Should immigrants to the USA be forced to speak English?

Growing up in a bilingual home has taught me the huge impact that language has on our lives. I’ve learned that no two people speak the exact same language. One’s choice of words and their delivery make all the difference. We all (unconsciously) speak different languages and are categorized by the way we speak (often times negatively). Not being able to speak the English language to perfection does not in any way make any one less intelligent than someone who is a “native speaker”.

I have two intelligent immigrant parents and I often act as their main avenue of communication with people who do not understand them. Growing up and being raised by immigrant parents who speak “limited English” was a challenge in that I would often have to accompany them to doctor appointments or the store in order to help translate.  I often wondered what others thought of my parents and could tell my parents were given many judgmental stares. In a way, language has brought me closer to my family.  Through helping them, I have allowed my parents to express themselves and to communicate and participate with the world. Language, the combination of specific words in a particular order, not only empowers individuals to participate as members of a community, it also enables and individual to establish and define the dimensions of their identity.

Could you imagine a world with linguistic oppression? Harold Pinter in his play, Mountain Language, exposes how economic and political control is gained through controlling one’s mind and language. In the play, soldiers strive to oppress the “mountain people” psychologically and culturally by continuously stating “you are not allowed to speak your language here” The officers use hard-hitting lines such as “You hear me? Your language is dead”, ‘You cannot speak your language to your men’, ‘No one is allowed to speak your language’ and ‘Your language no longer exists’ continuously repeated with fury and anger. These phrases all clearly denote how much the military is asserting their power through repetition over the mountain people in order to mentally destroy their social identity and distinctive characteristics. The military’s ultimate goal is to take control by elevating the mountain people’s beliefs and oppressing them.

The soldiers in the play devaluate the mountain people’s cultures by forbidding them to speak their language so much that eventually the elder woman does not respond to her son when he comes to the rescue and begins speaking to her in their language. The son utters “Mother, I’m speaking to you. You see? We can speak. You can speak to me in our own language”. Yet she remains silent due to the way her language was destroyed by repeatedly forbidding her to speak and taking away her culture and sense of identity.

By forcing someone to learn another language, you are forcing them to change their culture, their way of being, who they are. We live in a world of different faces, cultures, and languages. Let’s embrace it.

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5 things only female engineers in the workforce will understand

It’s a man’s world– and that’s the truth.  I am the only female engineer (& the youngest) in the R&D department out of 25 men. I couldn’t believe the words that came out of Marissa Mayer’s mouth, CEO and President of Yahoo!, when she mentioned that gender is not an issue in tech.1 Seriously? Has she been living under a rock? Unless things change drastically, gender will always remain an issue—like in many other male dominated fields.

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  1. Casual misogyny. You will hear many derogatory comments toward your gender and that is not okay. It will be anywhere from one male co-worker telling the other co-worker to stop whining and being a girl to the President asking for someone to be a “man” and step up. Women shouldn’t have the task of pointing out misogyny each time; men should be taking it upon themselves to treat women with respect.
  2. You have to prove yourself. I’m often tasked to host & invite potential business & academic partners into the office for discussions. I invite them to the conference room and begin talking to them—I get a confused stare every time. It eases once I start saying speaking their language-excuse me sir, I am perfectly capable of making decisions for the company. Yes I’m a girl, yes I look young and yes my company believes in me.
  3. You stand out—and that’s a good thing. At conferences and lectures I end up with 5 times as many business cards compared to my male co-workers. You stand out in the crowd: “It’s nice to see engineering women at these events, what company are you with?” & “I saw you at blank lecture, did you catch those last few slides—I had to step out”
  4. You are judged. A young female engineer walks into an office full of young male engineers… sounds like the beginning of a bad joke. You have to be careful of who you interact with and how often. Spend enough time with a co-worker and people will begin to think you are dating him.
  5. You have to dress the part. Hide your boobs & wear long enough skirts. At the end of the day, you’re working with all men and they will perceive you differently.

http://www.businessinsider.com/yahoo-ceo-marissa-mayer-sexism-tech-2015-3

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“You can change your world by changing your words.. Remember death and life are in the power of the tongue”- Joel Osteen

Words are very powerful. Words can change lives, hurt and even bring hope to someone, yet they are just words. At times, these words can be used as weapons to fight battles to control others. Who gave them this much power?

It is not the sign itself that has power, but the thing it stands for. A foreign word which has no meaning over us will not have any power on us. It is the meaning of the words that we associate to them that has the power to stimulate passion, fear, love, hate, anger, desire, love, shame, joy, sorrow within us.

The power of words lies in the associations of things that come to our mind. The word “fire” shouted in a crowded theater will most likely put the whole crowd in fear and panic, the word “home” will bring tears to those in exile, and the word “freedom” will arouse people to form a revolution. Words become filled with meaning for us by experience and the more words we learn and come into contact with, the more words we have to recall on certain memories and experiences.

One of the very first forms of communication that was adapted and is still used today is the newspaper. The newspaper often acts under the First Amendment protecting our freedom of speech. The technology through which communication takes place today varies, nonetheless our freedom of expression remains.  Could you imagine a world with linguistic oppression?

EQ > IQ

I love horror movies. I love the feeling of being scared. It is an intense emotion.It reminds us that we are human capable of not only rational intelligence, but emotional intelligence.

In large part, our emotional mind developed to help us survive. For example, let’s take a look at the stone age. When man first wandered on Earth, he needed to make instant decisions of what he could/could not eat, what he must do for survival. The emotional mind springs into action much quicker than the rational mind; not using his emotional mind could have meant the potential end of man kind. In today’s world, this similar analogy applies. A high IQ might land you a job, but your EQ can either get you fired or help you soar in your career.

I recently read a quote from Steven Pressfield that stuck:

“Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do…the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”

I would like to add that unless we learn to control the emotional mind, we will make lots of bad decisions and poor choices.

My favorite physicist, Stephen Hawking may be most famous for his work on black holes and gravitational singularities, but he has also become known for his outspoken ideas about things that could destroy human civilization. Hawking believes that human aggression will kill civilization. He says:

“The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression. It may have had survival advantage in caveman days, to get more food, territory or partner with whom to reproduce, but now it threatens to destroy us all.”

High EQ leads to healthy relationships with others; it helps us understand our feelings, where they come from and how properly express them. We need to learn how to control our emotions, communicate our feelings in a constructive manner and understand the feelings of others.

Emotions are powerful, let them be your guide.