Language plays a large role in American society. Since English is a universal language, it is taught all over the world. For example, a person who speaks Italian and wants to learn Chinese they must learn English first. The reason being there is no direct translation from Italian to Chinese. That is why language is so important. When a foreigner wants to come to our country the words assimilation and multiculturalism arise. Should a foreigner assimilate to our culture to a certain degree? I think so.
This summer my family and I took a vacation to Sicily. We stayed eight days in Sicily and two more weeks in Italy. One major reason we took this trip is because my father is from Sicily. The first eight days we were there we visited his relatives. My mom, two sisters, my brother, and I do not speak the Sicilian language so it was very hard to assimilate to their culture. My father’s family was yelling at him for not teaching us the language. It was so hard to communicate with my family because I had no idea what they were saying. After a while I caught on to what some of the words meant. When taking a trip like this it is essential to learn the language, and try to assimilate to the culture.
On this trip I think my family and I played a big part in multiculturalism. When we visited my family we brought them some gifts from the United States, such as crunchy peanut butter, which they do not have in Sicily. We ate dinner at my family’s house one night and they tried making an “American” dish for us. In actuality we wanted what they ate every day because it was new to us. My mother and I would go shopping and everyone could tell that we were tourists. Our clothing was a big part of it and the fact we did not speak the language. The resort and most of the shopping areas are requiring their employees to speak English, which is great for people like my family who do not speak the language.
I completely understand the perspective of Amy Tan. She talks about her mother having “broken” or “limited” English. She writes, “It has always bothered me that I can think of no way to describe it other than “broken”, as if it were damaged and needed to be fixed, as if it lacked a certain wholeness and soundness.” Trying to communicate with another culture and hardly knowing any Sicilian made me feel that my language was “limited” or “broken”. Coming from the American culture or the Sicilian culture, if a person does not know the language people are disrespectful, and pretend they do not hear you. That is exactly what Amy Tan’s mother had to go through since her English was so selected.
Multiculturalism is becoming a big part of our lives. “In order to communicate with others, we must learn to see through their lenses as well as try to explain to them what we see through ours,” Maxine Hairston says. I think she means we need to learn the language of others. If we go to a new country we need to learn the language and assimilate to the culture of their every day life. Maxine Hairston believes in multiculturalism and cultural diversity in the classroom. She believes that we can become better writers if we communicate with others and share our experiences.
Thomas Bray, a journalist from the Detroit News, is a person who does not believe in bilingual education. I disagree with his argument. I feel bilingual education should be taught in schools. People need to know how to communicate with each other, and what better way to do that by teaching bilingual education in schools. He states “But trying to prove good intentions by going along with multicultural agenda only invites more trouble.” I don’t see how someone is inviting trouble when all we are trying to do is educate student on learning about someone’s different culture and language.
Language has been around for ages. Without it we would be lost. In our diverse society we need language to survive. How are suppose to communicate with others if we cannot understand them? That is why bilingual education is so important. If we want to learn about others we must learn to accept their culture. This is what Maxine Hairston believes- if we learn about others we will know about cultural diversity and be able to communicate with others. If we would learn to accept others for their faults Amy Tan’s mother would not have been treated so disrespectable. We need to think about others feelings; just because others are different it does not make it wrong. In order to clearly communicate, we need to embrace those differences.