Friday, December 16, 2005

Don't speak Spanish here

This is an unbelievable story out of Kansas City, Kansas, that I somehow missed last week. According to the Washington Post, a 16 year-old Mexican kid was suspended for speaking Spanish in the hallway of his high school. Even if you believe in English-only instruction at schools (I don't because I think schools should offer a variety of options to help all kinds of learners (including native English speakers that might want to be in a dual language class), and because I think it can be really valuable to teach immigrant kids that grow up here to read and write Spanish), this is crossing the line. Prohibiting the expression of some cultures even when it does not disrupt sends the wrong message to kids (that some cultures are not valued as much as others), and it is racist. Does anyone think that a kid speaking a European language in the hall would have been sent home? I try not to get too discouraged by all the anti-immigrant (really, anti-Hispanic) language being thrown around by Republicans in the House because I know that the reality on the ground is much more complex (Kansas allows undocumented immigrants to pay in-state tuition to local colleges, for example), but this kind of stuff is depressing.


Superdestroyer said...

I would a link to your post on shut up and teach.

The first question I would ask is: Why do you believe young Zach can actually speak Spanish? He probably actually speak a pidgin version of Spanlish and would be totally lost if dropped into a street in Madrid.

Would you change your mind if he was spouting a long diatribe of racist, sexist, obscene epitaths? Most Spanglish speakers I know only know crude words for body parts, gender identification, and racial descriptions.

Third, the high school that the young Zach was attending an alternative school. Why didn't the reporter ask Zach what he had done to end up in an alternative school?

PS. Why doesn't a newspaper find a real spanish speaker and have them follow "spanish speaking" kids around in a public place and find out what the kids are talking about.

"Ms. Cornelius" said...

No, no, Zach's Dad is an immigrant from Mexico, I believe. He got in trouble for saying,"No problema."

This policy is nuts.

And by the way, as I commented at the Advocates, Spanish IS a European language....

Spain being in Europe, and all....

Delia said...

Regardless of what language one speaks, one has the right to be themselves. Language is a part of culture, therefore, an identity. If one wants to speak in their language most spoken at home or amongst friends, it should be allowed.

It is the peoples civil right to speak their native language. United Nations has made sure that this right be protected.

I think if the dominant culture was bilingual, we would not be reading blogs such as these. As a matter of fact, the people of the U.S. are wanting an English only law in place. The U.S. is one of the few countries that encourage this. Other countries have preserved their native [tribal] languages in addition have learned up to 5 languages. The more languages you learn, the smarter you are and the more diverse employment opportunities you have internationally.

I work in a school district in Kansas City, Kansas [not Turner School District where Zach attended], and already there have been two discriminatory reports on the same issue. Adult staff are telling students not to speak Spanish or telling them that they are in the U.S. now, therefore, they need to speak English. This is nothing more than ignorance at its best. I don't blame the staff. I first blame and hold the school districts accountable for implementing cultural sensitivity in their curriculum and training their staff on such issues.

This is the United States of America. Does anyone know the history of this country? Throughout history, people from different countries have lived here. Different languages have been here since the beginning of colonization. Some were inferior to others, but after the civil war, civil rights movement, and much struggle, people have fought to be heard and their culture to be appreciated.

Now, as for all this immigration controversy – please continue reading. All I have to say is: if the people of the U.S. wants all immigrants out; good luck finding fruit and veggie pickers, service employees for restaurants and hotels, cheap labor in construction, overtime with no time and a half, workers that are willing to work for over a month with no paycheck, workers with no health benefits, workers that are committed even if their finger is broken, workers that do not ask for tax returns at the end of the year, and workers who work and not cry about what their rights are. Good Luck! In the mean time, undocumented immigrants contribute to this country and have contributed and built the U.S. Why not be welcoming and a little less discriminatory towards HUMANS that are here to work. Those that are here committing crime should pay the consequences. But those that are here for work and opportunity, they deserve a piece of the pie because they have contributed to the U.S. economy, buying power, and education system.

If you are reading my long blog, thank you and ALL opinions are welcome. That is the beauty of this country- FREEDOM OF SPEECH. You have a right to reply in any language. I will get it translated so I can understand it.

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