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Clarissa's Blog

An academic's opinions on feminism, politics, literature, philosophy, teaching, academia, and a lot more.

Hold Your Pity

And here is a comment to the post I linked to this morning:

It’s a recurrent feeling I get whenever you talk about how your kids are growing up 100% American, they don’t speak your native language and don’t have any ties to your culture: you are very adamant that this is good for them, being full Americans and not having to carry the background of your immigrant past. I feel a pang of sadness for them, for what they are missing and don’t even know; and for you, for what you’re losing of yourself by raising children in an alien culture, even one in which you are completely integrated.

It really got on my nerves, to be honest. It’s preachy and condescending, and I hate that kind of thing. Don’t perform sadness in front of people who didn’t ask for it. It’s beyond obnoxious when somebody starts expressing unwanted and and unwarranted compassion. Oh, poor you, it must suck so badly to be you, I’m dying of pity right here.

If that blogger’s children or my Klara decide to learn the language of their parents in adulthood (or any other language), there’s nothing to prevent them from doing that. If they decide they want to explore that culture (or any other culture), they most surely will. I learned Spanish and everything I know about Hispanic civilization in adulthood, didn’t I? 

Among all the kinds of damage parents can do to a child, learning or not learning a language is simply not there at all. And by the way, the best manner to guarantee that a child will detest a language and a culture is to have the parents pester them with how important their knowledge is. I say, gosh, just let the kids be. They have a lifetime to figure out what they do and don’t need to learn.

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