American culture identity. As a result, Americanizing Mexicans.
A personal incident that my relative has faced dehumanization and loss her cultural
identity is at the time she did not know English. At a young age, she shared this personal story to
me so that I would protect myself and focus on English. When she went out to buy groceries in
an American supper market, since it was the most nearest to her home, there was a difficulty to
behave naturally. This is because she would observe Americans and copy their actions to fit it.
Also, verbally copying the type of language such as slang. Then the embarrassing moment came
when she went to the cashier. The cashier asked her how was her day and responded “good” but
with an accent that made him laugh. He then realized that she knew very few English so he took
it as an advantage and gave her the wrong change. My relative felt very embarrassed and was
doing her best to explain that he gave her the wrong change. However, she did not succeed, gave
up and left home. Over the past years, my relative has now accustomed herself to the American
society and adapted English slang or gestures. This has altered her own identity because she
could have been comfortable being herself if it wasn’t for society placing Hispanic culture
negatively in a low position. Society creates standards that pressures the Hispanic community to
alter their true identity because the difference of culture that has placed them think differently.
Culture has deeply impacted an individual’s personal identity but society conforms them
such as creating new identities for Mexican culture thus dehumanize. The purpose that society
alienates and removes cultural identity is because the population is not accustomed to them.
Mexicans are being Americanize because of the controlling behavior of American’s standards.

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The American society want for the Hispanics to be like them and not respect them form their
own identity. Therefore, when Mexicans alter their personality it is in order to be recognize and
not be outcast. This branding of culture influence the perception of the different views on
identities because of set of ideas that is expected for cultures to be the same.

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Work Cited
"Classic And Contemporary Theories Of Latino Identity Development." ASHE Higher
Education Report 39.1 (2013): 27-37. Academic Search Premier. Web. 20 Oct. 2016.
"How to Help White Folks Discuss Race?" Will Opines. N.p., 04 July 2015. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
"Mexican Quotes." Pinterest. N.p., n.d. Web. 19 Oct. 2016.
Schall, Janine M. "Cultural Exploration Through Mapping." Social Studies 101.4 (2010): 166173. Academic Search Premier. Web. 18 Oct. 2016.
Usborne, Esther, and Roxane Sablonnière. "Understanding My Culture Means Understanding
Myself: The Function Of Cultural Identity Clarity For Personal Identity Clarity And
Personal Psychological Well-Being." Journal For The Theory Of Social Behaviour 44.4
(2014): 436-458.Academic Search Premier. Web. 17 Oct. 2016.