By Lizette Escobedo
I was thinking of preparing a piece on Bilingualism.... being that I have spent my last year working widely with ESL, ELD students in San Diego, while at the same time working a lot with the Chicano community down in Los Angeles.
Thus, I am able to make many, many observations about intragroup sentiments about English and Spanish, varying between not only generations but also by space (San Ysidro / Los Angeles)..... and how this idea of lingustic racism (“Linguicism”) is often internalized within these groups through the mythic frameworks of linguistic policies and policy makers..... where the Spanish speaking communities begin to view Spanish itself along with accents, dialects, etc.. as a handicap rather than as a resource.......
As for the immigration issue, I think this idea of lingui-cism that I mentioned above goes hand in hand with this issue of immigration..... they are all part of this wider project that policy makers and those in power engage in..... this game of being racist without mentioning race or color.... how do they deal with Mexicans and “their” language in California?... proposition 227: attacked bilingualism ... not calling them Mexicans, but instead calling them “bilinguals”.... in this same sense this immigration reform attempts to mask its racist approach to the removal of Mexican illegals (because although Central Americans and other Latinos will be included as law breakers in this reform, clearly, their biggest “problem” lies with the Mexican subject, because they are the biggest percent of immigrants coming to the US as of the 1990s) by simply calling it an “immigration” problem, when indeed the problem lies in white fear of take over, of the browning of their cities.
American policies have always been popular for placing sentiment and feeling above rationality, satistics, and research...... They can mask reform and policies with big wording and extensive reasoning because they don’t want to sound racist or un-intellectual at any moment, however, when you look down to it.......to me, as a college student, and daughter of immigrants, it is just one more slap in the face saying: “GET OUT OF OUR COUNTRY, DIRTY MEXICANS!”... one more paper to top the stack of my feelings of “otherness” and the feeling of not belonging to the country I was born, raised, and institutionalized in...... How do I deal with my double majors and my collegiate / professional success, when I have politicians and even media telling me that my parents are aliens, law breakers, looters, etc.... after all this, how do “they” expect me to be “American” and love this country??????
I FEEL ANGER, FEAR, AND DECEPTION..... HOW DO I DEAL WITH IT ALL? ANGER, THAT THIS IS HAPPENING AND THAT MANY POLITICIANS CONTINUE TO SUPPORT IRRATIONALITY, FEAR THAT THIS WILL ACTUALLY FOLLOW THROUGH. AND SADNESS THAT THE COUNTRY I WAS RAISED IN HAS TURNED ITS BACK ON ME. PROPOSITION 187, PROPOSITION 227, PROPOSITION HR 4437.. I CAN’T STAND HERE AND WAIT FOR WHAT WILL COME NEXT BECAUSE I’M SCARED.
And yes, I support the March! As immigrants, you give my brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, and abuelitos no political power.. their lack of papers makes them invisible (“alien”)... what does a group of people with no political voice do when they want to be heard? Physical mobilization! They can say in body what the system won’t let them say on paper!....
Lizette Escobedo majors: Communications / Ethnic Studies at UCSD, Mexicana (daughter of Immigrants). Born and raised in L.A county. Worked in: Public Relations, Television Media, and Bilingual Education. Focus Research on: Language/Community Development