...specifically Newt Gingrich. Apparently he's living up to his nickname. Or living down to it.
I guess I should apologize to newts everywhere for soiling their name by alluding to the fact that they're nasty slimy things. They're not politicians. Ah, but I digress...
Newt Gingrich has decided to speak his piece about English as the national language. Now I'm don't disagree fully with him - ballots should be in English, and people who immigrate to this country should be compelled to learn the language. I would expect nothing less, should I decide to move to France or Germany. I would take the time to learn the languages of the country that I plan to reside in for awhile.
I had an old boyfriend who learned Japanese in order to spend a year abroad during his junior year of college (I met him *after* he returned from that junior year). He continued studying the language because he intended to return to Japan after graduation and work there for awhile. He was doing the responsible and courteous thing - he would learn their language so that they would not have to accommodate him. It was the polite thing to do.
Newt has decided that politeness isn't necessary (like many American children think). He thinks all peoples living in the U.S. should know English. I don't disagree as I think people who want to live in the U.S. should know English as well, but I do disagree with his ideals on bilingual education. Newt thinks that everyone who comes to this country should be subjected to immersion English instead of the current bilingual education so that they don't have a crutch to fall back on.
Oh wait, that's not it. He wants them to learn in English only so that they learn it instead of "the language of living in the ghetto". Excuse my white-bred, California-living, half German-Irish, half Mexican rear end? Since when is Spanish the language of the ghetto? Since when is *anything* the language of the ghetto?
You want ghetto? Start looking at the white trash trailer parks with the rednecks who are missing teeth, playing with shotguns, and marry their cousins that vote for guys like Newt. Supposedly they speak English and yet they're not being targeted. Probably because they're registered to vote.
I'm sure any demographic can point at any other demographic and say that they're the "ghetto". I remember when I grew up the ghetto meant where all the poor uneducated black people with lots of baby-mamas lived. Times have changed, apparently.
Newt's really put his foot in it this time. I know quite a few Spanish-speaking folks who don't live in the "ghetto", and some of them are quite prosperous individuals. Others just know enough to order around their maids and gardeners (that would be the Los Gatos trophy wives) and have more money than I'll ever hope to see in my lifetime. Others are just like me: upwardly mobile intelligent productive members of society.
Bilingual education has been shown to be the best method for pushing non-natives to learn the basic skills in this country (either in primary, secondary, or adult education) without falling behind while still managing to get up to speed in English. Yet Newt thinks it's going to be the downfall of American civilization if we allow it to continue.
What really bothers me about it is we're going to have people who think he's right without fully understanding the insult that he's paid to them, their neighbors, co-workers, etc. They'll agree with the fact that ballots and other official documents should be printed in English, while glossing over the fact that they're supporting a man who just insulted a great part of the United States - which was a melting pot when it began in the first place. But I do have to thank Newt profusely...
...for reminding me how short-sighted and stupid politicians can be.