Monday, November 3, 2008

Changing Identities to get a Job

Column One

Central American immigrants adopt Mexican ways in U.S.
Many who come to the U.S. from El Salvador and elsewhere say it's easier to adopt the language habits and customs of L.A.'s largest Latino population. Others fiercely stick to their own traditions.
By Esmeralda Bermudez
Los Angeles Times
November 3, 2008

Juan Carlos Rivera knew that if he wanted to get a dishwashing job at the MacArthur Park hamburger stand, he would have to pretend to be Mexican.

But the thought of lying made the Salvadoran anxious. He paced outside the restaurant, worried that his melodic Spanish accent, his use of the Central American vos, instead of the Mexican tú, would give him away...

Rivera and thousands of other Central and South American immigrants have left their native countries only to arrive in an American city dominated by Mexicans, who comprise L.A.'s largest Latino group and have access to most of the jobs sought by immigrants. The metropolis drives many to Mexicanize, to degrees big and small, often before they start to Americanize... more

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