RT75: Countering the English-Only Assault
Introduction: Naming and Interrogating Our English-only Legacy
Any man [sic] who comes here must adopt…the native tongue
of our people….It would be a crime…to perpetuate diffrences
in language in this country.
These words, written more than a century ago by Theodore Roosevelt, could easily be misperceived as being written today in support of English-only laws and mandates. A recent Washington Post headline reads "Spanish at School Translates to Suspension"-a story about a high school junior in Kansas City who was suspended for a day and a half for responding to a friend's request in the school hallway with "no problema."i
States such as California, Arizona, and Massachusetts have ushered in modern-day versions of non-English language prohibition. We refer to these English-only mandates as "modern-day prohibition" because if we examine history, we find that although there have been exceptional moments in time (1960s to the 1980s) when languages other than English have been tolerated in schools and other institutions, the practice of forbidding the use of non-English languages has constituted the more prevalent language practice in the U.S.
What we are experiencing currently across the nation, as in the past, is what Terrence Wiley (1999) refers to as the veiled (and not so veiled) racist "prevailing English-only ideology in the United States [which] not only positions English as the dominant language, but also presumes universal English monolingualism to be a natural and ideal condition….[This] English monolingual ideology sees language diversity as a problem that is largely a consequence of immigration, and it equates the acquisition of English with assimilation, patriotism, and what it means to be an 'American'" (pp. 25-26). In order to comprehend the current xenophobic English-only movement, it is necessary to critically understand this nation's assimilationist and English monolingual legacy not only in terms of its application to past European immigrants but most importantly, for our discussion, in terms of its application to indigenous and nonwhite linguistic minorities.
In addition to making this distinction, we contend that it is necessary to take a critical sociohistorical perspective in order to begin to do what noted critical pedagogue Paulo Freire (1985) encouraged educators to do when confronted with educational problems or obstacles faced by subordinated student populations. Freire argued that in order to solve an educational problem, it was necessary to first comprehensively and historically understand the problem-that is, to comprehensively "construct" the problem. The next step, after situating the problem historically, is to critically analyze it-to "deconstruct" the issue. The third and final step is to imagine alternative possibilities, to realistically dream about implementing more humane democratic solutions-to "reconstruct" the problem and develop a solution. Our intention in this volume, with the contributions of Berta Berriz, Margaret Adams and Kellie Jones, and Elizabeth Garza, is precisely that-to critically construct the current English-only, native-language prohibition state of affairs so as to deconstruct it and then reconstruct it in order to come up with ways to better intellectually prepare and politically arm linguistic-minority students rather than set them up for academic failure and life on the margins of society.
Tracing the Colonial Legacy
As expressed in the work of many of the early anti-colonial theorists/revolutionaries, imperialists have always understood the relationship between knowledge and power and its central role in controlling the psyche of people, public opinion, and consequently in maintaining systems of oppression.ii They recognized how material conditions, politics, and culture are interlaced and how subordination and opposition take place in both the physical and symbolic realms As such, colonizers and fascists alike immediately go after schools, media, and other public spheres that produce and disseminate knowledge.
The U.S. is no stranger to this colonizing philosophy and practice of cultural invasion. When we examine language policy in regards to domestic linguistic-minority groups such as Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Mexican Americans in the Southwest, and descendents of enslaved Africans, we find that the sanctioned practice of linguistic suppression and cultural domestication has been the historical norm. One only has to examine the case of enslaved Africans, the first victims of repressive policies. Enslaved Africans were forbidden from speaking their native tongues and teaching them to their children under the threat of brutal punishment. Furthermore, compulsory illiteracy laws were passed in southern colonies to prohibit them from learning to read or write. If we examine the legacy of Native Americans, we see that they too underwent horrific repressive policies that kept them separated from and subordinate to the white dominant culture. They were treated as dependent wards, had their lands taken away by whites, and their children were forced into boarding schools, many of which were former military bases, and systematically stripped of their language and culture. Mexicans and Mexican Americans in the Southwest suffered similarly after the U.S. conquest of what used to be northwest Mexico.
