Maria Barriento Story On Self Identity and Trauma With Parents Essay:
Self-identity is an innate concept that shapes how one thinks and feels about oneself. It is an undeniable part of every human being and it what makes each person unique. It is made up of varying characteristics ranging from ethnicity, to physical characteristics and molded by personality and self esteem. Self-identity shapes a person`s thinking and dictates one`s choices ultimately defining how a person lives his life. Parents have an undeniable formative role in determining one`s self-identity through the principles they bequeath to their children that influence the latter`s perception of good and bad in relation to their individuality and consequently their self-perception. In the captivating story on Maria Barrientos, it is clear how denial of her ethnicity shaped her whole life that her identity of self took a pivotal role in her whole life (Raffi & Olfman, 2006).
Maria Barrientos` story is an eye-opening example of the power of self-identity. Born of Latina descent she struggled to embrace her ethnicity due to the negative stereotype tagged to it by the society and strived to shun her roots. In a true reflection of her resolve to disassociate herself from the ties that bound her to her roots, she took great pride in not learning her native language; Spanish because this made her feel superior, in the face of the negativity hurled at people from her race. She took great pride in saying ‘yo no hablo espanol’ thus emphasizing that t she could not be bothered to learn the language .In that era, being Latina was equated to being poor and doing the dirtiest jobs in society that one else wanted to do. It meant having people look down on one`s potential and expect minimal success in career fields commonly reserved for people from other descents.
Maria`s parents, in their quest to make a better life for their children made sure that the children learnt to speak flawless English and with the same zeal overlooked teaching Spanish to their children. Maria recounts that at home, spoke they spoke Spanish each other but always used English when speaking to her siblings and herself. This can be seen as an exhibition of a double standard on the part of her parents because subconsciously led their children they to believe that Spanish was not god enough to learn yet they were fluent speakers and could have nurtured the love and proficiency for the language had they wanted to. It seemed like the parents were locking the children out of their world and creating an enormous rift in their portrayal of their culture to the children (Tam & Yip, 2010).
In a true sense of victory, Maria was able to beat the odds becoming a journalist and renowned author. However, the issue of self identity plagued her whole life especially with the shift in societal perception on race and ethnicity. Being Latina became fashionable and a widespread appreciation for the Spanish language was cultivated not only among the native speakers but also among non-natives. Maria found herself handicapped drawing unwanted attention from her inability to communicate effectively in Spanish. In an interesting parallel, the language and culture that she had strived so hard to reject was now dangling beyond her reach taunting her previous sins.
It is easy to blame Maria for her denial of self forgetting that other external factors came into play. The greatest blame lies in her parents who failed to take the initiative to inculcate in her the love for her culture and the Spanish language, factors that were inseparable from her identity. When she sought to learn the language in her adult years, Maria experienced insurmountable challenges stemming from the fact that people already expected her to be an ardent speaker judging from her name and the color of her skin yet the scenario was oddly different. She enrolled into various Spanish courses with no success a feat that should have been easy for someone who already had background knowledge on the language (Udeani, 2008). This problem could be associated with the psychological trauma caused by her lifelong denial of her identity.
Raffi, & Olfman, Sharna. (2006). Child honoring : how to turn this world around. Westport, Conn.: Praeger Publishers.
Tam, Kwok-kan, & Yip, Terry Siu-han. (2010). Gender, discourse and the self in literature : issues in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong. Hong Kong: Chinese University Press.
Udeani, Chibueze C. (2008). Communication across cultures : the hermeneutics of cultures and religions in a global age. Washington, D.C.: Council for Research in Values and Philosophy.