Cassandra a writer in Dallas, wrote up something that so many of us can relate to. About our perfectly sounding, perhaps gringo names. Her piece for The Dallas Morning News, “My Parents Gave Me An ‘American’ Name…” is contemplative and wrestles with the idea if she should change it, as relatives call her ‘Yarelli‘ contrary to a name she was given, ‘Cassandra‘. She uses ‘Cassandra‘ everyday…however, reclaims her culture with Yarelli.
“Dad found the name Cassandra easy for the gringos to say. He and my mom informally started to call me Cassandra as we started our life in the U.S., but they never legally added it to any paperwork. It’s an entirely made up name that stuck around…,” says Cassandra.
Cassandra put her question out on Twitter:
We have these questions in the search for our identity…
Where did my name come from?
What inspired our parents to ‘name us’?
Why the hell did they name me THAT?
So many questions, yet our parents until our adulthood still remain vague or just simple blurt out, “I wanted you to fit into American life. You are not going to get ahead with a name like Guadalupe, no?!”
Since the arrival of immigrants to Ellis Island in the 19th century, choosing a new name was a way to adopt the American life with a new identity. ~ Cassandra Jaramillo, writer for Dallas Times
Americanization. Of. Our. Names. And survival. It is to survive. Is it necessary for our names to change, now or future? For immigrants who often struggle with acceptance, but should the United States white ‘Americans’ or all of us, for that matter, have it so ‘easy’? Why do immigrants have to be so accommodating?
Here’s to calling for a paradigm shift for all to be inclusive, to have the willingness to accept culturally unique names and make the efforts to pronounce, spell and call immigrants or those not native, by their birth names. Their names.
It’s time. We are living in the most culturally diverse, demographic shift ever noted in history in this country. It is time.