Saturday, May 20, 2006

US: English As Official....Um..Customary...Umm.....

So the Senate says that English is now our official language. My feeling is that this is mostly symbolic, and is a bone tossed at the haters.

Latina Lista has an interesting piece on this, there might be more to this, particularly with respect to the Voting Rights Act:

The latest example that there are some members in Congress who don't just want to stop with undocumented Latinos are those Southern lawmakers who have banned together this week to halt a routine vote in the House of Representatives to extend the Voting Rights Act.

According to an Associated Press article, for 40 years, Texas and eight other states have had to get permission for any change in election law or procedure. Justice department lawyers have had to review proposals to guard against any veiled efforts to discriminate against minorities.

It's been with good reason. The states most affected by the Voting Rights Act were the ones who were the most guilty of trying to deprive people of color from voting.

And now with the English amendment, it adds a new element to the debate of whether or not to provide bilingual ballots, a provision of the Voting Rights Act that bans discrimination against "language minority" voters.

Texas Republican Senator John Cornyn has gone on record saying that, "In order to be an American citizen, you have to learn English. Why would we continue to publish ballots in a language other than English?"

Yet, nobody ever said that to be a citizen a person has to be Berlitz-proficient. Basic English has always served everyone well. Representative Solomon Ortiz from Corpus Christi reminded Cornyn that "If we want to have these people emerge into our system, we need to also allow them to understand how our system works and have them understand what they're voting on.".

Thoughts to ponder.

As far as English it is the "official" language by law....the law of the marketplace that is. You need English not only to get ahead, but also to deal with things that pop up in everyday life. Many immigrants with trouble in English are either new arrivals or are older. That is common sense, younger immigrants tend to learn English much quicker. And as LL says in her article, people of all ages do make efforts to learn the language. There is a reason why Spanish TV is inundated with commercials for Ingles Sin Barreras. And on the topic of Television, interesting how the most popular cable channel among Latinos - including immigrants- is in English. This is blown way out of proportion.


Houstonia said...

It IS blown out of proportion. I'm extremely resentful of my tax money going to pay ANY part of the salary of these politicians. They have spent actual time voting on this "English as a Unifying Language" bill.

By the way - it's not actually "official". It's worse - it's a unifying language. It doesn't really change anything - at least that's what I've read in various articles.

Thank God we have a government who knows what's important to the American people. Let's move the minor issues to the backburner - I mean, who really cares about issues like the war in Iraq, terrorism, the economy, healthcare, poverty, etc.

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