EDITORIAL: The never ending issue of discrimination

What makes someone “American”? Does it depend on the color of your skin or whether or not you were born here? Is it your capability to speak English? What makes someone “more American” than someone else?

Discrimination against minorities for speaking a different language is a topic that is never discussed enough. We continue to watch videos of racists attacking minorities by telling them to “go back to [their] country” but ignore it after the video ends.

Personally, as an Asian-American I’ve never been discriminated against for my race. Most “insults” are stereotypes that don’t make sense or are actually true in many cases, though are harmless. But as a minority, I continue to see other minorities being discriminated against for not speaking English.

Discriminating against someone for not speaking English is almost telling someone that they’re not “American” enough. Minorities are almost forced to speak only English while living in America because “you’re in America, speak English.” Many people fear that minorities are taking over because they’re bringing their culture here and ruining the “American culture”. Because of that, it makes someone appear less American because it doesn’t seem like we’re trying to adapt to the American way of life. It’s almost as if we have to lose a piece of our culture in order to become “American” because it’s not accepted here. There should be no reason to stop speaking our language, because isn’t America supposed to be full of diversity?

“Historically, imperialism and the longevity of Western Hegemony have ingrained in our minds that western, romantic languages are far more desirable than languages like Chinese, Korean, Hindi, Vietnamese, etc. When someone speaks French we applaud them for being cultured, yet when someone is speaking Korean or Spanish in a check out lane, people suddenly want them to “learn English” and “assimilate or leave,” said North Penn High School senior Yeokyeong Kim.

We don’t ever see someone who is prejudice discriminating a white person for speaking any European language. It makes them appear “exotic” and it’s as if our language is not as “romantic” or “pretty” as any European language that many people praise. Our language seems to appear loud, obnoxious, or trashy. Somehow we’re not treated the same because their languages are assumed to be better.

Recently, a video of woman attacking two hispanic women for speaking Spanish began to float around the internet. Now, I wasn’t surprised by this kind of behavior considering the fact that I typically see this all over the internet. But still, it made me angry. The main issue is that this is normalized and many minorities don’t have a say in this because they fear that the situation will get worse. Though, I believe that if we begin to talk about this more, it will educate those who are ignorant and give them a reason to be more accepting.

So this brings me back to my initial question: what makes someone American? Personally, I don’t believe your ability to speak English makes you more or less American. I believe that it’s more than that and we’re a country made by immigrants so obviously English is not everyone’s first language. American culture is based on the influences of other cultures. You’re American despite where you come from, what you look like, and what language you speak. Diversity is what makes us American.