This essay written by Augustina Weber, 8 years old.
Sometimes people are surprised when they meet me for the first time. They expect me to speak with an accent just because my mom has one. Sometimes they say I do sound like her and that I pronounce some words with an accent too. They say it is because my mom has one and I learned it from her.
But I was born in America, and I grew up listening to English. My mom, on the other hand, was born in Chile, a country in South America, and taught herself how to speak English at age 15. She also learned how to speak French years ago. She loves languages.
Anyone who speaks three languages should feel proud of themselves. But often, my mom feels bad because of her accent. She wishes she didn’t have one. She says sometimes people mock her accent.
“Hola, que? Si muchas gracias, me gustan los tacos,” they say (with an elongated si and gracias).
They imitate her with a Mexican accent, which is not even close to the one she has. In fact, people do not eat tacos in Chile, they eat seafood and fruits.
Sometimes people think she is not smart enough just because of the way she talks.
Sometimes she feels inadequate and self-conscious.
But my mom is so smart. She is one of the smartest people I know. She writes amazing stories and creates music. She is also the best photographer I know. I want to be like her when I grow up, and to be honest, I never notice her accent.
She once told me that when she first moved to America, she tried so hard to get rid of her accent. But no matter how hard she tried, she could not. People would always point out her accent, and each time she felt like a failure.
“I will never speak like a native American,” she would say to herself.
But one day, she decided not to care anymore. She decided not to hide her accent, because that is what made her, her.
Today, some people still imitate her accent and laugh at the way she pronounces some words. Today, people still correct her when she accentuates words wrongly. She learned not to care, but I know she feels bad sometimes.
Martin Luther King Jr. once said “I have a dream!” And he hoped that we all would be treated equally, no matter what we looked like, or where we came from.
But it’s the year 2016, and his dream has not completely come true yet.
Just like Martin Luther King Jr., my dream is that some day soon, people will stop caring about accents, hair color, skin color, or the way we look. My dream is for people to respect each other and for people to realize that everyone has accents, including Americans. My hope is that some day soon, all these wishes will come true.
So, are you ready to make these dreams come true? I think it’s about time. I know that would make Martin Luther King Jr. so proud. And my mom too.