Your Daily Dose of Anti-Bilingualism: "We Speak English Here"

by multilingualmania on April 28, 2010

in Anti-Bilingualism, Bilingual Politics, Video

Check out this commercial by the republican candidate who is running for governor in Alabama. According to him, he will not allow the testing in multiple languages in order to get a driver’s license:

Now, I’m definitely not a republican, but I am almost sure that there may exist some republicans out there who value and embrace multilingualism (??). If so, when are ya’ll going to start holding these types of anti-bilingual and anti-diversity republicans accountable for some of the ridiculous things that they say and do!

When will enough be enough? Until decent, non-racist republicans start to hold these right wing locos (i.e. nuts) accountable, then they will continue to advocate against bilingualism and multilingualism by instituting many of the discriminatory anti-bilingual and anti-bilingual education laws that they’ve been assaulting these country with for decades!

This candidate for governor states that the elimination of testing in multiple languages will save money for the state. But he also forgot to tell you about the billions of dollars in transportation funding received from the federal government that Alabama will not receive if he acts on his promise! You can read more about this situation here and here.

Don’t let these racists fool you! This is just another example of an intolerant bigot who is using language as a justification for publicly discriminating against people who speak languages other English. Language loving republicans need to stop this nonsense in your political party!

{ 10 comments… read them below or add one }

vfwh May 10, 2010 at 5:58 am

Hi there,
no republican myself by far, bilingual and educating my children as bilinguals, I’m sure this guy is a bigot and playing on irrational fears for personal political gain. That’s not what this comment is about.

It’s about bilingualism as a positive value. Why do you have this kind of knee-jerk reaction against a nation defining an official language and sticking to it?

This guy here is talking about driving tests. If your kick is bilingualism (and mine is too), why support people who insist on speaking their native tongue when living in a country whose native tongue is another? Isn’t an essential notion of bilingualism that there is a home language and an outside language? Surely it’s hard to really defend that the U.S. native tongue (therefore the outside language of non-natives) isn’t english.

Can you please explain how you reconcile your drive to educate children bilingually and yet support people who insist on speaking their native tongue when living in another language country, to the point of actually being unable to understand “turn left” and “park here”?

Thanks in advance.

Michael October 29, 2010 at 9:56 pm

Really…? You guys are rediculous and excuse makers. Why does this man have to be a racist? You guys are more ignorant than you claim him to be. You’re wasting peoples time by writing this garbage. To me, it’s about culture, not race. Why not make one year mandatory for non-english speaking people to adjust and assimilate to english speaking schools? Why change the majority for the minority? Stop being hippies and hold true to the values of American speakers? And if you’re so sure that it’s a racist thing.. it would be the same issue if there was a French Immigration problem. Stop being rediculous.

multilingualmania October 30, 2010 at 1:56 pm

Whatever, racist.

multilingualmania October 30, 2010 at 1:57 pm

By the way, someone needs to give you one year of mandatory spelling classes. Ridiculous, not rediculous. Sigh.

SGT Sierra March 8, 2011 at 1:06 pm

Hey Michael,
So you think you are the majority? Really? Read a census dumb ass. And by the way this guy is being called a bigot because this is a form of segregation. The same type the European Americans oppressed the Native Americans with. By not allowing them to speak their language, practice their religion or their culture. Do they have dictionaries in your trailer park? They say this nation has come a long way, but then here come idiots like you that barely graduated High School to defend something that does not need to be defended. Just because someone is allowed to speak in their native language it does not mean that they are or will become the main stream culture and that their language will become the official language if it is allowed. Or is that what you are afraid of? You barely just learned the English language and now you may be forced to learn another one?

vfwh March 9, 2011 at 1:17 am

I was gonna let this one die, but I’m the guy who originally posted that first comment up there.

I’m a little bit surprised, to be frank, that people take the time to respond to Michael, who happened to make a spelling mistake (actually two, the second one more a grammatical one, but who’s counting?), whereas my original comment got no response. Maybe the double-negatives and whatnot threw you and you were not sure what I was saying. So let me restate my question clearly:
How can you at the same time defend multilingualism, which typically arises in situations where the home language is different from the social language, and support people who won’t even assimilate the social language of where they live?

By supporting people who refuse to even learn to understand “turn left” and “park here” (the topic here is driving tests), you’re supporting the most egregious form of stubborn monolingualism.

If you were living in another country, would you insist that that country should enable you to get your driver’s licence in your own language, or would you make it a point of honor to learn the local language so as to be able to take the driving test? And if you didn’t, would you feel justified in crying “segregation” or “racism”?

I am genuinely curious at how you understand the consistency of your position.

As for SGT Sierra, are you positive that Latinos in the USA are not being allowed to practice their religion or speak their language? Or ‘practice their culture’, whatever stupid fucking notion this is? I’d also like to hear some Native Americans chime in on your comparing their wholesale massacre and quasi-eradication by foreigners coming to steal their living grounds, to the plight of Latinos arriving from abroad and having to take driving tests in English.

What kind of mush lives in your head?

