Richard Rodriguez-Interview Reflection
Richard Rodriguez-Interview Reflection
Richard Rodriguez is a Mexican-American author who has benefited from affirmative action granting him an opportunity to learn. As a child, he was fascinated by books and would read at every chance he got. He attended Sacramento in California, and at the time, he only knew 50 English works. He eventually finishes his university education by studying in the quiet reading room of the British Museum. The main focus of the chapter and the presentation interview is to describe his distressing journey as a minority student who pays academic success and social assimilation with painful alienation from his parents, culture, and past. In the presentation, Rodriguez explains to listeners the high cost of becoming successful in middle-class America. Rodriguez reminisces his journey through education and the significance in his life. He asserts that his success in life was because education changed and separated him from the life he lived before becoming a student. Rodriguez sees himself as the perfect scholarship boy, as described by Richard Hoggart in his book The Uses of Literacy (Rodriguez, 1982). Like the scholarship boy, Rodriguez said that he was the type of student who memorized information in the books to maintain good grades without necessarily developing an opinion. He was denied his past because he had to maintain two different phases while at school and home. Rodriguez says that he encountered nostalgia from his past. While education widened the gulf between his parents and him, it made him care and be willing to write about. The reason why Rodriguez is an author today is because of education.
In the presentation, Rodriguez touches on matters of minority, cultural minority, language, family influence, and education because he wanted to show the audience how his factors helped transform him from a shy and isolated young boy to the man he is today. His life changed when he adapted to the American culture. For the first time, he was not conflicted, and he chose another culture over his Mexican culture. He quickly noticed that there was a demand for well-educated people within the American culture. As a result, he formed an opinion that his family was holding him back and preventing him from getting the education he so much craved for. Rodriguez talked about culture in his speech to show listeners that in order to be successful, he had to separate himself from the family as their actions as the reasons why they were not successful in his eyes. He strongly held that his Mexican culture would only drive him towards financial devastation and failure, issues that are looked down upon in American society. He wanted to show that he had to learn a new culture by himself using books as a guide and education at a very tender age. Although he denies being a minority, it is clear that his Hispanic roots made him a minority. Language and family influence are important factors as they shaped him into the man he is too. His mother had a high school degree, and his father came to the United States to chase a career as an engineer that did not materialize. His parents’ English was poor and as such, they could not help Rodriguez with his studies. At one point, his father tried to help with solving math problems, but he could not get past the instructions. Rodriguez was angry that his parents were not capable teachers leading him to turn to his teachers and not his parents role models.
In my opinion, American society remains one of the most diverse cultures in the world. It has people from all kinds of ethnic backgrounds. Like Rodriguez, I agree that Americans do not speak English but rather speak American. With so many ethnicities, including African American, Hispanic, Native American, Latino, Asian-American, among others, it is difficult to say which language Americans speak. People tend to mix language, and all people incorporate some black American slang, Spanish, and even German in their language. It is high time that people do away with the minority terminology because we are all Americans at the end of the day.
Rodriguez, R. (1982). The hunger of memory: The education of Richard Rodriguez (Reprinted 1983). New York: Bantam.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jz2wLvK9p9Q “Books and Learning”