This colonial legacy would feed into the English-only ideology which became hegemonic during WWI with the rise of the Americanization movement and the rampant persecution of speakers of German. However, in examining the origins of English-only ideologies we must highlight the differences between the experiences of European immigrants such as German and Polish immigrants and nonwhite subordinated minorities. As Wiley (1999) explains, "despite the severity of the attack on the German language and the persecution of German Americans during WWI, there was no systematic effort to segregate them from Anglo Americans, as was the case for language minorities of color in the years following WWI" (p. 28). This was certainly the case during WWII when Japanese Americans were stripped of their property and interned while the German American and Italian Americans were not. In fact, Asian Americans also have faced a long history of brutality in the U.S.
According to Ronald Schmidt (as cited in Wiley, 1999) the experience of linguistic minorities of color has been noticeably different from that of European immigrants in several respects:
- Nonwhite linguistic minorities were extended the benefits of public education more slowly and grudgingly than were European Americans despite the fact that they too were taxed for this.
- When education was offered to nonwhite linguistic minorities, it was usually done in segregated and inferior schools.
- Nonwhite linguistic-minority groups' cultures and languages were denigrated by public educators and others. In addition, these groups were denied the opportunity to maintain and perpetuate their cultural heritage through the public schools.
- Reflective of these visible forms of rejection and exclusion by the dominant group in the society, the education that was offered was exclusively assimilationist and functioned, not to integrate the groups into the dominant culture, but to subordinate and socialize them for second class citizenship. (List taken and modified from Wiley, 1999; pg. 28)iii
It is important to reiterate that even though language policies aimed at European immigrants and nonwhite linguistic-minority groups can also be described as "assimilationist," in the case of nonwhites, they involved a domestication rather than integration dimension. Taking away the native tongue, while never really giving access to the discourse of power, is a common practice in any colonial model of education. Such a deskilling process in which people are rendered semi-literate in both languages effectively works to deny them access to the mainstream while simultaneously taking away essential tools that can be used to build the cultural solidarity necessary to resist exploitation and democratize and transform society. Donaldo Macedo, Bessie Dendrinos, and Panayota Gounari (2003) powerfully explain the distinctive and oppressive nature of what they call "colonial bilingualism."
There is a radical difference between a dominant speaker learning a second language and a minority speaker acquiring a dominant language. While the former involves the addition of a second language to one's linguistic repertoire, the latter usually inflicts the experience of subordination upon the minority speaker-both when speaking his or her native language, which is devalued by the dominant culture, and when speaking the dominant language he or she has learned, often under coercive conditions….Furthermore, the colonized's mother tongue, that which is sustained by his feelings, emotions, and dreams, that in which his tenderness and wonder are expressed, thus that which holds the greatest emotional impact, is precisely the one which is the least valued….[The colonized] must bow to the language of his master (pp. 80-81).
Homi Bhabha's (1994) concept of 'ambivalence' sheds light on how assimilation works paradoxically towards segregation and domestication rather than inclusion. In the operations of colonial discourses, Bhabha theorized a process of identity construction that was built on a constant ideological pulling by a central force from contrary directions in which the 'other' (the colonized) is positioned as both alien and yet knowable; i.e., deviant and yet able to be assimilated. In order to keep the colonial subject at a necessary distance-unable to participate in the rights of full citizenship--stereotypes are used to dehumanize the oppressed, while benevolence and kind gestures are superimposed to rehumanize them. To use a current example, Latino/as in the United States are represented as lazy, shiftless, violent, and unintelligent-dehumanized by the press as "illegal aliens" and "non-White hordes." The language of popular culture embraces more blatant racist language: "border rats," "wet backs," "spicks," etc. These same people are simultaneously deemed worthy of a good education, standard language skills, employment, and advancement.iv The oppressors are thus positioned as benign and beneficent so as to rhetorically rebut any criticism of their abuse. However, any simple deconstruction of the actual contradictory and debilitating practices that they endorse, as the authors in this special issue demonstrate, reveals the hypocrisy of these 'good intentions'.
