A great neuroscientist once told me, “If you can learn one language, you can learn any language.” To me, this applies to everyone. I do think it’s great when immigrants who come to the US try hard to learn English, but many of them are older and have a much harder time adjusting. They’re so used to their native language and mostly came here to help their children have a better life. Specifically, many Spanish speakers have this experience.
In my opinion, it would be beneficial to everyone if we required American students to take Spanish. After all, don’t we require some foreign language credits in high school? Why not do the same in Elementary and junior high? Younger children have an easier time learning languages, and this would prepare them to be able to communicate with an even wider population. Furthermore, Spanish and English are related, making it easier for English speakers to learn. Many countries require English learning, such as Japan, Korea, and Scandinavian countries. Why couldn’t we do the same?
English only laws are discriminatory. Also, even if someone comes to this country not speaking much English, it doesn’t mean they won’t be able to learn. Allowing non-English speakers the same rights would create more jobs and a more community oriented society.
So far, I have collected a lot of Halloween costumes for Because He First Loved Us. The thing that has struck me the most is the questions people ask when I collect the costumes. They want to know about the refugees, what country they’re from, how many kids there are. Some of them express sympathy. Those poor people, they must have it rough. But it struck me, I don’t know that much about them yet, as I haven’t been up to the center yet. Furthermore, I don’t know if they “have it rough”. Maybe they are really happy and enjoying their lives. It reminded me of the “Danger of a Single Story” that we listened to in class. We hear about refugees having such a terrible time, we don’t consider that some of them might be thriving now. In any case, I’m looking forward to meeting them and finding out what their stories are.