Monday, May 14, 2012

The Benefits of Bilingualism

I sometimes think I'm pretty smart. Today's NYTimes let me know one possible answer which was found in a discussion of studies of bilingual people. I sensed the need to manage more than one idea and challenge Hercules Poirot's little grey cells' superiority with mine.

More and more we find that the English Only people have fewer reasons to be adamant and ignorant of the benefits of knowing multiple languages. The anti-intellectualism among groups who fear immigrants are in fact creating what has been called the dumbing down of USAmerican education and civic discourse. People who have political clout, use it to keep the fearful and ignorant upset with what Simone de Bouvier and Edward Said have called "The Other." This fear keeps many from interacting with new arrivals to our country. Sadly during economic downturns people in fear of losing their jobs and positions of perceived power agitate against new arrivals unless of course the new arrivals look somewhat like themselves.If people do not know and understand that although customs and other outer distinctions differ, underneath we are all human and that the scapegoated people are really not to blame for all the difficulties in our world.

The politics of fear in this country fend off any possible benefits for the poor or immigrant peoples that inhabit the country because leaders highlight play into the biases of their constituents.

In a world rapidly growing in commerce population and the people in power work against an increase in the number of languages we speak--expecting all others we trade with to know English because the poverty of many of our schools do not provide language and cultural enrichment which would have us expand our knowledge of others and our brain's capacity to make the computations listed in the article in the NYTimes.

It seems I can't avoid seeing many of our problems through a prism of political dysfunction, greed, and ignorance.
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