Majoring in English

March 29, 2013
By

By Monica Torres

When I sign my name, it’s Monica, not Mónica. When I order pupusas at my favorite restaurant, the waiter will give my accent an approving nod, as if to say, you’re one of us. But it will only take a harder question for me to reveal the lie. I speak Spanish at a remedial 7th grade level. I can only write this essay in English.

To this day, my father has followed my teachers’ suggestions and speaks exclusively to me in English, even though he cannot fully express himself in it. It was my perfect SAT verbal score that earned me the interest of top schools, and it was my minority status that sweetened my deal with many of them. My mother is frustrated by the rejection of my first language, and when she questions me in Spanish, I answer her in English, unwilling to communicate in the staccato rhythms of a song learned half-heartedly. Language is a battleground, and I prefer to fight in the tongue with which I am best armed. That lesson was passed down from my parents. My parents fought to their divorce in Spanish, the language of lovers, and when I was told everything was going to be fine, it was told to me in English, because in English, it doesn’t have to be true.

I’m an English major. It is a language of conquest.

What does it say that I’m mastering the same language that was used to make my mother feel inferior? Growing up, I had a white friend who used to laugh whenever my mother spoke English, amused by the way she rolled her r’s. My sister and I tease Mami about her accent too, but it’s different when we do it, or is it? The echoes of colonization linger in my voice. The weapons of the death squads that pushed my mother out of El Salvador were U.S.-funded. When Nixon promised, “We’re going to smash him!” it was said in his native tongue, and when the Chilean president he smashed used his last words to promise, “Long live Chile!” it was said in his. And when my family told me the story of my grandfather’s arrest by the dictatorship that followed, my grandfather stayed silent, and meeting his eyes, I cried, understanding that there were no words big enough for loss.

English is a language of conquest. I benefit from its richness, but I’m not exempt from its limitations. I am ‘that girl’ in your English classes, the one who is tired of talking about dead white dudes. But I’m still complicit with the system, reading nineteenth-century British literature to graduate.

Diversity in my high school and college English literature courses is too often reduced to a month, week, or day where the author of the book is seen as the narrator of the novel. The multiplicity of U.S. minority voices is palatably packaged into a singular representation for our consumption. I read Junot Díaz and now I understand not only the Dominican-American experience, but what it means to be Latina/o in America. Jhumpa Lahiri inspired me to study abroad in India. Sherman Alexie calls himself an Indian, so now it’s ok for me to call all Indians that, too. We will read Toni Morrison’s Beloved to understand the horrors of slavery, but we won’t watch her takedowns on white supremacy.

Even the English courses that analyze race and diasporas in meaningful ways are still limited by the time constraints of the semester. Reading Shakespeare is required, but reading Paolo Javier and Mónica de la Torre is extra credit. My Experimental Minority Writing class is cross-listed at the most difficult level, as a 400-level course in the Africana Studies, Latina/o Studies, and American Studies departments, but in my English department, it is listed as a 300-level. I am reminded of Orwellian democracy: All animals are equal, but some animals are more equal than others.

In order to graduate from my college, you must take one course that “actively promotes a self-conscious and critical engagement with diversity.” It’s called the Exploring Diversity Initiative. Columbus called it exploration, too. Michel Rolph-Trouillot called it a sweeter word for conquest. In theory, the goals of exploring diversity–empathetic understanding, critical theorization, comparative studies of cultures and societies, and examining power and privilege– should produce my favorite kind of course, but the conversation shifts depending on who’s in the room. Conflicts arise when students try to map the trajectory of race from Point A to Point B without studying any of the legend. Without realizing that their landmarks may not match mine.

When my English professor asked my class to relate the recent campus hate crimes to the topic of captivity in America, I braced myself. I held myself back until the pressure under my ribs reached my lips, and I was buoyed by its depth.

I disagreed with the student who said that the solution to our campus hate crimes is to mentally rehabilitate the ones who do it. I disagreed with the student who said that she was a freshman who was not there for last year’s hate crime, and could therefore have no opinion on it. I disagreed with my professor who could not get his students to care about slave narratives and had to resort to provoking students with reductive questions. Would you have freed your slaves if you were a slaveowner? What is diversity and why has it failed at our school?

After I spoke, no one else did, not because they agreed with my statements, but because, in order to speak up, they would have to look me in the eye. I faked my bravery, jutting my chin and daring someone to contradict me. I am glad no one else could hear the blood pounding in my ear as my heart worried, Fight or flight? Fight or flight?

The professor took no one’s side, distancing our arguments as she said/he said, while reminding us that the problem of America is our miscommunication with one another. After class was dismissed, the boy who sat next to me turned to the boy who refused to look at me, and said, “You just can’t reason with those kinds of people.” Those kinds of people being me. The Angry Minority label is a label that once stuck, will never peel away. As a freshman, I avoided it, speaking carefully, never calling anyone out, and framing racism as something that only happens between pages, in faraway cities, but never to us. It took a campus bias incident, a campus hate crime, and all of my Ethnic Studies courses to articulate my rage into a language that could not be dismissed so easily. Speaking and writing English are considered necessary requirements for playing the political game of the American education system. Crying and complaining get you disqualified, but if you appropriate their words of statistics, of fancy book learning, of speaking when it’s your turn, you can play the game of English thrones, and possibly win it. Checkmate by the Angry Minority. E1 to FU.

But there’s no prize for winning. The game is played with or without your consent. You are never quite sure who is this year’s gamemaster: is it our schools? is it the media? is it the government? is it you? The rules shift for each player, but one rule remains the same for the minority: you may wear the jersey, but you’re not on our team. I am reminded of this division when my favorite English teacher compliments me for speaking English so well. I am reminded of this in AP Spanish Language, where I’m the one whose accent needs to be Standardized. I am reminded of this when my career counselor tells me I need to italicize the foreign, to separate Spanish from English for the sake of my white interviewers. I am reminded of this when my mother’s misspelled pleas to a lawyer are never answered, but my politely worded complaint earns me a reply.

I have been the only person of color in my creative writing courses. I have been the only person writing about persons of color in my creative writing courses. I was never just a writer, but I never wanted to be just anything. The only grammar lesson I enjoyed promised me that in good writing, you never qualify someone as just-. Some minority writers don’t want to be hyphenated, and that is their right, but I welcome its conjunction. I don’t want you to forget that when I address ‘you’ in my stories, it is not always to you. The first attempts in a creative writing course are often thinly veiled versions of ourselves, but when I got the peer critique, Your white character needs to be more sympathetic, I was still stung by its implication. Why does any character need to be sympathetic at all? I wrote myself into the white stepmother as much as I did the cheating Latino father, the disillusioned Latina mother, the Latina child caught in the middle of it all. But out of all the characters in that story, it was the white woman that my reader was most concerned with saving. The U.S. education system trains you to read the universal voice as a white heterosexual male’s voice, and too many deviations from that path get you sent to the Ethnic Fiction section. I reject the notion that writing realistically means accepting a sympathetically sterilized vision of the world. “Historically,” “realistically,” “in my experience,” are the qualifiers that let literary genres off the hook because it’s easier to qualify your ignorance as a product of the system than to admit that you share responsibility.

For the dominant majority, I can pass for white: I speak their kind of English, my skin is their shade of white, I wear their kinds of clothes, and I go to their kind of school. I don’t want to tell you which school, not to let my administration off the hook, but to demonstrate that this exclusion is not a problem limited to one institution. The older I get, the more aware I become of the contours of exclusion, and its shape does not fit the easy metaphor of a barrier. There are not only two sides, and participating in any side doesn’t mean you’re a member of it. Hegemony requires your consent, and when it opened its door to me, I held the door open for those that followed. I told my younger sister she needed to do better in English, not Spanish, if she wanted the good kind of college to notice her. When my close white friend told me those kind of girls were all so ghetto, I did not correct her.

My family and I have all fallen prey to the intoxicating allure of the American Dream, the vague, unsatisfying answer of America as a “better life.” To help me claim this “better life,” my mother gave me a name that could be accepted in both English and Spanish, accented and unaccented. How many ways can you say a name? This was the acting exercise I failed. I thought that if I stretched the syllable hard enough, the word would break even, and it would be enough to pay the toll –Miss Mahnn-i-cuh for my teachers, Monica for my classmates, Mónica for my relatives, and Móni for my family. How is the name meant to sound? It depends on who’s in the room. I carry my father in my last name and my mother in my middle name; the first name is mine to accent, at my privilege. For their daughters, my parents stretched their wallets and then their marriage, and one did not break even. My sister and I are the remainder of this fraction, and I am indebted to my parents, who gave up their dreams so I could major in my own.

In a few months, I will have a fancy degree in English, but my parents are more fluent in language than I am. To master a language, you have to understand differences that no grammar book can teach you. So much comes down to tone. No one wants their speaker to be unclear. After my father and I got into a fight about his money and my future, he sent me a long email explaining himself through Google translator. I’m the daughter who never calls him enough, and argues in heavy English consonants when I want to confuse him. He is the father who bolded would do anything for you, and said he loved, loves, and is always loving me. His English was not grammatically correct, but it was more emotionally honest than my feelings shielded in sarcasm. I pull it up when I need a reminder of my complicated, contradictory love for a hybridized language that is ours alone.

