Saturday, April 26, 2008

English Spoken Here

To The (Queens Gazette) Editor:

As an American and a concerned citizen I'm very troubled we do not as of yet have an official language, which I believe ought to be English. I believe we need legislation that addresses this issue which I think needs to happen. The United States is a nation of immigrants, just like our borough of Queens which is known as the international borough. We are a nation that is proud of our cultures and traditions and that I believe are the things that make us a great nation with much diversity. As such I think we need to have an official language for we need a strong central language to unite all citizens. I also think this would help immigrants connect and succeed in America. Declaring English the official language is essential and beneficial for the U.S. government and its citizens. Official English unites Americans, who speak 322 languages (based on [the] 2000 Census) by providing a common means of communication. It also encourages immigrants to learn English in order to use government services and to participate in the democratic process.

There now is legislation [pending] in the House of Representatives, known as H.R. 997, to make English the official language and I would like to ask my [fellow] Queens residents to write their Congress-man or woman to vote yes on this bill.

Remember what President Theodore Roosevelt said, "We have only one flag and therefore have room for one language, the language of George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, the language of the Declaration of Independence".

[On this] I rest my case.
Sincerely Yours,
Frederick R. Bedell Jr.
Bellerose

23 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am surprised the tweeding papers even printed this - but if there was any hope of passage they would not, or have it accompanied by editorials and throat clearing tweeding polticians (surrounded in a photo of kids from the gorgeous mosaic) condemming it.

Anonymous said...

There are many countries all over the world that have multiple official languages. It works fine for them.

Anonymous said...

Went to a store today in Jackson Heights. Began speaking in English to the salesgirl. The salesgirl spoke only in Spanish and asked if I would do the same. I said, "I feel more comfortable speaking in English"( English is my native lang., although I am fluent in three languages)She said "I would feel more comfortable speaking in Spanish" I looked at her dumbfounded and continued speaking in English. I don't care. Learn the languauge. We live in the US. Become productive citizens. Needless to say, I will write a letter to the management of the store/or visit about the incident.

Anonymous said...

Why do you equate not speaking English with not being productive?

Eric Arthur Blair said...

There are many countries all over the world that have multiple official languages. It works fine for them.

The problem is that those countries with multiple languages that any sane rational person would like to live in are located in Europe - i.e. Switzerland, Belgium, and also have majority white populations. Why don't you name a few of these wonderful countries outside of Europe that have multiple languages where you would have no hesitance in living?

"Most adherents to the idea that all cultures are equal don't want to live in anything but an advanced Western society." - Mark Steyn

Anonymous said...

Why do you equate not speaking English with not being productive?>>>> How was I equating learning the language with being productive? Those were two separate sentences...BTW, what's wrong with learning the language?

Salvatore said...

This is ridiculous. Why do we (working class) people tend to obey and promote the values of a racist upper class? Doesn't any 1 know the real history of the United States? The original CALIFORNIA constitution was written in English and Spanish.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_in_the_United_States

"California's first constitution recognized Spanish language rights: All laws, decrees, regulations, and provisions emanating from any of the three supreme powers of this State, which from their nature require publication, shall be published in English and Spanish. "

Pretty progressive compared to the racists in our government today huh?

Sal from Ridgewood,

By the way - California, San Francisco, San Diego, Colorado, Florida, Texas, NEW MEXICO, Arizona, etc. (Derived from the Spanish settlers)

History is written by the winners my friends.

Anonymous said...

THEN MOVE TO CALIFORNIA
your favorite sanctuary
(anything goes) state Salvatore!

G. Salvatore R. said...

My legal immigrant Italian/American grandfather learned to speak the language of his newly adopted country as his one of his first priorities!

And he insisted we spoke it at home.

Italian was our second language.

"America is now our country.
We left Italy far behind when we boarded the ship", he'd add.

Anonymous said...

I totally agree. My grandparents (also Italian) believed in assimilating and fitting into the American culture. In fact,some immigrants even changed their names to seem less ethnic.

I think a lot of the resentment towards recent immigrants today (where ever they come from)is the apparent lack of desire to assimilate to the American culture. They don't appear to want to learn English. Let's face it, if you don't speak English you'll never have a really good job. They send $$$ back to their own countries instead of spending it here. And they expect us to know THEIR language. All those signs in a foreign language on a storefront are a disgrace. These politicians need to do more to change that.

