Rita M. Gafke on my The immigration debate post says:
My parents were from Poland and came legally in the late 1920’s. We spoke polish at home but anywhere else it was English. My parents had to learn to read, write and take a test to be citizens. What happened to all that?
I thought the reply actually deserved a post:
As I have stated before, my parents as well were immigrants. There was no option to learn English as there was no press #2 for Bosnian. I studied french for several years, Bosnian, German, and Arabic, of course I can remember none of it now. In high school I was a polyglot because I took 2 foreign languages. I opted out of the only other foreign language offered (Spanish) out of principal. My objection to this was that English was not the official language of the US. Even back then the wave was becoming to learn Spanish as it gave one an advantage in many fields and the pay was better, but even in my teens I knew that eventually this would seep into the institution/state level.
Since, we have see state funded elementary schools that offer schooling in English or Spanish languages. We have seen employers where there is contact with customers require “Spanish speaking” as a qualification. We have seen the press number one for English and two for Spanish.
The complications of “pampering” the native Spanish speaking population are many but all stem from the root problem of handicapping one population by giving them not only the means to never fully integrate into American society but by actually encouraging it. In reality it enables the ghettoisation of the Spanish speaking population.
Speech is the greatest, most powerful tool that man has. Speech provides us with not only with the means of expressing our thoughts, but it is how we achieve (with ease) our wants, needs and most importantly our necessaties for survivial. Speech gets us our jobs, our food, medical assistance. With speech we are able to identify regions and countries, not only through the language spoken, but we can identify accents. Speech is an identity.
By actually offering schooling in Spanish we automatically put these children at a disadvantage when they become forced to learn English to continue on with a public education. At the most crucial time in their lives when children are able to master more than one language, when they are most adaptable we are actually discouraging children from mastering English. We are actually in essence providing children that are American born with an accent, an identifier. Further, as far as I know, colleges do not offer courses in Spanish. Are we actually hampering the Spanish population from a greater education?
Most immigrants need to learn English to purchase food, to obtain a job, to do banking, to obtain housing, to obtain medical assistance. In this country, for the Spanish speaking population there is no need to learn English as they can meet their needs because Spanish is spoken everywhere. However, in order for their children to actually fully utilize our Universities and Colleges, to become proffesionals they need to speak English and we are assisting in keeping them from doing so. We are assisting and encouraging creating a Spanish bubble. This may not be a crime, so to speak, but it most certainly is unethical. It is the complete assitance to ghettoisation.
My objection is not that one immigrant population has an advantage over others, my objection is that that immigrant population actually has a disadvantage over the others.