On Becoming an Un-Hyphenated American

The knock on the door sounded official.  It was the United States Census. "Do you live here? What is your name?"As I said it, a gleam came into his eye. "Are you a Ukrainian-American?" he asked.It wasn't always like this. When we moved from Venezuela to America in 1956, the United States government was concerned that I become an American without ethnicity attached. The immigration agent at LaGuardia Airport wanted to change my name to Walter. He explained that it would be easier for me to have a name that sounded American as I grew up. My mother refused.The government did not give up so easily. In school, Spanish and Ukrainian were not accepted languages. I needed to learn English quickly. I still remember my teachers. They took time to help me become an American.  They started with the basics, to help my transition from rural Venezuela to urban America. A sixth-grade teacher noticed I could not pronounce the "TH" sound and sent me to speech...(Read Full Article)

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