In his memoir Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood Richard Rodriguez discusses his struggles of coming to America with English being his second language. How all noises around him were so foreign, not just the language itself but the actual noises that come along with speaking english. The pronunciations were so exotic to him. In this memoir Richard discusses the importance of bilingual immigrants becoming assimulated with the english speaking culture in America and that immigrants should not be spirited in bilingual classrooms or schools.
Richard argues that although many minorities struggle with the fact that they are loosing their cultures individuality, they are not recognizing that they are also loosing their public individuality. By creating the bilingual schools and teaching, Richard explains that you are taking away the chance to be part of the society and find your place and part in American society. After all you are in America so why not try and become a part of it's culture and society? Richard argues that there are two different types of individuality, "They do not seem to realize that a person is individualized in to ways. So they do not realize that, while one suffers a diminished sense of private individuality by being assimilated into public society, such assimilation makes possible the achievement of public individuality" (Rodriguez 580). That there is a separation you create with an immigrant and the public with this type of private individuality. Richard argues that once an immigrant is americanized they soon become a part of the society walking around them, instead of feeling like a foreigner walking amongst Americans. By isolating yourself from the American culture you create this loneliness as well. While your walking the streets there may be people around you, but you feel disconnected and not a part of they world. Richard argues this feeling of aloness when speaking about when he was younger in his home; that his family had no connections with any neighbors, they never had any visitors to their home other than family. He would watch kids on his street but not know their name or who they are. He also argues that he would feel alone and scared when going to the store, not understanding the pronunciations and words of the English language that everyone was speaking. Richard describes this isolation he felt because of the issue of not becoming Americanized. He argues that he could not consider himself a member of the crowd until he joined it. So he feels that the bilingual schooling is just alienating these immigrant children even more. Causing them more separation from the society and world around them.
This argument kept bringing Delpit to the front of my mind. That also one day when these children become adults and have careers, that their lack of becoming a part of our society with just hurt them more than help. It will cause "The Silenced Dialogue" (Deplit) that Deplit speaks about. Their voices won't be heard because they will not have the power. They will be completely falling under Delpit's second code of power which is "There are codes or rules for participating in power; thats is, there is a "culture of power" (Delpit 24). Meaning that there are communicative codes and rules to go by in order to gain power in any conversation. So if you have no idea what the other person is saying, or fail to answer in their culture then you are automatically giving that person the power in that conversation. I believe this is a point that Richard is arguing, that to be heard in society you need to become a part of that society's culture.
I believe this to be true. In order to become an active part of society, you need to become an active part of the culture. Im not saying you have to go eat McDonalds, and slap the American flag on your front yard, but to speak the language of the culture will bring a person such a long way in society.
COMMUNICATION IS KEY