Way back in the day, there used to be literacy and property restrictions on voting, one of which exempted those whose ancestors (i.e. grandfathers) had the right to vote before the Civil War. “The intent and effect of such rules was to prevent poor and illiterate African American former slaves and their descendants from voting, but without denying poor and illiterate whites the right to vote.”
Today, I found out about a Connecticut school that will require students to speak correct American English in order to graduate. (The school happens to be in an area with a LOT of immigrants, the majority of whom do not speak English as their native tongue.)
Now isn’t it discriminatory to forbid anyone of such a privilege (as graduation) on the basis of language proficiency?
One cannot argue that “if they come to America, they have to learn the language.” A lot of immigrants come to this country as teenagers and adults, meaning their brain is not as able to process a multilingual speech as children’s brains are.
I moved to the States at the age of 13 but I had already been studying the English language for eight years before then, so my English (even though it has a hint of an accent), sounds less like the stereotypical immigrant’s (whatever that means). My parents, on the other hand, began learning English later in life; my mom knew perhaps a handful of words upon arriving to the U.S.
To native English speakers, my parents’ English may sound “broken” but that doesn’t mean their cognitive abilities are broken: They have been, and are, highly successful business owners who have also studied Fine Arts, Law, Civil Engineering, have taught Spanish, and even managed a restaurant.
Which is why I consider it extremely arrogant and xenophobic and discriminatory to impose such a burden on foreign children that have come to this country. Their cognitive abilities are not broken– on the contrary, their (potential) multilingual skills make their brains better able to process more info than the typical monolingual.
May this be the only school in the nation to implement such an absurd policy. (And may more schools begin to require proficiency in more than one language in order to graduate!)