The problem with providing a good education-one that produces youth who are not only fluent and literate, well-rounded in their knowledge of the world, have a solid sense of history, but also are able to understand the relations of power that shape their lives and read into the values and beliefs that inform societal practices and their own actions therein-is that it nurtures a critical citizenry that is able to effectively participate in public life. Well educated people can be a menace to those in power as they have access to the cultural capital and strategies used by the colonizer to maintain the material and symbolic system of oppression. As John McLeod (2000) explains, "Hearing their language returning through the mouths of the colonized, the colonizers are faced with the worrying threat of resemblance between colonizer and colonized" (p. 55). These forces of resistance are able to effectively navigate both worlds and can work to transform the inhumane conditions that so many people are forced to live in on a daily basis. Hence the reason for simultaneously calling for a quality education for all (the U.S. English Foundation, Inc. make claims to disseminating "a vehicle of opportunity [English] for new Americans") while ensuring faulty pedagogical models and dysfunctional institutional policies, practices, and expectations. Referring to the British in colonial India, Bhabha describes this assimilationist trap as "to be Anglicized is emphatically not to be English" (p. 87); in the case of the U.S.-to be Americanized but never really accepted as American, and never granted the power to even influence such a definition let alone achieve full participation in society.
The Past Rears its Ugly Head
Capitalizing on the public's general discontent with k-12 schools, proponents of English-only have worked tirelessly and effectively to scapegoat bilingual education, creating legal constraints on the daily lives of educators by ensuring that languages other than English (with the exception of "foreign language instruction"-although some schools even want to ban these) are stomped out of school life entirely. In an effort to do so, anti-bilingual education forces have also capitalized on public fears over national unity. The U.S. English Foundation, Inc. believes "that a shared language provides a cultural guidepost that we must maintain for the sake of our country's unity, prosperity, and democracy…" Not only does this dehistoricized position presuppose that the country has at some point been united, but its ideologues strategically say nothing about a system within which people are relegated, and not by choice, to live on the margins of linguistic, economic, social, and political power.
At the forefront of the most recent assault by the English-only movement is Ron Unz, the chairman of the national advocacy organization English for the Children, and the originator of California's Proposition 227, which in 1998 effectively outlawed bilingual education in that state. After a similar victory in Arizona in 2000 he also attempted to win over Colorado. However, a wealthy parent spent a mountain of her own personal money on a press campaign to convince the middle-class, voting, White majority not to support Unz's initiative because if bilingual programs are dismantled then 'those kids will be in class with your kids'. This well-funded, racist plea worked and Colorado voted 'no' on the English-only referendum. Nonetheless, after taking over the State of Massachusetts in 2002, Unz has focused in on New York and Oregon.
This monolingual business mogul, who has no children and no academic or experiential background with language acquisition, demands that the United States replace bilingual education-that is, grade appropriate, native language instruction in the content areas while English proficiency is achieved-with a one-year Structured English Immersion Program. As the English for the Children publicity pamphlet states:
Under this learning technique, youngsters not fluent in English are placed
in a separate classroom in which they are taught English over a period of
several months. Once they have become fluent in English, they are moved into regular classes.
However, there is no defensible theory or body of research to support the claim that students need only one year (about one hundred and eighty school days) to become fully fluent, literate, able to learn content in another language, and then face high-stakes standardized tests in that language. Imagine yourself going to another country where you didn't speak the language and pulling off this insurmountable feat in such a short period of time. In Massachusetts, those students who do not pass the State's standardized test are not awarded a high school diploma. Instead, they are handed a certificate of attendance and shown the door.
