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Cultivating Identity: Name Narrative as an Introspective To
Transcript of Cultivating Identity: Name Narrative as an Introspective To
Both representational and allocation aspects:
Personal characteristics (such as coloring of skin, hair and eyes or language or surnames) and
Family/Community stories (such as where your people come from or what work they have done) that connect an individual with a group
Allocational: Power Hierarchies (does your family/do your people have power)
Story Telling – describing an experience (not ideas)
Elements of Stories:
A time course
Example of Story-telling: "Name Narratives"
Workforce Diversity – Refers to the efforts to increase the number of traditionally under-represented groups in employment, groups such as
People of Color
Persons with Disabilities
Cognitive Diversity- refers to the different mental capacities that result from
Racial/ethnic identity is a social and legal construction
Racial/ethnic identity is both individual and collective
The stories we tell and the stories that are told about us form or deform or transform our identities
Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (1991)
In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. . . . It was my great-grandmother’s name and now it is mine. . . . I am always Esperanza. I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do.
My name is Tsoai-talee. I am, therefore, Tsoai-talee; therefore I am. The storyteller Pohd-lohk gave me the name Tsoai-talee. He believed that a man’s life proceeds from his name, in the way that a river proceeds from its source.
The Guiding Principles
You cannot not have a culture
The dominant culture benefits people in different ways & to varying degrees
People have individual identities & group identities
Each culture is diverse
Families are defined by cultures and are the primary support for individuals
People in marginalized groups are bicultural & often multicultural
Cross-cultural interactions create complex dynamics that must be understood and adapted to or changed
Institutions & systems can incorporate cultural knowledge into their practices & policies
Cultural Competency - refers to the ability to interact effectively with people of different cultures and socio-economic backgrounds
Awareness of one's own cultural worldview
Attitude towards cultural differences
Knowledge of different cultural practices and worldviews
Partnership degree program between the School of Medicine and the College of Arts & Sciences
Program designed to help alleviate New Mexico’s physician shortage, especially in our medically-under-served areas
Expands medical school class from 75 students to 103 students
Admit a diverse class of 28 NM high school
Seniors with a commitment to practicing
Medicine in New Mexico communities with the greatest need
Current Update 2013
8 cohorts currently enrolled in the program
(4 undergraduate cohorts and 4 School of Medicine cohorts)
Perspectives - ways of representing the world
Heuristics - techniques & tools for making improvements
Interpretations - ways of creating categories
Predictive Models - inferences about correlation & cause and effect
Source: Scott E. Page, The Difference: How the Power of Diversity Creates Better Groups, Firms, Schools and Societies (Princeton: 2007)
Identity-diverse groups -- better at solving problems and making predictions.
How can we empirically prove cognitive differences attributable to culture?
Use “pile sorting,” -- people are asked to sort familiar items or terms into piles.
People from different cultures make different associations and thus create different piles.
Scott Momaday - The Names: A Memoir
My name is Noè Lopez and I am an indigenous Mixtec from Oaxaca, Mexico. For many, my name does not reflect my indigenous identity... My name reflects the colonization of the Mixtec people. No one in my family has an indigenous name but Noè was the simplest name my parents gave to one of their children. My brothers’ names are: Salvador, Arcenio, Everardo, Adalberto, and Romaldo. … When I immigrated to the United States, I realized my name represents my identity and the struggle of five hundreds years of colonization my people have endured.
I was proud of my last names. .. I remember my paternal grandfather’s expectations for his grandchildren were to get a degree, get married, and have kids. He still wants me to be governor of Oaxaca some day or maybe work with politicians. …On the other hand, my maternal family has the reputation of being happy, outgoing, singing, dancing, and drinking. My maternal grandfather was known for having a guitar and singing to people. .. Now, when I say that my last name is Lopez I am not representing any European legacy but is a conjunction of the legacy of my two families: one who looks for an upward mobility (the idea to have a better economic and social standing) and one who still holds to our culture and artistic expression.
The meaning of my name changed when my mom told me we were coming to the United States. … I realized my family’s native language was not Spanish but Mixtec…. I blamed Mexican nationality for indigenous people been subjects to racism and losing our identity. All I wanted to do was to decolonize myself. I wanted to be nothing more than an indigenous Mixtec… My parents choose Noè as my name because they thought it will bring me a better future in society. I am an example of how colonization still affects the present… My name is also an example of the struggle of many indigenous people who are still colonized by majoritarian stories that dictate them to assimilate to a different culture. Now I embrace my name because it represents these struggles.
My name is Margaret Elizabeth Montoya ; I have rarely spoken my full name in public space. I don’t particularly like the name Margaret and concluded long ago that the two names, Margaret and Elizabeth, didn’t fit the child that I was and have never fit the person I became as an adult. My names are marked by race, gender, color, geography, language, place and space, popular culture, religion, marriage, ancestry, generational linkages, and also by assimilation and the resistance to assimilation. My work was made both easier and harder because of being named Margaret Elizabeth. The name cloaks me, masks me with Whiteness and makes me have to wrestle myself out of it. It better fits the assimilated Latina me. It doesn’t fit the explicitly racialized Latina me. On the other hand, I have always loved my last name, Montoya.
Over the years, I have concluded that my mother, in naming me Margaret, was, like her mother before her in calling herself “Irish,” making a Whiteness claim, a move toward assimilation. My mother told us stories about Anglos discriminating against her because she was Spanish and she considered herself dark, at least in comparison with her older sister and other family members. When I say that my mother was making a move towards Whiteness and cultural assimilation in naming me, I do so understanding that, given her own experiences with overt bias, she was trying to create an easier pathway for my siblings and me. She succeeded; we are convinced that we had an easier time in the biased educational institutions that we attended because our names were Richard, Margaret, and Mary Ellen.
Presumption of entitlement – the belief that personal achievements & societal benefits are solely the result of merit & one’s character
Systems of oppression – societal forces that burden individuals because of their membership in disadvantaged groups
Resistance to change – unawareness of the need to respond to human & institutional diversity
UNM Combined BA/MD Program
Predictors of Rural Practice
Training in rural and under-served areas
Graduation from primary care training programs
Likelihood of African American or Hispanic Physicians to Treat Patients of Same Race or Ethnicity
Source: Komaromy et al., The New England Journal of Medicine, 1996
Racial & Ethnic Diversity in New Mexico
2006-2013 Cohort Data
39% of the US Population is minority
Underrepresented Minorities Participation in Health Professions (IOM)
HEALTH New Mexico Pipeline Program
Identity Clues & Cues in Names
Cultural And Racial Assimilation
Resistance To Assimilation
Mestizaje or Intermarriage
Native / Indigenous Ancestry
“Americanization,” Imposed or Chosen
Pronunciation / Spelling
Political / Ideological Choices
Racial / Cultural Ambiguity of Appearance
Melded Family Stories
Tribute or Honoring Rituals
Workforce Diversity: HEALTH New Mexico
The Office of Diversity coordinates the flagship educational pipeline for the University of New Mexico for New Mexico students interested in health professions, called HEALTH NM an acronym for Hope Education And Learning Transform Health in New Mexico.
Black Girl Pain – Talib Kweli
“This is for Aisha, this is for Kashera. This is for Khadijah scared to look up in the mirror. I see the picture clearer thru the stain on the frame. She got a black girl name, she livin black girl pain.”
Different Mental Toolboxes
Some Framing Questions