It wasn’t that long ago that first-generation American citizens were scolded for speaking Spanish at school and encouraged to abandon their native language My parents were convinced that teaching their children spanish would hold them back. They went through the time when you were punished in school for speaking Spanish, Many of our parents were belittled, spanked or could have their mouths washed out with soap if teachers caught them speaking their native language. Our parents wanted to make sure we wouldn’t get punished so we were never encouraged to speak spanish. Many people don’t like to talk about this painful history but it happened. The first bilingual program was started in Alamo Heights in 2010. Now, we have many bilingual programs throughout the city.
We are very thankful for Alamo Heights spearheading this program but my question is why wasn’t this something that was started in the Westside of San Antonio where we already had the advantage of a bilingual speaking community? Imagine instilling confidence in our people to be more than a labor worker because their native tongue was something of value and not a setback? Learning Spanish makes you more employable. Employers put a premium on employees who speak different languages. And Spanish has a premium. It’s like simply writing “Speaks Spanish” on your resume makes you an asset. The most important relationship between language and culture that gets to the heart of what is lost when you lose a language. Bilingual Americans are a good thing; it is never bad to be multilingual. Latinos not only need to keep their Spanish but insist on using it. How much was robbed from us by this injustice? With immigration laws going into effect and one having to prove their citizenship status, could history be repeating itself? Will we start encouraging our children not to speak spanish publicly? Let’s talk about it….