Does the ¨No Sabo kid¨ Comment Encourage Hispanic Kids to Speak Proper Spanish or Discourage them? 

By Alexia Guizar

SAN JOSE, CALIF. – As of the past years, many adults in the Silver Creek community and all throughout the city of San Jose, have coined the term ¨No Sabo kid¨ to describe a Spanish speaker who doesn´t use correct grammar. 

Text sent to a kid being called a “No Sabo Kid” Photo Credit: Alexia Guizar

There is no doubt that as children, we idolize our parents and guardians, and go as far as to do things that’ll impress them in hopes of gaining reassurance and praise. Playing sports, taking AP classes, following a difficult and impressive career path, and most importantly, learning the language of your ancestors. There are all ways kids will try to impress their families. And specifically, in Hispanic culture, it is very important to understand and speak the Spanish language to the highest ability. 

 As a kid who used to be fluent in Spanish being that it was my first language, there is a similar path that many kids similar to me fell down; was losing the ability to speak fluently as they entered a fully English-speaking school, and trying to gain the previous knowledge we had of the language all over again. Another popular reason some Hispanic children do not have the best abilities in speaking Spanish is simply that their parents didn’t teach them. This could be justified by the fear they held from being teased if they knew Spanish and better opportunities to “fit in” society. 

Though, for the past few years, it seems as if the support we searched for from our parents, guardians, and peers had given us previously, has disappeared, turned into slight judgment, and discouraged children – and me personally, to not further my skills in Spainish.

The term “No Sabo kid” derives from the grammatically incorrect way of saying “No se”, which translates to “I don’t know” in English. Although many people do know the proper way to say “I don’t know” in Spanish, they will automatically be insulted and labeled a “No Sabo Kid” for not speaking Spanish or for making a simple grammatical error. 

In Silver Creek High School, when asked if they took being called a “No Sabo Kid” as an insult, many of the Hispanic students in the school said they did and sometimes found it invalidating of their ethnicity. 

“Yes,” Jasmina Lara, a senior at Silver Creek High School says, “I felt like it added to my personal criticism with speaking spanish. I only grew up knowing a little bit of Spanish and I’m only half, so I felt that I had to be perfect with my pronunciation and grammar.”

However, other students would say that being called a “No Sabo kid” would motivate them to learn better Spanish. Like Leah Ruiz, another senior from Silver Creek High School, “It makes me want to be more connected with my culture since I wasn’t raised to speak the language. So I taught myself more because I was constantly told I was a ‘No Sabo’.” Ruiz Exclaims, “But sometimes it also discourages you because people say you aren’t real Mexican when I’m trying to speak Spanish they just make fun of my accent or the way I pronounce things.” 

In the end, after interviewing more than ten students and gaining their insights, my opinion has stayed the same and most likely will until the criticism and insults towards each other that invalidate your ethnicity come to an end. Being called a “No Sabo Kid” is insulting, it harms a person’s confidence and discourages them to become the excellent Spanish speaker they could be if they didn’t constantly fear being slandered. And truly, it also hurts the identity of an individual.  

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