The Language of Racism?

I was perusing Facebook this morning and this post caught my eye: “I will not be forced to learn a foreign language to accommodate illegals in my country.”
That post had this as its first comment–which started a heated discussion on the topic: “Closed minded and hateful speech is what I just read.”
A person makes a statement asserting first amendment rights and someone practically accuses them of racism.  Why is it racist to refuse to learn a different language?
People have come to this country from all over the world since the 1700s.  People from England, Norway, Spain, Portugal, France, Italy, Germany, Russia, India, Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, Japan as well as many other countries all have immigrated to the United States over the years to find more freedom, a better life and new opportunities.  In the early days of this country, every one of those immigrants learned English, not because of some sense of American colonialization or because of a mandate from the government.  They learned it to form the country, because every form of government has to have one common language.
Every one.
The United States has always been the melting pot.  Dozens of cultures combined over the 240 year history of this country to bring it to where it is now.  And now, in the interest of globalization, we are are undoing some of the foundational ideas that are central to keeping our country strong.
Liberals and anti-colonialists are bemoaning what has until recently been a common trend of learning the predominate language of a country to which you wish to immigrate.  If I wish to move to Germany, it would be rude of me to ask every one of my neighbors and coworkers to learn and speak to me only in English, just because I don’t want to learn German.  Similarly, if a German comes to America, they learn English.  It is common sense.  But now it is considered rude for Americans to expect foreigners to speak English while in the U.S. and it is considered racist to expect those who wish to live here to learn the language of the country they wish to call home.
If an immigrant comes to this country and refuses to learn English, that immigrant is going to find life difficult.  So difficult that they petition our government–ours, not theirs–to produce official government forms in their language and try to assume state government offices without the ability to speak Engish.  Yet, with the mass of immigration from Mexico, there is a push to force Americans to learn Spanish and to have official government forms printed in Spanish and to have mandatory classes in our schools.  Why is this?
No one is suggesting that we force German, Greek or any other language on our citizenry.  Why Spanish? And why force any foreign language?  We live in a country that values freedom and freedom means not having the Government mandate your daily life.  Americans have the freedom of speech, and that freedom includes which language is spoken.  It does not mean that they have to speak a second language.
Having said all that, it is probably a good idea to learn another language, especially if one works at an international company or with people for whom English is a second language.  But there can be no mandate for this; it has to be an individual, personal choice.
One sure-fire way to know you have lost your country is when you are forced to speak a language different from the one spoken by the citizenry.

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4 Comments

Filed under Politics, Society

4 responses to “The Language of Racism?

  1. The one time I visited Europe, I was struck by the fact that with so many countries so close together, it makes sense to learn more than one language. The USA is so big with only one non-English speaking neighbor, making it generally unnecessary to learn another language. But oh, how grateful I was when I found someone in Europe who spoke English and didn’t hold my ignorance against me. It is a good idea to learn another language. It stretches the mind and makes us appear less arrogant. There are after all, many legitimate visitors here.

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  2. D'shaun

    In my opinion, the U.S. has a long history of being a melting-pot. We have come to far to turn back and adopt a nativist ideology.

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  3. Andrew

    What makes the statement wrong is the mention of illegals. Treating people that don’t speak English as illegals is certainly profiling and presumptuous. If the statement didn’t say illegals it wouldn’t be so contentious. Yes I agree that learning the language of the land is the respectful thing to if you plan on living there, but when you come across someone that doesnt speak English do you really know how long that person has been here? Maybe they are trying to learn English. Are you presuming they are here illegally?

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    • Hi, Andrew.
      Thanks for reading and especially for commenting. I appreciate all the feedback I get. Now, I never made the connection between refusing to learn the language and illegals; someone else did. I was simply quoting them as a segue to my own point. I don’t single out illegals as the sole participant in this effort to undermine America. There are illegal immigrants who actually do learn the language and try to assimilate. Conversely, there are many immigrants who came here legally who are trying to undermine the country that is gracious enough to welcome immigrants even as these same immigrants spit upon that country and try to burn it down.

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