“I am extremely happy for Google Translator and spell check. I typed very slowly so don’t expect me to email you every time.  I wish I could speak English better because I know your english is good but unfortunately I don’t write spanish well either.

Love you,

Papi”

______________________________________________

MonicaTorres-Majoring_in_English-mtorres_photoMonica Torres is a senior English and American Studies major who concentrates in Latina/o Studies and is writing her way into a career. She has previously written for Creative Loafing Tampa.

154 Responses to Majoring in English

  1. Majoring in English | Astigmatic Revelations on March 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    [...] Majoring in English [...]

    • Fiona MacLeod-Green on March 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thank you for writing this: you have beautifully shown the nuances of your “language identity”. There is also a hidden story to the Gaelic speaker making their way in the English language too. We hide in plain sight, and cripple our children culturally through language choices. Some of us make our way forward in this life by embracing what our parents fought so hard to leave behind: we are not a stereotype, nor a mirror image of our parents’ culture, but an unique result of the conquered English-speaking world. Congratulations on your success with your studies. Your parents must be so proud of your beautiful journey. All the best.

    • Alejandra Chaverri on April 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Monica,
      Thank you for sharing this great-personal writing with us. Your reflection is very moving and mature, depicting facts many children of immigrants live in the US (and any other countries.)

      As an immigrant also, I am certain my girls share some of the experiences you write about. I think language, as you well put it, goes beyond speaking and writing. Languale allows cultural communication and in a way, we, parents, want the next generation to feel they still belong or understand or care for the culture we left behind.

      Congratulations for your achievements and keep going. If you feel you enter a place because you were a minority… I hope you put that behind, because you have shown us you deserved enter any elite school. You were already working very hard to accomplish your dreams in High School.

      Keep writing!

    • BrasileiroIan on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Beautiful, full, engaging, I feel your truth. Thank you for sharing it. Helped me gain perspective and understanding of my present journey rediscovering parts of myself as half Brasileiro, half Estados Unidense. Feeling it from your piece. Boa sorte irma!

    • Keisha on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 am

      Thank you for writing this. As a daughter of Dutch Caribbean parents and a major in anthropology who studies languages, this was the story of my life.

  2. Majoring in English | Astigmatic Revelations on March 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    [...] Majoring in English [...]

    • Fiona MacLeod-Green on March 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thank you for writing this: you have beautifully shown the nuances of your “language identity”. There is also a hidden story to the Gaelic speaker making their way in the English language too. We hide in plain sight, and cripple our children culturally through language choices. Some of us make our way forward in this life by embracing what our parents fought so hard to leave behind: we are not a stereotype, nor a mirror image of our parents’ culture, but an unique result of the conquered English-speaking world. Congratulations on your success with your studies. Your parents must be so proud of your beautiful journey. All the best.

    • Alejandra Chaverri on April 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Monica,
      Thank you for sharing this great-personal writing with us. Your reflection is very moving and mature, depicting facts many children of immigrants live in the US (and any other countries.)

      As an immigrant also, I am certain my girls share some of the experiences you write about. I think language, as you well put it, goes beyond speaking and writing. Languale allows cultural communication and in a way, we, parents, want the next generation to feel they still belong or understand or care for the culture we left behind.

      Congratulations for your achievements and keep going. If you feel you enter a place because you were a minority… I hope you put that behind, because you have shown us you deserved enter any elite school. You were already working very hard to accomplish your dreams in High School.

      Keep writing!

    • BrasileiroIan on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Beautiful, full, engaging, I feel your truth. Thank you for sharing it. Helped me gain perspective and understanding of my present journey rediscovering parts of myself as half Brasileiro, half Estados Unidense. Feeling it from your piece. Boa sorte irma!

    • Keisha on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 am

      Thank you for writing this. As a daughter of Dutch Caribbean parents and a major in anthropology who studies languages, this was the story of my life.

  3. Majoring in English | Astigmatic Revelations on March 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    [...] Majoring in English [...]

    • Fiona MacLeod-Green on March 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thank you for writing this: you have beautifully shown the nuances of your “language identity”. There is also a hidden story to the Gaelic speaker making their way in the English language too. We hide in plain sight, and cripple our children culturally through language choices. Some of us make our way forward in this life by embracing what our parents fought so hard to leave behind: we are not a stereotype, nor a mirror image of our parents’ culture, but an unique result of the conquered English-speaking world. Congratulations on your success with your studies. Your parents must be so proud of your beautiful journey. All the best.

    • Alejandra Chaverri on April 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Monica,
      Thank you for sharing this great-personal writing with us. Your reflection is very moving and mature, depicting facts many children of immigrants live in the US (and any other countries.)

      As an immigrant also, I am certain my girls share some of the experiences you write about. I think language, as you well put it, goes beyond speaking and writing. Languale allows cultural communication and in a way, we, parents, want the next generation to feel they still belong or understand or care for the culture we left behind.

      Congratulations for your achievements and keep going. If you feel you enter a place because you were a minority… I hope you put that behind, because you have shown us you deserved enter any elite school. You were already working very hard to accomplish your dreams in High School.

      Keep writing!

    • BrasileiroIan on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Beautiful, full, engaging, I feel your truth. Thank you for sharing it. Helped me gain perspective and understanding of my present journey rediscovering parts of myself as half Brasileiro, half Estados Unidense. Feeling it from your piece. Boa sorte irma!

    • Keisha on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 am

      Thank you for writing this. As a daughter of Dutch Caribbean parents and a major in anthropology who studies languages, this was the story of my life.

  4. Majoring in English | Astigmatic Revelations on March 29, 2013 at 11:45 am

    [...] Majoring in English [...]

    • Fiona MacLeod-Green on March 30, 2013 at 10:24 am

      Thank you for writing this: you have beautifully shown the nuances of your “language identity”. There is also a hidden story to the Gaelic speaker making their way in the English language too. We hide in plain sight, and cripple our children culturally through language choices. Some of us make our way forward in this life by embracing what our parents fought so hard to leave behind: we are not a stereotype, nor a mirror image of our parents’ culture, but an unique result of the conquered English-speaking world. Congratulations on your success with your studies. Your parents must be so proud of your beautiful journey. All the best.

    • Alejandra Chaverri on April 2, 2013 at 1:49 am

      Monica,
      Thank you for sharing this great-personal writing with us. Your reflection is very moving and mature, depicting facts many children of immigrants live in the US (and any other countries.)

      As an immigrant also, I am certain my girls share some of the experiences you write about. I think language, as you well put it, goes beyond speaking and writing. Languale allows cultural communication and in a way, we, parents, want the next generation to feel they still belong or understand or care for the culture we left behind.

      Congratulations for your achievements and keep going. If you feel you enter a place because you were a minority… I hope you put that behind, because you have shown us you deserved enter any elite school. You were already working very hard to accomplish your dreams in High School.

      Keep writing!

    • BrasileiroIan on April 4, 2013 at 2:52 pm

      Beautiful, full, engaging, I feel your truth. Thank you for sharing it. Helped me gain perspective and understanding of my present journey rediscovering parts of myself as half Brasileiro, half Estados Unidense. Feeling it from your piece. Boa sorte irma!

    • Keisha on April 5, 2013 at 1:17 am

      Thank you for writing this. As a daughter of Dutch Caribbean parents and a major in anthropology who studies languages, this was the story of my life.

  5. Lili on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That is absolutely brilliant…and beautiful. Thank you for speaking for my heart too.

  6. Lili on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That is absolutely brilliant…and beautiful. Thank you for speaking for my heart too.

  7. Lili on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That is absolutely brilliant…and beautiful. Thank you for speaking for my heart too.

  8. Lili on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 am

    That is absolutely brilliant…and beautiful. Thank you for speaking for my heart too.

  9. Juliana Britto on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Monica, this piece is so beautiful. I relate to so many aspects of it, the “language of the colonizer,” the code switching, etc. My mom is Brazilian, and I was finally given the opportunity to perfect my Portuguese (which she never spoke to me at home). Now that I am able to argue in her language, things look different. She speaks English fluently, but there are things that just don’t translate.

    Thanks for writing this!

  10. Juliana Britto on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Monica, this piece is so beautiful. I relate to so many aspects of it, the “language of the colonizer,” the code switching, etc. My mom is Brazilian, and I was finally given the opportunity to perfect my Portuguese (which she never spoke to me at home). Now that I am able to argue in her language, things look different. She speaks English fluently, but there are things that just don’t translate.

    Thanks for writing this!

  11. Juliana Britto on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Monica, this piece is so beautiful. I relate to so many aspects of it, the “language of the colonizer,” the code switching, etc. My mom is Brazilian, and I was finally given the opportunity to perfect my Portuguese (which she never spoke to me at home). Now that I am able to argue in her language, things look different. She speaks English fluently, but there are things that just don’t translate.

    Thanks for writing this!

  12. Juliana Britto on March 29, 2013 at 11:52 am

    Monica, this piece is so beautiful. I relate to so many aspects of it, the “language of the colonizer,” the code switching, etc. My mom is Brazilian, and I was finally given the opportunity to perfect my Portuguese (which she never spoke to me at home). Now that I am able to argue in her language, things look different. She speaks English fluently, but there are things that just don’t translate.

    Thanks for writing this!

