I’ll admit that I’m a white guy who is all too rapidly approaching middle age and doesn’t get a lot of things, and at the risk of sounding even more clueless than usual, one of those is why so many people are against an official language for the United States. Unlike a lot of people, I really don’t have a problem with it and why it makes news when people want to create an official language really baffles me.
Of course my support comes from the assumption that the official language is English. If the official language is Albanian, I might take issue. Nothing against the Albanians, mind you – I just don’t speak the language. It would also seem to make sense that the language of the majority would be the most logical choice, but then our government and logic don’t always go together, do they?
Don’t get me wrong here. Unlike a lot of people, I don’t care if you want to speak your language in your home or even on the street. But I see no reason whatsoever why the government should be responsible for the costs involved in printing things in 24 different languages because you don’t choose to learn the dominant language in the country in which you choose to live (this can be in the United States or elsewhere).
I don’t pretend to be an expert on immigration, so I won’t touch that subject, except as it relates to the fact that if you choose to relocate to a new country, legally or otherwise, learn to speak the language. And I’ll even stay away from the whole argument about heritage too, as I don’t mind if you want to recognize where you came from.
But let’s just be a bit realistic. I understand that the color of your skin is different than mine. However, if you were born in the same hospital as I was, the fact that three or four generations ago your ancestors came from a different continent has increasingly little to do with it, and makes you just as much an African American as I am a European American. And frankly, if I went around trying to get people to call me a European American, people would look at me like I’m insane.
And just so we’re clear, I have no problem whatsoever if you want to acknolwedge your heritage. But the more divisive these things get, the worse the problem will get. Just use your imagination. Once I start demanding that people call me by my proper designation of European American, some other goofball will want to be called an Eastern European American, and then someone else will want to be known as a Southeastern European American. Does it ever end?
That’s a rhetorical question. You don’t have to answer. Even if you don’t believe me, look no further than the most recent season of Survivor, in hot water for proposing that teams will initially be split along racial lines.