« Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez | Main | My Feelings Toward Richard »

Mixed reaction

When I finished reading this article, I had mixed emotions. I felt sorry that
Richard had in essence 'lost' his culture, but also felt that the author was
too naive. He should have been placed in an ESL class to help him adjust and
the neighborhood he was in would be difficult for any child. But throughout
the article, it seemed like he was contradicting himself. He wants the
American opportunities yet fears losing his culture. Each time he raised his
hand and used his public language, he felt as if a piece of his culture was
fading away but never was open to the idea of American and Mexican culture
coexisting. Even though he had to also speak English at home, he could still
read about his Mexican culture in English. It was not fair the way his
relatives back home treated him, or the lady in the bakery, but this was a
sacrifice he made. He and his siblings would be able to support his
relatives, therefore supporting his culture. Richard's culture is not limited
to where he was born, it is also where he now lives. In some cases, people
are determined with maintaining their culture and not selling out to American
culture, but I do not think adapting to American culture is an absolute
thing, you don't either keep your culture and have no American culture or
have American culture and automatically lose your culture. It is possible to
have both. In class, Rachel talked about the Native American culture and how
the sense of community means mroe to them than we can imagine and changing to
American culture is not necessarily where they are at right now. In this
context, this makes complete sense, culture is the one thing the Native
Americans can share and they have every right to sustain it. Their culture is
also somewhat different than immigrants, because they have always lived here.
Schools should strongly encorporate cultural awareness, and not reject it.
English should also be taught IN ADDITION to an immigrant's native language,
not completely eliminated. Language is a significant part of a culture,
because you can learn about a culture but to experience the culture, you must
have an understanding of the language. This goes both ways, Richard should
keep speaking Spanish to keep his culture but also speak English for the
American experience.


You're right Caitlin, the way Richard was treated at home was not fair at all. Also, it is pretty tough to analyze the situation he is in when he is being a little hypocritical. How can you really tell if someone wants to keep their faith when they are so motivated to want to have all of the American opportunities. I think that he should end up finding that balance or equilibrium where he can have the American opportunities and act in a certain way in the public to excel, but he should also take into consideration keeping up his faith and culture at home. Research in private if you have to. If you are truly motivated to keep the faith then you will do what is necessary to achieve that.

I agree that his own people should have been more understanding to his situation, but I think people are forgetting that richard was a young child when this was happening. His way of life was his language and his home life. He viewed the outside world as dangerous and foreign and once he realized that he ahd to give in to it, he couldn't separate both worlds. He faded into both the latter since thats what happens to children. They become what they learn and he was just old enough to retain that knowledge. How could he expect to keep a culture he hadn't known for that long. Learing English caused him to forget Spanish and his parents understood that he needed it to survive. They never treated him negatively, it was everyone else. I think the young children have it the worst. If he was our age, he would have the capacity and the motivation to learn how to coexist in both worlds. Plus, once you don't speak a language for a long time, it becomes harder to speak it and when you're older, it's harder to learn. He was just hit harder with the problem because he was too young. The school did nothing wrong at that point. Thy knew he needed English to survive.

I agree that when moving to America you must adjust and adapt to the American culture. This can indeed as Caitlin said be a benefit to the families also. If Richard was to learn the languauge and adapt to the culture he would be succesful in the American society and able to take care of his family. He would be able to provide for them financially. There is no one demanding that he forget his culture there are no rules against him speaking his language or abiding by his tradiitonal cultures. I think that if you move to another country no matter where you are originally from you must learn the language and adapt to the culture. That does not involve losing your origins.