Imagine living next door to someone who refuses to acknowledge the existence of seasons. He ripped up his front yard and replaced the grass with a concrete circle driveway; the flowerbeds are covered in white rock, and the bushes were discarded in favor of flowerless cactus and bushy pampas grass. A little.. dry for your taste? Other lawns, with their lush greenness or leaf-covered expanses, seem to embrace the seasons. The villain in my book, Courage in Patience, refuses to acknowledge the existence of seasons. Transfer this analogy to living in a state that borders Mexico, and refusing to acknowledge Spanish; drawing a line in the sand at having your child even exposed to a Spanish class. That is what is happening in a suburban school district outside Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas. Seems an eleven-year-old girl there made up her mind that she didn't want to learn Spanish, in spite of Grapevine-Colleyville's fifteen-year tradition of exposing elementary students to the language through a course. The girl was quoted in the local news as saying, "I was just stunned because I couldn't believe they'd actually make me do something like that." MAKE HER DO SOMETHING LIKE THAT? EXCUSE ME? Here's the thing that really blows my mind: the girl's mother, instead of saying, "Suck it up, sweetie, it's just a little Spanish class, and, you do, after all, live in Texas, and Texas' population is, according to the 2006 Census, 35.7 % Hispanic, compared to a national Hispanic population of 14% overall," actually kept her daughter out of school during the class period, so she could not be "FORCED" to learn Spanish. So, what's the deal here? Is it pure homogenic good old American ethnocentrism? Should the Statue of Liberty change her sign to read, Xenophobics only, immigrants need not apply? Well, er, no, because the mom says that when her child enters high school, she'll have FIVE LANGUAGES TO CHOOSE FROM. One of five languages that she'll be "made" to learn. And..that'll be okay. What's NOT okay with the mom and daughter, apparently, is that SPANISH is the language offered at the elementary level. So, how are they solving this problem? It's genius, I tell you, pure genius. The girl is "TEACHING" herself French, all by herself, while sitting in the library, during the offending class period. Well, that should work out well. It is precisely these kind of people: head-in-the-sand, refuse-to-assimilate-to-the-real-world-- that gives the U.S. the reputation of being ethnocentric. Note to people like this mother and her daughter: I'm talking about the world OUTSIDE THE U.S...there's a great big world out there beyond our borders. Surprised? I see. Just as I feared.
Beth Fehlbaum Author, Courage in Patience
A story of hope for those who have endured abuse http://courageinpatience.blogspot.com