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What happened to my country Marguerite Rivas sipoet marguer161@aol.com Our country is changing, indeed. I enjoyed reading this discussion, and certainly hear Stan's frustration. As someone with a Latino heritage, however, it is hard to hear some of the comments without wondering if there is a note of racism behind them. What is the solution? Well, this might sound like a boat load of liberal crap, but the image of the melting pot is being replaced by the (I swear my kids are hearing this in school) image of the salad bowl. The idea being that there are distinct and colorful constituents that form a whole. The diversity of our country has been both valued and denigrated for a long time. Read Whitman's Leaves of Grass and then compare it to some of the nativist immigration laws of the 19 century. The debate still continues. I can tell you, from personal experience that the time for people to live in fear because of the color of their skin, texture of their hair or the pronunciation of their last names needs to be over. I lost almost all contact with my cultural heritage because of fear and the need to assimilate or be left behind. It's too bad. I agree that there needs to be limits, though. I teach English as a Second Language on occasion as part of my teaching duties at CSI. I can tell you, from years of experience, that my ESL students are by far more motivated, more studious and more serious than my native students. They are working hard to learn about American culture and to become proficient in the language because they know that in order to succeed they do need to communicate in English. What I find so rewarding, however, is that these new immigrants also seem to be able to juggle two cultures. They are adapting without sacrificing the rich cultures of their countries of origin. It is a beautiful thing to witness.
Marguerite



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