Take a look at this video. This is a great representation of how immigrants feel about speaking English and their accent. Because of experiences like this one people learn to embrace their languages. We need more people to step up against language shame. Winning this fight starts with you! Embrace the language you speak! Let others know that having an accent or speaking a language other than English does not make you inferior!
Often called the Gateway to Latin America, Miami is one of the most diverse and cosmopolitan cities in the United States. Upon visiting this lovely city, many visitors might hear a variety of different tongues whether it be various dialects of Spanish, Haitian Kréyol, Brazilian Portugese, or even some others from fellow tourists.
Many immigrants to Miami might find this atmosphere welcoming and almost a second home. Others, however, still experience many of the pitfalls that immigrants in the United States must power through. Among the least-studied and overlooked of these pitfalls is the experience of vergonha, or language shame.
Language shame is the feeling of rejection or shame at the speaking of one’s own language thanks to government policies or even simply national climate. While it seems almost silly on the surface (after all, languages are just what you speak, right? Right?), language shame often cuts deeply for the speakers that face it, and its effects can be felt for quite some time. Despite American society’s ambivalence towards language, many speakers, especially immigrant speakers who leave their homes and often find themselves racing to learn their new country’s language, understand the personal, welcoming feeling that languages should provide and that is often denied them. Furthermore, thanks to the politicization of both language and immigration, language shame can hold real consequences in regards to serious societal issues such as race, religion, and even language loss.
Thus, Language Shame in Miami is dedicated to raising awareness on the issue of language shame to help the blossoming immigrant population in Miami’s borders. Even if this site and its reach is small, we hope that it will at least begin a discussion on these issues that touch the lives of so many.