Monday, October 19, 2015

What's Wrong with the Term "Second Language Writers"?

It's this very question that requires critical scrutiny. If some people feel there is anything negative or pejorative about it, that means they have implicitly accepted the idea that being an L2 writer is somehow negative. By avoiding the term without challenging the negative perception, people are inadvertently perpetuating the problem.

It's important to focus on positive aspects of L2 writing and writers, but that cannot be the only thing we do to address the issue. If we ignore the challenges they face, and the need to learn and develop to accomplish their own purposes, or if we simply dismiss other people's negative perceptions and feed them the "correct way" to talk about the issue, we are simply evading the real issue.

I don't do what I do to feel good about myself. I prefer to face the real challenges, even though other people may not see it as pleasant or fashionable. While some may prefer to gentrify the discourse, someone has to do the real work of understanding the situation as it is and promote that understanding so appropriate responses can be developed. It is this kind of work I choose to engage in.

I accept second language writers as they are--with all their amazing accomplishments and daunting challenges they face. I am a second language writer. And I'm proud of it.

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