What major counterarguments does Rodriguez address in "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood?"

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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Richard Rodriguez offers one main counterargument in his essay "Aria: A Memoir of a Bilingual Childhood." Given that Rodriguez had major misconceptions regarding the use of a child's family language in the schools (if not English), he decided that using English would be the only way to succeed in life--in America. Rodriguez, early into his education in America, decided that upon given the right to use his family language (Spanish), "it is not possible for a child, any child, ever to use his family's language in school."

Therefore, his counterargument to educators in America, and the supporters of bilingual languages, is that they (educators and supporters) failed to recognize the fact that these "socially disadvantaged children" regarded "Spanish as a private language." Rodriguez, likewise, regarded Spanish as a "ghetto language" which "deepened and strengthened" his feelings of pride regarding his Mexican heritage. He did not feel as if his family's language belonged in his American school.

Instead of agreeing with the educators and bilingual supporters, Rodriguez found that his family's language should stay a part of the family and not a part of his education. By using his family's language in school, he would be alienating his tradition, culture and family. Therefore, his refusal to speak his family's language went against those in the American education system based upon their suggestions. Rodriguez did not see the inclusion of his language as being important to his learning. Their inclusion of bilingual education could, simply, only be used to "misunderstand the public uses of schooling and to trivialize the nature of intimate life."


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