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Teaching Manuel Muñoz

posted: 9.17.14 by Barclay Barrios

Manuel Muñoz’s “Leave Your Name at the Border” is a short but potent piece that I love to teach.  Given the current tensions around our borders, it’s especially timely.  But I also love the ways in which it asks students to think about the risks and rewards of assimilation and acculturation.  It’s like Richard Rodriguez for a new millennium.

I recently ran across a video that I think would be great to use while teaching Muñoz.  It’s about José Zamora, who had trouble finding a job until he changed the name on his resume to “Joe.”  Zamora dropped one letter and got a job.  His experience directly speaks to Muñoz’s discussion of the anglicization of Mexican names while underscoring the deep economic stakes in making those decisions.

It’s a short video—perfect for class—and somehow hearing Zamora discuss his experiences makes it all more real.  It’s a great combo with Muñoz.  Give it a try.

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One Response to “Teaching Manuel Muñoz”

  1. Pal Parks Says:

    I’ve had to do a lot more to get a job than change my name. Sorry I don’t have an institution to place beside my name, but take comfort in the fact that I can call this institutional classism.