Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Miami: No Habla English, Whats The Real Scoop.

Ironically enough, became aware of this information only because it appeared in the Spanish version of the Miami Herald here. Haven't heard much about it in the media recently.

If we were to believe the likes of Tom Tancredo and Lou Dobbs Miami, is pretty much a Spanish-speaking Quebec, where most people can't even speak English. Some variation of that view is no doubt shared by many former Miamians and folks living in other parts of South Florida. Anti-immigrant types take the core issue of language to the next level. Tancredo (whose obviously ghost-written piece steals liberally from Samuel Huntington) sees Miami as an "independent, cultural, political and linguisticc enclave", foreshadowing what will happen in other predominantly latino areas of the US, ultimately leading to "fragmentation" of the country as a whole.

Well since we are talking about who speaks what language in Miami, lets turn to the marketers and advertisers who depend on accurate information in their never-ending quest to sell stuff to the public.

Just this week English-language TV stations (ABC, CBS and FOX) dethroned Spanish-language Univision affiliate, which was #1 in absolute ratings in Miami. Univision lost a staggering 27 percent of its audience in a year, and its chief rival Telemundo 25%

As the article states, some of this fall is probably due to the rise of local spanish-language stations who have gained on the Univision & Telemundo. But, that hardly explains the fact that not one, but three English language stations all moved ahead of Univision. The CBS affiliate has seen its audience increase an astounding 31 percent during the past year.

What??? The bottom line is that most people in Miami prefer to watch English TV to Spanish TV. Fear mongerers like Tancredo, Dobbs and Pat Buchanan are just plain damn wrong. It is speaking a different language that is at the core of their arguments. If you don't speak the language you will not get the culture and will be on the outside looking in.

Heck what is more American than watching hours upon hours of TV???? Culture??? The spike in CBS ratings was actually explained by the Superbowl??? For better or worse many of the common points of reference for Americans of the same age groups come through what they see in the mass media. In that sense, young Miamians (and new immigrants) are getting the same "American culture" not only on TV but also on the internet (Myspace anyone??) People overseas complain about the strong influence of American culture through the media, anyone ever thought about how strong the pull of this same media is within the United States????

Most of the younger kids coming up in Miami speak English primarily and Spanish 2nd. Surveys show this is a nationwide trend among second and third generation Latinos. You do not have to be a genius to figure that out, just sit for a day in the common areas of the local colleges or clubs where young people hang out.


A.M. Mora y Leon said...

Boli ... your nation is on fire. Lou Dobbs can wait. What´s going on in Bolivia, can you tell us all about the gas shortages now that the gas belongs to ´the people´?

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Anonymous said...

Like a.m. mora y leon says Lou Dobbs can wait. Appears Daniel Ortega is taking a hard left turn in Nicaragua. Can you do some coverage about Nicaragua?

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