AMADO M. PADILLA: My name is Amado M. Padilla. OK, I’m professor of uh psychological studies and education in the School of Education at Stanford University.
OK, well I think you asked the question properly. The English only movement is not just something that originated in the last 10 years or the last 20 years. It does have a long history probably has at least a history that goes back to the beginning of this country and it targets for many, many years have been German speakers in particular and probably about—in about the—the early 1960s henceforth the target for uh English only—the English only movement has principally been uh Spanish speakers in uh, in this country. I think the principal of myth around uh the English only movement is the idea that newcomers in this country, in this—in this particular case, uh people coming from various Latin American Spanish speaking countries don’t want to give up their—their language and so hence, they want to come to this country, participate in uh in this country, benefit from this country, but not uh, uh assimilate linguistically, not acquiring English. Not give up their—their cultural roots, not give up their—their life scripts—life scripts in uh Spanish. And I think that’s the central myth. I think people who come to this country uh are trying to do everything they possibly can to learn English. Uh, there are all kinds of ways in which they are doing that. Uh, however, one of—one of the myths also of the English only movement is that there should rapid uh acquisition of English. In fact, no language is acquired easily uh, uh painlessly. It takes a lot of time. But when you look at the uh social, uh demographic information, for instance, we do find that even Hispanics within one generation make a language switch from Spanish to English so that parents who are immigrants may be Spanish speakers and they may also be trying to do what they can to learn English. But principally their children by the—by the time those children are uh are ad—adolescences, if not adults, are primarily dominant English speakers. They might be bilingual, but they certainly are also English speakers. And I think that’s one of the myths that surrounds the English only movement. And I’m not so sure that it’s just uh it’s—it’s—it’s centrally focused just on the linguistic issues. I think that there are issues of how prejudice and discrimination uh on that dimension as well.
Well, you know, the uh—I think the ideologies that are behind the English only movement are—are partly uh racially motivated. I think they’re partly politically motivated. I think in terms of the racial dimension I think it’s—it’s easy to identify people generally who are—who are Hispanic. Uh, so it’s not just a linguistic uh issue. It is the fact that they are physio—physiognomy, in terms of their physiognomy, their physical appearance they are different. And I think that that uh is—is by virtue of uh just a very important part of the salience of uh being able to—to—to demark people who are different then—and then they also happen to speak a different language. Then you can put a label on them as, “Look they don’t want to assimilate.” Uh, I think also one might also point to some issues about religion and catholothism. There’s been a long standing of—of prejudice and discrimination in this country against uh against Catholics and most Hispanics are Catholics. More than 90 percent are probably Catholic, so you might want to say that part of the—part of it also is—is uh focused on uh that dimension. Uh, also most of the people who come here from Latin America are lower socioeconomic status. Uh, and so you have uh socioeconomic or a lower social status uh issue that that’s involved in that people do come here, they take up jobs that uh typically Americans don’t want or will not do and they fill—they fill jobs in all kinds of different places. Uh, and what they do that while at the same time, trying to begin to—to make their life in this country. So I think we have that—that’s another issue that is part of the whole dimension and whole twist of uh—of the English only movement. So I think—I think in some sense it’s kind of a, it’s uh—it’s uh—it’s uh nicely disguised package of linguistic discrimination, but that also has other—other layers and other—other dimensions involved in it.
Well, I think—I think one of the—one way I think that’s very important is to recognize that it is difficult to learn a language. One doesn’t just surrender or switch a language uh, in this particular case Spanish, for instance, because that’s the biggest language that we’re talking about. We’re talking about the English only movement at this point. Uh, one doesn’t just switch from a—a non-English speaker to an English speaker in a matter of a—of a few months or—it just takes a tremendous amount of—of effort and—and—and so part of—part what’s involved in—in understanding this from a standpoint of the teacher is having to understand that it is time consuming to learn a language, they have to be patient with the children as they become English speakers because part of what’s also the problem in this particular case is that the children are only mostly getting English input from school. The home is primarily Spanish speaking because the parents are Spanish speaking. We—we could make similar analogies to—to Mandarin speakers or Cantonese speakers or—or other immigrant groups but in this particular case, for sure most of the people who are coming from Latin America are lower socioeconomic status, non-English speakers themselves. So they’ve got a—an educational uh handicap and they’ve got a linguistic handicap in English and they’re not able to then assist their children in the acquisition of English so the role models in the teachers are—are the—are the ways in which—are the people that are going to instruct children and—and so they have to recognize the importance of their position and to be patient in the process of doing it. And they can’t rely on—on—generally will not be able to rely on the home to—to follow-up in terms of what they’re trying to do in terms of making English speakers of the children.
