Friday, February 12, 2016


By: Richard Rodriguez

February 16, 2016

Richard Rodriguez did a great job describing his life as a child.  He was definitely a man of difficulty living in a "white man's" world.  Rodriguez was a Hispanic boy who spoke Spanish as his first language.  He went to a Catholic School where he was required to learn English has his societal language.  He was at disadvantage being at this Catholic School because he was being taught in English where he didn't know a single English word. In today's world, ever cultural person who lives in the United States needs to be able to speak and understand English because even though that is not our country's primary language, white English speaking people take up a majority of the country.

Since the seventies, every school needs to teach a foreign language to help broaden the minds of the students.  Starting in Preschool, the teachers are required to intertwine Spanish into their curriculum because of the high population of Hispanics and Spanish speaking people.

For me, Every year since Preschool I was taught Spanish.  When I entered high school, Spanish wasn't a demand but every student needed to take it.  In my Spanish classrooms, it was strictly speaking Spanish- you were not allowed to speak any English.  It was hard for English speaking students to learn Spanish and get tested on it when there was not English being used.
^ Just like Richard who was Spanish speaking and needed to learn English.  It was hard for him to learn and understand English.  When the nuns went to Richard's home to speak to his parents, the parents went along with speaking English in their home.  But the result in the major life change was that Richard and his parents become distant towards each other.

This reading clearly relates to SCWAAMP.  It relates to American-ness, Whiteness, and Christianity- three aspects of Grinner's SCWAAMP.  American-ness because of the primary language of English; Whiteness because of the white nuns that are enforcing the rules and codes of power; Christianity because Richard went to a Catholic School.

Why did Richard go to a Catholic School, why couldn't he have gone to a public school?  Going to this English speaking Catholic School, Richard struggled tremendously due to the way that English was the primary language that all cultural students had to learn. If English is not spoken at home and there is no outside help, the Spanish speaking child that is trying to learn English will not have the full opportunity and support that they should have.

Questions/Comments/Points to share:
Even though English is not the primary language in the United States, everybody needs to learn how to speak, white, and understand English.  For English speaking people though, they need to learn Spanish because there has been a high population of Hispanic and Spanish speaking people in the United States over the past years.  But why?  If we were going to connect to SCWAAMP, why do white English people have to learn the minority language?


  1. Yeah, why do English-speaking people have to learn Spanish and why does everyone else have to learn English? It contradicts itself. Even to get into college, we need to take 2 years of a language other than English. Many jobs also require you to know a little bit of another language as well. I guess that is just what is required now-a-days...

  2. My high school Spanish class was the same way: we couldn't speak any English at all. It was really hard because I was thrown into something I didn't have much experience with. Even as a teenager I struggled with it. In Richard's case, he was only a child. It would have been much harder for him to only be able to speak English and not be able to rely on his native language.

  3. Kamryn, I think the photo that you used is extremely powerful! In my blog post I shared very similar opinions. Before reading your blog I didn't even think about the spanish classes I was required to take. It is so true, I always struggled in my spanish classes because it is so difficult to pick up a language that you are completely unfamiliar with. Especially if the only time you are exposed to it are in the classroom.

  4. I can connect to your experience with learning Spanish with the way I learned Spanish in middle school and high school. I remember going into spanish in high school and it was strictly no english speaking. I think it's extremely hard to learn something if you're not understanding the way it's being taught. Now for example, in college it's a requirement for most people and even now, I struggle and find myself being nervous to go to class because still after all these years, it's uncomfortable for me seeing that I don't speak it outside of class.

  5. I like the question you asked about why he didn't go to a a public school, why did he have to go to a Catholic school where they clearly were going to have to speak English all the time. But then again maybe he didn't have a choice, and he had no choice but to try his best and fit it. I would say that if I was in his shoes, I would probably struggle as well and feel uncomfortable.

  6. I like your points about English being the primary language. I believe that people who speak a different language should familiarize themselves with the local language not for us but for themselves. This would make these type of situations more comfortable for Spanish people and other people with different languages in America.