Freedom of Language, a Foundational Struggle


Regan Bennett

Juan Candia works in auto body at Carrigan

A man risked his life and gave up his dreams by crossing the border on February of ‘98. He left his family, friends, a job, even his car, to experience the wonderful American Dream. A woman risked her life two months later, crossing the border. She left her family and risked so much just to live an easier life and to go to the land of opportunity. But what she mainly risked was her unborn baby’s life. These are my parents, and I was the one who was carried across the border and born two months later.

The problem today is that Americans often assume that just because we’re in America, we MUST speak English. But if speaking English is a must, what is the point of the First Amendment? Isn’t the United States supposed to be a free country, the land of rights, the land of opportunity?

My parents both came to this country without knowing English. Now, don’t get me wrong. It’s great to know the English language, that’s why my parents have learned to speak English, but it shouldn’t be mandatory that one MUST speak it everywhere they go.

Without knowing English my dad managed to earn a leadership job and soon might even have his own company. “The effort you show pays off sooner or later,” my father always says. My mother manages to earn approximately $600 a week, more than many English speakers, but she actually went the extra mile and managed to learn English, get her GED, and is now signed up to start at Vernon College for bookkeeping.

Yes, of course it’s good to learn English, but it’s also excellent to know another language. People who know more than one language tend to get paid more than people with only one language. That’s why high schools have foreign language classes.

The majority of the population in Texas is now Hispanic, so Americans might as well get used to hearing others speaking a language other than English. I speak Spanish, but I also speak English. I love both languages, and I use both on a daily basis.

Of course everyone should learn English, but also English speakers should learn a different language and be tolerant of those speaking other languages in the United States.