Well, the problem—I mean, I think the parents would agree, they would like to be able to help their children in school but again there are two issues involved. It’s difficult—after a certain age, it becomes difficult to help your children if your own educational background uh is limited. So that by the time a child gets into the 5th or 6th grade I think many parents are unable to help their children at that point. Even if they would be able to do it in—in their home language uh because—because math and science come more complicated then often times parents are able to do. So that they don’t know—parents don’t know the—the—the content of the material often times themselves because most—most immigrants that come from Latin America, if you look at the—at the demographics of that, most of them are coming with somewhere between a 5th and uh, and a 7th grade education themselves. So that there are—they are about the same place as their children are at by the time the children reach the 5th or 6th grade. So they’re not able to follow-up with the content of the—the homework and then they don’t speak the language so they cannot communicate with the teacher about the assignments and about the work and about the way in which they can—they can help and monitor their children at home. So that part you just—there’s just a disconnect on that—on that part. Uh, that’s one way—that’s one reason, for instance, often times if either the teacher or a teacher’s aide or some uh linguistic uh volunteer can bridge the gap. If there’s someone to bridge the gap between what goes on in the school and what goes on at home, that I think would—would be of some assistance to uh to the parents in terms of following up. Most of these parents come here and when you interview them, talk to them, they will say, “We came here because we wanted a better life for our children.” So they came to find a better life for their children. They will talk about the educational advantages. That problem is how do get there with—with ad—with adult parents who themselves had little educational experiences and who are handicapped by the language. Now even though parents may be taking English as a second language in some adult education program, often times associated with the schools of where their children are going—are going to, they’re learning the fundamentals of English, but they’re not learning the content that’s necessary to be able to help their kids in math or science, for instance.
Well, that’s—that’s a really good question and it’s uh—and it’s a tricky one often times. I think the first part is having the willingness and—and—and be motivated to want to do that. And to be—and also, if you don’t know uh--Spanish as the language we’re talking about and if you don’t have—you need someone who can be the linguistic broker between the teacher uh and—and the parents. So their needs to be someone uh who can do that. One can do that through uh parent readings, with translators, uh or interpreters uh, but there has to be some way to also—to bring the parents into the school, to make them feel welcomed in the classroom, to make them feel that—that legitimately they are a part of an educational process for their children, to be able to—to do it at least initially in the language that the parents are more comfortable in uh and to be able to also show the parents the importance of uh working with their children and what—what is going on at—in school. Often times, for instance, in—in many countries of the world, not just in Latin America, when children go to school the idea is that children are going to school and the teacher is the authority. The teacher’s the person that knows everyone, everything. And the teacher’s the one that makes educational decisions. Those decisions are—are made by the teacher, not by the parent. In this country, we have this—this idea that education is a team effort between the school and the home and we exercise that in lots of different—in lots of different ways. Now, that also is part of parent education that, in fact, they are part of the team. It’s not just surrendering their—their children to school. But to begin to make that team effort, we’ve got to find ways in which to bring the parents into—into the school. And—and to do that, you know, in a way that makes them feel comfortable both linguistically and also in terms of not—not being uh made—made to feel that they are uh—are not very well educated and that’s not their place. It’s a—it’s a hard thing to do for—for teachers and it’s a hard place to be for—for the parents as well.
Well, Poloronto (spelling?) is not uh—not uh school district that’s uh that resembles most of the school districts in uh, in California. Poloronto has a very small uh, uh linguistic uh limited population uh at every—every level the population is very low. So there are not valuable programs in the—in the city. There are English language development programs um, but regardless of that—the—the issues of uh how does—how does one educate children who—who come into a school uh who are non-English speakers. This is a prevalent problem uh not—but not as widespread in—in Poloronto as it is in other districts. Um, the policy—the policies are partly, you know, legal. I mean, it is—it is a Federal legal mandate to educate children in—in a English if they come in as non-English speakers and to—and to give the linguistic uh information that’s necessary to be able to bring them into the—into the curriculum so that they can be successful learners. That’s—that—there’s a legal mandate for that—for doing that. The question becomes one of the—of implementation. How do you do that? How do you do that best? And you do that best, I feel, by having uh teachers who are uh interested and trained to be uh English language uh teachers and ideally English language teachers who can assist children to move into the curriculum uh as rapidly as possible, but who also recognize that again it’s not an easy thing to do and you can do it without having to give up your home language. And so there—there’s some—some issues of that that are also involved in that, uh in terms of, we’re talking about uh, uh the addition of English language as opposed to the subtraction of the—the home language. And I think—I think Poloronto’s model has mostly been an addition uh, uh of—of a—of a English as opposed to uh a subtractive model. And I think in many, many school districts around California and certainly with respect to Proposition 227, the—the model that seems to be more in place now, especially now is this subtractive model. Let’s—let’s get children operating in English as rapidly as possible. Let’s do it by immersion and let’s do it in such a way that uh—that they—they come to uh, uh have a negative view of both their language and their uh culture in the home background. So in some sense, Proposition 227 as a—as a policy uh in the way that you conduct—basically is a throw back to a much earlier time, you know, in uh—in the way which uh the kids will need to feel in—in the school.
