Monolingualism In America

875 Words4 Pages
Over 40 million people in the United States are foreign-born immigrants. They represent 13 percent of the total population resided in the country, and they are increasing constantly. However, over the past few years, many immigrant languages have declined in number. Strong pressure of monolingualism towards immigrants has led to extinction of their mother tongue. Bilingualism in the United States has been changed over one or two generations, from monolingualism in a minority language to monolingualism in English1. The second generation immigrants have been afflicted by this kind of coercion of monoculturalsim. Caroline Hwang, a freelance writer and editor who was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, illuminates the difficulty of growing up…show more content…
They often told her that if she wanted to, she could be president someday2. They encouraged and wished her to be a great person, but they kind of tried to let her fulfill their version of American dream on the other hand. When she asked her mother about mispronunciation of her last name, she said "So what if you can't pronounce your name? You are American,"3 This infers that her mother wants her to be fully assimilated, to ensure that she reaped all the advantages of this country. However, even though Hwang's parents left the home country, they don't let the next generation to forget or disregard their origin and ethnicity: "Though they raised me as an American, my parents expect me to marry someone Korean and give them grandchildren who look like them."4 Although the author lives her life as completely American, her parents have her do the filial duties by marrying someone Korean. It is very ironic that they actually want something from their home country because they didn't even let their daughter pronounce her last name…show more content…
She says "I identify with Americans, but Americans do not identify with me. I've never known what it's like to belong to a community."5 She cannot think of herself as an American, because, first of all, she doesn't look like typical American people, which are the white people, even though she acts exactly the same like them. She can not think of herself as Korean either, because, even though she looks like them, still she has little knowledge about the culture and the language of the country, that she can’t even pronounce her name right. When her mother gives her such an attitude about mispronounce of her name, it really left her unsatisfied. She said “my cultural identity is hardly that clear-cut”6 Another big problem that makes the second generation immigrants be even more confused is the choice between ‘pleasing their parents and being true to themselves’. Because of her parents' sacrifice of moving their whole lives for them, she can't help feeling pressure — she owes them the fulfillment of their hopes. She described her life as "a planned life of
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