“We don’t use Tex-Mex here”

Posted by:  |  Category: Bicultural Vida, Daily Blog


Photo credit: JD Hancock

“If you really want to hurt me, talk badly about my language.”

–Gloria Anzaldúa (Scholar of Chicano Cultural Theory)

“We don’t use Tex-Mex here.” —Those were the words that were uttered to me (and Sabrina) at one of the pre-school centers I was checking out for next fall. As the woman continued to tell me about their wonderful school and the taught curriculum I couldn’t stop thinking to myself, “How can she say that? She doesn’t even know me. What if I speak Tex-Mex? What does she even consider Tex-Mex?”

As I continue to look for language immersion schools in Austin I realize that the clientele is also important to me. I started to wonder and seriously consider this because if this lady felt the need to mention that they don’t speak Tex-Mex, without any inquiry from me as to the type of Spanish they teach, then that indicates to me that maybe it’s a common question?

I have been looking for Spanish immersion schools that also offer a third language such as French, but in addition share an open-minded philosophy about learning all kinds languages in general. I’m beginning to wonder if the kind of school I am looking for exists? Of course I want Sabrina to be as fluent in Spanish as she will be in English, but at what expense? I don’t want her growing up learning that other kinds of Spanish are wrong or bad. Why? Well because language, in my opinion, is tied to an individual’s identity AND if she is taught that Tex-Mex is wrong or bad, then she may see individuals (and there are many in Texas) as bad or even worse as inferior to those who speak a standard form of Spanish.

To put it simply I want her to learn in which context to use troca, camión (with Spanish accent), camion (with French accent), or truck and with whom! After all isn’t it better that she have 4 different ways rather than 3 in her repertoire of words for naming one single item? I think so!

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