PRESS ONE FOR ENGLISH

 

If you travel to Greece or China, you would expect that any employee of a hotel, or a security officer, would speak Greek or Chinese. After all, it is their country. Same goes for any other nation in the world, except…of course, the United States, where every other language is okay and no one should have to speak anything but their mother tongue. Nowadays, it’s up to Americans to adapt to foreign custom and language, not vise versa.

Something wrong with that.

Take Miami, Florida. Beautiful city. I grew up there, schooled there, worked there, lived there for fifty of my seventy years. What was, is no longer. It must be the most changed city in America, especially since 1960.

We recently traveled there to attend a graduation and stayed at a hotel near downtown Miami. Our room needed another pillow, so I asked the maid in the hallway if she could get us one. “No peaky Engly,” she said, waving me off. Well…okay. I’ll go through the front desk.

The next morning, as the breakfast bar was being opened, I asked the employee, “Do you have decaf?”

“No peaky Engly,” she said. Wellllll, okay.

Later that morning, we arrived at the auditorium parking garage. We needed directions to find the James L. Knight Center. Sure enough, a middle-aged security officer was roaming about, so I asked for directions. “No peaky Engly,” was his answer.

Bottled inside of me, I felt like screaming: “This is America! How can this be? How audacious to work in a public setting in this country and not even try to learn English. And, how dare your employers hire you without being able to communicate to American citizens.”

I consider myself a fairly liberal minded person with conservative leanings. But there are limits. I was deeply offended. If you or I applied for a job in a foreign country, we would feel compelled to learn, at the least, the basics of that nation’s language. Not so here.

I’ve made some progress in learning Spanish. I had to, I was a cop in Miami for thirty years. I love the Cuban people, their food, their music, their vibrance and their diligence. All of my Cuban friends who migrated to America, have learned the English language while still maintaining an Hispanic tongue. And it’s good that they teach their children to be bi-lingual. I do believe more Americans should endeavor to become bi-lingual. I wish I had.

But there’s something about our nation’s identity that is dangerously at risk. That’s disturbing. Language is a major element of “identity.” When an American cannot go into an American hotel or an American city parking lot, and cannot converse in basic English, it’s beyond disconcerting. It’s rude. It’s offensive. It’s the beginning of the Babel mentality. It’s part of the slippery slope from which we may never return.

Writers often make reference to the wisdom of the founding fathers. Can you imagine what Washington, Jefferson or Madison would say if they came to a Miami graduation?

I can only imagine how it might be worse in the southwestern states where Mexican immigration — legal and illegal — is changing the culture of America, including language. Now, schools, government agencies, telephone directories, signs and literature, must adapt to the foreign tongue, rather than the foreign tongue adapting to us.

Don’t tell me about being a nation of immigrants. When Italians, Poles, Jews and Germans immigrated to the U.S. in the 19th and early 20th centuries, they told their children, “Speak English. You are Americans now.”

Today’s immigrants are telling America, “We want signs, phone messages, government literature, and all other materials to be in Spanish.”

How dare they.

This is like inviting foreign friends into your house. Then they take over and decide it’s their house.

I love America and what it stands for. Yes, I voice complaints like everyone else. It’s not perfect. And, the multi-ethnic aspect of our country certainly enriches the culture. But there are lines and our immigrants are crossing them. We want to keep America the land of freedom and opportunity, and of harmony among the cultures.

That’s why this American votes for making English the official language of this country. It doesn’t mean other languages are illegal, that’s absurd. But it means our schools, our signs, our government communicates in one tongue, and immigrants are obliged not only to learn our language, but to ensure it’s taught to their kids.

In 2005, a Zogby Poll found that 82 percent of Americans favored making English the official language of the nation. An earlier Gallup poll found that 96 percent of Americans believe immigrants should learn English.

If anyone is interested in relevant statistics, just check out this link:

Click here: Facts & Figures

Meanwhile, for a good 3-minute song about America and the English Language, and some good old fashioned music, try this link:

Click here: YouTube – Press One For English

Adios, Au revoir, Arrivederci and Sayonara.