  13. mordeezy on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    this is a really well-written piece, and it clearly resonates with a lot of readers. at the same time, this article is so weird to me…one of the ideas in the article is that english is a language of conquest that has served to perpetuate structures of inferiority. i know nothing about colonial studies or sociolinguistics, so take whatever i say with a grain of salt, but to me it seems that spanish is also a language of conquest. when the conquistadors (and monica references this super-briefly) imposed the castilian language on quechua, mexica, mayan peoples, it also imposed a sense of superiority. even five years ago, nahuatl speakers in mexico were constantly discriminated against (i haven’t read about such issues in a long time, but i’d wager anti-nahuatl discrimination is still a hugr problem), and a huge part of that is predicated on the language barrier. the idea that english conquers spanish in this case seems so far-fetched to me, because spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon, if not more so. a lot of the time, the only reason a language gets disseminated, i assume, is by conquering and trying to force people to fit the mold of the conquerers…people have been conquering each other for ages! i’m almost certain that english in the way we understand it was conquered and reshaped at numerous points in history…i dunno. it just seems like a weird assertion.

    for me, the racial issue and the expectations people who “look different” from the “norm” struggle with is much easier to identify with. otherwise, i think a lot of the article is just talking about stuff that anyone who grows up in a country where their parents don’t speak the dominant language or match the dominant culture in terms of their customs has to struggle with. prejudices exist everywhere, i think, and it really is a shame that people are mean-spirited and say ignorant things like “those people can’t be reasoned with”, but to me, it’s sort of like, “yeah, it’s tough and unfair, but those are the circumstances.” exclusion is one of those things people should be aware of, but as is mentioned here, “hegemony requires consent”, and i believe that no one is truly inclusive to everyone who deserves to be.

    i think i missed a lot of the nuances of the piece, and i’m sorry if my response here depreciates the issue, but something in here irked me…sorry if i offend anyone.

    • Mary de G on March 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Gringa anthropologist checking in … I loved your essay, Monica.

      And Mordeezy, that’s true — but Spanish has a different history in every one of the 34 countries where it’s the official language. There are linguistic minorities with very real issues of language oppression within Spain, as well as in many parts of Latin America. But that history isn’t equally present everywhere. In El Salvador (my husband’s home country), there are comparatively few non-Spanish speakers, almost none in the family’s home region. (This has to do in part with events of 1934, another long and unhappy story.) Linguistic identity is really complex, but you live it where you are. Monica is speaking from her heart and from her own experience, and what she has to say is very real.

      Last I knew, btw, Nahuatl had about a million living speakers. And yes, linguistic prejudice is real, thorny, and enormously complicated. In all directions, in all places.

    • Aly on April 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

      I totally agree with you! You make really good points…the Spanish conquered more countries than the English and were just as brutal so I don’t think blaming everything on the “white man” is the reason or the English colonization of the US in particular. Also, there was and still are linguistic barriers for immigrants from all backgrounds, including white too! I don’t like when people of other races blame white people for their problems. It’s not right and it makes us all look bad. My family immigrated from Italy and Poland in the early 1900s and they experienced discrimination from other European-Americans (white) because their cultures were different. The Anglo-Saxons also wanted everyone to assimilate and speak English. My family did exactly what they wanted and abandoned their culture and identity…no one speaks Italian or Polish in my family anymore…it’s been dead for decades. It’s just an unfortunate reality to many people but when you immigrate your expected to integrate. Monica, I think your essay is well-written and you make really good arguments but I just want you to see from another point of view of someone who is white and whose family experienced oppression.

  14. mordeezy on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    this is a really well-written piece, and it clearly resonates with a lot of readers. at the same time, this article is so weird to me…one of the ideas in the article is that english is a language of conquest that has served to perpetuate structures of inferiority. i know nothing about colonial studies or sociolinguistics, so take whatever i say with a grain of salt, but to me it seems that spanish is also a language of conquest. when the conquistadors (and monica references this super-briefly) imposed the castilian language on quechua, mexica, mayan peoples, it also imposed a sense of superiority. even five years ago, nahuatl speakers in mexico were constantly discriminated against (i haven’t read about such issues in a long time, but i’d wager anti-nahuatl discrimination is still a hugr problem), and a huge part of that is predicated on the language barrier. the idea that english conquers spanish in this case seems so far-fetched to me, because spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon, if not more so. a lot of the time, the only reason a language gets disseminated, i assume, is by conquering and trying to force people to fit the mold of the conquerers…people have been conquering each other for ages! i’m almost certain that english in the way we understand it was conquered and reshaped at numerous points in history…i dunno. it just seems like a weird assertion.

    for me, the racial issue and the expectations people who “look different” from the “norm” struggle with is much easier to identify with. otherwise, i think a lot of the article is just talking about stuff that anyone who grows up in a country where their parents don’t speak the dominant language or match the dominant culture in terms of their customs has to struggle with. prejudices exist everywhere, i think, and it really is a shame that people are mean-spirited and say ignorant things like “those people can’t be reasoned with”, but to me, it’s sort of like, “yeah, it’s tough and unfair, but those are the circumstances.” exclusion is one of those things people should be aware of, but as is mentioned here, “hegemony requires consent”, and i believe that no one is truly inclusive to everyone who deserves to be.

    i think i missed a lot of the nuances of the piece, and i’m sorry if my response here depreciates the issue, but something in here irked me…sorry if i offend anyone.

    • Mary de G on March 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Gringa anthropologist checking in … I loved your essay, Monica.

      And Mordeezy, that’s true — but Spanish has a different history in every one of the 34 countries where it’s the official language. There are linguistic minorities with very real issues of language oppression within Spain, as well as in many parts of Latin America. But that history isn’t equally present everywhere. In El Salvador (my husband’s home country), there are comparatively few non-Spanish speakers, almost none in the family’s home region. (This has to do in part with events of 1934, another long and unhappy story.) Linguistic identity is really complex, but you live it where you are. Monica is speaking from her heart and from her own experience, and what she has to say is very real.

      Last I knew, btw, Nahuatl had about a million living speakers. And yes, linguistic prejudice is real, thorny, and enormously complicated. In all directions, in all places.

    • Aly on April 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

      I totally agree with you! You make really good points…the Spanish conquered more countries than the English and were just as brutal so I don’t think blaming everything on the “white man” is the reason or the English colonization of the US in particular. Also, there was and still are linguistic barriers for immigrants from all backgrounds, including white too! I don’t like when people of other races blame white people for their problems. It’s not right and it makes us all look bad. My family immigrated from Italy and Poland in the early 1900s and they experienced discrimination from other European-Americans (white) because their cultures were different. The Anglo-Saxons also wanted everyone to assimilate and speak English. My family did exactly what they wanted and abandoned their culture and identity…no one speaks Italian or Polish in my family anymore…it’s been dead for decades. It’s just an unfortunate reality to many people but when you immigrate your expected to integrate. Monica, I think your essay is well-written and you make really good arguments but I just want you to see from another point of view of someone who is white and whose family experienced oppression.

  15. mordeezy on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    this is a really well-written piece, and it clearly resonates with a lot of readers. at the same time, this article is so weird to me…one of the ideas in the article is that english is a language of conquest that has served to perpetuate structures of inferiority. i know nothing about colonial studies or sociolinguistics, so take whatever i say with a grain of salt, but to me it seems that spanish is also a language of conquest. when the conquistadors (and monica references this super-briefly) imposed the castilian language on quechua, mexica, mayan peoples, it also imposed a sense of superiority. even five years ago, nahuatl speakers in mexico were constantly discriminated against (i haven’t read about such issues in a long time, but i’d wager anti-nahuatl discrimination is still a hugr problem), and a huge part of that is predicated on the language barrier. the idea that english conquers spanish in this case seems so far-fetched to me, because spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon, if not more so. a lot of the time, the only reason a language gets disseminated, i assume, is by conquering and trying to force people to fit the mold of the conquerers…people have been conquering each other for ages! i’m almost certain that english in the way we understand it was conquered and reshaped at numerous points in history…i dunno. it just seems like a weird assertion.

    for me, the racial issue and the expectations people who “look different” from the “norm” struggle with is much easier to identify with. otherwise, i think a lot of the article is just talking about stuff that anyone who grows up in a country where their parents don’t speak the dominant language or match the dominant culture in terms of their customs has to struggle with. prejudices exist everywhere, i think, and it really is a shame that people are mean-spirited and say ignorant things like “those people can’t be reasoned with”, but to me, it’s sort of like, “yeah, it’s tough and unfair, but those are the circumstances.” exclusion is one of those things people should be aware of, but as is mentioned here, “hegemony requires consent”, and i believe that no one is truly inclusive to everyone who deserves to be.

    i think i missed a lot of the nuances of the piece, and i’m sorry if my response here depreciates the issue, but something in here irked me…sorry if i offend anyone.

    • Mary de G on March 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Gringa anthropologist checking in … I loved your essay, Monica.

      And Mordeezy, that’s true — but Spanish has a different history in every one of the 34 countries where it’s the official language. There are linguistic minorities with very real issues of language oppression within Spain, as well as in many parts of Latin America. But that history isn’t equally present everywhere. In El Salvador (my husband’s home country), there are comparatively few non-Spanish speakers, almost none in the family’s home region. (This has to do in part with events of 1934, another long and unhappy story.) Linguistic identity is really complex, but you live it where you are. Monica is speaking from her heart and from her own experience, and what she has to say is very real.

