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For our discussion this week, choose one of the following questions and respond:
In our selection from Bootstraps, Victor Villanueva reflects on how traditional academic environments, especially higher education environments, can perpetuate racism and racial oppression through language expectations that only consider one type of English (white English) to be “intelligent.” What experiences have you perhaps had, or witnessed, that illustrate Villanueva’s point? In what ways have you experienced only one kind of English to be considered “intelligent” or how might you see your own experiences with education reflected in Villanueva’s discussion?
In “Mother Tongue” Amy Tan describes the process by which she wrote The Joy Luck Club and explains that she wanted to capture the different varieties of English and Chinese that her mother spoke. She claims, “I sought to preserve the essence, but neither an English nor a Chinese structure. I wanted to capture what language ability tests can never reveal: [her mother’s] intent, her passion, her imagery, the rhythms of her speech and the nature of her thoughts.” Based on this passage, what do you think Tan values in language and expression? And what about you? If you were to write a story that was based on the life or lives of a person or group of people close to you, what aspects of their speech would you most want to capture? What do you value in language and its expression?
In “From Outside In” Barbara Mellix describes in detail her language use and writing in two school settings: elementary school and university. What insights about her own language and writing skills does Mellix discover? What does she learn about herself, her language, her writing, and how these factors influence her? What things did you perhaps learn about the connection between language, writing, and our sense of “self” while reading Mellix’s essay?