 

40 Responses to PRESS ONE FOR ENGLISH

  1. Anonymous July 17, 2009 at 5:09 pm #

    Gracias, Senor Frank, por esta comenta. Es muy bueno!
    Tomas Robbins

  2. Les July 17, 2009 at 5:21 pm #

    I think a prerequisite for being a citizen should be to understand and speak our language. If you aren’t working to be a citizen, go home. I am so tired of shopping at Wal-mart and hearing nothing but Spanish, being unable to find items they used to carry because they have had to make room for the Mexican imported foods. I was born here. My parents were born here. My grandparents were born here. We should come first. Now they want to give us less medical care so they can take care of the illegals. This isn’t the America my father and grandfather fought to protect. I’m not a racist. I’m a Constitutionalist. My heart is breaking daily.

  3. Dave Rivers July 17, 2009 at 5:24 pm #

    One of many reasons I moved from Miami. I too was born there attended schools there and worked there. I only go back now to visit my 87 year old father.

  4. Tom Ault July 17, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    Marshall, when we decide to stand up and be counted we may be able to do something. The people that we are letting into our country now are lazy shiftless cast-offs that the countries they come from are glad to get rid of. We no longer want educated, intelligent, hard working people because they would know enough to stay away from a country that is going down hill as fast as ours is.
    There is only one answer and as much as I hate to even think the thought, we are in the readiness mode for a revolution. A complete overhaul of our government and its radical incompetants that could not earn a living if they were not in politics is in the near future.

  5. Jerry Reichardt July 17, 2009 at 5:57 pm #

    Yes, I believe that English should be our official language. My grandparents moved here from the “old country” and learned English. But,I have been to Europe a few times and found Americans expect service people there to speak English too, and in most countries they do. I must admit that I took Latin, French, and German in high school & college & Spanish at MDPD, and never learned to speak any of them, even with my mother speaking French & English. English might be a very difficult language for some people to learn if they didn’t learn it in school when they were young.

  6. Joe Haymes July 17, 2009 at 5:59 pm #

    I think the fact that English is, and should be, the official language of the United States is so definite and obvious that it really does not rate a lot of discussion. And cetainly, no debate about new laws that might attempt to change that fact.

  7. Ron Kenerly July 17, 2009 at 6:10 pm #

    I agree with you, and this is one of the small things that outrages me the most aobut the USA. In the USA English should only be spoken and/or offered as a means of communications in any government office, NO EXCEPTIONS.
    NO tax payer money should be spent to translate or display signs or offer literature in any language but English, and no government official should be allowed to converse with any other person in any language except English about any matter.
    Business that cater to clients in any language other than English should be taxed…maybe an additional 100% or more on goods they sell in relation to the use of a foreign language.
    This also should go for the companies where you have to touch “1” for English…I am one of the SOB’s who every time has something very negative to say to everyone that answers the phone when I get this recording prior to being connected to a live person when I call a business and especially any government office.
    And, I do speak Spanish, my wife is a Latina, and we speak Spanish sometimes in our home and with her friends, so I am not against the language, I am against the idiots of the government and the business world who think they must bend over and submit to this destruction of our country just to appease an immigrant.

  8. David R. Ward July 17, 2009 at 6:30 pm #

    I am the proud father of 2 half cuban sons.So i am not racist. Their mother was born in Cuba; not like some that want to claim to be Cuban and are born here. I haven’t understood that one yet.

    I can speak Spanish to some degree of understanding for it was a langauge I loved to learn as I did with Japanese, French, some Russian and Polish along with Farsi and Miccosukee.

    But everyone that decides that this is their Country and becomes a citizen now should speak English our native tongue. Do they make you speak your pledge to this Country in another language or do they swear you in in another language. Its probably coming but that would be wrong.

    I have traveled and worked in various areas of the world. Any time i was in that Country as a courtesy i learned to speak some of the Countrys language and I would only be there a short time.

    So i do not understand why those they choose to call this Country theirs don’t get behind their Country now and support it with becoming an english speaking american.

    As with all things it is made easy so the spanish speaking or Creole speaking Citizen can purchase products and make someone richer. So we conform to the wishes of the capitalist to determine what langauge should be spoken so they can have a yacht.

    Any way I am not going any where I was born here in Miami and love this town and my Country. If we were not in this Country we would not have the freedom to write these things.

