Tuesday, March 5, 2013

OUR COUNTRY, OUR LANGUAGE. no. get over yourselves.


I don’t claim to know much about politics. But if I believed every thing I saw shared on facebook I would think:

  • Obama is the antichrist
  • Republicans are all greedy dirtbags
  • Marco Rubio is dumb, because he is thirsty.
  • Michelle Obama is an idiot, because GMA cares about her clothes.
  • That the president and congress should be put on minimum wage. (okay, I get your point, people, but that is one of the dumbest things I’ve ever heard.  are they overpaid? Probably. but I don’t think paying them 7.25 an hour would fix our country’s problems.)
  • Obama singlehandedly, flew over to the Middle East and with his own hands shot Bin Laden.
  • Obama had nothing at all to do with ending Bin Laden.
  • Mitt Romney is the devil because his dog rode on top of his car.

So I guess point number one is, facebook is not the best place to get your news from..

But another thing I see a lot of, is: “if they are going to come to our country, they need to learn our language.”

And somehow people think as soon as a (legal) immigrant steps onto American soil they should immediately be fluent in English. and be well versed in everything American.

Guys, I have some news for you, learning a language is hard. It’s not like you can take an English 101 class or use Rosetta Stone for 6 months and be ready to take on the world. No. I’ve studied Spanish off and on for 4-5 years and I couldn’t go down to Honduras and say anything I felt like. It’s hard.

I understand why people don’t appreciate illegal immigrants, I totally get that, but you’re forgetting there are people who are legally here too. People who came to what is supposedly the best nation.

We’re not very hospitable are we? Our country, our language, we say. Learn our ways or get out.

I’m not saying that people should not make an earnest effort to learn English, absolutely they should. But let’s try to show  a little grace and kindness here people. Before you judge others for not knowing your language immediately, why don’t you try to learn a language? See how difficult that is. So let’s not jump to conclusions and believe everyone who is not completely fluent in English is here illegally.

When I was in Guatemala, I attempted to speak some Spanish, and you know what, there are times I know for a fact I was wrong, I would think about the conversations later that day and think, “ah man. Should’ve used esta not es. Shoot.” but the thing is, they didn’t stop and give me some judgemental “idiota” face. No. They just kept talking to me like nothing ever happened.

We like to pretend we are Jesus’ favorite nation. GOD BLESS AMERICA. say all the bumper stickers.

How do you think Jesus would have treated the family who had just (legally) immigrated from Chile?

Yeah, you’re right, He probably would have said something like, “Get out of our country. Learn our language,” or, “Get out, you don’t belong here.”

Actually, the Jesus I know probably would have stopped and gone out of his way to help that family. Helped teach them English, or at least made them feel welcome in this strange, new place.

I have a newsflash, y’all. You don’t own America.

Let’s say in a strange turn of events, Nicaragua really got itself together and turned out awesome, and the United States  crumbled, so some Americans immigrated down there. You’ve made a real effort to learn Spanish, but you’ve only had a year to prepare, so you can order at restaurants, and make it through a grocery store, but many things are still difficult for you. Think about how nice it would be to get people’s judgmental glares. Think about how great it would be to hear people say to each other under their breath, “si ellos estan en nuestro pais, ellos necesitan aprender nuestro idioma. ahora.”

Ah. Sweet hospitality.

Try stepping into someone else’s shoes. And another shocking fact: sharing the snarky photos on facebook does absolutely nothing to help get these people learning English. nothing. Actually if I was them, and I continually saw stuff like that, because I’m ornery, I would probably try to hold off learning.

Instead of being so harsh and rude, why can’t we just help? Why don’t we try to be a little more understanding. Let’s remember that while English is the most used language in the States, we have no official language. Let’s remember that at one time (unless you are 100% Native American), our ancestors were all immigrants.


And in the words of my favorite motivational speaker, Kid President, “If it doesn’t make the world better, don’t do it.”


Sunshine said...

You are a very bright, young lady!

Anonymous said...

bekah, your posts are so...fresh. i enjoyed reading it.

my mom immigrated from mexico when she was little. my grandparents, though they have lived in america for over thirty years, still speak spanish exclusively. so, i think i have a relatively balanced perspective on the issue...and what i think is YES. grace. a thousand times, yes. at the same time, i think it is important to realize that there is a difference between people having recently immigrated and not knowing the language yet but with good intentions to at least try, people who have lived in the country for years without having bothered to learn spanish, and people who come to america demanding that we learn spanish because they don't want to learn english.

believe me, i've had experience with all three possibilities. the first is exciting to me. i like hearing their enthusiastic attempts to speak english and it gets me motivated to use my limited spanish to help them out as much as possible....and maybe learn a few things in the process. the second i find sad...it is sad to both my mom and me that my grandparents never learned to speak english, though they knew they would live in america for the rest of their lives. so, i find that sad, but not un-understandable. i realize it's difficult to leave your country and learn a new language while simultaneously forging a new life.

the only one that i have a real issue with is when people come from other countries and demand that we speak to them in their own language. that bothers me. if i moved to mexico, would it be right of me to demand that they speak to me in english? no...i'd be using my baby-spanish and learning as fast as i could. and when i speak about this category of people, i'm not making a broad generalization. these people do exist...my dad, as a police officer, deals with them every single day he works.

so, i think the end result? realize that generalizations pretty much are never accurate...there are people of all kinds in every ethnicity. just because someone doesn't speak english doesn't mean that they are selfish and lazy...but just because someone doesn't speak english also doesn't mean that they don't have a warped perspective on what it means to immigrate.

these are people. real people. they can't be generalized. so, take it case-by-case. and remember that our responsibility in EVERY case is to act in such a way that we reflect the light of Christ in us.