English Only, Please

I’m not a big fan of Facebook but I am less a fan of bigotry.

I posted this image on my wall a few weeks ago with the comment below it and I meant it:

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I had to post the following comment today:

Just in case people did not notice, I’m Latino, my first language is Spanish, I lived in the United States speaking Spanish-only until I went to an English as a Second Language public school in the Bronx, and my mother still doesn’t speak anything but Spanish. If you don’t like that, go fuck yourself and get the flying fuck off my Facebook friend list.

I beg of you, if you feel the way this person on this image does: confess your bigotry and remove yourself. Don’t make me delete you myself, you’re not really worth the mouse click

I am a firm believer that everyone who moves to a foreign country where the majority of the country speaks a different language than the immigrant is accustomed to should learn that language, be it German, English, Spanish, French Canadian, or whatever. It simply makes sense to learn the language to maximize your utility and personal capability in the economy and society at large.

Having said that, however, I also do not believe it should be an institutionalized requirement nor should people aggressively take a stance against people who choose to remain uneducated in the foreign language. This is especially true in the United States where the first golden rule is freedom of speech–including the freedom to speak in whatever language one wishes and the freedom to ONLY speak in whatever language one wishes.

I saw, firsthand, the marginalization my family endured in New York due to the ignorance of the English language. We were just lucky we lived in a predominantly Latino community where we didn’t have to depend on speaking English to work and survive. Like I said, it’s best to learn the language to maximize personal potential, but I do believe in the freedom to choose. The angry, knee-jerk rhetoric that we shouldn’t have to press a button because this is an English speaking country is not simply ridiculous, it’s anti-American.

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