Thursday, September 13, 2007
One more comment responding to Alberto J. Ferrer’s perspective posted under The Big Tent at AdAge.com (see Essay 4426)…
It’s telling how many English “native” speakers disavow this traumatic history of cultural conquest.
Gosh, Conchita, I didn’t know that the Spanish conquistadors didn’t wipe out any native cultures in Latin America! Thanks for the history lesson -- and to think I always thought that Mayan and Aztec were the native languages of Mexico, not Spanish!
Thus, many of these fears of losing our heritage are unfounded since America’s heritage IS THE MIX OF MANY. To most historians this has always been a strength.
Those providing “the mix” ALWAYS assimilated into the prevailing English-speaking culture. Until now, of course. Otherwise we would not have had a common culture that made us the superpower of the world in days past, but a fragmented, Balkanized one, the kind we are heading for today.
And we recognize what is AMERICAN, don’t we? So does the rest of the globe.
Yes indeed, and what is AMERICAN culture is said in ENGLISH. Elvis didn’t speak Spanish, and neither did Thomas Edison, FDR, William Faulkner or Marilyn Monroe. And of course, the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Gettysburg address, etc. were not written in Spanish either.
Once upon a time languages, cultural exchange, knowledge, and pluralism were cherished values by no less of a figure than Benjamin Franklin.
Franklin wrote about his fears of losing English-speaking American culture to German immigrants. Look it up for yourself. I’m sure he valued assimilation and the willingness of German immigrants to learn English. Fortunately, they WERE willing to assimilate and learn English, as were all other immigrant groups for 230 years, except for, well, you know…
Do we really want to live in a bubble of our own making, surrounded by border walls of cultural superiority and self-delusion? Don’t we see the inconsistency here, and the dangers?
We have always learned from other cultures. Keeping English as our common unifying language, which it has been for 231 years, doesn’t preclude that.
If we stifle our ability to engage, change and mix in our unique American way…
Our ability to do that depends on us all speaking a common language. Sorry you can’t see that. I guess no one bothered to check out what’s happening in Belgium these days.
Wow. You really showed me. Then again, I’d expect big words from a 200K household. Well done. —Bill Green, MTLB, NJ
I wasn’t bragging. Salaries are higher in California to make up for the higher cost of living. I was just pointing out that I have a lot of discretionary income, and marketers are turning their backs on that by offending me with their unpatriotic, Balkanizing marketing techniques.
Ignorance is the mother of all inaccuracies. Last night’s democratic debate on Univision (the “low point in the country’s history” as one reader called it) was not conducted in Spanish, but in English, with simultaneous translation available for Spanish-speaking viewers. For those of you who didn’t watch, Bill Richardson was actually reprimanded, twice, for attempting to speak his native language: Spanish. —Laura Martinez, New York city, NY
The questions were asked in Spanish and most of the participants had to wait for English translations in order to reply. Sounds like a very cumbersome process to me. No doubt, it would have been easier if the target audience had just accepted that English is the language of this country and endeavored to master it, as all other immigrant groups have for 231 years…
This should cause no more controversy than if a reference is made to the home state of a person and it is the wrong state. —Nils von Zelowitz, New York, NY
Umm, and who are you to tell English-speaking American consumers what they “should” and “shouldn’t” be offended by? The two situations are entirely different. One is a simple mistake and the other is a reminder of our historical common language being undermined and attacked by a culturally aggressive ethnic group, large numbers of which came here without our permission.
If you think it is not a problem, consider the following:
--Home Depot is currently suffering a massive sales meltdown. Many people like myself boycott Home Depot, although the boycott hasn’t been addressed in the MSM. Home Depot blames its miserable performance on the slowdown in home construction, but if they really believed that was the only case, why did they sponsor a recent campaign in which they invited consumers to tell them why Home Depot is being boycotted?
--A video called “Press One For English,” which outlines the anger that English-speaking Americans feel at what is happening to our language, has received more than five million hits since it was posted on YouTube a few months ago.
--If you look for them, you can find plenty of news reports of native-born English speaking Americans in civil service positions like schoolteacher, firefighter, police, etc., losing their jobs or losing out on a promotion because they don’t speak Spanish. Do you think that Hispanic non-assimilation is not an issue to such people? If you had just lost your job because you don’t speak Spanish, would you be happy if you opened up a direct mail letter addressed to you in that language? —Mary Jessel, San Francisco, CA