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Perplexed

[Photo: immigration by: eeyorenada]

I appreciate the emotional and legal complexity of the immigration issues facing the United States at this time. On May 1, many rallied in major cities across the country to urge law makers to develop humane and fair policies regarding illegal immigrants. However, I found it quite ironic and perplexing to see those demonstrating for illegal immigrants to have the right to remain in the US waving and wearing Mexican flags and carrying demonstration signs in Spanish.

Perhaps they should rethink their tactics......?

I do agree, that in a climate where people (at least, here) are demanding that congress pass bills to force English to become the official/only language spoken in the United States... you may not garner the kind of support you want by chanting everything in Spanish. It's not going to sway the opinion of the folks fighting this on the other side by any means.

More than that, it'll fuel the notion that the more of "them" that are allowed into the country, the less and less control "we"'ll continue to hold over those very issues.. As it stands today, you always hear talk about how there's a greater percentage of people in the US that know Spanish than any other language. An influx of purely Spanish-speaking immigrants would certainly continue to push that balance.

What I find interesting is that the cry for a common, unified language, seems to go silent when anything other than English is mentioned. "What, no.. if they pass a law saying Spanish is the new official national language, I'm not doin that -- I speak English. My friends speak English.. and in my neighborhood, everyone speaks English. Sure we know Spanish from school, but that doesn't mean we should be forced to speak it."

If Congress were to pass a bill dictating English as the one/only language in the US, I very strongly believe you'd get the exact same response from the other side... "What, no.. if they pass a law saying English is the new official national language, I'm not doin that -- I speak Spanish. My friends speak Spanish.. and in my neighborhood, everyone speaks Spanish. Sure we know English from school, but that doesn't mean we should be forced to speak it."

And why should they?

Why would we be willing to be forced to speak another language in our homes, businesses, workplaces, etc.. if everyone in our community wanted to continue to speak English, even after a law demanded that we change?

Would we respond accepting'ly to Spanish-speaking groups suggesting that "if we don't like it, move to England!"

I doubt it.

:)

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Hopefull you'll come for a look; I'm interested to see what you think of the company you're keeping.

Loki:

I wasn't only referring to a difference in language. I thought that it was ironic that the protesters are fighting to remain in the US but wish to still clearly distinguish themselves as foreigners.

Out of curiosity -- why do you believe that English shouldn't be the "official" public language?

For the same reason I don't think we should have an official religion, sexual orientation, musical genre, etc.

We're a country based on inclusion and freedom, and we encourage everyone to celebrate their differences and heritages, and all that jazz.

To me, a bill forcing English to be the only officially recognized language in the United States would ignore and squelch the diversity we're so proud of. I can't think of a single benefit.

Whereas it's easy for me to imagine some folks feeling like the freedom(s) we promised them was actually simply the freedom to have the chance to be "Just like us."

And if it doesn't mean they have to speak English, and doesn't mean they have to be just like us... then what's the point? What do you gain from doing it?

Why do you believe it should be? :)

I think we need a common form of communication, for the sake of maintaining a national identity and a communal spirit. Without this manner of bonding, segregation of cultures, religions, etc. will deepen. We naturally shy away from what we don't identify with and understand and ultimately may be creating chasms that will eventually be impossible to close.

Why not push to have Spanish be the offical language then, since more people know it, and since the indication is that more and more folks entering the country already speak it as their primary language?

If we all had to speak Spanish, would we suddenly gain a national identity and communal spirit? eventually? ever? Or would it anger the people that wanted to speak their native English language in communities where English is the current language of choice? And would it provide a new barrier of entry for anyone (only knowing English) wanting to enter the United States, finding that they now have to learn Spanish just to enjoy the freedoms we told them they'd find here? What if they intended to move here and live in a purely English-speaking neighborhood? Would they still have to learn Spanish to gain their citizenship?

Why demand the same for Spanish-speaking people that want to move into Spanish-speaking neighborhoods, to force them to learn and speak English as their primary language, when it's not what they want to speak? Why take that freedom away from them, when it's what we claim to be so proud of?

Is it just so we'll know what they're saying? :) We could go take a class, too. =)

What a big joke. People are amazingly ignorant.

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