      Last I knew, btw, Nahuatl had about a million living speakers. And yes, linguistic prejudice is real, thorny, and enormously complicated. In all directions, in all places.

    • Aly on April 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

      I totally agree with you! You make really good points…the Spanish conquered more countries than the English and were just as brutal so I don’t think blaming everything on the “white man” is the reason or the English colonization of the US in particular. Also, there was and still are linguistic barriers for immigrants from all backgrounds, including white too! I don’t like when people of other races blame white people for their problems. It’s not right and it makes us all look bad. My family immigrated from Italy and Poland in the early 1900s and they experienced discrimination from other European-Americans (white) because their cultures were different. The Anglo-Saxons also wanted everyone to assimilate and speak English. My family did exactly what they wanted and abandoned their culture and identity…no one speaks Italian or Polish in my family anymore…it’s been dead for decades. It’s just an unfortunate reality to many people but when you immigrate your expected to integrate. Monica, I think your essay is well-written and you make really good arguments but I just want you to see from another point of view of someone who is white and whose family experienced oppression.

  16. mordeezy on March 29, 2013 at 4:04 pm

    this is a really well-written piece, and it clearly resonates with a lot of readers. at the same time, this article is so weird to me…one of the ideas in the article is that english is a language of conquest that has served to perpetuate structures of inferiority. i know nothing about colonial studies or sociolinguistics, so take whatever i say with a grain of salt, but to me it seems that spanish is also a language of conquest. when the conquistadors (and monica references this super-briefly) imposed the castilian language on quechua, mexica, mayan peoples, it also imposed a sense of superiority. even five years ago, nahuatl speakers in mexico were constantly discriminated against (i haven’t read about such issues in a long time, but i’d wager anti-nahuatl discrimination is still a hugr problem), and a huge part of that is predicated on the language barrier. the idea that english conquers spanish in this case seems so far-fetched to me, because spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon, if not more so. a lot of the time, the only reason a language gets disseminated, i assume, is by conquering and trying to force people to fit the mold of the conquerers…people have been conquering each other for ages! i’m almost certain that english in the way we understand it was conquered and reshaped at numerous points in history…i dunno. it just seems like a weird assertion.

    for me, the racial issue and the expectations people who “look different” from the “norm” struggle with is much easier to identify with. otherwise, i think a lot of the article is just talking about stuff that anyone who grows up in a country where their parents don’t speak the dominant language or match the dominant culture in terms of their customs has to struggle with. prejudices exist everywhere, i think, and it really is a shame that people are mean-spirited and say ignorant things like “those people can’t be reasoned with”, but to me, it’s sort of like, “yeah, it’s tough and unfair, but those are the circumstances.” exclusion is one of those things people should be aware of, but as is mentioned here, “hegemony requires consent”, and i believe that no one is truly inclusive to everyone who deserves to be.

    i think i missed a lot of the nuances of the piece, and i’m sorry if my response here depreciates the issue, but something in here irked me…sorry if i offend anyone.

    • Mary de G on March 29, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Gringa anthropologist checking in … I loved your essay, Monica.

      And Mordeezy, that’s true — but Spanish has a different history in every one of the 34 countries where it’s the official language. There are linguistic minorities with very real issues of language oppression within Spain, as well as in many parts of Latin America. But that history isn’t equally present everywhere. In El Salvador (my husband’s home country), there are comparatively few non-Spanish speakers, almost none in the family’s home region. (This has to do in part with events of 1934, another long and unhappy story.) Linguistic identity is really complex, but you live it where you are. Monica is speaking from her heart and from her own experience, and what she has to say is very real.

      Last I knew, btw, Nahuatl had about a million living speakers. And yes, linguistic prejudice is real, thorny, and enormously complicated. In all directions, in all places.

    • Aly on April 8, 2013 at 5:10 am

      I totally agree with you! You make really good points…the Spanish conquered more countries than the English and were just as brutal so I don’t think blaming everything on the “white man” is the reason or the English colonization of the US in particular. Also, there was and still are linguistic barriers for immigrants from all backgrounds, including white too! I don’t like when people of other races blame white people for their problems. It’s not right and it makes us all look bad. My family immigrated from Italy and Poland in the early 1900s and they experienced discrimination from other European-Americans (white) because their cultures were different. The Anglo-Saxons also wanted everyone to assimilate and speak English. My family did exactly what they wanted and abandoned their culture and identity…no one speaks Italian or Polish in my family anymore…it’s been dead for decades. It’s just an unfortunate reality to many people but when you immigrate your expected to integrate. Monica, I think your essay is well-written and you make really good arguments but I just want you to see from another point of view of someone who is white and whose family experienced oppression.

  17. [...] Majoring in English | The Feminist Wire. [...]

    • marisa on March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am

      although also spanish is technically a language of conquest too…. i mean what about the native languagest that are dying out across the americas ? Both north and south. :(

      • Chimalpahin on April 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Very true, though it’s not technically it IS A LANGUAGE OF CONQUEST, Cuauhtemoc did not Speak Spanish,Atahuallpa did not speak Spanish and neither did Tenamaxtle, even Geronimo I don’t believe spoke Spanish and if he did it was a a foreign language along with English. it’s a language of conquest that we’ve gotten used to. The irony here is most of us in Central America have only recently switched to Spanish and then move to the US and have to abandon that language for another foreign language!

  18. [...] Majoring in English | The Feminist Wire. [...]

    • marisa on March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am

      although also spanish is technically a language of conquest too…. i mean what about the native languagest that are dying out across the americas ? Both north and south. :(

      • Chimalpahin on April 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Very true, though it’s not technically it IS A LANGUAGE OF CONQUEST, Cuauhtemoc did not Speak Spanish,Atahuallpa did not speak Spanish and neither did Tenamaxtle, even Geronimo I don’t believe spoke Spanish and if he did it was a a foreign language along with English. it’s a language of conquest that we’ve gotten used to. The irony here is most of us in Central America have only recently switched to Spanish and then move to the US and have to abandon that language for another foreign language!

  19. [...] Majoring in English | The Feminist Wire. [...]

    • marisa on March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am

      although also spanish is technically a language of conquest too…. i mean what about the native languagest that are dying out across the americas ? Both north and south. :(

      • Chimalpahin on April 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Very true, though it’s not technically it IS A LANGUAGE OF CONQUEST, Cuauhtemoc did not Speak Spanish,Atahuallpa did not speak Spanish and neither did Tenamaxtle, even Geronimo I don’t believe spoke Spanish and if he did it was a a foreign language along with English. it’s a language of conquest that we’ve gotten used to. The irony here is most of us in Central America have only recently switched to Spanish and then move to the US and have to abandon that language for another foreign language!

  20. [...] Majoring in English | The Feminist Wire. [...]

    • marisa on March 30, 2013 at 1:20 am

      although also spanish is technically a language of conquest too…. i mean what about the native languagest that are dying out across the americas ? Both north and south. :(

      • Chimalpahin on April 8, 2013 at 2:46 pm

        Very true, though it’s not technically it IS A LANGUAGE OF CONQUEST, Cuauhtemoc did not Speak Spanish,Atahuallpa did not speak Spanish and neither did Tenamaxtle, even Geronimo I don’t believe spoke Spanish and if he did it was a a foreign language along with English. it’s a language of conquest that we’ve gotten used to. The irony here is most of us in Central America have only recently switched to Spanish and then move to the US and have to abandon that language for another foreign language!

  21. megs on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Feel like language is a tool, not a battleground

    • lars on April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Then you must have had a privileged life to not have experienced these battles.

  22. megs on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Feel like language is a tool, not a battleground

    • lars on April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Then you must have had a privileged life to not have experienced these battles.

  23. megs on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Feel like language is a tool, not a battleground

    • lars on April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Then you must have had a privileged life to not have experienced these battles.

  24. megs on March 29, 2013 at 6:38 pm

    Feel like language is a tool, not a battleground

    • lars on April 4, 2013 at 2:06 pm

      Then you must have had a privileged life to not have experienced these battles.

  25. Joseph Smeall on March 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I’m half Bolivian on my mom’s side and usually get mistaken for white Jewish straight male, despite that Spanish is my first language and that I am gay. When I was growing up, my main experience of Latino identity consisted of my mom teaching me to navigate a very delicate calculus of when it was, and was not, appropriate to let on that I spoke Spanish. I didn’t realize until recently that my entire upbringing was connected to “passing” I read about in the context of Black Studies a few years ago.

    Anyway, thanks for sensitively articulating what basically amounts to the story of my life.

  26. Joseph Smeall on March 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I’m half Bolivian on my mom’s side and usually get mistaken for white Jewish straight male, despite that Spanish is my first language and that I am gay. When I was growing up, my main experience of Latino identity consisted of my mom teaching me to navigate a very delicate calculus of when it was, and was not, appropriate to let on that I spoke Spanish. I didn’t realize until recently that my entire upbringing was connected to “passing” I read about in the context of Black Studies a few years ago.

    Anyway, thanks for sensitively articulating what basically amounts to the story of my life.