Well, clearly children need to learn English. I think that that—I think that that is—that is—that is undeniable fact and I don’t think anyone from any home background, linguistic background, denies that. Children need to learn English to be successful in this country. I think that that’s a given. The question is how do you get there? Do you get there by trying to make it happen in a few short months through English only immersion education, which is pretty much the model now, or do you try to find some other strategy for doing that? Now clearly there were lots of problems and there are lots of problems with bilingual education because bilingual education means all kinds of different things. There is no one bilingual education model. But clearly there has to be someway to instruct children in English so that you get into English language development uh going. But at the same time, so that children are not losing the content knowledge uh that—that is also suppose to be part of the educational day for them. Often times what has been—what has emerged as the model, uh not only recently but—but in terms of long standing of—of model development, is a lot of English language instruction uh with children becoming English speakers over one, or two, or three, or four years, depending upon the school district. But at the same time suffering in terms of—of the—the content. There has to be a model that brings the children into uh--into an English speaking uh proficiency. But at the same time developing their content knowledge, what ever that might be, at whatever grade level and that is a much more difficult act to follow because it means coordination between English language of teachers and content language instructors.
Well, language—language and identity and ethnicity in this particular case are so interwoven uh with each other. Or language and culture I think is a better way to—is a better way to put that. And when—when children get the message, which I think often times happens, sometimes uh inadvertently and sometimes purposefully, when children get the message that there is something wrong about their language, or about their culture and then they go home and they see their—their parents and—and other adults around the family members, uh neighbors, every one else maybe using the language uh and—and—and operating within a culture that they know and children have receive messages that this—this is a language and/or a culture uh to be avoided or to be uh—to be lost or tucked away somewhere. That creates identity conflicts for—for those children. How can you—how can you uh live in an environment where your parents are uh---are uh—are say, Spanish speakers and operating in a culture that they know but you’re trying to uh—you’re trying to—you’re getting—you’re trying to become an English speaker and you’re also learning messages and acculturation and assimilation are the only paths to success in this country. It—it creates cultural clashes of all—of all—of all different kinds for children very, very young. So often times what—what some—what some individuals will do, for instance is that they will deny uh the culture and the language of their parents and they will do all that they can to acculturate and assimilate, uh which is fine and good and which is probably something that—that’s necessary to be successful in this country at the same time. But in the process what often times also happens is they find that no matter how much they try to acculturate, they are still viewed, especially if they look different, they will be viewed as different. And so they come—they come face-to-face at some point later—uh, generally in late—in late adol—in late childhood or in adolescence that despite the fact that maybe at this point they are English speakers, that they are for all intents and purposes Americans, in terms of their customs and in terms of their dress and in terms of all of their mannerisms, but then they’re treated like outsiders. That throws them into a—even a deeper kind of identity crisis. Where do you go—where do you go at that point? You no longer speak the language of—of your family, you no longer uh want to practice the cultural uh customs or morays of uh—of your family, uh and you—so you feel marginalized. And often times adolescence go into this tri—this uh—this uh period of trying to figure out who exactly they are. The work of adolescents really is also the—the work of—of establishing an identity for oneself. You’re breaking away from your parents, you’re—you’re establishing your own independence but—and that’s hard enough, but if you have issues of—of language and—and culture on top of that, it’s even more confusing. How will one emerge from adolescents feeling good about oneself? And so, it’s—it’s a—identity is a—is a very tough challenge often times for—for children. Nowadays people are now talking more about biculturalism. I mean, you can learn English that doesn’t—and you can become acultured to the cultural practices of—of the mainstream uh group in this country. But that doesn’t necessarily mean at the same time that you have to put away uh your language or that the uh customs of your culture. In affect, you can manipulate both. You can—you can be a member of two cultural groups uh and in some sense there’s a protective factor uh about that. Uh, if—if uh imagine if I—if I said, “I’m an American. I only speak English.” Yeah, it’s true. Maybe I’m a little darker then—then—then other Americans, but I’m American nonetheless and my name isn’t Amado Padilla. OK? And someone comes to me and says, “Where were you born?” Well, I might say, “I was born in this country. I am American.” And someone says, “No, you couldn’t have been.” And I think often times adolescents kind of get that message that despite that they’re—they’re—they’re very value attempts to—to acculturate, there still viewed as—as—as outsiders. And that throws them into a tailspin. Now suppose I say, “Yeah, well I’m American. I can operate in English. I know English. I’m proficient in English and—and I know all the American customs and holidays and everything else. But, I also can operate in this other world where maybe there’s another language and there’s another culture and I—I have a place to go to when I’m—when I’m feeling maybe unwelcome or as an outsider. So biculturalism is a—is a—is a model that uh more people are talking about nowadays. Now one of the important things—this is one of the things with respect to—to the myths of a—of English only, a person can be bicultural and bilingual and that doesn’t at all challenge my Americanism. OK? That’s a very—I think a very, very key point. Um, I can be just as American as everyone else, but I can also speak another language and also know about another culture. The two are not incompatible with each other. Often times, the model of this country is that assimilation is absolute. You can only be American if you’re English speaking and if you give up all the practices of whatever the home culture and language were.
