Saturday, February 11, 2012

Are you kidding me?

In 2012, I should not be reading the following:

SHAWANO, WISCONSIN - What's love got to do with it? Not much, especially if you say the words "I love you" in the Menominee language in front of a certain Wisconsin teacher.

Seventh grader Miranda Washinawatok, Menominee, found this out.

Miranda speaks two languages: Menominee and English. She also plays on her basketball team. However, two Thursdays ago she was suspended for one basketball game because she spoke Menominee to a fellow classmate during class...

The principal told Washinawatok that the assistant coach told him she was told by two teachers to bench Miranda for attitude problems.

Miranda Washinawatok
photo via article
The alleged 'attitude problem' turned out to be that Miranda said the Menominee word “posoh”  that means “hello”
and said“Ketapanen”
in Menominee that means "I love you."

Miranda and a fellow classmate were talking to each other when Miranda told her how to say "Hello" and "I love you" in Menominee.

"The teacher went back to where the two were sitting and literally slammed her hand down on the desk and said, "How do I know you are not saying something bad?"

How many ways can you say, WHAT???  There are a lot of things in here which just make me splutter. They're probably obvious enough that I need not point them out.

I understand that this teacher must be terribly insecure as well as racist, but she should be able to control her own fears and work on them, not take them out on children.  I'd say "unbelievable" - and at one point in my life, I probably wouldn't have thought it possible - but sadly, I don't have any reason to disbelieve it now. I'm old enough to have heard personal stories as well as read related items in current news as well as in history books. 

I also find this discouraging from the perspective of a foreign language teacher.  I still remember finding out that, at one point, Louisiana schoolchildren were forbidden to speak French on the playground. As hard as I had to work to learn French, and as much work as it is taking me to build up my poor excuse for Spanish and Haitian Creole, it just blows my mind that anyone would discourage the resources we already have - never mind benching someone for attitude because a foreign language was used in a private conversation.

We must encourage our children to use, maintain, learn, and teach each other all the languages possible.  Our country needs this.  And especially the languages native to America.  It's just so sad. 

No comments:

Post a Comment