Language and education are key factors in determining how hard it will be for a person to become successful in this country. Barlow explains this better because he isn’t as focused on telling his own story. Barlow definitely explains his point better than Douglas. Douglas tells more of a short story concerning a personal experience, while Barlow discusses the topic and several options.
Barlow starts his column off by illustrating a book he read his first year of teaching. The story is about Hyman Kaplan, a German Jewish immigrant in his forties who is enrolled in a class titled “American Night Preparatory School for Adults”. The story illustrates how he is learning the English language. He is reminded of this story by a story on television about two non-English speakers who were refused service at a bar somewhere in the state of Washington. He compares these two stories he brings up the controversial subject of, the problems with educating non-English speaking students. He brings up different points concerning this subject, although every solution has its pros and cons.
Douglas talks about his struggle in the early part of his life; learning to read and write was a great challenge in his environment. He talks about his personal experiences. This column is mainly a short story of his life as a slave. How he had to sneak around to read, or to teach himself how to write. Another key part of his column is where he talks about the emotionally crippling experience he went through learning how to further his thinking process. When he learned to read he discovered a part of him that he couldn’t deny or ignore. He learned about freedom and conceived the opinion that every human deserved freedom, no matter what race or color.
These two authors are both illustrating problems that we have delt with or are currently dealing with in our society. Both concern rights of different ethnic groups. Both authors explain the pros and cons of the situation being addressed. It is interesting that both columns contain someone that is struggling to learn to read and write in English. Barlow’s column deals with English education of non-American immigrants and Douglass’s column deals with English education of an American. We are currently dealing with both of these problems in today’s society. We have several ways of teaching people of different ethnic groups the English language. The concepts regarding whether or not we should make all citizens of this country learn to read, write and speak the English language, and hoe we g about teaching it if we do differ in different pars of the country. That is one of the subjects brought up n Barlow’s column. Should we make a certain strategy obligatory? Douglas doesn’t discuss this problem directly, but this problem surfaces in his column.
The subjects discussed in both columns share a common discourse community. They both are learning different aspects of the English language. Douglass is a great example for Barlow’s arguments. Douglass didn’t have any options in his learning style; he had to learn the only way he could. Times have definitely changed since Douglas’s story. Now, slavery is abolished and there are equal rights for all races and ethnic groups in our country. However his story still relates in the common racial problems. Douglas being treated un-humanely because of his race, and the Mexican patrons in Barlow’s column being treated unfairly in the bar. Barlow brings up several options, they all have there pros and cons in the aspect of which one is the best action, but they all will accomplish the task that Douglass accomplished: learning the English language. Racism is a big issue in both columns also. It is another discourse community both Douglass and the Mexican patrons belong to. Even though as stated above, slavery has been abolished there is still racial problems between blacks and whites. There are racial problems between most races. The Mexican patrons in Barlow’s column are refused service in the bar because of their race. Douglass is refused freedom in general because of his race.
Barlow’s arguments on immigrant education are still a big issue in our society, and the racial issues in Douglass’s story are still evident in a lot of situations. It is ironic how Douglass’s dated arguments can be compared to Barlow’s current arguments. Back in the era of slavery it would not have made sense to compare these arguments, the main reason being that non-English speaking immigrants were so sparse that it wasn’t a problem. But in today’s society the two columns have a lot of common arguments. Fixing one problem might fix the other or it might not affect it at all. That is why Douglass’s racial issue is still a controversial issue to this day. Although we have made an unprecedented amount of laws and regulations to fix racial conflicts, the problem still exist, although it is better, it still exists.
The style in which Barlow represents his subject is definitely clearer and it gives you several options and examples. Douglas leaves you to form your own opinions and remedies. Barlow actually discusses the education problem, and hits on several key points.
Barlow’s essay is a lot more educational on the problems discussed. And we should have a better way of dealing with this controversial subject of race and education. We need to remember that the United States of America stands for freedom. This country is made up of immigrants, and how we could forget that and start stripping African American’s, or Hispanics of their humane rights because they are from a different country and ethnic group is uncomprehendable. We do need to deal with this situation in an orderly manner, but we shouldn’t have to deal with this situation at all considering why this country was established and what it is supposed to represent. The education problem is understandable and also need to be delt with in an orderly manner. That is a very important standard in this country. Everyone should have the opportunity to get an education if they want one. Over all we have done a good job on providing equal opportunities for education in this country for the past two decades, and there is no doubt it will only improve.