Regardless of Unz's rhetorical claims, the majority of students in California in Structured English Immersion did not achieve even intermediate fluency after one-year. Take for example the Orange Unified School District which is so often used to support his argument: after the first year, 6 students out of 3,549 were mainstreamed; more than half of the students were not ready for his specially designed classrooms. A more recent progress report in California reveals the extent of the disaster:
In 2002-2003, it [Ron Unz's Structured English Immersion] failed
at least 1,479,420 children who remained limited in English. Only
42 percent of California students whose English was limited in 1998,
when Proposition 227 passed, have since been redesignated as fluent in
English-five years later! (Crawford, 2003, p. 1)
Given this utter failure, in this era of No Child Left Behind, we need to take a critical look at sheltered English instruction in order to understand the approach's possibilities and how it is being misused to ensure the failure of so many young people.
Early proponents of sheltered English instruction understood that academic language proficiency can take up to seven years to acquire and that even affluent English language learners require 5-8 years to score as well as native speakers on standardized tests (Collier, 1987). Stephen Krashen (1985) presented a detailed model for sheltered English that included the percentage of time students spent in three classroom settings: (1) in the mainstream English-only classroom, (2) in the sheltered English classroom, and (3) in the native language development classroom. David and Yvonne Freeman (1988) write, "In this model, beginning level ESL students are mainstreamed with native English speaking peers initially in music, art, physical education-the subjects that are least linguistically demanding. In addition, the students study English as a second language in the sheltered English classroom while they study all core academic subjects in their first language so as not to fall behind academically while they learn English. When the students acquire intermediate-level English language proficiency, additional academic subjects like math and science are taught in sheltered English classrooms while social studies and language arts continue to be taught in the students' first language. At the advanced level, remaining academic subjects-language arts and social studies-are taught in sheltered English classrooms and the students are mainstreamed into "regular" English-only classes for all other courses. This type of sheltered English instruction was conceptualized to assist students in developing academic competence in the native language while also developing English proficiency in the sheltered classroom.
However, when we examine how sheltered English instruction is implemented in Massachusetts and other states that have mandated similar English-only laws, as illustrated in the following three articles, we can clearly see the corruption of Krashen's concept: his initial comprehensive and longitudinal approach was appropriated and perverted by English-only ideologues and translated to a 1 or 2 year English-only program of instruction with little regard for students' English language proficiency levels in determining classroom placements. Furthermore, as the following articles reveal, in some school systems students are segregated with little exposure to native English speakers or other more English proficient peers and are penalized if caught speaking a language other than English. These illogical and dysfunctional language programs are very effective at making sure that so many students remain uneducated and thus unable to fully participate in this democratic society.
Ironically, some anti-bilingual advocates (including the late former President Ronald Reagan) have insisted that instruction in languages other than English is un-American. This paradoxical twist disregards that the Constitution of the United States protects linguistic pluralism, and that the U.S. Supreme Court's 1974 Lau vs. Nichols Decision was intended to protect the rights of linguistic-minorities in public schools. States like Alaska and Oklahoma found English-only practices in government to be unconstitutional. It also seems more unpatriotic for a democracy to exclude (or mark as "foreign") languages that are now indigenous to the United States: the native tongues of Puerto Rico, Native America, Hawaii, and of African Americans, and Mexican Americans.
