Language and identity are two things that happen to go hand in hand

Language and identity are two things that happen to go hand in hand. One’s language can reveal one’s personality and even one’s cultural background. The language an individual speaks most often is usually the language they are most comfortable and acquainted with. The problem is that often when an individual is speaking “broken” English people tend to devalue one’s intelligence. This leads many to believe that their language and culture aren’t accepted and sometimes even considered wrong. Language undoubtedly “reveals the speaker” (Baldwin) and in many ways defines one’s identity.
Language influences identities tremendously; it allows people to communicate and learn from one another. Gloria Anzaldua once said that people need a “language which they can connect their identity to, one capable of communicating the realities and values true to themselves (Anzaldua)”. Language and identity are united through our personality traits, our slang, and even the sound of our voices. With language we can communicate and share knowledge with one another. Language has the ability to “evoke an emotion, a visual image, a complex idea, or a simple truth (Tan)”. We can speak our own personal truths and ideas with the dialect we use. We are able to reveal our emotions to the people around us through language.
Many white Americans are fearful of not being able to understand others and not being in control of things at all times; it is as if they are losing their superiority. Although the argument is harmless and it is understandable to be afraid of what you cannot understand many people oppress immigrants through violence and rejection. Americans will try and “shred off your olive-red skin, crush out the kernel, your heart pound you pinch you roll you out smelling like white bread but dead (Anzaldua)”; This often happens to many immigrants coming to America seeking opportunity from the “land of the free”, except it’s not really free. As an immigrant you are stripped of your culture and nearly forced into an entirely different lifestyle. Immigrants are expected to adopt entirely new identities and customs through the English language. This is not an easy task to complete and America as a nation should work towards being more accepting and understanding.
In many ways people who speak “broken” or “limited” English are looked down upon. The children of people who struggle to speak the English language also suffer from the effects of oppression. At home you might speak your native language and then at school you may speak an entirely different language, but you are able to fully understand both. Although people might think the language you speak at home is not a valid form of communication they are wrong because everyone speaks a different language in different settings. At home the tone in one’s voice might be more relaxed where as in a work setting it could be more professional and concise. Just because someone does not speak the same way you do does not mean the quality of what you’re saying is poor or something to be ashamed of.
Although cultures may clash they all share the common “necessity to confront life, in order, not inconceivably, to outwit death (Baldwin)”. Despite the language barriers that exist all around us humans are programmed for survival and that is impossible without forms of communication. We use communication to exchange ideas, beliefs, and most importantly to share who we are with the world. This could be difficult to accomplish amongst different cultural groups because they tend to advocate for conflict rather than cooperation. The language you speak is part of your culture, and culture is what defines our identities the most. Immigrants use language to maintain their heritage, culture, and identity but are fearful of rejection which could tamper their ability to fit in and embrace who they are both as an American and one of their own people. Many immigrants feel they must change their identity in order to fit in and communicate with society.