  27. Joseph Smeall on March 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I’m half Bolivian on my mom’s side and usually get mistaken for white Jewish straight male, despite that Spanish is my first language and that I am gay. When I was growing up, my main experience of Latino identity consisted of my mom teaching me to navigate a very delicate calculus of when it was, and was not, appropriate to let on that I spoke Spanish. I didn’t realize until recently that my entire upbringing was connected to “passing” I read about in the context of Black Studies a few years ago.

    Anyway, thanks for sensitively articulating what basically amounts to the story of my life.

  28. Joseph Smeall on March 29, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    I’m half Bolivian on my mom’s side and usually get mistaken for white Jewish straight male, despite that Spanish is my first language and that I am gay. When I was growing up, my main experience of Latino identity consisted of my mom teaching me to navigate a very delicate calculus of when it was, and was not, appropriate to let on that I spoke Spanish. I didn’t realize until recently that my entire upbringing was connected to “passing” I read about in the context of Black Studies a few years ago.

    Anyway, thanks for sensitively articulating what basically amounts to the story of my life.

  29. Johan on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    The piece is quite elegant and very well developed. It undoubtedly reaches out to many who see the implications of language in the life of a minority/immigrant in the United States, but I still felt as if there was a level of complicity with the notion of “conquest.” I guess it’s my own political background that pushes me to object to her approach of embracing the English language as an entity of accommodation: to find a place in an ambient that is not necessarily welcoming in a desired manner. Please excuse my simplicity, but I find no mistake reclaiming identity with the mother tongue whilst mastering the language of “conquest.” (I agree with mordeezy on the shortcomings of this accusation) All in all, if language is a battleground, the diversity of weaponry (i.e. multiplicity of languages) is a great advantage, not a limitation whatsoever.

  30. Johan on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    The piece is quite elegant and very well developed. It undoubtedly reaches out to many who see the implications of language in the life of a minority/immigrant in the United States, but I still felt as if there was a level of complicity with the notion of “conquest.” I guess it’s my own political background that pushes me to object to her approach of embracing the English language as an entity of accommodation: to find a place in an ambient that is not necessarily welcoming in a desired manner. Please excuse my simplicity, but I find no mistake reclaiming identity with the mother tongue whilst mastering the language of “conquest.” (I agree with mordeezy on the shortcomings of this accusation) All in all, if language is a battleground, the diversity of weaponry (i.e. multiplicity of languages) is a great advantage, not a limitation whatsoever.

  31. Johan on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    The piece is quite elegant and very well developed. It undoubtedly reaches out to many who see the implications of language in the life of a minority/immigrant in the United States, but I still felt as if there was a level of complicity with the notion of “conquest.” I guess it’s my own political background that pushes me to object to her approach of embracing the English language as an entity of accommodation: to find a place in an ambient that is not necessarily welcoming in a desired manner. Please excuse my simplicity, but I find no mistake reclaiming identity with the mother tongue whilst mastering the language of “conquest.” (I agree with mordeezy on the shortcomings of this accusation) All in all, if language is a battleground, the diversity of weaponry (i.e. multiplicity of languages) is a great advantage, not a limitation whatsoever.

  32. Johan on March 29, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    The piece is quite elegant and very well developed. It undoubtedly reaches out to many who see the implications of language in the life of a minority/immigrant in the United States, but I still felt as if there was a level of complicity with the notion of “conquest.” I guess it’s my own political background that pushes me to object to her approach of embracing the English language as an entity of accommodation: to find a place in an ambient that is not necessarily welcoming in a desired manner. Please excuse my simplicity, but I find no mistake reclaiming identity with the mother tongue whilst mastering the language of “conquest.” (I agree with mordeezy on the shortcomings of this accusation) All in all, if language is a battleground, the diversity of weaponry (i.e. multiplicity of languages) is a great advantage, not a limitation whatsoever.

  33. e c on March 30, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your father’s words. I’m a white girl who majored in English, and I’ve been working on (as you put it) admitting that I share responsibility, and fighting the ingrained ignorance. Pieces like this help me to listen and learn, which is so necessary.

  34. e c on March 30, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your father’s words. I’m a white girl who majored in English, and I’ve been working on (as you put it) admitting that I share responsibility, and fighting the ingrained ignorance. Pieces like this help me to listen and learn, which is so necessary.

  35. e c on March 30, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your father’s words. I’m a white girl who majored in English, and I’ve been working on (as you put it) admitting that I share responsibility, and fighting the ingrained ignorance. Pieces like this help me to listen and learn, which is so necessary.

  36. e c on March 30, 2013 at 12:09 am

    Thank you for this, and for sharing your father’s words. I’m a white girl who majored in English, and I’ve been working on (as you put it) admitting that I share responsibility, and fighting the ingrained ignorance. Pieces like this help me to listen and learn, which is so necessary.

  37. Natassja on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Hi Monica, thank you so much for writing this beautiful, heartfelt and sensitive piece. I’m a Sri Lankan woman who recently graduated with a B.A in English and my experience parallels yours so closely I want to weep. One of my earliest memories is walking to elementary school with my father in Sri Lanka and chattering on about something in Sinhalese when suddenly he interrupts me to say “Speak English, stop blabbering in Sinhalese.” My parents always knew that mastery of English would open doors for me that mastery of their mother tongue never could. Today I have a magna cum laude degree in English and am about to start graduate school and am regularly complimented for my writing, yet I can only read and write Sinhalese at a remedial 5th grade level.
    I remember being That Girl in all my classes, the girl whose comments no one could engage because it either frightened them or repulsed them or confused them. Every day I battle with the paradox of mastering the language of my colonizers; sometimes I think my entire life can be summed up as “in a complicated relationship with Victorian literature.” LOL

    You’re absolutely right that the issues you describe are endemic at academic institutions: my English program mirrored yours down to the wire, with British literature being a requirement and ‘World’ literature being an elective. I have many more thoughts but I just wanted to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for articulating things that cut too deep for words. I hope you know that you aren’t alone in this struggle. #browngrlEnglishMajors :)

    • Monica Torres on April 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Natassja, thank you for sharing your parallel experiences, for writing something that I’ll pull up whenever I feel small. #browngrlEnglishMajors forever.

  38. Natassja on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Hi Monica, thank you so much for writing this beautiful, heartfelt and sensitive piece. I’m a Sri Lankan woman who recently graduated with a B.A in English and my experience parallels yours so closely I want to weep. One of my earliest memories is walking to elementary school with my father in Sri Lanka and chattering on about something in Sinhalese when suddenly he interrupts me to say “Speak English, stop blabbering in Sinhalese.” My parents always knew that mastery of English would open doors for me that mastery of their mother tongue never could. Today I have a magna cum laude degree in English and am about to start graduate school and am regularly complimented for my writing, yet I can only read and write Sinhalese at a remedial 5th grade level.
    I remember being That Girl in all my classes, the girl whose comments no one could engage because it either frightened them or repulsed them or confused them. Every day I battle with the paradox of mastering the language of my colonizers; sometimes I think my entire life can be summed up as “in a complicated relationship with Victorian literature.” LOL

    You’re absolutely right that the issues you describe are endemic at academic institutions: my English program mirrored yours down to the wire, with British literature being a requirement and ‘World’ literature being an elective. I have many more thoughts but I just wanted to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for articulating things that cut too deep for words. I hope you know that you aren’t alone in this struggle. #browngrlEnglishMajors :)

    • Monica Torres on April 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Natassja, thank you for sharing your parallel experiences, for writing something that I’ll pull up whenever I feel small. #browngrlEnglishMajors forever.

  39. Natassja on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Hi Monica, thank you so much for writing this beautiful, heartfelt and sensitive piece. I’m a Sri Lankan woman who recently graduated with a B.A in English and my experience parallels yours so closely I want to weep. One of my earliest memories is walking to elementary school with my father in Sri Lanka and chattering on about something in Sinhalese when suddenly he interrupts me to say “Speak English, stop blabbering in Sinhalese.” My parents always knew that mastery of English would open doors for me that mastery of their mother tongue never could. Today I have a magna cum laude degree in English and am about to start graduate school and am regularly complimented for my writing, yet I can only read and write Sinhalese at a remedial 5th grade level.
    I remember being That Girl in all my classes, the girl whose comments no one could engage because it either frightened them or repulsed them or confused them. Every day I battle with the paradox of mastering the language of my colonizers; sometimes I think my entire life can be summed up as “in a complicated relationship with Victorian literature.” LOL

    You’re absolutely right that the issues you describe are endemic at academic institutions: my English program mirrored yours down to the wire, with British literature being a requirement and ‘World’ literature being an elective. I have many more thoughts but I just wanted to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for articulating things that cut too deep for words. I hope you know that you aren’t alone in this struggle. #browngrlEnglishMajors :)

    • Monica Torres on April 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Natassja, thank you for sharing your parallel experiences, for writing something that I’ll pull up whenever I feel small. #browngrlEnglishMajors forever.

