...'Do your children speak only Spanish at home, Mrs. Rodriguez?... Is it possible for you and your husband to encourage your children to practice their English when they are home?' 'Of course,' my parents complied. The moment after the visitors left, the change was observed. 'Ahora, speak to us eninglés,' my father and mother united to tell us....
American essayist and educator. Born in San Francisco to Mexican American immigrant parents, Rodriguez learned to speak English in a Catholic grammar school in Sacramento, California, and went on to earn a B.A. from Stanford University and an M.A. from Columbia University. Once a doctoral candidate in English literature at the University of California at Berkeley, Rodriguez opted instead to pursue his own path as a teacher, journalist, and author. He now works for the Pacific News Service and is a regular guest on PBS NewsHour. In Hunger of Memory: The Education of Richard Rodriguez (1982), he recounts his sometimes painful assimilation into mainstream American society. His second book, Days of Obligation: A Letter to My Mexican Father (1992), further explores the tensions between his Mexican and his American selves. His most recent book is Brown: The Last Discovery of America (2002). See also pbs.org.