What is particularly disturbing is that the national "debates" over bilingual education have very little to do with language acquisition.v The media and the general public seem much more inclined to talk about the people that speak particular languages, rather than the languages that they speak and how they are learned. As witnessed in the controversy over using Ebonics in public schools, the mainstream discourse has focused on images of African Americans rather than the historical, cultural, and linguistic developments of Black English(s). The popular debates thus have more to do with dominant representations of the pros and cons of particular groups, especially Blacks and Latino/as. Such a focus not only disregards the multiplicity of other linguistically-diverse groups that are at the mercy of powerful anti-bilingual proponents, but it also reveals what is in fact a racialized debate. For example, the English for the Children publicity pamphlet poses the question, "What is 'bilingual education'?" To which it eagerly responds,
Although "bilingual education" may mean many things in theory, in
the overwhelming majority of American schools, "bilingual education"
is actually Spanish-almost-only instruction…
The word "Spanish" is often strategically used as a code word for the largest, and demographically growing, political force in the country-Latino groups. This racialized marker creates fear among Whites that English-only advocates not only perpetuate, but play off of. There is a not so subtle play on public fears that the 'unwashed brown masses' from impoverished countries like Mexico and Haiti are on their way to the States. In a cover story in Commentary (1999), with the shock value title of "California and the End of White America," Unz is able to maintain the existing and balkanizing fear in many Whites that they are being overrun, while at the same time scaring racially and ethnically diverse peoples with the "inevitability" that there will be White backlash against them in the form of "White Nationalism." He warns:
Our political leaders should approach these ethnic issues by reaffirming
America's traditional support for immigration, but couple that with a
return to the assimilative policies which America has emphasized in the
past. Otherwise, whites as a group will inevitably begin to display the
same ethnic-minority-group politics as other minority groups, and this
could break our nation. We face the choice of either supporting "the New
American Melting Pot" or accepting "the Coming of White Nationalism"
Unz's own racism, and his embodiment of Bhabha's notion of ambivalence, can be clearly witnessed in his comment to the Los Angeles Times (1997) when he stated about his Jewish grandparents who were poor and emigrated to California in the 1920s and 30s: "They came to WORK and become successful...not to sit back and be a burden on those who were already here!" (p.1).
Not surprisingly, anti-bilingual proponents tell the public virtually nothing about the horrific material and symbolic conditions that so many children and young adults face in schools that reflect the larger social order. The reality is that 75% of all linguistic-minority students reside in low-income, urban areas. As revealed in the following three articles, these students often face harsh racist attitudes, crumbling buildings, incessant harassment, segregated school activities, limited classroom materials, ill-prepared teachers, poorly designed and unenforced policies, and indifferent leadership that dramatically disrupt their personal, cultural, and academic lives.vi Within this climate, the appalling conditions faced by both bilingual and English as a second language teachers and their children are by no means conducive to assimilation, let alone selective acculturation, and by no stretch of the imagination, to social transformation.
When poverty is acknowledged by English-only advocates, bilingual education is identified as one of the culprits. Unz states that bilingual education is a place where children "remain imprisoned" and thus is about "guaranteeing that few would ever gain the proficiency in English they need to get ahead in America". The English for the Children pamphlet adds, "Children who leave school without knowing how to read English, write English, and speak English are injured for life economically and socially." Unz neglects to recognize the fact that even in the cases where English is one's primary language, it does not guarantee economic, political, and integrative success. For example, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, Chicano/as, and African Americans have been speaking English for generations in this country, and yet the majority of the members of these groups still remain socially, economically, and politically subordinated. The proportion of racially subordinated workers earning low wages in 2003 is substantial-30.4% of Black workers and 39.8% of Latino/a workers (Economic Policy Institute, 2004/2005). The median income of racially subordinated families is $25,700, as compared with white families-$45,200 (Dollars & Sense and United for a Fair Economy, 2004). A consistent pattern in the data has shown that the unemployment rate for African Americans and Latino/as over the years has remained more than double that of whites. While about 10% of white children live in poverty in the United States, over 30% of African-American and Latino/a kids experience harsh economic conditions.
The same racialized economic hardship falls on migrant workers and immigrants. Beyond the concocted hype about the usurping of quality employment by 'outsiders', the job opportunities that are intended for this sector of the labor force consist of low-wage manual labor: cleaning crews, food service, the monotony of the assembly-line, and farm work. A system of poor education and restrictive language and literacy practices ensure the reproduction of the cheap and exploitable labor force.