    David

  9. Ed Hensley July 17, 2009 at 6:42 pm #

    M.F., – I won’t argue with you but San Diego may well outdo Miami, as the most changed city in America, since 1960. But, there is no room for argument that CA is the most changed & hurt state, of the 50, by PC Multicutural Crap, since 1960.

    Since 1960, California has wasted Billions of Tax Dollars on Bi-Lingual/Multi-Lingual
    Education in public schools. Many public
    information documents are printed in up to
    seven different languages, on the tax payer
    dime, of course. Now for the real pisser:

    Our CA State Voter’s Guide, availible in 7
    foreign languages, is available in Tagalog.
    Tagalog is the “National Language” of the
    Republic of the Philippines. Care to guess
    the “Official Language,” of the R.P.?

    English is the Official Language of the R.P.
    The English Literacy Rate for the R.P. is 84%. Yet the feel good bureacrats in CA still print a voter’s guide in Tagalog. Ya
    never know when some remote island Filipino, who has never been off his lsland,
    will get a visa and become a U.S. Citizen &
    CA Resident, without learning English eh?

    Is it any wonder that California is broke and paying it’s bills with IOU’s?

    Disloyalty to English, as the Language of America, is no small part of why CA is Broke. Of course I include in that claim; the financial & social costs of my State’s great boondoggle of Bi-Lingual Education!

    That, Multi-Lingual Education, in American
    Public Schools is another major subject &
    beyond the scope of this blog. I’ll shut up
    now and listen to that good song again, cuz
    I sure like the way Teddy Roosevelt put it!

  10. Jim Roosevelt July 17, 2009 at 6:54 pm #

    You are correct. English should be the official language. That will not however, prevent anyone from speaking a language they are more comfortable with nor will it do anything to encourage people who can speak english to take the job as a maid or breakfast bar attendant. Perhaps the question should be what can we as a country do to make those jobs more attractive to US citizens and help to reduce the influx of immigrants. And are you equally concerned about all the agricultural jobs in the fields where the non-english speaking laborers do not interact with us and we don’t have to worry about being understood.

  11. ROBERT L. ELLIOTT July 17, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    I COMPLETELY AGREE WITH RON KENERLY’S POINT OF VIEW AND IT DRIVES ME UP THE WALL WHEN I GET THE RECORDING, PUSH 1 FOR SPANISH AND 2 FOR ENGLISH. I HATE TO SAY IT, BUT SEEING WHAT IS HAPPENING TO OUR COUNTRY AND ALL THE MORONS IN CONGRESS, I’VE JUST ABOUT GIVEN UP ON THE COUNTRY EVER BEING RESTORED BACK TO SOME KIND OF SANITY.
    WE’RE TOTALLY OVER RUN BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND THE IDIOTS IN CONGRESS COULDN’T CARE LESS. RUN ALL THE ILLEGALS OUT OF THE COUNTRY AND WE WOULDN’T HAVE AN EMPLOYMENT OR GASOLINE PROBLEM. THEY SAY, THE ILLEGALS ARE JUST DOING THE JOBS THAT AMERICANS WON’T DO???? MY ASS, GO TO ANY CONSTRUCTION SITE AND SEE WHO’S DOING ALL THE WORK.
    BUSINESS PEOPLE HIRE THEM FOR CHEAP LABOR AND THEY’RE CREATING A FRANKENSTEIN BECAUSE ONCE THEY LEARN THE TRADE THEY GO INTO BUSINESS AND THE AMERICAN BUSINESSMAN CAN’T COMPETE. SORT OF SERVES THEM RIGHT I SAY.
    WE’VE GOT A SPEND CRAZY DUDE IN THE WHITE HOUSE THAT CAN’T EVEN PRODUCE A BIRTH CERTIFICATE AND SPENDS ALL HIS TIME TOURING AROUND THE WORLD GRINNING AND APOLOGIZING FOR AMERICA AND IT MAKES ME BELIEVE THAT ENGLISH WILL NEVER BECOME THE OFFICIAL LANGUAGE OF OUR COUNTRY BECAUSE WHO IN CONGRESS GIVES A TINKERS DAMN.

  12. bjb July 17, 2009 at 7:24 pm #

    I suppose that we Americans may finally get the idea that English should be the language of choice when the signs, manuals, and/or bilingual classes in what ever the Islamic extremists speak replaces Spanish.