  40. Natassja on March 30, 2013 at 2:03 am

    Hi Monica, thank you so much for writing this beautiful, heartfelt and sensitive piece. I’m a Sri Lankan woman who recently graduated with a B.A in English and my experience parallels yours so closely I want to weep. One of my earliest memories is walking to elementary school with my father in Sri Lanka and chattering on about something in Sinhalese when suddenly he interrupts me to say “Speak English, stop blabbering in Sinhalese.” My parents always knew that mastery of English would open doors for me that mastery of their mother tongue never could. Today I have a magna cum laude degree in English and am about to start graduate school and am regularly complimented for my writing, yet I can only read and write Sinhalese at a remedial 5th grade level.
    I remember being That Girl in all my classes, the girl whose comments no one could engage because it either frightened them or repulsed them or confused them. Every day I battle with the paradox of mastering the language of my colonizers; sometimes I think my entire life can be summed up as “in a complicated relationship with Victorian literature.” LOL

    You’re absolutely right that the issues you describe are endemic at academic institutions: my English program mirrored yours down to the wire, with British literature being a requirement and ‘World’ literature being an elective. I have many more thoughts but I just wanted to say thank you so much, from the bottom of my heart, for articulating things that cut too deep for words. I hope you know that you aren’t alone in this struggle. #browngrlEnglishMajors :)

    • Monica Torres on April 3, 2013 at 3:22 pm

      Hi Natassja, thank you for sharing your parallel experiences, for writing something that I’ll pull up whenever I feel small. #browngrlEnglishMajors forever.

  41. Darnell Moore on March 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Monica, this piece is genius. I feel every word written. Thank you…

  42. Darnell Moore on March 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Monica, this piece is genius. I feel every word written. Thank you…

  43. Darnell Moore on March 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Monica, this piece is genius. I feel every word written. Thank you…

  44. Darnell Moore on March 30, 2013 at 9:15 am

    Monica, this piece is genius. I feel every word written. Thank you…

  45. Saturday! | Gerry Canavan on March 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    [...] * On majoring in English. [...]

  46. Saturday! | Gerry Canavan on March 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    [...] * On majoring in English. [...]

  47. Saturday! | Gerry Canavan on March 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    [...] * On majoring in English. [...]

  48. Saturday! | Gerry Canavan on March 30, 2013 at 11:47 am

    [...] * On majoring in English. [...]

  49. Alys on March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is everything that writing should be – beautiful and painful, personal and communal, saying what needs to be said and reminding us of the things that can’t be put into words.

    • Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Wow, your summary is amazing. I hope to live up to it in all my writing endeavors.

  50. Alys on March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is everything that writing should be – beautiful and painful, personal and communal, saying what needs to be said and reminding us of the things that can’t be put into words.

    • Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Wow, your summary is amazing. I hope to live up to it in all my writing endeavors.

  51. Alys on March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is everything that writing should be – beautiful and painful, personal and communal, saying what needs to be said and reminding us of the things that can’t be put into words.

    • Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Wow, your summary is amazing. I hope to live up to it in all my writing endeavors.

  52. Alys on March 30, 2013 at 5:39 pm

    This is everything that writing should be – beautiful and painful, personal and communal, saying what needs to be said and reminding us of the things that can’t be put into words.

    • Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 4:13 pm

      Wow, your summary is amazing. I hope to live up to it in all my writing endeavors.

  53. Will Slack on March 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you.

  54. Will Slack on March 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you.

  55. Will Slack on March 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you.

  56. Will Slack on March 30, 2013 at 9:35 pm

    Thank you.

  57. Henry Leone on April 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Monica has written an awesome piece but don’t belittle her reference to conquering English with the argument that Spanish was a conquering language too. That’s like telling a black man that because his name is Smith he shouldn’t acknowledge slavery. We Latinos are a mix of many different cultures who were both the conquering and the conquered. We are no friend of those Spaniards of long ago who wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population with disease and slavery.
    Monica is talking about the conquering that her parents generation and her generation know. Today Latinos are conquered by the American dream of building a better life. People don’t come here because they want to, they come here because they have to.Nobody wants to come here to work multiple jobs for low pay.Go through any poor area of the U.S. today and you will see people with smart phones and computers to go with their super sized shakes. In Latin America poor means you sleep in a shack were your floor is dirt and your next meal is a dream.
    Thankfully the U.S. has always been the dream place for a better life but one that does come easy or without a price to pay. In addition we have to remember that this is a country built on racism, slavery and most of all economic slavery which is well alive today no matter what ethnicity.
    I could go forever on this topic. Thanks Monica.

  58. Henry Leone on April 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Monica has written an awesome piece but don’t belittle her reference to conquering English with the argument that Spanish was a conquering language too. That’s like telling a black man that because his name is Smith he shouldn’t acknowledge slavery. We Latinos are a mix of many different cultures who were both the conquering and the conquered. We are no friend of those Spaniards of long ago who wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population with disease and slavery.
    Monica is talking about the conquering that her parents generation and her generation know. Today Latinos are conquered by the American dream of building a better life. People don’t come here because they want to, they come here because they have to.Nobody wants to come here to work multiple jobs for low pay.Go through any poor area of the U.S. today and you will see people with smart phones and computers to go with their super sized shakes. In Latin America poor means you sleep in a shack were your floor is dirt and your next meal is a dream.
    Thankfully the U.S. has always been the dream place for a better life but one that does come easy or without a price to pay. In addition we have to remember that this is a country built on racism, slavery and most of all economic slavery which is well alive today no matter what ethnicity.
    I could go forever on this topic. Thanks Monica.

  59. Henry Leone on April 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Monica has written an awesome piece but don’t belittle her reference to conquering English with the argument that Spanish was a conquering language too. That’s like telling a black man that because his name is Smith he shouldn’t acknowledge slavery. We Latinos are a mix of many different cultures who were both the conquering and the conquered. We are no friend of those Spaniards of long ago who wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population with disease and slavery.
    Monica is talking about the conquering that her parents generation and her generation know. Today Latinos are conquered by the American dream of building a better life. People don’t come here because they want to, they come here because they have to.Nobody wants to come here to work multiple jobs for low pay.Go through any poor area of the U.S. today and you will see people with smart phones and computers to go with their super sized shakes. In Latin America poor means you sleep in a shack were your floor is dirt and your next meal is a dream.
    Thankfully the U.S. has always been the dream place for a better life but one that does come easy or without a price to pay. In addition we have to remember that this is a country built on racism, slavery and most of all economic slavery which is well alive today no matter what ethnicity.
    I could go forever on this topic. Thanks Monica.

  60. Henry Leone on April 1, 2013 at 11:57 am

    Monica has written an awesome piece but don’t belittle her reference to conquering English with the argument that Spanish was a conquering language too. That’s like telling a black man that because his name is Smith he shouldn’t acknowledge slavery. We Latinos are a mix of many different cultures who were both the conquering and the conquered. We are no friend of those Spaniards of long ago who wiped out 90 percent of the indigenous population with disease and slavery.
    Monica is talking about the conquering that her parents generation and her generation know. Today Latinos are conquered by the American dream of building a better life. People don’t come here because they want to, they come here because they have to.Nobody wants to come here to work multiple jobs for low pay.Go through any poor area of the U.S. today and you will see people with smart phones and computers to go with their super sized shakes. In Latin America poor means you sleep in a shack were your floor is dirt and your next meal is a dream.
    Thankfully the U.S. has always been the dream place for a better life but one that does come easy or without a price to pay. In addition we have to remember that this is a country built on racism, slavery and most of all economic slavery which is well alive today no matter what ethnicity.
    I could go forever on this topic. Thanks Monica.

  61. Hector Tapia Perez on April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Aloha Monica! What a great essay! I am Purepecha from my father, and my mother was from Cotulla, Texas where the former President Lyndon Baines Johnson was once a teacher and principal. My father only went to third grade. I got a chance to hear uneducated Spanish along with a Tex-Mex Spanglish dialect before I got to school. I eventually married an Irish Italian French mixture who learned Spanish and became a bit of a legend in Detroit. Her students’ stories of success are incredible. Google Maria Costa and Rashida Tlaib just for fun. Each uses language to help their respective communities. My wife and I enjoyed a 20 year career with Detroit Public Schools, but the gun violence is outrageous in that city. We lived across the street from where Emenem’s video, Beautiful was filmed. By the way, that is a perfect word for your essay! If you want to experience the meaning of irony, you will eventually have to visit Kaua’i when you get older. Pretty much all the movie stars and Hollywood love Kaua’i because it simply is paradise on earth. Keep it secret please, and tell everyone else Maui is the place:) Paradise is getting crowded:) What you will find when you visit, is that any language is arbitrary. When all the different races mixed here, they formed pijin English. The English language is eclipsed here in the island that the ultra rich keep secret. It also has a bunch of brown people as the majority! I think you would love the linguistic dynamics. This island chain was stolen about 50 years ago. The U.S. has possessed it only 100 years, so the locals remember when it was so beautiful before the English established their plantations here. All that still exists. So I write you in English because it is easier for you to read. I do write, speak and understand Spanish. I have a film suggestion. My niece’s uncle made a film called,Erendira, that shows the clash when the Spaniards came to the Americas and changed everything. It’s online. Keep up your education and keep writing. Kudos from Kaua’i! Aloha!