Thus, the issue isn't simply about language. White supremacy, classism and the logic of capital, and other kinds of structural inequities and discrimination play a much larger role in limiting one's access to social, economic, institutional, and legal power.vii
Instead of seriously addressing such issues, the English-only coalition serves up myths of meritocracy and life in a melting pot where the patterns of a 'common culture' and economic success miraculously emerge if one is willing to submit to their agenda.viii It is important to note here that so many mainstream politicians concerned with public education work so hard to eradicate multilingualism among racially and economically oppressed students, while simultaneously working to make certain that upper-middle class and wealthy youth-their own kids-are multilingual. Multilingualism, which is embraced in all the finest private schools in the country, worldwide for that matter, is great for elite children but somehow bad for, and unpatriotic of, the nonwhite and poor.
Taking a Radical Stand
Although current English-only mandates are presented in ways that render them "kinder and gentler" (as epitomized by the slogan, "English for the Children") than the blatant intolerant, nativist language policies of the past, as the three articles of this volume attest, the fact is that linguistic-minority students remain tongue-tied in their native language. One significant characteristic of present-day English-only language policy is that it is official language policy rather that the unofficial policies of the past. In addition, in States such as Massachusetts, one particular pedagogical approach-sheltered English-is being dictated to school districts.
Advocates of linguistic-minority students, in particular, bilingual teachers, need to resist being cowed into fear or submission by these new English-only laws and mandates for sheltered English instruction as the sole vehicle for language and literacy development in classrooms. As revealed in the following three articles, despite the bleak conditions imposed by English-only ideologues, the power of teachers' political clarity and authentic commitment to linguistic-minority students can serve to work to their advantage and success.
In her contribution to this special issue, Berta Berriz, an experienced teacher in Boston Public Schools, powerfully illustrates how the current language policy in the State of Massachusetts is used to continue miseducating linguistic-minority students. She reveals how the English-only ideology is more powerful than any legitimate concern for students' academic and linguistic development. She illustrates how students feel as they confront the racism and efforts to silence them as well as the effects of being segregated and taught by ill-prepared teachers.
Margaret Adams and Kellie Jones-two administrators and professional development experts-share their challenges in administering the English-only mandate in Massachusetts. They are faced with the responsibility of implementing this new language policy that they know to be pedagogically unsound and that undoes the success of prior bilingual education programs. After two years of struggle, these two administrators point out the harmful myths and practices that have resulted from English-only instruction.
Elizabeth Garza is junior faculty at a state teacher preparation institution in California and has worked alongside educators in their grassroots effort to develop and implement a two-way bilingual program as a strategy for countering the imposition of English-only instruction in one elementary school. She chronicles and captures the teachers' empowering strategies to provide linguistic-minority students with an education that honors and builds on the language and cultural skills they bring to school while teaching them English as a second language. These proactive and empowered teachers exemplify the type of educators that linguistic-minority students need and deserve.
All of these articles remind us that as bilingual/ESL teachers and advocates for linguistic-minority students, we must not forget that our work with these students-most of whom are not white and come from low SES groups-is a political and ideological undertaking. We seemed to forget this fact when bilingual education advocates, under attack, presented bilingual education as a technical issue and defended it with arguments based solely on research findings and statistics. Unfortunately, we tended to view and treat bilingual education as strictly a pedagogical issue and shied away from its political and ideological dimensions. Of course, now we realize that our work is highly political and ideological and that it doesn't boil down to finding the right or magical methods to effectively teach our students. Fundamentally, our arguments should be rooted in human and civil rights, much in the way that they were in the 1960s and 1970s.
We have much to learn from the courage and tenacity of one former bilingual teacher in California who perceives that state's English-only mandate (Proposition 227) as a temporary obstacle that can eventually be done away with:
Proposition 227 really pushed people that [believed in bilingual education]
to [continue fighting] for our dream. It's like a soccer game. You didn't
make the goal. Oh well…you have the chance [to get up and try] again.
