Sunday, November 27, 2005

Eagle Eye Articles: Language Department Not Diverse Enough

As I poured over the many posters commemorating Foreign Language week, I noticed nearly all of them had several people of different racial and ethnic backgrounds. This was also the case for last year's theme "Beauty in Diversity."

Although both last year's and this year's theme "Many Cultures, One Lord" are unquestionably admirable, I fail to see how they reflect the languages taught at our school. The five language courses available at Grand Rapids Christian: English, Latin, French, Spanish, and German are far from diverse. They are all Western European Languages. No Asian, African, or Native American languages are taught, contrary to what one might conclude when looking at the posters.

There are many equally important languages that the school could offer, such as Japanese or Russian, one of the three most used languages in the world. Unless our school's policy in terms of language education is altered, a suitable theme for 1995's foreign language week would be "The Dominance of Europe."

Commentary: This was the first, and only, article I wrote for the high school Newspaper "The Eagle Eye.

I was 16 in those days, and it was before I had my political conversion to liberalism, and still considered myself a conservative. I wasn't upset at the lack of diversity in the schools foreign language department so much as the hypocrisy of the foreign language department preaching diversity to the rest of us during foreign language week. To make my point I postured a bit more to the left/ multi-cultural position than I really felt at the time. But certainly in retrospect I agree with myself a lot more, especially after having spent 5 years in Asia.

I'm kind of proud of this piece in the forgiving way that we all look at stuff we wrote in high school. I especially like that jab at the end. But I should mention that even for an article this short it underwent considerable revision by the "Eagle Eye" staff just to clean it up. I had a whole middle section about the inter-related origins of the five European languages that was so muddled they just cut the whole thing. If my best friend wasn't editor of "The Eagle Eye", it probably would never have been published in the first place.

This issue (Dec, 1994) also featured the first article by my Freshman sister, in her case the first of many.

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