By ERIK MEDINA
For some reason, many residents of the United States think it’s “un-American” to speak a language other than English. In reality, the U.S. does not have a national language.
Many of our citizens use the excuse of “it’s freedom of speech” when speaking their mind, but harass individuals who are speaking another language. Isn’t that the non-English speaker’s “freedom of speech?”
I believe that being bilingual should be glorified and not criticized. We should embrace the diversity our nation holds.
Being bilingual is without a doubt a positive thing. It’s been proven to actually help intellectual growth and enhance mental development.
Many like to say that if children speak two languages, they will be confused or forget their native language. Ironically, learning two languages actually helps children understand their native language.
Being bilingual also provides better job opportunities. Employers look for individuals who are able to communicate with more than just one group of people.
Now for the downside of being bilingual and learning two languages … There is none.
There has been no proof that learning two languages can negatively affect the mental function of an individual. The only possible downside is discrimination and typically discrimination comes from those who see bilingualism as a “bad thing.”
We as a nation should understand that people are not born with prejudice. They are taught it.
Instead of growing up to believe that something or someone is superior to others, we should learn to understand that we are all equal and that we are all humans.
Language is a form of communication. It brings people together and helps them express themselves. Language is a way to share culture and tradition.
Cesar Chavez once said, “Our language is the reflection of ourselves. A language is an exact reflection of the character and growth of its speaker.”
Erik Medina plans to transfer to Arizona State University and hopes to graduate with a bachelor’s degree in psychology and journalism. He also likes cats.