Now there’s a wonderful book by Beverly Tatum, I don’t know if you’re familiar with it. “Why Are All The Black Kids Sitting In The Cafeteria Together,” I think is the title of the book. And the—and the uh—the book basically is about uh why kids of a similar ethnic or racial group, group together and what is all of that about. From uh a teacher’s perspective, a majority groups teacher’s perspective; the kids are all grouping together because they don’t want to assimilate. They don’t want—they don’t want to—to take part in the greater school culture, for instance. Uh, Beverly Tatum’s position is that the kids are finding comfort within each other in a school environment that in many cases is—is oppressive for them. And there’s a social support that they gather—that they gather from grouping together at the cafeteria and having lunch together. It is a safe time, it’s a time when they can share, it’s a time when they can uh enjoy each other’s company. It’s not a time when they’re plotting. It’s not a time when they’re thinking about how to make trouble for teachers. It’s a safe—it’s a safe period. The counter to that is we never say, “Why are all the white kids sitting together in a cafeteria?” because they’re sitting together in a cafeteria too. But presumably that’s good, Black kids, or Latino kids, or Asian kids, sitting together or—or socializing together on the playground is somehow viewed as bad and somehow viewed as mischief making or as a time when—as a—as a—as a uh expression that they don’t want to uh to melt into uh into either the school culture or to the—the white culture. Uh, people need safe times. Adolescents need safe times, adults need safe times, and sometimes the safest time are with people who are like you, who are—who have many of the same kinds of experiences where you can do some sharing, where you can do some—some thinking about uh, uh coping with uh—with a situation that you’re finding uh difficult to uh to deal with. Uh, we do that all the time. People do that all the time, but when kids do it in the school place, it becomes recognizable, especially if it’s a small group of minority children.
Uh, Chicano psychology um is—there’s no magic about Chicano psychology. The thing about Chicano psychology is that basically it’s—it’s psychology that all psychologists are trained with but—but putting a slap on it of just trying to understand how certain kinds of phenomena and—and uh—and variables operate when you’re controlling for ethnicity. And ethnicity in this particular case are people of Mexican/American descent. Uh, so that the idea is to try and understand the variability or the heterogeneity within one defined ethnic group and to try to understand how this heterogeneity within this ethnic group might be similar to or different from uh other kinds of a—of a populations or samples that are—that are studied not in psychology. Most psychology that we know about, especially social psychology and development, but mostly social psychology, for instance, has been uh discovered—the findings around social psychology has mostly been discovered with uh college university students, sophomores generally taking uh a general psychology class who then sign up to have to be volunteers in psychology experiments. And most of those students have traditionally been um, uh white students. In recent years there’s been more work with African-American students, or Asian students, or uh Latino students or Chicano students. Uh, and uh now we’re beginning to understand that some of the phenomena that we thought was—was—was pretty clear cut uh with uh—which may be in social psychology or developmental psychology, didn’t work exactly the same—the same kind of way. For instance, in terms of identity development, there might be some—the—the—the—the—what we know about how children form their uh their personal identities mostly comes from a monolingual, monocultural perspective. Children who grow up in other cultures with uh—with more than one language uh might have some different issues with respect to how they form their identity. Uh, uh, uh person—a child who uh who begins to be identi—identify themselves as bicultural has two cultural identities that—that they’re—that they’re learning to uh to balance. That might be a very different uh identity formation then the child who only has to—to uh develop an identity within one culture, for instance. Because generally if your iden—if you’re developing a identity within two cultures, one of those cultures is a subordinate culture so you have to understand how identity develops in the dominant culture and in the subordinate culture. And—and—and how a child is uh, you know, comes to a recognition of those two cultures and the status of those two cultures in a society. Chicano psychology is about trying to understand, for instance, those kinds of dynamics. That’s what—what is meant by uh by Chicano psychology. And Chicano, I should probably just mention too that Chicano here generally refers to later generation Mexican/American individuals—Mexican—people of Mexican origin who are in their second or third or later generation and—and who also identify that as Mexican origin but who also identify as individuals who were born in this country. So there’s an identification both with—with the—with the cultural origin and with—with the uh cultural of the United States.
