Making sure our society is bilingual and accessible for all is more important than ever. Recently, it was reported that many hospitals have left patients who speak limited English alone and without proper care. Many women who didn’t speak English were left confused and without an interpreter, many of those women have died. They died confused and alone. This is not justice. This is not the way our society should function. English superiority should not be the default. No one in this country should be mocked for having an accent, or for not being able to communicate in English. This is ultimately about feminism and immigration and justice.
I have seen so many kids my age mock those with accents. What they have yet to realize is that those who are bilingual or more, have demonstrated an ability to create space in two cultures and learn vulnerably. There is also classism at play. Children of wealthy parents are praised for their bilingual abilities while those of the lower class are not praised for their accomplishments. For them, it is simply a way of life. Many households in the United States house multiple languages. With bilingualism so prevalent, it is important for our society to create and maintain bilingual spaces. Language is essential to make sure that needs are met. Without language we lose our ability to communicate our needs for food, healthcare, and housing.
By fostering bilingual education spaces we can empower women. We can empower the immigrant mother, who is just trying to find a way in a new world. We can empower the children of immigrants who can flow through these spaces without hate and English supremacy. We can empower other women who will be smarter and more accepting of learning a new language. By creating these spaces we will create an intersectional space for every woman, and those across the gender binary. We will be empowering those who have been left behind by today’s English-only culture. We will be uplifting the voices of all language speakers, not just those from wealth. We will be uplifting women of color. We will be helping and accepting each other as sisters. We need these spaces in order to be feminist. This isn’t just a language issue, it’s a women’s issue and a feminist issue. Feminists need to advocate for these spaces in order to achieve a radically different, feminist culture.
– Felix Hedberg, she/her