Wow, this is strong.
As a child, I was taught to speak in English first, and Filipino second.
I was taught that English is the language of the rich, of the successful, of the learned. I was taught to be ashamed of my own culture, my own mother tongue. I was taught that Filipino was for the masses – for conversing with yayas or drivers or people at the market. I was taught that if I wanted to be a doctor, a lawyer, an engineer, a scientist, a CEO, or a politician, I would need to be fluent in English.
I spoke English at home. After all, I have two parents who spoke mostly in English as well.
In elementary, I attended a small private school. The halls were lined with signs reminding us to “speak in English” at all times. There, I developed an quasi-American accent, and a matching disdain for my own…
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