Um, what—the—the things that come to mind, first of all when we talk about uh, uh indiv—I should say a child or an adolescent because these are more prominent issues with—with adolescents, when we talk about adolescents. Uh, the—there are—there are—let me back up—can we stop. Let me take a break on this for one second. Um, almost—I almost to answer this question, I almost have to confine it to children who are—to give a generational breakdown. (interruption) Why don’t you ask me the question again so that I can get my bearings on it?
Well, the—the matches and mismatches of uh Mexican/American children say between the school and the home, the best way to tell—I think to think about that uh is maybe from a generational perspective. And by this I mean—I’m talking about uh first generation uh immigrant children and their immigrant parents. And there’s where you find many, many mismatches. The mismatches are uh are less uh dominant as you move generationally uh into uh into US cultural. But let’s deal with the first generation uh immigrants uh to begin with. Uh, for instance, one of the things that—that becomes a mismatch right away uh is—is the whole school culture. OK? School in Latin America, in this particular case, Mexico is different then it is in the—in the United States. I mean, in—in uh Mexico uh children basically are given to the teacher uh and they become the teacher’s charge for the teacher to uh to—to educate. This idea of—of co-teaching uh is—is not as—or the team idea of parent and teacher uh educating a child, that—that is a mismatch uh from—from the—from the very beginning. Uh, the idea uh the idea that children also have in terms of uh there’s much more uh—children who come from Latin America, for instance, or from Mexico in this particular case, are—are familiar with the school as are their parents where there’s much more discipline then there is in this country. OK? Uh, there’s just not the kind of acting out uh—you just don’t—you just don’t do that. There’s—there might even be more corporal punishment for instance, which the teacher is authorized to—to give. In this country, parents are not—are not use to the idea that the teacher basically has uh very little uh authority in the classroom. And that’s especially true with older children. So a child who maybe has gone to school for six or seven years in Mexico and then comes to this country to go to school is just totally astounded by—by the—the uh—the liberal attitude that—that goes on in our schools. And, in fact, they might end up becoming the worst offenders of this because they’ve not had that—that in—in their old school. So part of it is—is a—is an issue of discipline, the authority, the teacher, uh and what is a very constrained uh—a lack of authority often times on the part of teachers in this country in terms of discipline. Uh, that is—that is—that is one big—big mismatch. That’s—that’s a very uh predominant one. Uh, another has to do with the—with just mannerisms and dress and interactions between—between boys and girls. Uh, that kind of interactions that one finds beginning even in the 6th or the 7th or the 8th grade, the middle school years, are much more uh liberal in uh this country. The cultural is much more liberal in terms of uh of gender uh interactions then they are uh in a—in a more traditional—in a more traditional culture. Uh, another mismatch uh that—that’s a very profound one is the—the reliance on family and uh—and uh the absence and the—pure culture operates in Mexico as well as it does in this country. But it—but here peer culture at a certain age takes prominence over—over family relationships. That is not the case normally in uh—in Mexico. Pure culture does operate, kids do operate, you know, with—with their peer group, but the family is still uh is still—is still the prominent agent uh as opposed to what becomes more of a lessening family—family exchanges in this country. Often times, kids in this country—I just read something yesterday that talks about—well, kids were talking about what they do with their families. And they said, “Well, we talk a little bit at dinner when we have dinner together, but we don’t normally have a lot of time. We don’t—normally we don’t eat a lot—we don’t eat together a lot during the week.” Or, “I talk to my mother when she’s driving me around.” These are kids who don’t have driver’s license yet. Once they have a driver’s license, forget it. It’s much less conversation between—between parents and—and adolescents. That’s—that’s not necessarily at all the motto in a—in a—in Latin America and certainly not in Mexico. There’s much more familyism that goes on and family exchanges. You—you relate first to your parent and to your family members. That—that’s—that’s core—that’s a core value and very, very central. Uh, that becomes one of the conflicts often times uh in—in this country where—uh when—when immigrants come their children have to walk this fine balance between “How do I honor and respect my parent with what they want? But how do I get on with—with a so—with a very powerful peer culture that operates in schools?” That’s a huge mismatch right there. Uh, so that—that becomes—those are really the more salient issues with respect to first generation. Uh, in the second—in the second generation, kids born in this country and their parents born in another country, the big mismatch often times there is the idea that the parents are from the old world and they’re living in the new world and this is how it’s done in the new world. Often times they don’t even question it uh anymore, the issues of family—family uh family uh reliance and fam—and family values. That begins to be—to be lessened uh in—in a very profound kind of way. Another mismatch often times is by—is by the second generation. Many of the kids are only speaking or predominantly speaking uh English. OK? So their parents are speaking Spanish, they’re speaking uh English in the school is often speaking English, their peers are speaking English. Even though they might all be living in a Spanish speaking community, the older people speak uh speak uh speak Spanish—the adults speak Spanish, the kids are speaking English. That’s a mismatch. That’s a—that’s an important mismatch. I see that all the time and not just with—with—with Latino populations. I spent Saturday doing some community work and there were lots of very young Asians—uh, Asian students there, Mandarin speakers. The parents—the adult supervisors were all speaking Mandarin. Every single adolescent were only speaking English. So it’s not just this Hispanic uh community. It’s all the communities in terms of—in terms of the kinds of mismatches that go on. (interruption) Well, if you’re given—if your not given a lot—a lot of choices in life and now you’re finding that you have them, I mean, it uh it could be like being in a candy store for the first time. You know, I think it is for a lot of kids, you know, who—who uh—who come from that kind of—from a very uh authoritarian environment to a much more liberal environment.
Well, the—the traditional model of acculturation has been basically una—uh, we call it unilinear. You go from uh your culture of origin where that might be in this particular case, let’s say it’s Mexico, you go from a culture—a Mexican culture and cross time maybe in one generation or maybe in two generations. You hit the jackpot and you become an American. OK? And that—that has been the traditional thinking for a long time, the—the acculturation, and so that—that’s a model of acculturation that basically—that’s the melting pot kind of—kind of model where as one melts—melts into this uh this uh pot that uh that uh that’s constantly boiling with uh with new people, you leave uh old language and old culture behind. The—the newer fun—the new model of—of—of biculturalism is that you can’t—you can’t do that. You can make that transition from—from one language and cultural to another, but at the same time, you don’t have to give up—you don’t have to give up all aspects of language and cultural of—of origin. No, the—the really interesting thing about that is that (clears throat) in uh today’s work, in mental health for instance, in issues of—of adjustment, uh we find that people who are more adjusted, immigrant—no—ethnic populations, and this again it’s not just with—with Latino populations, but ethnic populations where you have an ethnic language and an ethnic culture and you also have uh acculturation to—to the mainstream. That the people who have been able to maintain some semblance of home language and home culture and more often then not it’s home culture, not—not home language, that they’ve been able to maintain some semblance of home—of home culture which is normally around the values of a family and pride in—in cultural traditions and some expression of cul—uh, freedom of expression of cultural traditions that often times those individuals uh will experience uh less feelings of uh—of uh—um, discrimination. They’ll experience less—less expressed feelings, of uh enemy, of uh feeling, uh left out, of depression. But basically they will all—they will—they will give you uh, a more positive mental health status uh profile in an individual whose done all the acculturation and then feels marginalized from not only the—the culture of the dominant group, although that may be their culture at that time, but also a marginalized from the home culture. OK? That those people who are feeling marginalized that have higher depression rates, more likely to (clears throat) to engage in substance abuse, uh feeling more—more—more uh—a greater sense of enemy. So there—we begin—begun to construct these—these profiles of individuals and the healthier profiler seems to be someone who is still—who is still grounded somehow in the culture of origin. That—that’s the more pro—the more positive image of a—of acculturation that’s now been talked about.
