You don’t speak Mexican? Well, I don’t speak Chinese! Our society has come to realize that Spanish is the national language of Mexico and those who do not know, are ignorant. But why has the Chinese population been neglected of this privilege of awareness? From students to professors and from my friends to even my family, everyone has been accustomed to saying Chinese is a spoken language. Although Chinese is considered as a “Language Family”, saying you speak Chinese is as helpful as saying you speak European or Asian. Scholars have argued that there are between 7 to 9 (ChingChongLingLongTingTong is not one of them) languages under the Chinese umbrella and my friend Joel Chan has kindly listed them for us: Mandarin, Shanhainese, Cantonese, Taiwanese, Xiang, Hakka and Gan.
I think the reason why no one has officially spoken about this is because of the following: A: The Chinese have accepted and unconsciously started to believe the way things are and don’t want to change and B: The Chinese are the least respected since we are less known to strike and riot in the United States. If this is true, then Chinese people are very likely (I think its already happening) to continue to fully assimilate to Western culture and forget their own. For those who care, it is important to speak up to make aware to friends and family about your culture. Because if you don’t, you have already submitted to the idea that the Western Culture is superior to your own – it’s not. And to non-Chinese people, just because we do not riot or strike does not mean we don’t deserve awareness of our culture. So the next time you accidentally ask “Do you speak Chinese?”, don’t try to fix your error by asking, “Oh what dialect?”. This is because Cantonese and Mandarin are separate languages, not dialects.
That is all for now, please go to your school advisers and ask for 2 credits because you have just been SCHOOLED!