Reading Rodriguez's article about how America's melting pot system definitely made me feel insert word here. It reminded me back to a class I took my sophomore year at Rhode Island College on American history from 1877 to the present. Up until this point, I had seen the melting pot idea as this great thing; that America was a country made up of many different nationalities and that we could all blend together. It was then that I learned that the melting pot was the early 20th century way of stripping someone of their culture they had known to cherish from birth.
|Henry Ford established a school to teach immigrant workers. The Melting Pot ceremony had graduates walk into the pot and back out. When they exited the pot, they were deemed "100% American".|
|Melting Pot Ceremony at the Ford Motor Company|
Though it is important to be able to function in a society, it is also extremely important to be maintain your way of life. Rodriguez's points about how hearing Spanish makes him feel more comfortable or how it reminds him of his childhood goes to show just how much of value words can mean. The Melting Pot ceremony at Ford Motor Company and the importance that English is spoken in schools relates back to the discussion of American-ness in SCWAAMP.
I definitely saw firsthand the power of language this past summer while working at the Newport Mansions. Most of the people that visit the mansions are not from Rhode Island. Many guests from Quebec and South America venture up. Because we offer audio tours in different languages, the mansions are a hotspot for tourists that might not have the strongest grasp on the English language. Just attempting to speak French or holding a conversation in Spanish made the guests visiting so much happier. It also put them at ease when I would ask "What language?" and then do the schpeel in their tongue instead of having to try and understand English.