Monday, September 05, 2005
speak English... or else!
Just this past Sunday, I was reading the August edition of a free Christian newspaper my church has copies of and found a letter to editor that caught my attention. It follows:
what. the. hell.
Oh man, where to start... I was just at once irritated, shocked, and later, just plain pissed off by the entire tone of the letter. First off, why is a letter filled with such blatantly nativist and prejudiced language doing in a Christian newspaper? It's an "insult" and "rude" to this lady (in California!) when she hears a non-English language in public? What's with her ridiculous "emergency" scenario... if she sees me bleeding on the sidewalk screaming "Call the 911!" in Chinese, is she gonna shake her head and keep walking? And what's up with the ominous threat that according to her, "one day there will be an explosion?" If her name was "Hakim" instead of "Beverly", the government would be hunting her down and labeling her a terrorist.
Oh and bonus points to Ms. Wyer for taking a shot at Europe for being more tolerant than America... because nothing's more American than intolerance. Those silly Europeans and their non-English speaking ways. Whoohoo!
While I can accept that racism and prejudice are very much still realities of life in America, I hold anyone who claims to be a Christian to a HIGHER standard. I don't care if a newspaper claims to conservative, liberal, or even the word of God Himself... if you have the ignorance and willingness to publish inflammatory garbage like this lady's letter, you ought to seriously examine your faith.
I sent an e-mail already to the newspaper with a letter in response. I suggest you do the same... e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org with an e-mail titled "letter to the editor" to let them know how you feel.
Speak out, all you people who speak "rude" non-English languages... I'll post up the e-mail I wrote in later entry.
..or you could call her directly =P
This woman has served in government...how could that have happened in California, even if it's El Cajon? A furious letter should be written indeed.
I have a different point of view in this.
She clearly stated:
"No one is asking that you give up your language, but keep it your own home."
"if she sees me bleeding on the sidewalk screaming "Call the 911!" in Chinese, is she gonna shake her head and keep walking?"
Like she said, she probably won't understand what you're screaming about.
Own home, not "home country".
It's not an insult. Now you ask for her tolerance for foreigners, now what about your tollerance for her and other Americans who don't understand English? Have you ever thought for a second that they have feelings too?
This letter isn't full of hate. It is a desperate cry from an American. If you spoke your foreign language in public, they may find it offensive because they have no idea what you're talking about. You could be talking about them behind their back and they won't know it. Speaking English is not a requirement, it's just a courtesy to others because everybody can understand it.
I think she has good intentions in warning foreigners about the need to adapt to the American culture. If I was an employer, and I were interviewing two equally qualified foreign candidate, but one spoke fluent English, and one spoke broken mangled English, which one would I hire?
The lady is calling for unity. We can all celebrate our diversity, but why not celebrate what we have in common?
English, although not an official language, can keep us united.
so what about you speaking english in front of new immigrants? what if they don't understand YOU? isn't that RUDE of YOU to speak english in front of them? what kind of welcome is that to a new immigrant? your post is bogus just like the letter to which it refers. it's nothing but racism to tell someone to stop speaking their native language just because YOU don't understand it. in europe, many people are multi-lingual (yea, that means they know more than just 2 languages). It's common and accepted. it's america that is so ethnocentric and insists that english always be spoken. pick up a book, take a class, learn a different language. would it hurt you to learn THEIR language? what a crock.
awi- "desperate cry from an American"? In a public space, everybody is free to exercise a great deal of freedom. If I choose to converse with somebody in a different language, that's my business.
As for going to a job interview, that's a completely different situation... she never mentions that in her letter. The subject is the public space.
Uniting our country will take a lot more than just propagating English... try eliminating people's prejudice against immigrants first.
How is speaking English a courtesy? Isn't America supposed to be 'the melting pot of the world?'(putting aside that 'melting pot' in itself could have negative connotations for some people) I didn't realize that only applied after you had been whitewashed.Post a Comment
English may be the official language, but seeing as America had to push out the Mexicans, Russians, French, and Native Americans to make it the official language for the lower 48 really hurts the argument there.
As for the 'emergency' argument...total bullshit. If a guy is lying on the ground bleeding, he doesn't need to know English for someone to understand that HE NEEDS HELP. Obviously, this might apply to things like internal problems, but seeing as you can't actually survive in the US without A) knowing English B)having a close community of people who understand your language C) having a translator close by, I don't understand the logic behind it. To me, it sounds like an attempt to appeal to the 'mother/caretaker' feeling we have and make the thing sound nicer.
As for unity...That would apply if there was ever any unity in the US. In a place with a lot of diversity, you might have unity aside from people like her, but in other places, there's no unity at all. Prejudice and racism is still very much a part of the US. I'd almost rather people who don't know English continue to remain ignorant; it'd likely save them a bit of grief/aggravation.