English-Only Graduation Speeches?

July 1, 2008

According to the article, it sounds like Cindy, 18, said a sentence or so in Vietnamese--and then translated it for the wider audience. I know that if I were sitting in the audience, and say, it was my son, I would be damn proud--probably crying--to hear him say something in Vietnamese or Chinese.

Here's Cindy's point of view, according to the AP:

'Ms. Vo said her statement in Vietnamese was aimed at her parents, who do not speak fluent English. “Out of the whole speech, it’s one sentence dedicated to them to give thanks,” she said. “Mine was personal and general for the entire Vietnamese community and something I wanted to share with graduates.”'

She made it very clear--her parents do not speak fluent English, and this was in a way, a tribute to her parents.  

The Vietnamese American Young Leaders Association of New Orleans sent out a press release, stating: "Having come from refugee families, many Vietnamese American students have overcome countless life obstacles to become successful proud Americans. Many students attribute their hard work and successes to the struggles and sacrifices that they witness their parents endure as refugees fleeing a war torn country during the Viet Nam War and as first generation immigrant Americans.  The ability for students to communicate their appreciation to their parents in a way which can be best understood is a right of all students."

The U.S. has always been racist and xenophobic, but we live in some bad times, folks.


Momo Chang

Senior Contributing Editor

Momo Chang is the Content Manager at the Center for Asian American Media, and freelances for magazines, online publications, and weeklies. Her writings focus on Asian American communities, communities of color, and youth culture. She is a former staff writer at the Oakland Tribune. Her stories range from uncovering working conditions in nail salons, to stories about “invisible minorities” like Tongan youth and Iu Mien farmers. She has freelances The New York Times, WIRED, and East Bay Express, among other publications.



That's f'ed up. For crying out loud. The kid translated the Vietnamese into English.I guess people in Lousiana aren't worried about stereotyping themselves as backwards racists.
Fucking bullshit! No freaking tolerance, it sickens me. No wonder my parents did not teach me Chinese, cause of assholes like this that berate them for not speaking perfect English.And then some old white guy in the airport has the nerve to judge me and say "Oh you don't speak Chinese" Oh why not? You know my grand daughter is learning Mandarin."Why not you say? Cause you racist ignorant fuckers talk shit every time we do. Cause we were beaten and discriminated against, Thats why! Just like your ancestors were when they came from germany or italy or wherever and that's probably why you also only speak English! Why is a white person considered educated or refined if they speak a second foreign language, but when an Asian or Hispanic, Persian, African or other minority groups speaks their own ancestral language they get criticized? I am sick of this double standard!
agreed. i can't believe that i am even reading this. it's as if this nation has nothing better to scrutinize. as if we live in a world that's so perfect that we should start picking on each other, high school kids for that matter, about what language can or cannot be used during graduation. and to think that all of this is a result of a few phrases spoken in a different language AND was translated for the general public. sick.
you know if they said "joie de vivre" or "carpe diem" or something, nobody would have batted an eyelid. fuck this.
Kentucky. West Virginia. And now Louisiana.Places I don't think I could live.Those xenophobes are a sick comment on the worst of American racism and prejudice. Hell, everyone I know, white or non-white, would be PROUD to hear these young people treat their parents with such respect and dignity! Aren't those the "Family Values" that some of these same xenophobes trumpet? They should be ashamed of themselves.Bobby Jindal, I'm watching your every move on this issue.
I agree. It's ridiculous to object to her one sentence of thanks to her parents.
Yeah I hear you Ravi, he better say something about this. This upsets me as well. Ppl are so blind sometimes.
Is there a link to the original article?
you mean a different article from the one that was linked in momo's post?
You all really should not be surprised or shocked by this development. This is nothing new.America is a Eurocentric White supremacist nation--always has been, and prolly always will be.No amount of band-aid reforms that Liberals love so much will change this reality.Only revolt, rebellion, and uprising will bring an end to Anglo-American power and rule.
Thanks for profiling this important story. If you would like to get weblinks to other articles, check out our article at http://www.aaa-fund.com/?p=441.Gautam DuttaExecutive DirectorAsian American Action Fund
How dare anyone speak a language other than English in good old _Terrebonne_ Parish!
you're right - if it were spoken in french, italian, or any other euro language, this wouldn't have been such a ruckus. perhaps there were retaliating against the fact that 2 caucasian kids were not valedictorian. boo hoo americans :(
AKIA.AYAK?Please make sure David Bourg and Rickie Pitre (Secondary education supervisor and board member of Terrebonne School District) are included in all future Klan activities.
why isn't everyone typing in Vietnamese?
David Duke comes from Louisiana, two white people got convicted for having sex with animals in a Louisiana church, the Neo Nazis gathered there a month before Katrina, you had the Jena 6 and now this. What do you expect of inbred white trash who populate the state? No wonder the good Lord sends pestilence like Hurricane Katrina. Next time a hurricane hits the entire state could go under the sea.
First, do the whites (and blacks) in Louisiana even speak English?
has there been any updates about this?
Raj: I was somewhat with you until you implied Hurricane Katrina was a good thing.