How do you solve a problem like Maria?

In the comments to an eye-opening blog article by Jake Tapper, “Maria” writes at Sep 18, 2008 8:45:26 AM

Reading this article, and the comments to it, makes me realize just how out of touch is mainstream America with the situation of Hispanics in this country. I’m not talking just about undocumented workers (who some people here like to call “illegal”), but even Hispanic US citizens like myself. We love this country, help it grow, and still are not allowed to be part of it. This needs to change, so that America can be a better place for EVERYONE. McCain, for sure, would do nothing to change that. I believe Obama will at least try.

A Spanish speaking legal immigrant to and citizen of America, whether from Guatemala, Mexico, Cuba or Spain, has the same rights as every other citizen. It is true that immigrants to America, or any other country for that matter, are often mistreated by the native born. It happened in America to the Irish, Germans, Italians, Chinese, Japanese, Africans, Caribbeans and south Asians, and was much worse a hundred years ago than it is now. I make no excuses for bigots, but it is a fact of human nature. Generations of ancestry are no shield against it. The way to become all American is to embrace Americanism and everything that goes with it. Multiculturalism is a dead end. The melting pot, that metaphor for the American motto “e Pluribus, Unum,” is it.

When young Carlos and Lupe are brought up as Americans first, and barely speak Spanish at home and never while at school, then we will know that Hispanics have truly arrived as Americans.

It’s only a matter of time.


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2 thoughts on “How do you solve a problem like Maria?

  1. I spent no few of my formative years in a Texas border town. My first teaching gig out of college (about the time Barack Obama was still in short pants, living in Indonesia as Barry Soetoro) was in a bario school where every single one of the students were children of LEGAL (yes, schools could and di check in those days) immigrants, and all were from homes where Spanish was the primary labguage.

    All classes were in English, and the parents were exceedingly pleased that it was so, because it gave their children a leg up on assimilating into the culture the parents had emmigrated to partake in. Few of the prents or extended family members were fluent in English, although all were striving for that. Best school situation I’ve ever known.

    Last teaching gig I had was over 1,000 miles away from that location. The ESL program had its stranglehold on kids, providing them with a crippling “crutch” to hold them down–and make no mistake, it provided them with plenty of holding down. One of the ESL aides, ironically, was a product of the school I’d taught in more than three decades earlier. The process there had allowed her to become fluent, yet she was now a part of the process of handicapping progress in the students she worked with.

    Immersion works; ESL programs do not. (Well, unless the purpose of ESL programs is to further resentment among citizens, promote fracturing of society and encourage ethnic tensions: then, yes, they do work.) Legal immigration works. Scofflaws who disrespect the culture, society, language and laws of the land they seek to benefit from undermine every benefit they seek.

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