Summary: This video is one of several animated short videos that make up the larger StoryCorps oral history project, an archive of over 45,000 interviews with nearly 90,000 participants from across America telling their stories. The story recounted in this video is told by Ramón "Chunky" Sanchez. As described here, Chunky "was raised in a small farming community in southern California in the 1950s. As was common practice at that time, teachers at his local elementary school Anglicized the Mexican American students' names." The anglicisation of personal names is the practice by which non-English-language personal names are either changed so that their spellings are closer to English sounds or English personal names are substituted for non-English names. This practice can be a personal choice or it can be imposed upon people by (more powerful) others, such as immigration officials or, in the case of Chunky's story, school administrators. While sociologists and others have documented the ways in which immigrant groups have strategically chosen to adopt or reject "American-sounding names," Chunky's story is one in which he and his classmates were subject to this practice without choice. Children with "Mexican-sounding" names had their names anglicized. For example, as Chunky explains, Maria became Mary and Juanita became Jane. Chunky's own name, Ramón, was changed to Raymond. Yet, Chunky recounts a time in second grade when his teachers had a difficulty renaming the new kid in class, Facundo. After watching the video, viewers might consider some of the following questions: (1) Why did teachers anglicize the names of students in Chunky's class? What messages did this renaming send to the students? (2) In Chunky's story, why is Facundo celebrated as a hero, and his non-renaming a victory? Each StoryCorps conversation is preserved at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress, and weekly StoryCorps segments are broadcasted on NPR’s Morning Edition. For more on Chunky Sanchez and the making of this short animation, click here.
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