As you sift through the mounds of Halloween candy your kids collected last night, you may notice some different packaging than you’re used to seeing. Candy sporting Spanish logos and words have made their inevitable journey into your children’s pumpkins and pillow cases. As a parent, some may question the safety and legitimacy of these new-found treats; as another kind of parent, some may use this opportunity to, you guessed it, spread diversity.
Why is this candy out there? I answer, “Why not?” Are Hispanic children limited to American-made candy? Are Hispanic companies limited to doing business in Hispanic countries, and not the US? Are non-hispanic children going to care that the packaging has spanish words on it? Chocolate is chocolate in any language. They’re going to devour it just as quickly and enjoy it just as much as the American-made equivalent. It is our attitude as parents that will determine if our children see these differences in a negative light. Now is the time to not only point out the differences in packaging, but to explain why it is different. It is different because much of our population is hispanic and speak Spanish. The language is used in advertising because the Spanish language makes up a large part of spoken and written word in this country. This is the United States – the melting pot. Use this opportunity to discover and explore our diverse languages.
There are approximately 311 languages spoken in the United States, of which, only 162 are indigenous to the US. The remaining 149 are immigrant languages. There are 14 million households in the US where English is not the primary language spoken. Fascinating. Share the diversity of language with your children, because whether you pronounce it, “chocolat”, “cioccolato”, “čokolada”, or simply, “chocolate”, it’s all delicious, it’s all acceptable, and it’s all to be celebrated.