Multiculturalism. A long often misleading word, but what does it mean. Does it mean the combining of all cultures to form one that is meant to be the best of all? Or does it mean a world where all cultures thrive equally well and each is respected? Oddly enough, neither is often true. The true meaning lies not in the intent of the word itself, but in the real world application of it.
Quite recently, I began working near a family who moved to the United States of America within the last couple of years. They came from Lebanon and were looking to live a life far away from the turmoil of the Middle East. The family has three sons, by the names of Ali, Hassan, and Kevin. Ali is the oldest with Kevin being the youngest. Kevin is a senior at high school, Hassan is a junior in a local university, and Ali owns a small restaurant. The entire family speaks Arabic, but only the three sons have learned to speak English very well. Only Kevin speaks perfect English, but both Hassan and Ali can be understood if they try and speak clearly. It is apparent to me that English is never spoken at their home. This is probably not a good idea for their parents’ sake, but they never came over to America to take up its culture either.
Whenever the brothers talk to me about Arabic, they always comment on how difficult it is to translate certain phrases from Arabic to English. Many words are part of their culture and have no direct translation. This is most likely why they do not take up English as a first language. It does not have any reflection upon intelligence, but is merely the people retaining their culture. As Amani Ammari, a student at Oakland University relates, “My siblings and I speak full Arabic but you wouldn’t be able to tell if you heard us speak English, my parents on the other hand are very intelligent but are looked at as stupid because of the way they speak.” Most families hold onto their cultures, including language, even when put into an...