Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Note For Those Who Advocate "English-Only" Policies

While putting together an encyclopedia entry on Latino struggle, I came across an observation from Rumbaut & Portes from their Ethnicities: Children of Immigrants in America anthology:

"Forceful assimilationism does not seek to expel newcomers but to integrate them as quickly as possible into the American mainstrean. English immersion and the rapid loss of languages and cultures promoted by assimilationist policies weaken immigrant parents' authority and help drive a wedge between generations [...] The paradox, is that, in seeking to make 'good Americans' out of the second generation, English immersion and similar programs undermine the single resource poor immigrant youths have to succeed: namely, the social capital inherent in their families and co-ethnic communities. In the programmatic scenario promoted by forceful assimilationism, schools and immigrant families work at cross-purposes, with negative consequences for both" (315).

This suggests the fundamentally maliciousness of English only policy that seeks to actually eliminate the possibility of upward mobility for immigrant communities and instead producing what the authors describe as a "rainbow underclass."

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