Re: English only legislation

Subject: Re: English only legislation
From: Johanna Manning <johannam -at- RAILS -dot- COAT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 11:36:03 -0500

One practical purpose to assigning an OL is the money we taxpayers would
spend printing each book, literature, policy, signs (need I go on?) in two
or more languages. I also think that if Spanish is accepted as an official
language, hold onto your hats. In ten years, oriental people will be
holding the majority.


On Fri, 21 Jan 1994, Jim Venis wrote:

> > >> I think such legislation deserves serious consideration, but I am sure
> > >> it won't get an open-minded hearing. Too many people will be able
> > >> to make too much political mileage simply by shouting such proposals
> > >> down. --Jim Venis
> >
> > Yeah but Jim, you don't say why the legislation deserves serious attention,
> > or what "serious attention" is. If it's a run through Congressional
> > I suggest we cool it until the issue goes off the richter scale for more
> > folks that merely the anti-cuban crowd in Miami or the xenophobes in
> > California. Besides, what practical purpose would it serve to make English
> > the OL? If it serves no practical purpose, why is it (or should it be) on
> > agenda.
> >
> > Tim Pera
> > tim -at- pbs -dot- com
> >
> I think English-only law deserves calm, deliberate consideration because
> in a multi-ethnic society like ours, there remains the need to have a
> common channel of communication to which all parties have access. That
> channel could be Attic Greek for all I care, but that's not very
> practical, is it? If we agree that the United States benefits by having
> its citizens identify agreeably one with another--that you and I can
> look at each other and feel a common bond--then we have a
> constructive motive for considering English-only legal provisions.
> Should such legislation be used by bigots to punish those they define
> as "outside" the "mainstream" culture? Of course not. Should those
> "outside" the "mainstream" culture resist bigotry? Of course.
> On the other hand, should we be so careful about avoiding offense to
> "subcultures" that we refuse to acknowledge what societal disintegration
> costs us? Should members of "subcultures" be so entrenched by fear and
> prejudice that they cannot recognize what could be a self-enforced
> segregation?
> I don't remember where I read recently that the U.S. has what could be
> called a third world country of 20 million (Spanish-speaking) people living
> within its
> borders. This country-within-a-country is isolated from the mainstream,
> can hardly be expected to integrate with it, can barely communicate with
> the mainstream. That's a shame, in my opinion. It hurts those 20 million
> people by making them strangers in what they may percieve as a hostile
> land. It hurts the rest of us by cutting us off from their culture,
> creativity, vitality. It diminishes all of us because we are failing to
> maintain our connection to our countrymen/women.
> I feel that English-only laws that are derived from the desire to
> include--not exclude--people, and which strive to respect the diversity
> of our fellow travellers, are worthy of consideration. I feel we could
> use something that opens the way to consensus, and that having a common
> language intended for public discourse would be a way to promote
> consensus.
> --Jim ujv01 -at- unidata -dot- com

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