Re[2]: English only legislation

Subject: Re[2]: English only legislation
From: Bonni Graham <Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Jan 1994 10:03:00 EST

Tim Pera notes:

"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 hearings, 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 southern
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 the

I hope you're not implying that everyone in SoCal is a xenophobe (or even that
everyone in SoCal who advocates an 'official language' is a xenohpobe). That
would be insulting and inaccurate.

The practical purpose it would solve is that we cannot afford to continue
printing ballots (to pick one example) in several different languages. There is
a cost issue involved. There's also a discriminatory issue involved in being
officially multi-lingual -- which other languages get the ballot treatment?
Should we include Hmong, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Vietnamese, Korean, Spanish,
Serbo-Croatian, Lebanese, Portugese, Spanish, Philipino, to name just a FEW of
the cultures present in SoCal? If we only pick Spanish, we're in theory
discriminating against the others. It's not a matter of trying to exclude the
speaking of these languages, their use in stores or schools or homes. It's a
matter of needing to set some kind of default for official use only. A good
shopkeeper will post signs in the appropriate languages anyway -- but should
these be on street signs? On ballots? On DMV tests? And where is the money
going to come from to print these things?

I'm not saying I'm for the Official Language -- I think it would be a mistake.
But I can see the reasons behind it. Many of them have nothing to do with
anti-cultural or xenohpobic reasons.

Bonni Graham |
Technical Writer |
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | Never tell people how to
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | do things. Tell them
President, San Diego STC | what to do and they will
| surprise you with their
NOTE: apparently my email address needs | ingenuity.
to be typed exactly as it appears here, |
punctuation and all, or the system gets | --George Patton
upset. |

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