In many situations, higher education separates people from their families, social backgrounds, and cultures. This often causes mixed emotions, awkward feelings, and other conflicts. Some of these conflicts are described in works such as "Aria" by Richard Rodriguez, and "The Right to Write" by Frederic Douglass.
"Aria" comes from the biography of Richard Rodriguez, the son of two Mexican immigrants. He describes his struggle to grow up in a primarily white, English-speaking area. As a young child knowing less than fifty English words, Rodriguez began his schooling in Sacramento, California. He not only faced the obstacle of mastering the English language, but also that of fitting in socially with a classroom of wealthy white children.
To Rodriguez, the English language and the Spanish language represented something different. English was the language used to communicate with outsiders. It was a tool for survival, and held no personal
meaning. Spanish, however, was the key to his comfort. Hearing spanish brought Rodriguez feelings of love, acceptance, family, and security.
Throughout his life, Rodriguez had mixed feelings about his parents. "They were nobody's victims," he said of his parents. "Optimism and ambition led them to a house (our home) many blocks from the Mexican south side of town. We lived among gringos and only a block from the biggest, whitest houses." This reflects Rodriguez's feelings of admiration and respect towards his parents as a young boy. However, as Richard grew older, language became a real problem for him. He developed negative feelings towards his parents because of their English. He felt a sense of embarrassment around them in a social atmosphere. He says, "It was troubling for me to hear my parents speak in public." Hearing them speak broken English also brought him a feeling of...