Saturday, April 22, 2006

Immigrants Rely on Patchy English Teaching

Immigrants Rely on Patchy English Teaching - Washington Post AP

The language challenge of recent arrivals, such as these two Spanish-speaking Dominican women, is a good example of the paradox of why immigrant groups, including African immigrants, with severe obstacles, accelerate past American Blacks, in pursuit of this country’s opportunities.

As much as ill-informed Americans allege the refusal of immigrants to learn English, the reality is quite the opposite. The queues for English as a Second Language (ESL) are so full that the wait can easily be years.

However, as these groups struggle to learn the language of their future, many Blacks expend their energy maintaining, and further developing Black-English, insuring that they remain on the periphery of economic hope. This development is even claimed by some as a responsibility to Black culture.

The true responsibility is to do whatever it takes, within the law, to advance into the mainstream. This does not require anyone to forget who they are, but only to acknowledge capacity to add more of what is required to have choices.

To acknowledge this is not to ignore that Whites invented the accusation of ‘sounding White’, for which they labeled and punished industrious ‘uppity’ Blacks, during slavery and Jim Crow. But that was then, and this is now. Blacks need strong language skills as much as they need math and science, and anything that distracts this assimilation holds back advancement.

James C. Collier


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