SGT Sierra March 9, 2011 at 1:17 pm

Dear vfw
I think you may want to ask your mommy to help you read my post again. When I mentioned religion, language and culture I did not point to the Latinos not being able to practice that you jack wagon. I was talking about the Native Americans which I also mentioned as a type of reference when I said that this idiot was using the same type of segregation. Or are you also going to tell me that the Native Americans were allowed to practice their culture, religion and speak their language. See that is the real issue in this country. People like you take a couple of online courses, learn to use spell check and want to make everyone think that they are smart. It isn’t just reading you have to master fuck wad. Comprehension is also required. Or didn’t they teach you that at your night college or what ever cracker jack box you got your diploma (if you even have one) from. And just to make sure you understand what I was trying to say (I wish we were face to face because sign language is also one of the languages I speak) I was CLEARLY referring to the fact that he wants to eliminate (this means it is already there dumb ass) so if you went to another COUNTRY and they ALREADY had a foreign language on their driving exam, then YES it would be also considered discrimination by whomever was trying to remove it. Why don’t you try this? Propose that for just one day all Hispanics in this country stopped working. See how that will pan out for your liberal dumb ass and that bigot running for office. One last question. How many other countries do you suppose would welcome as many immigrants as the U.S.? Perhaps that is a smarter approach. If you are not going to treat all immigrants in this country with the dignity and respect they deserve, then you should close your borders as other countries do. But hey who the hell am I? I am just a soldier who has served this country honorably for the last 16 years and have been deployed to 3 major conflicts to defend the liberty that asswholes like you take for granted. I defend this country with honor. What the hell do you do for this country?

vfwh March 10, 2011 at 10:14 am

Dear SGT Sierra,

I’m glad I could give you an opportunity to let off some steam, you obviously needed it. Given the way you write and your stated credentials, I think that if we were face to face you would beat me to a pulp and leave me dead on the pavement before I had a chance to say a word, so no thanks.

I really don’t want to get into the he said / she said game and quote you back to yourself to show you how statement A from post A contradicts your statement B from post B, only to have you start yelling again for even longer and then having to go into 3-dimensional semiotics or something to continue the argument. I’m not a troll.

I just genuinely don’t understand how people who profess to defend multilingualism also defend people who only want to speak their native language. I just don’t get it. Maybe it’s because I don’t understand the terms of the debate. I don’t know the Latino community in the US (and in the south in particular). Maybe there’s a hidden agenda in the multilingualism question, something about what America is, ontologically, and how the English language fits in that definition. I really don’t know but I’m starting to wonder.

The problem is that in order to understand something that I didn’t understand before, the only way I have is to engage in debate and hope that someone will make the effort of saying something that I can understand. Your rant above does not fit into that category, sorry. You’re arguing on pretty shaky ground, because your words went further than your real thoughts in your first post and you’re having difficulty standing down. I guess I can understand, as not standing down is probably a remarkable quality in your line of work.

You ask me some questions though, so I’ll try to answer them:
Q: How many countries welcome immigrants like the US does?
A: Very few if any.
Q: What do I do for this country?
A: If you mean for the US, well, not much, apart from going there all the time, paying to watch many great movies that you guys make, reading practically exclusively your literature, buying all kinds of cool products designed there, professing admiration for the creative american mind and for the rigor of some of your intellectuals that have no match anywhere in the world – at least no published match, which is a testament to American freedom of expression and academic achievement. BTW, I’m French – I’m sure that only adds to my many flaws in your eyes.

I have to say, there’s one good insight that you had: I don’t have any diplomas at all. Most people don’t figure that out about me, so kudos to you.

Apart from that, I’ll add “jack wagon” to my vocabulary, I like it. That in itself deserves thanks, enriching one’s vocabulary is such a blessing. So thanks.

All the best.

SGT Sierra March 10, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Dear vfwh
Your sorry attempt at counter psychology is pathetic. What is worse, you show you are as judgmental and condemnatory as the rest of the politicians and half the white population in this country who hide behind a mask of sinicism and hypocrisy. They say they will do one thing and that they are not prejudice and turn around and do the exact opposite once they have what they want. Why do all soldiers have to be violent? Why does the fact that I have been in battle makes you think I would “beat you to a pulp”? Just because I wrote the way I speak? Contrary to what you have seen in Hollywood and read on books I would invite you to come and hang out with real American soldiers. Any one of us would give you the shirt off his back. No matter what country you are from. This multilingual issue to some that are multilingual and live here in the US (I speak seven languages and my children speak three, I am Puerto Rican by origin and my wife is Romanian) And again, you took everything I said out of text and wrapped your own warped mentality and what ever concept you have of the issues in the US (like you said from watching movies and reading books) around it. Having said all that, I am sure that the only one that misinterpreted all I said was you, but what can anyone expect from you when you are weighing in on an issue in North America by comparing it to a similar issue in your country. Like I said, using fancy words does not make you smart. I am glad you welcome controversy and a good debate, now take up the rear like a good Frenchman and shut up. Peut-etre vous devriez garder vos commentaires a propos de choses qui se passent dans votre propre pays. Frenchy! Enregistrer vos sarcasmes et le pousser dans le cul. Je parle plusieurs langues comme vous pouvez le voir et je suis dix fois plus intelligent que vous ne le serai jamais. Si juste garder vos commentaires a quelque chose que vous savez quelque chose. Yes, French is on of the undesirable languages I speak.

vfwh March 10, 2011 at 6:56 pm

Dude, you’re a piece of work. All I have to judge you by is what you decide to show me of yourself in this thread. I know fuck all else about you, so if you want people to know all the wonderful kindness in your soldier’s heart maybe you should make some attempt at displaying it once in a while. You sure show off every other quality or property that you have. Why not that one?

And I like how you lead by example in not being prejudiced. At least I used your chosen profession to hang my prejudices on, as you were going out of your way to reinforce them. I didn’t use your ethnicity, you bigoted jerk. Just take a deep breath and read the vile racist spew that you just spat at me.

But I guess I’m the bad guy here, so that’s OK.

Blah, I’m outahere. Good job SGT.

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