Stories of Dreamers: Linguistic Privilege and Marginalisation

This month we published Narratives of East Asian Women Teachers of English by Gloria Park. In this post the author explains how her book has provided a platform for six East Asian women to share their experiences of living in the midst of linguistic privilege and marginalisation.

Writing Narratives of East Asian Women Teachers of English: Where Privilege Meets Marginalization has been an amazing journey. Amazing in a sense that I was able to revisit the stories of the five fabulous women who have opened their lives to me, but also, being able to reflect on my life – the very stories that have shaped me into who I am today. While this book is about Han Nah, Liu, Xia, Yu Ri, Shu-Ming, and Gloria, the stories that unfold in each chapter can touch the lived experiences of many other women teachers of English around the world.

The stories in this book are symbolic of how issues of privilege and marginalization continue to (re)surface in our lives – how issues of race, gender, and class intersect with the English language and traverse the territories of the US and our mother lands. In our times of political turmoil where difference is negated, placed on chopping blocks, and silenced, our stories and other stories of transnational and mobile individuals become critical. Critical because these are shared stories of experiences of the Dreamers – those of us who seek out opportunities, both directly and indirectly, to live and interact humanely in this world. The stories of the six women depicted in this book may be privileged narratives, but I can’t negate the ways in which even the most privileged are somehow marginalized – the stories of privilege intersecting the linguistic and racialized discourses that continue to haunt these women and others in similar minority positions in the United States. Yes, indeed, this book has been my platform to shout out the lives we all know exist for those who are perceived to be (il)legitimate speakers and users of the English language.

Yet, these platforms are not always accessible to everyone. Those who are perceived to be powerless or special victims will never have the opportunity nor a platform to fight their battles for voice, for democracy, for visibility, for a better life, and most of all, for a chance to live out their DREAMS as the DREAMERS. While those who think that they can MAKE AMERICA GREAT have no clue about the legacy of America and those who have stepped up to build America in more ways than one. There is no singular truth in our complex world – there is no supremacy in the United States – it is a land of opportunity that should and MUST continue to champion those who need to live out their DREAMS. Each person’s dream is unique, as depicted by the stories of these six women, in that it changes with time given both local and global contexts. Narratives of East Asian Women Teachers of English is one step toward finding our voice, our agency, our democracy, our opportunity, and most of all, our DREAM to live and interact safely in this world now and in the years to come.

For more information about this book please see our website. If you found this interesting, you might also like Desiring TESOL and International Education by Raqib Chowdhury and Phan Le Ha.

One thought on “Stories of Dreamers: Linguistic Privilege and Marginalisation

  1. Dr. Gloria Park’s book titled “Narratives of East Asian Women Teachers of English: Where Privilege Meets Marginalization” is a thought-provoking and challenging type of a read. Even though this book tells stories of six East Asian women, it relates to everyone who experienced studying or teaching in the US context, which in some cases is viewed as a privilege, but also as a type of marginalization. I come from a different cultural background but was surprised to find myself in very similar situations described by the characters of the book. Moreover, being a TESOL student I can fully understand the experiences those six women had both in the US and other contexts. Before the book was published, I was lucky to read several articles that talked about these women independently, but having read the whole book, I was able to connect and see a deeper meaning to those stories. I also appreciate author’s writing style, as it is easy to comprehend, though it provokes further thinking. Overall, this book opens up problems, challenges, ups, and downs of English language teachers as they go through different stages of their career and personal paths in order to achieve their own dreams. I believe those powerful narratives are timeless and deserve to be heard, as they portray individuals who, with the help of English language, pursuit personal reveries, and in that way can relate to the vast number of English language learners and teachers. I personally enjoyed reading this book and will advise it to my multilingual colleagues and students.

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