The Spanish Lesson I Never Got at School – The New York Times

This is a great piece by Héctor Tobar, a Journalism professor at the University of Oregon.  By telling a personal story about his growing up in Los Angeles and the effect that had and interweaving some education policy talk, Tobar illustrates the important connection between bilingualism and political power.  Policies like the one in effect until recently in California literally silence minority communities.

This is part of the broader picture I’m beginning to see of bilingualism as a type of resistance that is radical in its unifying power and transgressive in its rejection of dominant culture.  Of course, in my local situation, in Japan, the power structure is turned upside-down.  So, my struggle, strangely enough is teaching my children English against the background of Japanese majority culture and language.  But, of course, globally, Western European (White), colonial, English-speaking is the giant.  I suppose everywhere you go will have its own unique language situation with various kinds and levels of dominance and resistance being played out.  In North America its pretty much English versus all-comers.  And this California law is recognition of the diversity of the United States and a victory for what might be called linguistic justice.

Source: The Spanish Lesson I Never Got at School – The New York Times