Presentation on theme: "- Bilingual Education -Affirmative Action - in literature - in political discourse - in popular culture."— Presentation transcript:
- Bilingual Education -Affirmative Action - in literature - in political discourse - in popular culture
Richard Rodriguez, Hunger of Memory. The Education of Richard Rodriguez, Autobiography - First volume of a trilogy
Richard Rodriguez: 1) Hunger of Memory. The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982) Education 2) Days of Obligation. An Argument with My Mexican Father (1992) Homosexuality 3) Brown: The Last Discovery of America (2002) Race/Ethnicity
Hunger of Memory. The Education of Richard Rodriguez - reference to The Education of Henry Adams (1918) - Henry Adams: American historian and novelist, his autobiography is, among other things, a critique of 19th-century theories of education
“Supporters of bilingual education today imply that students like me miss a great deal by not being taught in their family’s language. What they seem not to recognize is that, as a socially disadvantaged child, I considered Spanish to be a private language. What I needed to learn in school was that I had the right—and the obligation—to speak the public language of los gringos.”
“At last, seven years old, I came to believe what had been technically true since my birth: I was an American citizen. But the special feeling of closeness at home was diminished by then. Gone was the desperate, urgent, intense feeling of being at home: rare was the experience of feeling myself individualized by family intimates. We remained a loving family, but one greatly changed. No longer so close; no longer bound tight by the pleasing and troubling knowledge of our public separateness.”
I celebrate the day I acquired my new name. Those middle-class ethnics who scorn assimilation seem to me filled with decadent self-pity, obsessed by the burden of public life. Dangerously, they romanticize public separateness and they trivialize the dilemma of the socially disadvantaged. My awkward childhood does not prove the necessity of bilingual education. My story discloses instead an essential myth of childhood—inevitable pain.”
Intimacy thus continued at home; intimacy was not stilled by English. It is true that I would never forget the great change of my life, the diminished occasions of intimacy. But there would also be times when I sensed the deepest truth about language and intimacy: Intimacy is not created by a particular language; it is created by intimates. The great change in my life was not linguistic, but social.
Questions raised by Rodriguez’s argument: - is bilingual education itself wrong/damaging for the socially disadvantaged child or is rather its implementation?
- was the acquisition of English the big divide into Rodriguez’s childhood or rather the fact that the family stopped speaking Spanish at home?
- if intimacy is not dependent on language, why does/should the use of the private language in the public space undermine its function as a source of intimacy?
Questions raised by the genre Rodriguez uses to present his argument: - how can/should we use the category of autobiography in interpreting his text?
-How can we define the genre itself? What is the implied narrative pact between the author and the reader? NB: autobiography first flourishes in Europe and America as an expression of romantic individualism and the interest toward the interaction between nature and social experience
-What type of autobiography is this? Gossip? Confession? Apology? Anecdotes? Cathartic gesture?
- What is implied by the very fact of writing a tripartite autobiography, each volume of which deals mainly and nearly exclusively with one aspect of the author’s life experiences?
Rodriguez’s argument against bilingual education (which he didn’t get) extends to a rejection of affirmative action and the privileges he might have derived from it as a young scholar in the time of its early implementation.
Affirmative action: a set of public policies and initiatives designed to help eliminate past and present discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, or national origin. (source: National Organization for Women, at 95/affirmhs.html)http://www.now.org/nnt/08- 95/affirmhs.html
The slogan of the American Association for Affirmative Action: Access, Equity, and Diversity source:
Affirmative action in popular/political discourse: -David Duke (American Politician, former Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) NJ43g NJ43g
Affirmative action in popular/political discourse: - a video opposing affirmative action by showing the allegedly faulty logic of those supporting it: _MDJSiEE _MDJSiEE
Joseph Wagner, “Groups, Inviduals & Constitutive Rules” Stalemate in the debate: - Confusion between individual rights and group rights - No common ground between supporters and opponents of Affirmative Action
Opponents ground their argument on the notion of a violation of individual rights which causes injustice and social hatred among groups
Supporters gound their position on an insufficiently developed notion of group rights expressed by resorting to the rhetoric of individual rights.
Possible solution: A distinction between Regulative Rules and Constitutive Rules
1)Is justice dependent on rights? 2)Are rights depending on justice?