brave

My watch alarm starts blaring and I think of you. Inevitably, I think of you laughing at Irish time.

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9% of Americans are bilingual.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend posed this riddle to me, “What do you call someone who speaks with an accent?”

“Smart,” I responded.

That wasn’t the answer she was looking for. We volleyed back and forth with my reasons, until she finally clarified:

“Brave.”

And then again at work, some of my colleagues welcomed the international students on campus, again commending them on their bravery. How brave it is of you to be here.

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Or is it savvy, intelligence, the right thing to do – to learn another language? To live in another country, to immerse yourself in another way of life?

1/2 the world’s population is bilingual. I would say speaking with a foreign accent is quite normal in other parts of the world, outside of the U.S., where we deem diversity and difference a scary thing, a noteworthy concept, an aberration. Where we can’t imagine how language opens up personal, economic, and social avenues. Where we have forced one another to become the same, and leave expecting the rest of the world to be like us. At least, to speak like us.

Americans always say that thing. And cling to it: how in our hearts we’re all the same. Want the same. 

Well, no shits we do. 

Do we really expect it to stay like it is? For us to thrive in this bubble? For the rest of it to never change? Or grow, or evolve? How do you raise generations without perspective?

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