  13. millicent gustafson July 17, 2009 at 8:08 pm #

    I lived in Miami from age 9 to 52. From the sixties on I found it impossible to shop in Sears. The Cuban help would not wait on an American if a Cuban was also there. I was told, in a very nasty way,”
    Why don’t you learn to speak Spanish?” You can imagine my reply. I asked to speak to the manager of the store. Could not.. he was not available to speak to an angry American. My husband was ignored at the automotive section when trying to get help for an old lady.
    It has been my experience that Cuban women, when in a group, are rude and insulting to American women. But as individuals, they are nice and friendly. Mob mentality???
    Your column hit the nail on the head. I am also sick of illegal immigrants who will not learn our language or our ways.
    Here in Stuart, our local community hospital is being sued for sending an illegal immigrant back to Guatemala because his own country will not care for him. That man was brain injured in an accident and cared for by the hospital for almost two years.. millions spent on his care. A judge allowed him to be sent home. Now the “guardian” wants the hospital to pay for his lifetime care claiming the hospital had no right to send him home. Makes me sick.
    I am also afraid for the future of our country.

  14. Reed H July 17, 2009 at 8:41 pm #

    Bravo!
    I’m with you Marshall!

  15. Mike R. Cole July 17, 2009 at 8:57 pm #

    I agree that English should be the main language of this country. That is the language of the US and if you want to live here, learn it.

  16. Ernest R. Melby July 17, 2009 at 8:59 pm #

    Why don’t we overdo the language thing and require all printing and voice to be in all languages.There would be over a hundred.
    And just imagine someone being asked to enter one of a long list of numbers to use an ATM machine.
    If we want to be totally fair, all publications in the U.S. should be in all languages. Why should Spanish be more important than Italian, Greek, Norwegian etc.?

  17. Ed Janofsky July 17, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    Why are you crying about this situation? You keep reelecting the same polititions who voted not to make English our national language because they were afraid they might lose a few votes. If you keep electing them expect things to keep getting worse. As for myself, when I left Miami I took my american flag with me.

  18. Denis Shaw July 17, 2009 at 10:30 pm #

    Marshall, I hope you enjoyed your tour of home turf on the other part of you trip. I followed your lead into the Metrorail so I frequent downtown on a daily basis. You have not lived until you get panhandled in Spanish and then get cursed out in English when you attempt to advise the lost soul on his poor career choice. You did not get the full cultural experience by riding the train into Hialeah. You would have been treated to one way conversations of chonga girls in Spanglish screaming about their babies daddy on a cell phone. Priceless cultural moments you folks in North Carolina miss out on.

  19. Gladys July 17, 2009 at 10:55 pm #

    If English isn’t our OFFICIAL LANGUAGE IT CERTAINLY OUGHT TO BE!

    How can we change this outrageous error?

  20. Pamela Jarvis July 18, 2009 at 12:40 am #

    Living in Miami all my life has given me some insight into the evolution of our Hispanic population. Young Hispanics learn English quickly. Older Hispanics, who have not been able to integrate into an English-speaking workplace or environment find it extremely difficult to learn English…or any other language for that matter, no matter how hard they try. Yet they come here with their hopes and dreams for a better life. Can you blame them? Wouldn’t you want a better life for your own children if you were living in a place with no opportunity? The fact that these people are working hard at any job where they can make an honest dollar, without having to speak a language they cannot effectively learn, and are residing here legally, should deserve at least a small measure of our compassion and understanding. After all, their children are not going to have the same English-speaking problem, but they will have the advantage of having another language. Our country has been remiss in not requiring our students to begin learning another language from the time they enter school. Why do we have the audacity to think that everyone, without exception, should be able to understand English…..yet when we travel to other countries, having a poor concept of the language of that country, we seem to expect special understanding and good treatment.

    Marshall’s fans say that we are in a dire situation regarding the “future of our country”. Our country might be better served by taking some positive actions to help solve some of the dire problems we are facing that are far more crucial than our “non-English-speaking” citizens.

