Dr. Clare Douglass
April 6, 2010
Ashamed of Your Heritage? Shame on You
People in the United States often become ashamed of their heritage and mother language because they associate them with something negative. This shame of their heritage and mother language can make the person stop speaking their mother language, it can make the person not pass it forward to their children, it can close doors to job opportunities, it can cause some social problems, and it can cause family problems due to the person’s dishonor to the family. People have to learn to accept their heritage and language because even if the person comes from the poorest village in Haiti or most violent place in Mexico, the knowledge of a second language and/or culture is a great gift and advantage. One should never be afraid or ashamed of their mother language and heritage as it can not only open doors and opportunities in the future, but it can enhance the person’s cognitive skills. People’s shame toward their heritage and language is a real problem in the United States: “Of the 629,000 Hispanics in Arizona, 22 percent do not speak another language aside from English.” Now, twenty-two percent is a large number of people; we are talking about roughly 140,000 people who “forgot” about their language, in just one state; and the most likely reason for most of those people to “forget” about their language was either shame or because they find no need for the language because of English being the primary spoken language in the United States, which is a very wrong idea, a second language can be extremely helpful in the United States. Leticia Salas, author of “Saying ‘Adios’ To Spanglish” was ashamed of her heritage and mother language because of the conditions she lived in El Paso, Texas. Salas explains how she ran away from El Paso and did not teach Spanish to one of her children because of her shame. Also she did not want anything to do with her skin color and language....
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