The American Bilingual

A story told during a meeting:

“I told a student who reached level 5 that they are now Americanized (or possibly ‘you are English’), they got upset.”

I nearly shook my head but my jaw dropped and naturally, no one would see that. I feel for the student who was told that they were Americanized because of English. It offended the person’s Hispanic/Latino heritage and Spanish fluency.

Why would a white woman be offended by this statement?  I am a bilingual person, one whose language is as oppressed as the American Spanish speaker.

I use American Sign Language.  I also use English. Fluently.

Oh no! America is not bilingual! The monolinguals stomp around and rant.

Wait, I should rephrase my title to ‘The United States Bilingual’.  America is actually North America, which compromises Canada and Mexico, effectively making the entire North America continent multilingual.

Why is the United States still so defiantly blind to reality!?

The student could have been told ‘you can add English to your list of languages you know fluently’ without demeaning their own heritage. One will be richer having more than one language rattling around inside their brain.


deaf Parent = hearing Children: Effective Communication

This was my final project for media class; Masters in Sign Language Education at Gallaudet University. I posted this in my Facebook; in a secret group and it looks like there’s no adverse reaction. Those folks know me well enough that this is one of the many topics close to my heart, even especially now that I have children who can hear; but are bilingual learners.

Update: deafParentshearingChildrenTranscript

This was created with my mother in my mind.  My siblings and I are eternally grateful for the parents we have been blessed with. My mother passed away three years ago, today, of breast cancer. Since then, while we miss her greatly, our familial communication skills have exploded.

Thank you!