Comparison and Contrast The United States in a country of immigrants. We can found people from every part of the world. That’s why this country also has many social problems that sometimes people don’t identify. Discrimination is not only about skin color. I learned that discrimination is also about social classes and languages. Not understanding people’s language is a social issue in the United States that have been presents for years.
After I read the essay of Amy Tan, “Mother Tongue” and the essay of Chang- Rae Lee, “Mute in an English Only world” I figured out some similarities and ifferences between the two essays that helped me to understand clearly what discrimination of language really means. Everybody probably has a definition of discrimination. Some people may assume that discrimination is Just about skin color as I mentioned before. However, I believe that many people experience other types of discrimination in their daily life and they don’t even know it.
When I say “discrimination of language” I do not mean that one language is better than other, nor speak English makes people smarter than other. I mean “discrimination of anguage” when people do not try to understand what other people say Just because they sound different, or when people ignore others because others may do not follow a correct “grammar rule”. IVe been living in the U. S. for two years and 3 months. I had felt this type of discrimination many times. I usually try to not feel sad about it.
I remember the first time that I asked for information about an English class. The official that was in the lobby of the school asked me for my ID; I didn’t understand the question at first because he was speaking too fast. Then I told him:” Please, say again”, I was shy and insecure. He looked at me with a weird expression in his face and instead of asks me for my ID again, he called another officer and left the situation. The first officer made me feel ignored and discriminated because I couldn’t understand a simple question.
Amy Tan and Chang Rae-Lee have two different stories about how the discrimination of language has affected their lives and their family. Being immigrant is harder when people also have to learn a new language. In nother hand, I believe that native speakers do not try to understand immigrants’ situation. Everybody is worried about their own business and they don’t stop for a second to analyze what is going on around them. People seem to me like if they weren’t sensitive to feel how hard could be for an immigrant to express themselves in another language.
Tan writes “the fact that people in department stores, at banks and at restaurants did not take [my mother] seriously, did not give her a good service… ” (Tan 175) Tan’s mother passed through difficult moments when people did ot try to understand what she was saying. I think that people who work to doing a consumer’s service should be more patience, especially whit those who have “limitations” speaking in another language. Lee also grew up within an immigrant family. Lee writes about the power of language.
I think that people learn to value the meaning of “understanding” others when they pass through personal experiences. Lee writes “But having been raised in a Korean immigrant family, I saw every day I saw tne exactlng prlce ana power 0T language, especlally witn my motner, wno was n outsider in an English-only world. ” (Lee 432). ln addition, Tan mentions the meaning of “language of intimacy’. She feels that communication is more than a message, that when people speak with their family or friends we use our own rules where grammar isn’t wrong as soon as we understand each other.
Tan writes “It has become our language of intimacy, a different sort of English that relates to family talk, the language I grew up with” (Tan 174). Our society has a classification for almost everything nowadays. We classify our economical status as “high class”, “medium lass” and “low class”, but what we really mean is that some people are Just rich and much other are poor. That’s really what it is. I think that we do the same thing with people communication. The different is that with language is not about money, but rules, grammar, and even our accent.
Tan writes in her essay “… l have described it to people as broken or fractured English” (Tan 175). I believe that we are responsible of all these classifications; we should pay more attention to the significance of every word, instead of ignore the message because it is out of the grammar order. Lees also has an idea of what language means for he, based on his mother experience. Lees writes “[English] usually meant trouble and a good dose of shame, and sometimes real hurt” (Lee 433).
Immigrants have to go out every day to fght in a world that doesn’t understand their feelings; we may think that the problem is the language, but who is really culpable for it? Immigrants are here because they want to have a better life, so they are the one who have to be prepared for all the changes. However, immigrants who have trouble with English are in one way blessed when hey have someone that can speak up for them. For instance, we can see situations where the song (or the daughter) is the one that help their parents with the translations.
I work in a super market and IVe been a witness of this kind of situation where the little kids are prepared to ask for the prices, the total or any confusion about a product. Lees also mentions “… l would have to speak up to help my mother” (Lee 433) and Tan says “she used to have me call people on the phone to pretend I was she” (Tan 175). Discrimination of language is a social issue that will be round for many more years because people do not pay attention to the consequences that it could leave in the life of those who are discriminated.
Being immigrant and try to be successful has a price, and sometimes that price hurts our feelings. I believe that when we cannot express ourselves as we do it in our native language; we feel that we are missing something in our sentences. I think that the reactions of the native speakers are what concern more those who are learning a new language. As I said before people sometimes do not take into consideration that eing immigrant do not mean that a person is dump or “indifferent”.
Lee writes “In Korean, [my mother] could be fiery, stern, deeply funny, and ironic; in English Just slightly less so” (Lee 434). I understand that when people are learning a new language they don’t know all the worlds that they know in their native language. That’s maybe why it is harder to translate a massage. Tan and Lee discuss this topic by taking as an example their mother in both cases. I believe that discrimination hurts. It makes us feel in an outside world, because we are not what others expect us to be.