My Last Name… | Teen Ink

My Last Name…

January 5, 2022
By kimberlyyreal BRONZE, Salisbury, North Carolina
kimberlyyreal BRONZE, Salisbury, North Carolina
3 articles 0 photos 0 comments

Favorite Quote:
“do more for the world than it does for you” - Henry Ford

I don’t have the typical Mexican last name. “Is Real on your birth certificate?”, I’d get asked. I can agree and say my last name seemed bizarre compared to the many I was introduced to in school. I always thought my last name was lyrical and just as unique as my personality, but I also questioned why I wasn’t just given the last name of Lopez or Rodriguez instead. Slowly, this made me believe that I was a degradation to my heritage and I often questioned my true identity. It wasn't until I later learned that my last name had been adopted by a Spanish explorer with the conquest of Hernán Cortés. I felt as if I was wearing my ancestor’s humiliation, a defeat in such a vicious manner. However, after joining my Spanish Club, I realized that my last name is the voice of my people’s adaptation, and a uniqueness of spirit manifest in language. Now when people say “What an unusual last name, where are you from?”, I hear something entirely different. I’ve learned to pick up on people’s reactions and have tried using my past experiences as lessons in prejudice. I have found a greater appreciation for overlooked minorities and always ask the history behind their names– breaking barriers between culture and race. My last name is how I dream in Spanish but think in English. My last name is a crucial clue to what a community values– a blueprint to identity. My last name is what simply defines my ultimate Mexican pride.

The author's comments:

This piece was written on the first day of my AP World History Class during my senior year of high school. The prompt asked us to expand on any facet of our identity; however the essay needed to be under 300 words. 

Similar Articles


This article has 0 comments.