  62. Hector Tapia Perez on April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Aloha Monica! What a great essay! I am Purepecha from my father, and my mother was from Cotulla, Texas where the former President Lyndon Baines Johnson was once a teacher and principal. My father only went to third grade. I got a chance to hear uneducated Spanish along with a Tex-Mex Spanglish dialect before I got to school. I eventually married an Irish Italian French mixture who learned Spanish and became a bit of a legend in Detroit. Her students’ stories of success are incredible. Google Maria Costa and Rashida Tlaib just for fun. Each uses language to help their respective communities. My wife and I enjoyed a 20 year career with Detroit Public Schools, but the gun violence is outrageous in that city. We lived across the street from where Emenem’s video, Beautiful was filmed. By the way, that is a perfect word for your essay! If you want to experience the meaning of irony, you will eventually have to visit Kaua’i when you get older. Pretty much all the movie stars and Hollywood love Kaua’i because it simply is paradise on earth. Keep it secret please, and tell everyone else Maui is the place:) Paradise is getting crowded:) What you will find when you visit, is that any language is arbitrary. When all the different races mixed here, they formed pijin English. The English language is eclipsed here in the island that the ultra rich keep secret. It also has a bunch of brown people as the majority! I think you would love the linguistic dynamics. This island chain was stolen about 50 years ago. The U.S. has possessed it only 100 years, so the locals remember when it was so beautiful before the English established their plantations here. All that still exists. So I write you in English because it is easier for you to read. I do write, speak and understand Spanish. I have a film suggestion. My niece’s uncle made a film called,Erendira, that shows the clash when the Spaniards came to the Americas and changed everything. It’s online. Keep up your education and keep writing. Kudos from Kaua’i! Aloha!

  63. Hector Tapia Perez on April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Aloha Monica! What a great essay! I am Purepecha from my father, and my mother was from Cotulla, Texas where the former President Lyndon Baines Johnson was once a teacher and principal. My father only went to third grade. I got a chance to hear uneducated Spanish along with a Tex-Mex Spanglish dialect before I got to school. I eventually married an Irish Italian French mixture who learned Spanish and became a bit of a legend in Detroit. Her students’ stories of success are incredible. Google Maria Costa and Rashida Tlaib just for fun. Each uses language to help their respective communities. My wife and I enjoyed a 20 year career with Detroit Public Schools, but the gun violence is outrageous in that city. We lived across the street from where Emenem’s video, Beautiful was filmed. By the way, that is a perfect word for your essay! If you want to experience the meaning of irony, you will eventually have to visit Kaua’i when you get older. Pretty much all the movie stars and Hollywood love Kaua’i because it simply is paradise on earth. Keep it secret please, and tell everyone else Maui is the place:) Paradise is getting crowded:) What you will find when you visit, is that any language is arbitrary. When all the different races mixed here, they formed pijin English. The English language is eclipsed here in the island that the ultra rich keep secret. It also has a bunch of brown people as the majority! I think you would love the linguistic dynamics. This island chain was stolen about 50 years ago. The U.S. has possessed it only 100 years, so the locals remember when it was so beautiful before the English established their plantations here. All that still exists. So I write you in English because it is easier for you to read. I do write, speak and understand Spanish. I have a film suggestion. My niece’s uncle made a film called,Erendira, that shows the clash when the Spaniards came to the Americas and changed everything. It’s online. Keep up your education and keep writing. Kudos from Kaua’i! Aloha!

  64. Hector Tapia Perez on April 1, 2013 at 2:13 pm

    Aloha Monica! What a great essay! I am Purepecha from my father, and my mother was from Cotulla, Texas where the former President Lyndon Baines Johnson was once a teacher and principal. My father only went to third grade. I got a chance to hear uneducated Spanish along with a Tex-Mex Spanglish dialect before I got to school. I eventually married an Irish Italian French mixture who learned Spanish and became a bit of a legend in Detroit. Her students’ stories of success are incredible. Google Maria Costa and Rashida Tlaib just for fun. Each uses language to help their respective communities. My wife and I enjoyed a 20 year career with Detroit Public Schools, but the gun violence is outrageous in that city. We lived across the street from where Emenem’s video, Beautiful was filmed. By the way, that is a perfect word for your essay! If you want to experience the meaning of irony, you will eventually have to visit Kaua’i when you get older. Pretty much all the movie stars and Hollywood love Kaua’i because it simply is paradise on earth. Keep it secret please, and tell everyone else Maui is the place:) Paradise is getting crowded:) What you will find when you visit, is that any language is arbitrary. When all the different races mixed here, they formed pijin English. The English language is eclipsed here in the island that the ultra rich keep secret. It also has a bunch of brown people as the majority! I think you would love the linguistic dynamics. This island chain was stolen about 50 years ago. The U.S. has possessed it only 100 years, so the locals remember when it was so beautiful before the English established their plantations here. All that still exists. So I write you in English because it is easier for you to read. I do write, speak and understand Spanish. I have a film suggestion. My niece’s uncle made a film called,Erendira, that shows the clash when the Spaniards came to the Americas and changed everything. It’s online. Keep up your education and keep writing. Kudos from Kaua’i! Aloha!

  65. Pascal Prophete on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Monica,
    Besos and hugs and kisses and all of that good stuff.

    I’ll just add my name to the list of those who thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for such a wonderful piece. It really was as honest and frank as I have ever been amongst friends, but rarely in my classes. I’m another immigrant majoring in English; every word, every paragraph brought stories and memories to mind. I had to make time to say thank you and encourage you (and others) because what we study, what we love is language, storytelling, communication, speech. English happens to be one tool, one exploration of rhetoric we can use to teach, educate, inspire, and express. The same education can be used in other languages and that’s been my saving grace.

    I was born and raised in Haiti, where the issue becomes even more muddles between classes and race and religion: Kreyol (Haitian Creole) or French, or one/either or English, or Heaven forbid Spanish. The conflicts are stressful as a child and only compound as we grow older and learn more about what inspires them and what they mean for our lives and development.

    Reading this is therapeutic and I will be sure to share with as many as I can; it’s a discussion I participate in frequently in small groups but this has inspired me to press the issue, instead of avoiding it, when it is mentioned in passing.

    Also, thank you to Henry Leone. I would have addressed the perceived “shortcomings” but you did a fine job. That would be another essay for me, in any event.

    Splendid piece, Monica! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see more.

  66. Pascal Prophete on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Monica,
    Besos and hugs and kisses and all of that good stuff.

    I’ll just add my name to the list of those who thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for such a wonderful piece. It really was as honest and frank as I have ever been amongst friends, but rarely in my classes. I’m another immigrant majoring in English; every word, every paragraph brought stories and memories to mind. I had to make time to say thank you and encourage you (and others) because what we study, what we love is language, storytelling, communication, speech. English happens to be one tool, one exploration of rhetoric we can use to teach, educate, inspire, and express. The same education can be used in other languages and that’s been my saving grace.

    I was born and raised in Haiti, where the issue becomes even more muddles between classes and race and religion: Kreyol (Haitian Creole) or French, or one/either or English, or Heaven forbid Spanish. The conflicts are stressful as a child and only compound as we grow older and learn more about what inspires them and what they mean for our lives and development.

    Reading this is therapeutic and I will be sure to share with as many as I can; it’s a discussion I participate in frequently in small groups but this has inspired me to press the issue, instead of avoiding it, when it is mentioned in passing.

    Also, thank you to Henry Leone. I would have addressed the perceived “shortcomings” but you did a fine job. That would be another essay for me, in any event.

    Splendid piece, Monica! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see more.

  67. Pascal Prophete on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Monica,
    Besos and hugs and kisses and all of that good stuff.

    I’ll just add my name to the list of those who thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for such a wonderful piece. It really was as honest and frank as I have ever been amongst friends, but rarely in my classes. I’m another immigrant majoring in English; every word, every paragraph brought stories and memories to mind. I had to make time to say thank you and encourage you (and others) because what we study, what we love is language, storytelling, communication, speech. English happens to be one tool, one exploration of rhetoric we can use to teach, educate, inspire, and express. The same education can be used in other languages and that’s been my saving grace.

    I was born and raised in Haiti, where the issue becomes even more muddles between classes and race and religion: Kreyol (Haitian Creole) or French, or one/either or English, or Heaven forbid Spanish. The conflicts are stressful as a child and only compound as we grow older and learn more about what inspires them and what they mean for our lives and development.

    Reading this is therapeutic and I will be sure to share with as many as I can; it’s a discussion I participate in frequently in small groups but this has inspired me to press the issue, instead of avoiding it, when it is mentioned in passing.

    Also, thank you to Henry Leone. I would have addressed the perceived “shortcomings” but you did a fine job. That would be another essay for me, in any event.

    Splendid piece, Monica! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see more.

  68. Pascal Prophete on April 1, 2013 at 2:25 pm

    Monica,
    Besos and hugs and kisses and all of that good stuff.

    I’ll just add my name to the list of those who thank you, from the bottom of our hearts, for such a wonderful piece. It really was as honest and frank as I have ever been amongst friends, but rarely in my classes. I’m another immigrant majoring in English; every word, every paragraph brought stories and memories to mind. I had to make time to say thank you and encourage you (and others) because what we study, what we love is language, storytelling, communication, speech. English happens to be one tool, one exploration of rhetoric we can use to teach, educate, inspire, and express. The same education can be used in other languages and that’s been my saving grace.

    I was born and raised in Haiti, where the issue becomes even more muddles between classes and race and religion: Kreyol (Haitian Creole) or French, or one/either or English, or Heaven forbid Spanish. The conflicts are stressful as a child and only compound as we grow older and learn more about what inspires them and what they mean for our lives and development.

