Julián Castro grew up in a Latinx household, but he does not speak fluent Spanish. In a recent interview with MSNBC’s Kasie Hunt, the presidential candidate reminded us that the United States’ history of trying to keep Latinos from speaking Spanish has had long-term effects.
When Hunt asked him to explain why someone who is of Latinx heritage might not speak Spanish, Castro, who is Mexican American, talked about his own history.
“I guess the best place to start is to say that there are Latinos who have lived here for generations,” he said. “My grandmother that I grew up with got here almost 100 years ago in 1922. In my grandparents time, in my mom’s time, Spanish was looked down upon. You were punished in school if you spoke Spanish. You were not allowed to speak it. People, I think, internalized this oppression about it, and basically wanted their kids to first be able to speak English. And I think that in my family, like a lot of other families, that the residue of that, the impact of that is that there are many folks whose Spanish is not that great.”
While several Latinos have been belittled for Spanish in public in recent times (here, here, and here if you need a refresher), the language is certainly more accepted today than it was in the past. And Castro is actively working to make his daughter feel pride because she is bilingual. As he said in the interview, his daughter is currently enrolled in a bilingual program.
Check out the interview below.