Our Identity: Born vs. Influenced

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ENG 101 Our Identity: Born vs. Influenced Most people do not want to stand out in a crowd, but instead would prefer to blend in with the people around them. When you are raised in America with a name like Firoozeh blending is not so easy. We tend to make friends with people like us because of similar interests and to be around those who accept us as is. Based on weird names, assumptions, and stereotypes these unique people are often overlooked. Now ask yourself; what is identity, are we born with it, and where does it come from? The society and culture in which we are raised has an enormous impact on our lives. For Firoozeh Dumas it was extremely difficult growing up in America with an Iranian name. Having a more conventional name can make a person fit in more easily with the society in which they live. If it is a challenge for someone to pronounce your name, then it may be difficult to fit in with that society. At age twelve, Firoozeh Dumas thought adding an American name to hers would improve the life she had in America. She felt that if people could pronounce her name that then childhood would be filled with many friendships and happy memories. “To strengthen my decision to add an American name, I had just finished fifth grade in Whittier, where all the kids incessantly called me “ferocious” (85). Ferocious sounded angry and violent. Dumas was not a mean person, in fact she just wanted to fit in and adapt to her new life. She did not want to be the kid who was not asked when she moved to America or where her accent went or if she was enjoying the country. She just wanted to be like everyone else on the block. So she became Julie. Starting the sixth grade with a new American name was everything Dumas had hoped for, however it also came with its disadvantages. On the plus side classmates and teachers actually began remembering her name. Life for Dumas was

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