  21. Anonymous July 18, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    Way back when, there used to be a British Embassy in Miami. I was a member of a Group for people of British background. When the British embassy was moving from Miami to Atlanta, Ga. we threw a party for the British Ambassador. I asked him why they were leaving Miami since it seemed to be an important entry
    point for visitors. He told me they were moving at the “invitation” of the United States Gov. It seems the
    U.S. wanted to make Miami a Spanish speaking community so they could entice tourism (and money)
    from South America. About a year or two went by and there was a financial investor on TV. He was saying
    they were receiving so much investment money from South America that the minimum investment they would accept was $500,000.- and had so many investors they had a hard time finding placement for the money.
    And, furthermore, all the Cubans who came here could deduct 10% per year from taxes for all they had lost
    in Cuba. That included houses, cars – insurance everything!
    Four or five years later, there was a story in the Miami Herald about a Cuban who came over here
    and after only five years was able to buy a house for cash, I called Claude Pepper and said if we had been given all the breaks they got we could buy something too! And Jimmy Carter, when he was President
    extended the benefits for a longer period of time. also,
    At one of the fabric houses I used to go to downtown the owner told me he had given a job to a Cuban
    because he wanted to help him out, he showed him the business, taught him how to buy and sell, how
    to keep his books – everything. The guy worked for him for about 5 years then opened his own place
    and did good. The owner then had a call from a Jewish friend in New York in the same business and he was really struggling, so the owner called the young Cuban who was hiring and asked him to help out his friend
    from New York. and he asked “is he Cuban?” & he said no, he is a Jew – like me. So the Cuban said
    I am sorry – I only hire Cubans. My friend said he asked him twice – just to make him repeat it and so
    that’s how it was. What I saw and know about that time.

  22. ann July 18, 2009 at 9:48 am #

    Denis Shaw, I agree with what you say but North Carolina has its share or more than its share of hispanics. There are signs everywhere written in Spanish so as not to offend them.

    What offends me is to be in a store and there are hispanics around me talking in their language and it gives me the feeling that they are talking about me. Not true, I realize, but it still makes you feel uncomfortable.

  23. jack leary July 18, 2009 at 11:33 am #

    Never mind the language,how about the driving in miami-dade county. I don’t cross the border any more.

  24. Ron Pearce July 18, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    As long as the American Flag is flying, then speak English. PERIOD

    We have spent the last 3 summers traveling all across America in a motor home. At times we have been on the road for as long as 5 months. We have traveled thru major cities and taken some back roads into some extremely remote areas of our country. I can assure you there are some very hard working, die hard, English speaking people out there.

    Just a month ago we were in northern Vermont. We were only about 25 miles from the Canadian border. We decided to take our Jeep, we tow behind the motor home to Canada. Crossing into Canada at a designated check point we were greeted by a nice French Canadian border guard who spoke English. Once over the border everything was in French and the roads were horrible to say the least. We did not go thru a major check point on purpose. We didn’t want the tourist version of Canada. We traveled the country side for awhile and then headed back to the good old USA. Coming back in was a bit different. We came back in thru the same check point but this time we were greeted by a lights, cameras and a grumpy white American female border guard. Even after providing her with all the proper identification, she made us feel like we didn’t belong. Sorta like being in Miami. Bottom line is that if we wanted to go back and forth between Canada and the US, it can be done very easily. Border check points are only for the law abiding, as all our borders are.

    Going to Canada, everything was in French. Did we complain? NO Did we go there to convert everything to the way we do things? NO That is the way it should be. It is nice to see how others live and their culture. I live in the US for certain reasons. If I liked another country and I moved there I would learn their ways, customs and language. I don’t expect others to change their lives for me and they shouldn’t come to our country and expect us to change everything for them.

    Unfortunately, I am preaching to the choir. The damage has been done. Can it be reversed? I doubt it. It unfortunately extends far beyond language. Bottom line: Don’t let all this get you down. There is still a lot of good out there. We have met a lot of wonderful people out there since leaving Miami, where we too were born and raised and have deep family roots going back to the early 1900’s.

  25. Larry, NYPD Retired July 18, 2009 at 1:30 pm #

    I can not agree with you more. As a police officer in NY all the spanish I had to know was; Donde esta pistola?, (where is the gun?) Callate, (Shut Up!), and Sientate (sit down!. That is all I cared to learn. I am the decendant of immigrants
    like everyone else. However, when my family immigrated here from Germany and Italy you learned english or you did not eat. I am an American now. I know no other culture. As soon as we lose that we are nothging but a third world country.