Soccer players fall many times during a game. They trip over each other.
We can trip over these policies and fall over these laws…but I'm going to
get up again. I'll keep going. When things like Proposition 227 happen,
don't trip, fall, and stay [lying] down. (Stritikus, 2003, p. 25)
This teacher's powerful words, and those of Berta Berriz, Margaret Adams and Kellie Jones, and Elizabeth Garza, remind us that we must always get up to protect our children and to demand that they be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.
As we can see from an historical overview of language education in this country, and from the three articles in this volume, the domestication and subordination that are essential to any colonial model are still very much present in English-only ideology and school practices. Instead of uncritically neutralizing the potential of multilingual programs, the public needs to explore what ensures that such undertakings don't succeed and why. The debate over bilingual education shouldn't be left in the hands of a savvy politician who is strategically vying for misinformed populous clout through theoretical ambiguities and representational manipulations of what's best for children. Instead, educators need to work tirelessly to get substantive information out to the public-as Elizabeth Garza points out, even touting its effectiveness to those members of the dominant culture that may be sincerely concerned with language policy and practice but have temporarily fallen prey to manipulative and malicious ideologies-so that people can in turn protect themselves and their children when ignorance and deceit come, and they will, to your state. This cluster of Radical Teacher is designed as a steppingstone in that very direction.
Bhabha, Homi. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge, 1994.
Collier, Virginia. "Age and Rate of Acquisition of Second Language for Academic Purposes." TESOL Quarterly, 21, 617-641, 1987.
Crawford, James. Educating English Learners: Language Diversity in the Classroom. LA: Bilingual Educational Services, Inc., 2004.
Crawford, James. "A Few Things Ron Unz Would Prefer You Didn't Know About: English Learners in California." 2003
Dollars & Sense and United for a Fair Economy (Eds.). The Wealth Inequality Reader. Cambridge, MA: Economic Affairs Bureau, 2004.
Economic Policy Institute. The State of Working America. Ithaca, NY: ILR Press, 2004/2005.
Freeman, David & Freeman, Yvonne. Sheltered English Instruction. ERIC Digest. (ERIC Document Reproduction Service No. ED301070), 1988.
Freire, Paulo. The Politics of Education: Culture, Power, and Liberation. NY: Bergin & Garvey, 1985.
Hurtado, Aida & Rodriguez, Raul. "Language as a Social Problem: The Repression of Spanish in South Texas." Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 10(5), 401-419, 1989.
Krashen, Stephen. Insights and inquiries. Hayward, CA: Alemany Press, 1985.
MacGregor-Mendoza, Patricia. "Aquí No Se Habla Español: Stories of Linguistic Repression in Southwest Schools." Bilingual Research Journal, 24(4), 355-367, Fall 2000.
Macedo, Donaldo, Dendrinos,b Bessie & Gounari, Panayota. The Hegemony of English. Boulder, CO: Paradigm Publishers, 2003.
McLeod, John. Beginning Postcolonialism. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2000.
Stritikus, Tom T. & García, Eugene. "The Role of Theory and Policy in the Educational Treatment of Language Minority Students: Competitive Structures in California. Education Policy Analysis Archives, 11(26), 1-31, August 6, 2003. Retrieved
[3/1/04] from http://epaa.asu.edu/epass/v11n26/.
Unz, Ron (as cited in Barabak, M.). "GOP Bid to Mend Rift with Latinos Still Strained". In: the Los Angeles Times, Sunday, August 31 (p. 1), 1997.
Unz, Ron. "California and the End of White America." In: Commentary. (November). http://www.onenation.org/9911/110199.html, 1999.
Unz, Ron. "The Right Way for Republicans to Handle Ethnicity in Politics." In: American Enterprise, (April/May) www.onenation.org/0004/0400.html, 2000.
Wacquant, Loic. "Deadly Symbiosis: Rethinking Race and Imprisonment in Twenty-first-century America." Boston Review: A Political and Literary Forum. 27(2) (April/May, 2002): 23-31.