In all, what makes this city great is the fact we are melting pot. However, immigrants need to respect and try to assimilate to the American culture.

boston said...

"All those signs in a foreign language on a storefront are a disgrace."
Ummm... Mr G. Salvatore and Anonymous, have you ever seen pictures of Allerton Ave. in the Bronx or Mulberry Street downtown, circa 1910? All those ristorantes and mercatos... yeah, that was an absolute disgrace.

Anonymous said...

Immigrants today do not have the one thing that our grandparents and great grandparents had when they entered this country: pride. Our ancestors were PROUD to become Americans (mine were anyway) which was why they didn't speak their native tongue and chose to not teach their children to speak it. They still upheld and passed down many of their cultural traditions while learning how to assimilate and function in a new society. They still needed to make money, and many of them sent some back to their relatives in other countries too, but they didn't have a blatant disregard for where they were living.

Anonymous said...

If you cannot understand the dominant culture, you shortchange yourself. If you are willing to live and work within a small neighborhood so you don't have to learn English, you shortchange yourself. If your children are able to watch a tv show or swear in a language that you do not understand, you will lose any real understanding of the things that they face growing up and you will not be able to discipline them. They will lose respect for you too. My grandparents and father learned English and prided themselves on being well read and articulate. The values of a democracy are upheld by citizens who want to be a part of the whole society. Being able to speak English in order to understand the issues and vote, as well as to be a good neighbor, are critical to a democracy.

Salvatore said...

"Immigrants today do not have the one thing that our grandparents and great grandparents had when they entered this country: pride. Our ancestors were PROUD to become Americans "

The "new wave" of immigrants today are not the old immigrants of Europe. The "old" immigrants of Europe came to the United States because of TWO World Wars. The immigrants today come to the United States because of United States' expansionism and imperialist policies towards Latin America. You all complain about these "damn Mexicans." But when do you criticize NAFTA??? NAFTA lowered wages in both countries. Since NAFTA was signed into law 1994, Mexican migration shot up. Why don't you criticize US institutions such as the World Bank and International Monetary Funds (IMF)??? Do you know about the "lost decade" of the 1980s in Latin America? Do you know about the "structural adjustment programs" administered by American officials? How about Reagan's disgusting intervention in Central America WHICH CAUSED MANY CENTRAL AMERICANS TO COME TO THE UNITED STATES FOR SURVIVAL. Where were they supposed to go?? To South America? To Colombia? In the 80s the United States was supporting dictatorships all over South America. It is easy to blame immigrants for your economic problems. Look at the government instead. I am not sure what you mean by pride? Pride for what?? Look at the hundreds of thousands dead in Iraq and let me know if you still are "proud." You blame immigrants for everything and then you criticize them for "not learning English." This is a capitalist nation. You pay for schooling. You want them to learn english?? Offer free courses and make them accessible. Immigrants tend to live together in a community such as Jackson height because people like you who bash them for not "wanting" to learn English alienate them. So they obviously rather stay "with their own." Immigrants come here and face racism from the police to every day citizens and then you want them to roll over for the "American way." Democracy is a sham and you know it. When 40 million hard working Americans lack healthcare, where is 'democracy" for them?

Anonymous said...

Easy there , Sal. I am well aware of everything you have just stated. I'm not ignorant. However what we are discussing here speaking English and as I stated MY ancestors who came here didn't come running from any war, they came because they wanted to. My mom has the diaries to prove that. THAT'S WHAT I MEAN BY PRIDE.

And I'm not blaming immigrants (legal or otherwise) for my economic problems. I know the government has a huge hand in all of this, as I think most of the people who read this blog know as well. I'm not for this war nor any other imperialistic intervention of the US.

But please DO not come to me with the b.s. that "Immigrants tend to live together in a community such as Jackson height because people like you who bash them for not "wanting" to learn English alienate them. So they obviously rather stay "with their own." That's ridiculous. There have always been neighborhoods throughout the 5 boroughs with more centralized enthicities than others, for a sense of community, not because Whitey hates them and wants them to speak English. My parents would tell me about how when they were growing up, the different neighborhood youths would fight all the time" the Italians hated the Irish and both of those groups hated the Jews. Get over yourself.