  26. Frances Duckworth July 18, 2009 at 2:59 pm #

    Marshal- First I would like to say thank you for your expressive views. As usual I find most of them to be wholesome. I do love my country and want to do what is best to try to protect the American way of life. After all, our forefathers struggled so hard to protect the land of the free. I do feel your pain, however, I do not totally agree with your view this go round! (With all due respect!) I have children that live outside of the Miami area, as you well know. They do share your sediments. They have often complained about feeling foreign in their own land. English speaking has become the minority language used today in many areas in the larger cities, not just Miami. I look at this problem from a slightly different angle. I have traveled to other countries outside of ours, and I have to admit, I was happy for every sign or restaurant written in English. Trying to be respectful, as well as safe; before leaving I would spend days trying to learn enough to communicate the basic language of the country I was going to visit. At least enough words to survive in an emergency. I have to admit I have welcomed the help of a translator. God knows how I would have gotten around without the helpful signs written in English while in another country. I don’t believe it is necessary to have signs written exclusively in our language. Myself believing it helpful, as we rely on tourism greatly for our economy. Respecting the need for these visitors, let’s accommodate other countries with signs they can understand, after all they are our guest. We want respect and that should be a two way street. It may be more rude to be exclusive in our official language, than it would be to respect our melting pot of cultural indifference. It may not be a matter of, can one speak my language, as much as is is, do they respect me enough to try? We need to be respected as Americans while our friends are here in our homeland. By respecting our culture, a good immigrant should have the desire to at least try to communicate with us in our native tongue. While they are in our county, learn at least some words out of respect for us. It shows us respect when foreigners speak our language, even if it is broken English. Let’s give them an “A” for effort! English is a more difficult language to learn. We benefit by remember that not all who are migrating to our country have the intelligence to learn our language fluently. They should, however, try! That in my opinion, is where the problem rest. There is clearly a lack of effort to respect us as Americans. Let us pray for change! 🙂

  27. Frances Duckworth July 18, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    Error: We benefit to remember that not all who are migrating to our country have the intellectual advantage of learning of language fluently. ( Marshal- please make changes in this sentence before posting…also, feel free to correct any other errors as well. 🙂 I am still learning the English language myself. LOL 🙂

  28. Helen Bennett July 18, 2009 at 3:21 pm #

    Just raising the question of whether our “official language” should be English produces immediate xenophobia and suppressed hatred toward specific immigrants. That is why our government has wisely avoided the issue of legitimizing our most prominent language as “official.” I do, however, hope that English remains the national language of England.

  29. Dr Joseph Davis July 18, 2009 at 5:54 pm #

    Marshall
    I agree BUT government lawyers and lawyers on the bench will screw up again. When Dade County did go English only, the lawyers opined that no government agency could print anything in any language other than English because English was the official language. There were situations where it was wise to offer information in Spanish if desired for that situation.
    Arrogent stupidity reigns supreme in these circles.
    I have traveled all over the world and find that a second language is determined by money..good for business, good for its use.

    Only in STUPID American governments is it strictly an “all or none without discretion permitted” practice.

  30. Joe July 18, 2009 at 6:21 pm #

    Marshall, nothing for me to add except my thanks for your continually “on-point” writings which contrast the writings of the main-stream media!

  31. Bill Solen July 18, 2009 at 7:04 pm #

    I felt that everyone did a good job on both sides of the issue until i got to Helen Bennett. English will be the national language of England until the Muslims make the final move which will be much sooner than in the USA. English language is the very least of England’s cultural problems. As usual I agree with bjb.

    Marshall, myself being a native of Miami I have seen many changes as have most people responding to this issue. After retiring in 1994 I moved to Broward looking for something I used to have in Miami, English speaking people. Sad to say the cancer has finally spread to Broward. Last week I went into a Bennett Auto Supply store looking for wheel lug nuts. The first person I encountered wore a name tag that read ‘MANAGER’. I asked him where the lug nuts were and discovered he spoke no English. He had to call on another employee to help me. As I watched the other patrons I discovered that those speaking Spanish were helped right away and the employee would even walk with them to help them find what they needed. I didn’t get that attention and I couldn’t find the right size lug nuts so I left the store empty handed. Dumb me.

