Re: Butterflies and life

From: Kevin Rocap (
Date: Tue Apr 05 2005 - 09:33:51 PDT

Dear David,

Thank you for expanding the dialogue to a level of philosophic
reflection. I was thinking in a very narrow and situated way about
Rodriguez's vocal and well-publicized opposition to things like
bilingual education and affirmative action and what I know both from
research and lived experiences and work with language minority
communities to be problematic and harmful about that stance.

I'm not sure I'm ready to say that a standard should NEVER be "imposed".
;-) We always have guidance, norms, frameworks, policies, no? But I
guess my general rule of thumb about things like educational policies is
that we should err on the side of poilcies that open up rather than
foreclose possibilities.

Let me explain. Most bilingual education advocates would say that the
policy should be one that allows for a range of instructional approaches
for English language learners (including English-Only approaches if they
can be shown to be effective in specific application in specific
circumstances). While anti-bilingual English-Only folks tend to say
that bilingual approaches to teaching and learning should always be
banned - regardless of any research or practical evidence of their
efficacy. The policy is clearly designed to negate certain
instructional options, not to open up the possibilities, and largely on
political grounds that are at odds with sound instructional practices.

So I'm responding mostly to situation in which people are barred from
life or educational options from which they can benefit because of the
political predilections of "more powerful" others (e.g., people whose
decisions become codified as policies or laws).

In general though, I'd say I'm probably not a fan of the Kantian
categorical imperative. ;-) And so we'd likely be in agreement on that, no?

In Peace,

David Preiss wrote:

> Kevin,
> But that's not truth for everybody? I mean, is it not always hurtful
> to impose a way of life as a standard worth for everybody,
> particularly in this morally charged days? This reminds me of the
> Schiavo case, where all the minutiae of life, and what makes every
> life personal and rich, was transformed in a universal imperative.
> Should not we all look for answers that make our lifes worth living
> and not to try to make a rule of them, save by the all dictum that
> says not to inflict harm on others?
> David
> David Preiss
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------
> Pontificia Universidad Catolica de Chile: <>
> PACE Center at Yale University:
> <>
> Homepage:
> <>
> Phone: 56-2-3544605
> Fax: 56-2-354-4844
> E-mail: <>,
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Kevin Rocap []
> Sent: Tuesday, April 05, 2005 10:24 AM
> To:
> Subject: Re: Butterflies and life
> Dear Nate,
> As he is quoted in saying in the article he is "a comic victim of
> two cultures." It is functional for him that he has been able to
> turn his victimhood into a kind of celebrity. I have no issue
> with his private and individual journey. But then, politically,
> he advocates for others the same traumas he had to endure. And
> not everyone who goes through them will come out a celebrity.
> That is my concern. His personal journey is his own. But
> politically imposed on others I think it can have devastating and
> hurtful consequences. Just my opinion.
> In Peace,
> K.
> willthereallsvpleasespeakup who-is-at wrote:
>> Kevin Rocap wrote:
>>> Dear Dorie, David, et al,
>>> Actually one of the striking things about Rodriguez's book,
>>> imho, is that it is a well-wrought chronicle of one who, though
>>> extremely articulate, ultimately seems to reflect a near perfect
>>> form of internalized oppression. While he recounts painful
>>> experiences of having his race/ethnicity/cultural values ripped
>>> apart or ripped away, rather than condemn the oppressor he,
>>> instead, chooses to embrace the notion that assimilation at the
>>> expense of family and cultural ties is "the way" and now
>>> reflects that viewpoint in his politics being often
>>> anti-bilingual education or anti-affirmative action, etc.
>>> Rather than critique the oppression itself; he seems to embrace
>>> it and lend his political voice to its work.
>>> In Peace,
>>> K.
>> Opting out of a career in acadamia certainly sounds like a
>> critique to me. I have always found his essays powerful and
>> thought provoking. Here is an interview where he explains his
>> position.

This archive was generated by hypermail 2b29 : Sun May 01 2005 - 01:00:06 PDT