There is a great and intolerable evil lurking in homes across America. It is a conspiracy of indoctrination occurring on such a large scale that the fact it has gone unnoticed until now is bewildering. It is taught at home even beginning in the early months of a child’s life, reinforced throughout grade school, and confirmed by society in general throughout all stages of human development. For a culture so progressive, tolerant, and enlightened, it is amazing that such bigotry still exists. What I am speaking about, of course, is languagism.
Don’t be ashamed if you have never heard of the term. Sociologists and thinkers are just now realizing the far reaching effects of forcing language on young children. It astounds me that as of yet I have heard no public outcry on an issue that effects nearly every family on the globe. I am certain that over the next few years, society will realize the harm that comes from languagism. We have already learned this certain truth: Every person has the right to make free choices unencumbered or influenced by others who might seek to bias their decisions. Children suffer as victims most often, and thankfully parents are beginning to realize that they are the biggest part of the problem.
We have realized that gender must not be forced onto children. They are adults for goodness’ sake. Let them make their own decisions. We have made the progressive decision as modern parents not to force our religious beliefs on the malleable minds of our toddlers. Good on us. It is our job as parents to protect their freedom of thought and to promote self-identification without undue influence or coercion. A parent’s job is to shield his impressionable child and to provide an atmosphere where the child takes charge of his own future. Each person must discover for himself what is best for his own life.
So I ask, why is languagism still so rampant in our highly advanced society? What I mean is that every parent from the moment their child enters the world is influencing that poor helpless child’s linguistic biases. By speaking to their child only in English, or only in Spanish, or whatever language they may choose, they are creating an unfair predisposition in that little baby’s developmental patterns toward their own preferred means of communication. It’s horrifying. Shouldn’t a child be allowed to discover the language that best suits their personality?
Newborn individuals don’t stand a chance. In a home of English speaking parents, the poor child is not given fair exposure to the whole range of languages that could be at his/her disposal. More than that, no one communicates to the child that they are free to create their own means of linguistic expression–a new language original to the child. We understand the importance of allowing a child to choose his own gender, religion, and food preferences, but we are still cavemen when it comes to our sadly archaic view of language.
Each child should be afforded the opportunity to choose his own method of expression. Perhaps your child’s thought patterns are best expressed in Swahili. Shame on you if you don’t give your child the option to speak in that language. Or maybe your child might choose to speak in his own mixmash of Spanglish, Fretalian, or Portumandarin. Doesn’t the first amendment protect a person’s freedom of speech? Why then do we as a culture continue in this bigotry?
Imagine the beauty of a culture where each person expresses himself or herself in the language that most accurately suits their tastes, personality, beliefs, and ideas. Yes, it might be difficult to understand one another. In fact, there might be as many languages as there are people. However, men would be truly free. Perhaps in the distant and hopeful future, we can have a society where influencing a child to speak a certain language is a hate crime. We don’t indoctrinate our children with Biblical teaching. We don’t indoctrinate our children with biases about gender roles. So, may we take the next step and begin the slow process of freeing our children from the restrictive grasp of languagism.