Well, you know, when we talk about coping responses, it’s really important to talk about two kinds of coping responses, two big categories of coping responses. Uh, one coping—one—one category of coping strategies are negative coping strategies and the other are positive coping strategies. Let’s deal with the negative coping strategies first because that’s—that’s one I think often times teachers see, school administrators see, community members and politicians latch onto, and then generalizations are made about that—about an entire population based on negative coping strategies. When I or you or anyone else uh is experiencing stress of—of some type, one strategy, one coping response we have if suppose the—the stress is coming from a—a person who is unpleasant to us. Maybe it’s some—someone that we’ve had arguments with in the past, someone that we—we find is just disagreeable to be with. One strategy is to just not be in that person’s presence if we see them. If we see them coming, avoid them. Uh, try in every kind of way to—to get out of the environment that—that they are in. That’s a coping strategy. That’s a—that can be a very good coping strategy. OK? Thinking about it from that perspective, if school is causing me a lot of stress, I’m feeling that I’m not—that I’m not learning, I’m not smart, that it’s not a place to be because it’s—it’s psychologically and socially painful. Uh, what am I likely to do if I follow—if I follow this. I might try to get out of this environment. OK? I might try to get out of this environment by—I might start by—by ditching classes and within a rarely short time I might be ditching, you know, school all together and I might eventually drop out. That’s a negative coping strategy. Another negative coping strategy, uh if I’m having an unpleasant uh time with uh with an environment, say a work environment, I don’t like my job, I don’t like my boss, I don’t like the things I do, it’s not rewarding to me, I might start drinking. I might drink, or I might take drugs, I might start on a small scale, I might need it just a little bit at a time, but then that might build up. So before long, I might be a heavy substance uh user. That would be a negative coping strategy. Another negative coping strategy—maybe I just don’t like someone in the best way that person just really rubs me wrong. Every time I see him uh I just get angry and he—uh he—he makes me feel uh more and more angry each time to the point where he and I might get into a fight. OK? And I find that then uh all I think about is hostility and violence when I see that person. OK, so that’s another coping strategy. Those are negative coping strategies. We have school drop out, we have substance abuse, and we have—may possibly gang violence. OK? So that’s one whole set of strategies that I think teachers often times will identify and school administrators will identify with uh with kids. There’s other coping strategies (clears throat) that we know about that are very effective, for instance, uh after school activities for kids. Um, I might find that school is not a very pleasant place. I might not be working very hard, I might not be as smart as I want to be, or teachers are telling me I’m not as smart as I might—that I am. But on the playground maybe in sports I find my place. I find a group of kids that I—where I get support from them. I can support them and my skills can—can—can show. Uh, so I might not be the best student, but I might be a pretty good athlete. That’s a positive coping. That would be a positive coping strategy. Uh, another positive coping strategy—if school—if school is not—is not uh—if school is causing me difficulty or class is causing me difficulty, maybe I can take advantage of my friends in—in getting some tutoring or some assistance from them. Not copying, but getting some assistance from them or taking advantage of tutoring that the school might make available or that some community agency in my community might—uh might have, some after school homework uh, uh drop in place that I might be able to go to. That would be a positive coping—coping strategy. So I think we can—we can categorize coping strategies into—into—into uh into two big categories. Uh, unfortunately more often then not, the negative coping strategies are the ones that get identified as the ways in which minority kids deal with—deal with school and deal with stress. On the other hand, there are a lot of minority kids, Latino kids included who do very, very well in school and don’t get the credit for—for how well they’re doing in school. They have—they have adapted characteristics of resilience, ways in which they can overcome the obstacles and stressors of their experiences in school. And sometimes it is after school activities. Sometimes it is uh either a school or after school tutoring sessions. Uh, sometimes it’s role—looking for role models, which is another kind of way and—and having aspirations like to do something like a role model. Uh, so coping strategies can—can come in both cate—in both—in both ways. Teachers and school administrators, I think, should be uh aware of these two categories and try to focus on trying to find positive coping strategies for kids, even kids who are acting out in terms of missing classes or beginning substance abuse or even in—in—in gangs. Their energies can be channeled positively if we only try to give it chance, if we only try to find ways in which to do this. Sometimes it involves getting parents involved, other community members, school uh officials getting involved, but it’s possible to re—to re-channel kids in terms of their positive coping strategies. But they need to feel that there is some value in doing that.
Well, educational—educational resilience in—in the way that uh that I use the term is to think about uh kids who are at risk uh and—and then the kids that I mostly focus with, they are kids often times who come from uh non-English speaking homes, homes where parents have very little education, uh where there is uh—where there—maybe they are uh immigrants that would fit the pat—the pattern here. But in a whole—in a whole variety of ways, they would be at risk for not doing well in school. OK? And we know about those kids and we know this is what a whole lot of educational theory and—and practices about how do we—how do we make the school environment uh a good place for these kids. (clears throat) However, uh many kids don’t ever get there. Don’t—are not ever resilient in the—in the sense of finding ways to overcome—to overcome the barriers that they see in front of them. So I’ve been mostly interested in doing, in terms of education, is trying to find kids who uh have done very well academically and who come from these high risk backgrounds where if you—if you—if you just think about risk factors and the accumulation of risk factors, you won’t predict that they would do very well in school. Now, how do they—how do you explain their very high achievement? And so I try to work backwards with them retrospectively, in terms of how—how they uh—they uh view their—their academic success. Who do they attribute it to? Is it self-attribution? You know, “I’m just smarter than everybody.” Or do they attribute it to a particular teacher or a family member. What were the—what were the uh—the uh, uh things in their environment that led to high—to a very high uh academic achievement. So from my standpoint, educational resilience then is, is a student who comes from—from an at-risk background, but who nonetheless finds ways in which to overcome the educational obstacles and stand thereby—do very well academically.
