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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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An Essay: My Mom Doesn't Speak English. (By Carmen Zapata, aged 11)
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Rated "G" by the Author.

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A young Hispanic girl writes about her mother, who doesn't speak English, and the problems it causes for her.

My name is Carmen Zapata. I am eleven years old. I live in Nashville, Tennessee, with mi familia, which consists of mi madre y padre, mi hermanas Cecelia and Carina, and mi hermano Antonio, who are all younger than me.

If you were to come to my house (mi casa), you'd think you were in Mexico City, Mexico, instead of in Nashville, Tennessee, because Spanish is the main language spoken in our house. You see, my mother, Yolanda, doesn't speak any English. Now, papi and my brother and sisters all speak English (I do too), but mami doesn't understand it at all (let alone, speak it). She feels more comfortable conversing in her native Spanish.

Now, this causes major problems because mami can't get a better-paying job, and she gets a lot of rude stares from people whenever we are in public and they hear us speaking en espanol instead of in English. I can't tell you how many times people have told us to go back to Mexico or learn English. Such accusations make me cry.

Whenever I go to the store or to the doctor's office, I often have to act as an interpretor for my mother, or I ask if they have the form in Spanish. Somtimes I wonder if I am the grown up because my mother feels embarrassed about her lack of English skills. When she gets embarrassed, she calls herself "el stuoida" and says she wishes she'd never left Mexico to come to America. Sometimes she gets so upset she'll cry, and then I feel horrible to see her so triste.

Sometimes kids at mi  escuela (my school) will pick on me because of my mom, plus the fact that I am Mexicana. That hurts, too. Mami left Mexico for America because the economy there is so bad, and there are many more opportunities for women here. In Mexico, you are either filthy, stinking rich, or eles you are dirt-poor: there is no happy in-between. If you don't have a decent education, the odds are even less. Enter mi madre. She left school in the fifth grade to take care of her family: she is one of twenty-five! With that many mouths to feed, you don't have good odds of surviving in a huge city like Mexico City.

We came to Tennessee last year after living a few years in Texas, in Dallas. I like it better here (the weather is much nicer, for one thing), but I hope people will learn to accept us. It's not my fault my mom won't learn English. It's her choice to learn it or not. She chooses not to because as I said earlier in this story, English es muy deficil for her. She feels ashamed, and she doesn't want pepole to laugh at her. Yet people do, and they also say mean, terrible things about her being from Mexico, which, in turn, makes me feel ashamed of my Latina heritage.

**********************The End.*************************

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Reviewed by Carole Mathys 2/7/2007
A wonderful piece of writing, Karen...
love and peace, Carole
Reviewed by Sandie Angel 2/7/2007

I hope people would put the difference aside and be more kind to people who aren't of their own.

At work, one person ALWAYS make me nervous whenever he talks to me, and that's when my accent spills out. He then asked me why I still have my accent after I have been in Canada for so many years. I can't believe he said that to me.

I told him I like to have my accent to retain my originality.

People should be kinder. Sometimes, they don't know the questions they ask another; or the way they stare at another can cause another to feel embarrassed.

A good write with a good message. Thank you Karen!!!!!

Sandie Angel :o)
Reviewed by Mr. Ed 2/6/2007
One should never be ashamed of their heritage. My grandmother came from Poland, and spoke very little English her entire life, but she, too, was very proud to be an American. I like diversity, this country was built on it.
Reviewed by Felix Perry 2/6/2007
This write truly reflects the innocence of a child as she feels the hatred of prejudism first hand in America, the so called land of the free.

Reviewed by Tinka Boukes 2/6/2007
Very well wriiten!!

Love Tinka
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 2/6/2007
Excellent Karen, this is amazing as always
God Bless
Reviewed by H. Lena Jones 2/6/2007
Hey Karen, this is very, very good. Muy Bien! English can be daunting to learn for any non-English speaking person. I tutor a your oriental student. She has lived here in Toronto for almost three years. Goes to private school...but only speak English with me. I'm really trying to encourage her to speak English within her family, but she is too shy, and thinks she would not be understood. Thing is, I understand her quite well. She only needs to build her confidence.So I know how Carmen's Mom feels. Great write, K.

God Bless
Love, Lena
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 2/6/2007

It must be hard to be the adult in this situation; one never knows until they've been there; thank you for this well written, eye-opening, believable write!

(((HUGS))) and love, Karla.

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