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Bilingual Personhood and the American Dream

Bilingual Personhood and the American Dream

Chapter:
(p.61) Chapter Two. Bilingual Personhood and the American Dream
Source:
Bilingual Brokers
Author(s):
Jeehyun Lim
Publisher:
Fordham University Press
DOI:10.5422/fordham/9780823275304.003.0003

Chapter two examines the rhetorical and social construction of bilingual personhood as part of the American Dream through the debates on public bilingualism. The debates on bilingual education and bilingualism as civil right in the 1960s and 1970s centered on what language befitted an American citizen concordant with the vision of the American Dream. The argument against public bilingualism viewed English as the colorblind language of the American Dream whereas the argument for public bilingualism presented the idea that the American Dream can be in many languages. While these two poles of opposition and advocacy are well-rehearsed positions in the social debates on bilingualism, both positions presuppose possessive individualism in the construction of bilingual personhood, which limits the parameters of public bilingualism.

Keywords:   American Dream, bilingual education, bilingual personhood, language and capital, possessive individualism

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