    All our politicians including the President want votes so they have no interests in rocking the boat with a very large culture of Hispanics. After all when looking at the big picture we’re only talking about a language barrier which affects a very small percentage of citizens, not a problem in the White House or on the Senate floor, they all speak English (right now).

    I also disagree with Helen B about ‘raising the question..produces xenophobia and suppressed hatred’. I learned to love the Hispanic culture, the food, the people and the friendly neighbors I had in Miami and there is no suppressed hatred but I do raise the question as to why so many refuse to learn our language.

    At least for now when I ride the Harley and happen to wear my vest I will continue to display the patch that reads ‘SPEAK ENGLISH OR GET THE F OUT’. That’s my feelings.

  32. Frank Piloto July 18, 2009 at 8:53 pm #

    WEll written, Marshall. And, as far as I can tell, nobody of Latino or Spanish descent has written his or her blog this time, so, I guess I am the only one.

    What should I say? That you are all a bunch of racists, that your followers are prejudiced, that America is the place where everyone comes and bla bla bla? Well, I could, but I won’t.

    In fact, I could not agree more with most of what I read and to be honest to you, many times, I feel ashamed of the way my “Compadres,” behave here. I often wonder; If I was someone born and raised here, how would I feel being in the middle of the “No picky Ingli,” type syndrome?

    I would feel terrible and would probably be dead after being beaten for my views or would have taken I-95 or I-75 and headed out of here for good.

    But, reality is other, and, for reasons of personal magnitude, I am stuck in this place-a third-world-transplant, where I try to show all that, not everyone who comes from South of the border, feels the same way or even agrees with that is going in.

    The last 9 years of my career, I spent at MIA, most of it, between concourses C and D. There, I greeted thousands of visitors to Miami, from all over the world. Most of them would walk up to me and, in their own humble way, would make a supreme effort to speak English to ask for a direction. Oh, but, no, not the Latinos or Brazilians.

    They would come up to me and start talking in Spanish, not even wondering if I spoke the language or no. And, such practice, has spilled into our community, everywhere we go.

    No other word, with the exception perhaps of an Anti-Semitic word, offends me more than the word, “Gringo.” I hate to hear Latin people refer to Americans as such, after it were the Gringos who have welcomed them into their country.

    The other day, at Publix, one of the women working the meat department, was talking to another customer in Spanish, and the conversation centered on Gringo this, Gringo that, referring to their Manager who, obviously, was an American.

    Going to the deli, I observed an American, English speaking customer, an older lady, who needed me to translate because the one behind the counter did not picky.

    But, nothing scars me the most as when you go to a place and the security guard tells you he or she, does not speak the language. What would happen if I have an emergency and depend on this mutant to help me out?

    Our politicians, and this goes back to the likes of Maurice Ferre, in the early 70’s, who were so concerned with re-election that, they declared this county a Bi-lingual county. They sent the message that, it is ok in Miami not to speak English but, rather, it is better just to speak Spanish.

    The saddest thing out of this is that, historically, Latinos have hated US. Perhaps there are good historical and political reasons for the dislike, perhaps no. However, what really pisses me off is that, no matter how bad the “Gringos,” are, they all flock into America to live better.

    In their old countries, instead of a car, they may get lucky to ride a dunkey–instead of a home, they live in a muddy hut–instead of eating decent food, they may have to settle for mud pies so, the land of Streets of Gold, where everything is possible, awaits just a swim away, north of the Rio Grande.

    To make things worse, here in Miami, we have to live under the threat of a comunist type society where, if one disagrees with the general order, one is labeled a Communist, a traitor, a deserter to our own roots.

    If you write, publish, or speak something that the Cuban American National Foundation, ( or known as the Cuban American Nazi Party) as I call them, your business and professional life is in jeopardy, not to mention your physical safety as well. That is why, no potician in Dade County would have enough cojones to stand up to them and take a stand on the issues we have been discussing.

    I do believe, however, that there are many adavantages to being bi-lingual. Such as, more opportunity for advancement in businesses that deal with Latin America, and of course, being ahead of the competition for jobs and a better life. But, to attempt to superimpose a culture on the land that welcomed us, is as despicable as what the Spanish Conquistadores did when they came to the New World. There is no difference, just the tactics used and the time in history.

