I was just reading this post from TwentyTwoWord’s blog, and I just wanted to post it here to further spread the love. I don’t disagree with the law as much as the method and the arrogant attitude of those advocating for it.
Here’s an excerpt from the post:
But demanding, “Learn English”? That’s purely and only a message of fear for English-speaking constituents. It says nothing to immigrants. They don’t need to be told; they *are* learning English.
I get the occasional random forward-email and most of them I ignore, some of them annoy me, but this last one really infuriated me. It was titled: “This is customer service!” and the text of the email said:
GOOD MORNING, WELCOME TO THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, a Christian nation of the free and the home of the brave. How may I help you?
[image of the American flag]
Press ‘1’ for English.
Press ‘2’ to disconnect until you learn to speak English.
It gets better, they add a religious twist:
And remember only two defining forces have ever offered to die for you, Jesus Christ [picture of White Jesus holding a lamb] And the American Soldier. One died for your soul, the other died for your freedom. If you agree keep it going.
I don’t talk politics much, but to me it isn’t a political issue. It shows an arrogant, ignorant, and disrespectful perspective towards other cultures and languages. I think there is beauty in diversity, just as there is diversity in the body of Christ, so too is there beauty in different cultures, peoples, and languages. Be patient, and help them learn English and do yourself a favor and learn another language, then you will realize how difficult it is.
Not only is this bad culturally, it is going backwards in evangelistic efforts, if you follow the religious aspect of this email, to the days where the old missionaries attempted to turn the people of other nations into hymn singing, abandoning their cultural heritage for the sake of “the gospel”. That’s like telling someone in America, they have to walk around barefoot, that it’s evil to get a pedicure, to hunt and grown their own food, live in a hut, forget about taking a warm shower, and they can’t use their iphone, because they need to embrace the Right Way to Jesus, which apparently means abandoning every aspect of your culture and language.
As a linguist’s daughter, I believe that the right way is to learn about the beauty of the culture, learn the language, creating a written language where none exists, and this includes all aspects, including music, this is where I refer you to ethnomusicology.
My point is…I think we could use more well-rounded culturally-sensitive people in the USA.