Column: Multilingual writing should be appreciated

Karina Delgado, Opinions Writer

While looking through creative writing articles, I found an article over a topic no one really talks about.

In “Unsilencing the Writing Workshop” by Beth Ngyen, the author discusses their experience with creative writing workshops as a graduate and as a professor.

One particular subject caught me and left me thinking. While Ngyen’s work was being workshopped, her peers were confused about ‘dim sum,’ a Chinese dish. Her peers continued to say they did not understand this term which led to a confusing story.

Nygen had to stay quiet because that’s the point of workshops, stay quiet and take in critiques. She wondered why her peers did not look up the term while reading the story. They wasted time to critique her over this.

The article reminded me about a time where my story was being workshopped in high school. My story had plenty of “spanglish” up to the point someone wrote “use less Spanish.” Pardon me?

I am not the only person who has experienced this before. Even in college, I had peers tell me about their workshops where they used a different language instead of English in a few parts of their story.

Classmates would discuss how they wish there was key for their story because they did not understand the language. Classmates would get confused and give up.

As English majors, we do not discuss these microaggressions enough. I wish professors could talk over this topic or acknowledge it before workshop season. The fact that it even needs to be brought up in the classroom is extremely disappointing.

English majors rip apart intense readings such as “Beowulf” or “Heart of Darkness.” These readings are not easy and often written in old English. These same classmates cannot take their time and research to look up words and translations for different languages which are still used today? Instead, they are lazy enough to use this as a critique. I find this equivalent to “speak English only.” It saddens me.

We constantly talk about how as writers we bring a piece of ourselves into our writing. Those who are using a second language are using a piece of themselves in their story. Why would someone critique this? I do not believe my peers do this on purpose to be mean or even realize what they are saying is hurtful. This topic needs to be brought into classrooms so students can be more self-aware.

As I said before, if you can read through Old English, I’m sure you can read a multicultural reading.