El Paisano

The Spanish Language is NOT Dying

Olivia Venegas, Opinion and Lifestyles Editor

My childhood and home life is mainly centered on traditional westernized cultural values by only speaking English and ignoring Mexican traditions.

Although, I may not look Hispanic I identify myself as thusly regardless of others judgment. My family threw away their Mexican culture even though their parents did not agree with it. My parents believed they were giving my brothers and I a better life by doing so, and like my abuela’s and abuelito’s, I disagreed.

Every moment I am exposed to Mexican traditions or spoke to in Spanish outside of my family, I have an overwhelming sense of being an outsider. An outsider lost in between claiming to being Latina but not knowing much or practicing my own culture.

My father refused to teach my brothers and I Spanish because, to quote my father, “We live in America and not Mexico”. Which made me a Mexican that did not know Spanish. So many times I am criticized for not knowing Spanish and some would even say that it is Hispanics like me that are killing the language and the culture.

For while, I believed this too. I believed without the proper representation the culture would fade away since those coming to America may throw away their culture like my own parents did. Also, I believed that racial hate crimes would influence an individual’s reinforcement of their non-native culture especially because of the current political climate.

The president gained support from the motto of “build the wall” which targets Hispanics and immigrants. Trump has reinforced the stereotyped image of the “lazy” or “criminal” Mexican into his supporters opinions, creating hate. Trump’s campaign gave a voice to the angry white Americans that believe “their” country is being taken away from them.

The obvious animosity from the White House and the supporters convinced me that this was affecting Hispanics adaptation to their own culture and language.

After research, I discovered that I was wrong. Spanish is the second most spoken language next to English. According to an article titled Language Use in the United States in 2011, “Some languages showed remarkable growth since 1980, while others declined. The largest numeric increase was for Spanish speakers (25.9 million more in 2010 than in 1980.” Most parents realize the value of raising their children bilingual and sharing the culture. Within that same article, the author concluded that the representation of Hispanics and Spanish speakers in the media have risen as well.

The white culture has not created shame among Hispanics but has created an even stronger force by making Spanish the second most spoken language in the U.S. since 2011. Although the U.S. remains predominantly English it has decreased as “English only” meaning that there are far more bilingual individuals today than there was in the past 40 years.

While I was fortunately wrong, it is wrong to be self-satisfied that Spanish is the second most spoken language without your doing. The use of the Spanish language has risen without my own doing. My Spanish is quite weak and as an adult, this is my own fault now but there is no time like the present to fix that and to also learn about my culture.

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The Spanish Language is NOT Dying