In terms of the work that I’ve done and the way that I’ve tried to—to frame that work and the ways that I—at least in the last 10, 12 years or so, I’ve been trying to—to frame it in education is—is to frame in the—in this kind of way for—for teachers. Uh, there is no single Hispanic culture. There—there are multiple cultures. And one of—one of the—one of the frames in which I’ve—I’ve worked in is to try to understand the heterogeneity of the population. At—at it’s simplest level, the heterogeneity can be defined by the generation of—of the individual of the—of the immigrants. Were they born here of parents who were immigrants? Were they born here of—of grandparents who were immigrants. Uh, so generation is—is one very, very important uh consideration that I think teachers need to understand because those populations will all be different. They’re different just by virtue of—of, for instance, the prominence of English in their uh--in their uh—in their home. Uh, immigrants will speak Spanish primarily, but by the third generation the lang—the language of the home will have shifted to English. Another—another frame in which I put on that, which is very important to teachers is—is the idea of acculturation and biculturalism. People come to this country as immigrants because they want to do better. They want to do better for themselves financially; they want to do better for—for their children. So there is the hope or the expectation that they will—they will prosper here and their children will—will prosper. Now something happens over—over time with respect to that and because in fact, what you find—what we’re finding more and more is that contrary to—to in some sense, some—some common sense, immigrant children are doing better academically then are third and later generation kids. So one of the things that when you talk to immigrant kids, they will give you the same things that their parents talk about. This is an opportunity to do well. You talk to—to third generation or fourth generation kids, they will say, “There’s racism here, there’s oppression here, this is not a good place to be.” OK? And so what you find, in fact, not—not a hope, but basically despair. One of things that I think becomes very important for—for educators to understand that—is that somehow we have to find a climate of acceptance and tolerance for all kids across all generations so that rather then—then—then—then dump on kids with English only with the fact that all they want is—is welfare, that they’re not working hard enough, that they don’t want to become American, etc., etc. Because all those things are generally not true, we’ve got find a way to be tolerant with how long it takes to learn English with the fact that the parents are not highly sophisticated educationally and—and need special assistance, special education—not spec—need parent education to understand our school system. OK? There’s a lot—there are lots of ways in which we can build hope across the generations for youngsters. Immigrated kids do better in school; their kids do less well in school. Their grandkids even do less well in school. The drop out prob—by the time you get to the—the idea of acculturation—this is one of the interesting things about acculturation as well, the acculturation model says that as you acculturate and you enter the mainstream, there shouldn’t be uh more upper mobility. OK? In fact, what we have found generally with—with Hispanic uh kids is that there might be actually uh a decrease in mobility across generations. Now if that is true and—and the educational data seems to uh seems to begin to--to bear some of that out, uh that would be very, very depressing kind of—kind of affect. That in spite of the fact that your acculturating, because they only speak English by the third generation, and they are basically uh American by the third generation. But if they are doing less will then their imprint uh peers, uh then that’s—that’s as, to me, how the devastating effects of intolerance in our school system and in our society. So I think my—my work also is—is—is directed at trying to understand some of that so that uh we understand the heterogeneity and we understand also the—the devastating effects of—of intolerance uh in—un in later generation individuals.
In—in the way that uh that I define uh generations, uh new arrivals, that is, individuals who come from some other country to the United States with the intent of—of staying. So that would be—that would be the immigrant population, or the new arrivals. Now that’s different from second generation in—in the way we think about generations. A second generation individual is a person that’s born in this country so they have citizenship; they have citizenship as Americans in this country. But their parents were—were new arrivals and who—their parents may or may not have citizenship. They may have applied for citizenship, or they may have permanent residence status, or they may be undocumented here. But the—but the second generation by birth in this country are—are US citizen and second generation. Third generation would be individuals who are born in this country, who’s parents were born in this country and who’s grandparents—or at least part of their—their—their grandparents set were born in a country other than the United States. So that’s typically how—how we think about—or how I think and—and define uh the—the issue of generational status.