    I would like to make two comments to couple of individuals that made comments here, above. One, is, if you are going to write your mind, identify your self, Anonymous. Who the hell knows who you are? IT could be me, you, or anyone else reading this blog and, if you are going to make a comment in a different language, either do it using proper grammatical words or don’t make a poor attempt to do what you can’t do.

    And, to Elliot, I rather request a Spanish speaker when I call a help desk for tech support. Each time I ask for an Enlish person, I have to speak to Rajib or Rana in India. Do you know how hard it is to speak to one of them? China and Philippines are just as bad. So, in that respect, I am glad I am bilingual.

    Ok, well, I don’t see any changes in the future, not for the good anyway. So, what else can I say other than, Hasta la vista, baby!

  33. Laura July 19, 2009 at 2:24 pm #

    Great article, Marshall, and I TOTALLY agree. I find it quite ironic, when I telephone AMERICA Online, and can NOT understand one single thing the person who answers says!

  34. Gene Caple July 19, 2009 at 2:55 pm #

    Marshall,
    I too was born in Dade County and lived there for 54 of my 58 years. One of my clearest memories is of you teaching us about homicide in the Dade County Police Academy in 1972. I left local law enforcement and became an air traffic controller from which I retired in 2005. We moved to Ocala and it was like moving back to the United States. I still spend time in Miami teaching new air traffic controllers. I was Publix and asked one of the employees where I could find salt. He had to go get another employee who did not speak much better English and he had to go get a THIRD employee who spoke English. This is apalling but we enable them to be this way and there are no significant consequences for not spaeking English.
    Best wishes, Gene Caple

  35. Max Salinas July 19, 2009 at 7:20 pm #

    It’s interesting that you consider yourself to be a “liberal minded person with conservative leanings”. I can’t imagine what you a true conservative would look like in your eyes… This country has always been a melting pot, and there have always been communities within it in which the language of origin was retained by the immigrant families that lived there. Perhaps what we’re seeing now is that these communities, like everything else, are larger than they used to be. I know from firsthand experience that when my family arrived here, my parents wanted my brothers and me to learn English as quickly as possible because it would help ensure our ability to succeed here. I think that the vast majorities of immigrant families feel the same about their children.

  36. gloriadisanto July 19, 2009 at 9:30 pm #

    WELL DONE, THIS TOPIC HAPPENS TO BE ONE OF MY BIGGEST PET PEEVES.
    I WISH MORE PEOPLE WOULD SPEAK OUT ABOUT THIS.
    THANKS MARSHALL FOR YET ANOTHER GREAT READ.

  37. Graham Jacks July 20, 2009 at 9:47 am #

    On this subject, can anyone explain why, being as only US citizens are allowed to vote in elections, and to become a US citizen you have to show you can speak English, in Florida instructions for voting at elections are printed in both English and Spanish?

  38. Frank Piloto July 20, 2009 at 11:21 am #

    I need to add this one after reading Graham’s blog. I hold Realtor and Mortgage Broker’s licenses from Florida.

    It shocked me when I first went to Gold Coast Schools that, they had the courses in Spanish. Furthermore, the tests and the contract forms that the State of Florida mandates are also in Spanish.

    In my Realty company, almost 75% of the Realtors DO NOT READ, WRITE OR SPEAK English!!!!!! How can they explain a purchase agreement or any other type of document to a buyer or seller who him or herself, do not speak English either? How can someone sign a blind contract that could in fact, put all you have on the line and can subject you to a lawsuit and loss of all your capital?

    Well, in Florida, in the profession of Real Estate, that is allowed. I am willing to bet you anything that, if you go to Mexico or any other country, Cuba included, you could not do any Real Estate transaction in English, that the contracts have to be in Spanish and, of course, ju no picky? ju no taki test in English.

  39. Edree July 22, 2009 at 5:22 pm #

    ONE!!!!!!!!!!

  40. Nick July 28, 2009 at 2:01 pm #

    Here is the solution:

    Instead talking, let us learn Chinese characters (about 2,000). They mean the same in ANY language. Instead of phones we should use Fax and everyone will understand everything written. No pressing ‘1’ ot ‘2’.