    Reading this is therapeutic and I will be sure to share with as many as I can; it’s a discussion I participate in frequently in small groups but this has inspired me to press the issue, instead of avoiding it, when it is mentioned in passing.

    Also, thank you to Henry Leone. I would have addressed the perceived “shortcomings” but you did a fine job. That would be another essay for me, in any event.

    Splendid piece, Monica! Thank you for sharing. I would love to see more.

  69. Nahuatl Vargas on April 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Loved to read your article, I like to write in English or Spanish, it depends on how and what I want to express, I urge you to explore Spanish, because then you’ll be able to express feelings and ideas that can’t be said any other way. It’s a lot of fun.

  70. Nahuatl Vargas on April 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Loved to read your article, I like to write in English or Spanish, it depends on how and what I want to express, I urge you to explore Spanish, because then you’ll be able to express feelings and ideas that can’t be said any other way. It’s a lot of fun.

  71. Nahuatl Vargas on April 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Loved to read your article, I like to write in English or Spanish, it depends on how and what I want to express, I urge you to explore Spanish, because then you’ll be able to express feelings and ideas that can’t be said any other way. It’s a lot of fun.

  72. Nahuatl Vargas on April 2, 2013 at 2:12 am

    Loved to read your article, I like to write in English or Spanish, it depends on how and what I want to express, I urge you to explore Spanish, because then you’ll be able to express feelings and ideas that can’t be said any other way. It’s a lot of fun.

  73. Sandra on April 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

    oh goodness, this made me cry.

  74. Sandra on April 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

    oh goodness, this made me cry.

  75. Sandra on April 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

    oh goodness, this made me cry.

  76. Sandra on April 4, 2013 at 1:49 am

    oh goodness, this made me cry.

  77. Majoring in English | Bunshine on April 4, 2013 at 2:34 pm

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  81. [...] race, culture, life, family, and these are not mine to claim, in any way. I read a beautiful essay, in which a Latina college student speaks of her language divide, of the realities of studying the [...]

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  83. [...] race, culture, life, family, and these are not mine to claim, in any way. I read a beautiful essay, in which a Latina college student speaks of her language divide, of the realities of studying the [...]

  84. [...] race, culture, life, family, and these are not mine to claim, in any way. I read a beautiful essay, in which a Latina college student speaks of her language divide, of the realities of studying the [...]

  85. Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Mordeezy, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Let me try to clarify the issue for you and Johan (later in the comments). My essay isn’t arguing that “the idea that english conquers spanish” and I agree with you that for many indigenous persons in Latin America “spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon” of conquest. That story of marginalization needs to be written. But when I write, “What does it say that I’m learning the language that was used to make my mother feel inferior?” I’m anchoring my words in my U.S.-Latina/o diasporic context where English is a language of conquest.

  86. Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Mordeezy, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Let me try to clarify the issue for you and Johan (later in the comments). My essay isn’t arguing that “the idea that english conquers spanish” and I agree with you that for many indigenous persons in Latin America “spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon” of conquest. That story of marginalization needs to be written. But when I write, “What does it say that I’m learning the language that was used to make my mother feel inferior?” I’m anchoring my words in my U.S.-Latina/o diasporic context where English is a language of conquest.

  87. Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Mordeezy, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Let me try to clarify the issue for you and Johan (later in the comments). My essay isn’t arguing that “the idea that english conquers spanish” and I agree with you that for many indigenous persons in Latin America “spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon” of conquest. That story of marginalization needs to be written. But when I write, “What does it say that I’m learning the language that was used to make my mother feel inferior?” I’m anchoring my words in my U.S.-Latina/o diasporic context where English is a language of conquest.

  88. Monica Torres on April 5, 2013 at 12:32 pm

    Mordeezy, thank you for reading and sharing your thoughts. Let me try to clarify the issue for you and Johan (later in the comments). My essay isn’t arguing that “the idea that english conquers spanish” and I agree with you that for many indigenous persons in Latin America “spanish as a language is just as complicit in the phenomenon” of conquest. That story of marginalization needs to be written. But when I write, “What does it say that I’m learning the language that was used to make my mother feel inferior?” I’m anchoring my words in my U.S.-Latina/o diasporic context where English is a language of conquest.

  89. Alison on April 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Mónica, thank you for being ‘that girl’ in our English classes. I teach courses on colonial literature and they are routinely cross-listed in English, American Studies, and what my college calls Hispanic Studies. Our class discussions are made much richer by the variety of perspectives that my students contribute — they are majoring in literature, government, sociology, linguistics; Native American, white, Latin@s; immigrants, children of immigrants, born here; parents with their own families, students taking care of their younger brothers and sisters, working full-time jobs to put themselves through college on part-time schedules. I consider myself very lucky to teach the kinds of courses that appeal to a room full of ‘that girl’ — students whose life experiences help them to challenge the assumptions of the world around them, and to respond critically to that world through some spectacularly sharp writing. Congratulations on your graduation, and best wishes for whatever is coming next. You will do good in the world, and you will be great at it. Y que disfrutes de las pupusas además.

  90. Alison on April 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Mónica, thank you for being ‘that girl’ in our English classes. I teach courses on colonial literature and they are routinely cross-listed in English, American Studies, and what my college calls Hispanic Studies. Our class discussions are made much richer by the variety of perspectives that my students contribute — they are majoring in literature, government, sociology, linguistics; Native American, white, Latin@s; immigrants, children of immigrants, born here; parents with their own families, students taking care of their younger brothers and sisters, working full-time jobs to put themselves through college on part-time schedules. I consider myself very lucky to teach the kinds of courses that appeal to a room full of ‘that girl’ — students whose life experiences help them to challenge the assumptions of the world around them, and to respond critically to that world through some spectacularly sharp writing. Congratulations on your graduation, and best wishes for whatever is coming next. You will do good in the world, and you will be great at it. Y que disfrutes de las pupusas además.

  91. Alison on April 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Mónica, thank you for being ‘that girl’ in our English classes. I teach courses on colonial literature and they are routinely cross-listed in English, American Studies, and what my college calls Hispanic Studies. Our class discussions are made much richer by the variety of perspectives that my students contribute — they are majoring in literature, government, sociology, linguistics; Native American, white, Latin@s; immigrants, children of immigrants, born here; parents with their own families, students taking care of their younger brothers and sisters, working full-time jobs to put themselves through college on part-time schedules. I consider myself very lucky to teach the kinds of courses that appeal to a room full of ‘that girl’ — students whose life experiences help them to challenge the assumptions of the world around them, and to respond critically to that world through some spectacularly sharp writing. Congratulations on your graduation, and best wishes for whatever is coming next. You will do good in the world, and you will be great at it. Y que disfrutes de las pupusas además.

  92. Alison on April 7, 2013 at 8:38 am

    Mónica, thank you for being ‘that girl’ in our English classes. I teach courses on colonial literature and they are routinely cross-listed in English, American Studies, and what my college calls Hispanic Studies. Our class discussions are made much richer by the variety of perspectives that my students contribute — they are majoring in literature, government, sociology, linguistics; Native American, white, Latin@s; immigrants, children of immigrants, born here; parents with their own families, students taking care of their younger brothers and sisters, working full-time jobs to put themselves through college on part-time schedules. I consider myself very lucky to teach the kinds of courses that appeal to a room full of ‘that girl’ — students whose life experiences help them to challenge the assumptions of the world around them, and to respond critically to that world through some spectacularly sharp writing. Congratulations on your graduation, and best wishes for whatever is coming next. You will do good in the world, and you will be great at it. Y que disfrutes de las pupusas además.

  93. Weekend Reading | Backslash Scott Thoughts on April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

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  96. Weekend Reading | Backslash Scott Thoughts on April 7, 2013 at 10:33 am

    [...] Majoring in English, a Language of Conquest. [...]

  97. Vilma Oviedo on April 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Monica: Your article was very well written. I like the personal emotions that you express as a first generation inmigrant to the U.S. The importance of the language of the conqueror was best expresed by Pondtius Pilate when he said “The King of the Jews”,
    it is written. Your shared experience brought alump to my throat and at moments it made me chuckle. Keep up the good work, there will be hurt moments when you share the true.

  98. Vilma Oviedo on April 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Monica: Your article was very well written. I like the personal emotions that you express as a first generation inmigrant to the U.S. The importance of the language of the conqueror was best expresed by Pondtius Pilate when he said “The King of the Jews”,
    it is written. Your shared experience brought alump to my throat and at moments it made me chuckle. Keep up the good work, there will be hurt moments when you share the true.

  99. Vilma Oviedo on April 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Monica: Your article was very well written. I like the personal emotions that you express as a first generation inmigrant to the U.S. The importance of the language of the conqueror was best expresed by Pondtius Pilate when he said “The King of the Jews”,
    it is written. Your shared experience brought alump to my throat and at moments it made me chuckle. Keep up the good work, there will be hurt moments when you share the true.

  100. Vilma Oviedo on April 9, 2013 at 9:15 pm

    Monica: Your article was very well written. I like the personal emotions that you express as a first generation inmigrant to the U.S. The importance of the language of the conqueror was best expresed by Pondtius Pilate when he said “The King of the Jews”,
    it is written. Your shared experience brought alump to my throat and at moments it made me chuckle. Keep up the good work, there will be hurt moments when you share the true.

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