And don't talk to me about schooling. Not when I have to wait in line at 5am to get my kids into the public school around the corner from my house and there are people there who I have never seen before with armed with false addresses trying to get their kids into that school. My taxes pay for that? Terrific. Why should I pay for school because someone else is breaking the law?

Don't play dumb: Immigrants (illegal ones) come here to work, make money, send it home, then disappear under the radar. Whether legal or illegal immigrants are cutting some councilman's grass or washing dishes at a restaurant, they're here and they are being employed and chances are they are not paying taxes. It's wrong all around.

Eric Arthur Blair said...

Doesn't any 1 know the real history of the United States? The original CALIFORNIA constitution was written in English and Spanish.

Yes, and by this logic, we should also start counting blacks as 3/5ths of a person, since it was once part of the U.S. Constitution.

The immigrants today come to the United States because of United States' expansionism and imperialist policies towards Latin America. You all complain about these "damn Mexicans."

No, they come to the U.S. because they live in pathetic countires rife with corruption, mismanagement, economic inequality, etc. Why the hell does the Mexican national oil company Pemex operate at a loss, with oil at record high prices? Why don't countries such as Mexico have the brain power and technological sophisticaton to properly operate oil drilling equipment?

But you already know the answer - It's whitey's fault!

Anonymous said...

Judging by the length
of Salvatore's rants,
he must be on someone's PR payroll
for posting here!

Richard said...

This country has existed for over 200 years without an official language. And there have been many waves of immigration over that time period, where immigrants populated neighborhoods and spoke their own language while learning English. And they built this city and this country into what it is today.

Immigrants are at a disadvantage if they do not speak English. It is in their own interest to learn English. Making English an official language will not help them learn English. It will just make things harder unnecessarily.

This is New York City not Lincoln, Nebraska. Go to China Town and you will walk into stores where you no one will understand you. This is a city of immigrants and always has been. Get used to it.

Eric Arthur Blair said...

This is New York City not Lincoln, Nebraska. Go to China Town and you will walk into stores where you no one will understand you. This is a city of immigrants and always has been. Get used to it.

Ah yes, the smug over-educated white liberal who wrote those comments above graciously took time out from his busy schedule to school all of us uneducated rubes from "Lincoln, Nebraska"!

Well, Mr. White Liberal, if I even bother to walk into some crummy store in Chinatown where they don't speak English, they won't be receiving any of my greenbacks, nor any renminbi either!

Anchor babies, overcrowded schools, declining education standards, increasing numbers of high school dropouts, increasing crime, decreasing social cohesion.....but never forget:

Diversity is our strength!!!!

Anonymous said...

Diversity is truly OUR STRENGTH.

The French wine growers
had to cross California grapes
with their own worn out strains
in order to invigorate the vines!

However,
speaking English to each other
goes a long way in promoting
respect and understanding
for each others cultures and values.

It's also damn good business
(unless you're an isolationist).

Under New York State law
English is required on all signs
as a safety measure, so that first responders can quickly locate an address in case of an emergency
like a fire.

g. salvatore r. said...

Yes "Boston"!

My 93 year old aunt still lives
near Allerton Ave!

One of her living quarters was
a tar paper shack on land my uncle bought off Mace Ave.

It was eventually torn down
when they could afford to build
a more suitable but simple home.

These were PROUD Americans
of Italian ancestry!

Now stop talking shit!

Eric Arthur Blair said...

Russia's declining population will require Moscow to import foreign workers in the future, increasing racial and religious tensions in the former superpower, according to Gen. Michael V. Hayden, the CIA director.
.
.
.
"To sustain its economy, Russia increasingly will have to look elsewhere for workers," he said. "Some immigrants will be Russians from the former Soviet states. But others will be Chinese and non-Russians from the Caucasus, Central Asia and elsewhere, potentially aggravating Russia's already uneasy racial and religious tensions," the general said.


Hmmmm....this sounds vaguely familiar....where have I heard of this before.....

Ooops! Think happy thoughts! Think happy thoughts!

DIVERSITY IS STRENGTH!!!!!

jwhyte said...

I have developed and trademarked a symbol to represent the english language and assimilation. It can be seen at www.english-spokenhere.com.
The site will be ecommerce ready in a couple of weeks and current product is an oval sticker.