Wiley, Terrence G. "Comparative historical analysis of U.S. language policy and language planning: Extending the foundations." In Huebner, Thom and Kathryn Davies (Eds.). Sociopolitical perspectives on language policy and planning in the U.S. 17-38. Philadelphia: Benjamin Publishing Company, 1999.
i See T.R. Reid, "Spanish at School Translates to Suspension." Washington Post, Friday, December 9, 2005; A03. www.washingtonpost.com/wp- dyn/content/article/2005/12/08/AR2005120802122
ii See for example, Albert Memmi, The Colonizer and the Colonized. Boston: Beacon Press, 1965;Fanon, Franz. Black Skin White Masks. New York: Grove Press, 1967.
iiiThis physical and symbolic violence has continued through the years. Patricia MacGregor Mendoza (2000) reports the memories of New Mexican adults who shared their own experiences in schools with "unofficial" yet enforced English-only school policies. One woman recounted:
If we tried to speak Spanish, our teachers would tell us, "Speak English
dammit, this is America." Well, one day, don't think I got fed up with it,
and I told her, "You're the one in my country, you should learn my language." You should of seen her face, she got so angry. She went to pick up a ruler and she hit me in the face with it.
(Rosie C., unedited student writing)
Aida Hurtado and Raul Rodriguez (1989) share similar researchfindings. They report that over 40% of 500 Spanish-speaking Texas college students they interviewed reported having experienced some form of recrimination for speaking Spanish while attending primary or secondary school.
iv As an essential part of this process of maintaining ambivalence, colonizers need members of the
subordinated classes that can speak the dominant tongue, and express its values and beliefs as superior and benevolent "gifts." This is exemplified in the United States in the work of such public figures as Richard Rodriguez and Jaime Escalante who served as the Honorary Chairman of Proposition 227. Bhabha refers to these agents as 'mimic men'.
v The reason that the word 'debate' is questionable here is because virtually all critical voices are either excluded from mainstream national discussions, or forced to find cracks for expression in fringe journals.
vi Unz disregards these political and ethical issues and simply calls for "structured mixing", when possible, of mainstream and Structured English Immersion students. Not only does his plan avoid confronting the discrimination that takes place in public educational institutions-that in fact leads to high dropout rates, but it is also unclear how such a strategy for integration is going to work in schools that are segregated because of economic/housing demographics.
vii Instead of confronting all of the aforementioned gross inequities, as part of race and class warfare the State is developing and implementing repressive and punitive social policies to contain 'disposable' populations. Zero-tolerance policies and the criminalization of working-class, poor, homeless, and racially subordinated people feed into the growing prison-industrial complex. The prison population in the U.S. has consequently skyrocketed over 200% since 1980. There are now over two million people in jail in the U.S., and although we have only 5% of the world's population, we have 25% of its
prisoners. Over 70% of prisoners in the U.S. are from non-European racial and ethnic backgrounds. African-American males make up the largest number of those entering prisons each year in the United States. As Loic Wacquant (2002) states, "The astounding upsurge in Black incarceration in the past three decades results from the obsolescence of the ghetto as a device for caste control and the correlative need for a substitute apparatus for keeping (unskilled) African Americans in a subordinate and confined position-physically, socially, and symbolically" (p. 23).
viii Unz (2000), a self-professed opponent of bilingual education, Affirmative Action, multiculturalism, and multicultural education, insists:
First and foremost, our public schools and educational institutions must
be restored as engines of assimilation they once were….In history and
social studies classrooms, 'multicultural education' is now widespread,
placing an extreme and unrealistic emphasis on ethnic diversity instead
of passing on the traditional knowledge of Western civilization, our
Founding Fathers, and the Civil and World Wars…current public school
curricula which glorify obscure ethnic figures at the expense of the giants
of American history have no place in a melting pot framework (pp. 3-4).