Blackcican Spanish Speaker Didn’t Teach Kids.

Marisha Vandenberg,
Riverside, CA

I was raised in a Mexican household with my mom and her entire family: Mom, Grandma, Grandpa, 2 Uncles & 3 Aunts. I’m also half Creole, so I was always darker and taller than my family and I had long curly hair. We went to church and I stood out like a sore thumb because they all looked alike, and I was the dark one, taller than everyone else not only in my family but in most of our church! I learned Spanish and when we visited family in Mexico, I was only allowed to speak Spanish. I was never really great at it, but over the years, I developed enough vocabulary to get by and native Spanish speakers gladly helped fill in the blanks. I speak Spanish with the appropriate accent, so they were glad to accept me, even if I was a bit darker than they anticipated. Fast forward to when I marry a Dutch German and we start our family. He became concerned that our children would be “confused” if they learned to speak English and Spanish at the same time, even though he knew that I had. None of my reassurances helped. He insisted they not learn both, and I caved in. Both of us regret those choices now and are working on teaching our children how to speak Spanish as teenagers. Our son pronounces words with the appropriate accent. Our youngest daughter pronounces words like a “white girl” (so she says). Our eldest daughter is adopted, so isn’t Mexican at all, but keeps up just fine! I wish my young ignorance hadn’t allowed me to cave in, but it’s never too late to right some wrongs! Thanks CBU-HIS311 for pointing me in this direction! What a great site!!!


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