I want to start this off by saying, I regret nothing.
The other day I encountered a status update from a friend. It came from her deepest most sincere thoughts, and I never saw it coming. Especially from her, and I found it shocking, offensive, and most of all sad.
The point of the post was basically, “If you can’t speak English get out of our country.” I couldn’t stop myself from commenting, I will not apologize, and I don’t by any means regret it. I posted a total of 4 comments before my comments were deleted, and myself and one other person responded to it before the post was all together deleted, but not without saying “Now everyone can be fucking happy.”
I’m not upset with her for posting her thoughts, what gets me is that she had the audacity to post something so controversial and then get upset because she found people debating it instead of agreeing.
My thoughts on the matter go as follows, and this is a collective of thoughts between myself, my husband, and my two sisters:
I find this to be slightly racist, and as one of my friends put it, maybe it’s not racist, maybe it’s just nationalistic. America prides itself on being so accepting. We hold rallies, protests, and conventions preaching such a thing. What we fail to remember is that half of this country is still preaching “God hates fags,” “If you can’t speak English get out of this country,” racism and discrimination still live, and we’re willing to put a border around our country to keep people out. How is that in anyway accepting? If we all followed this thought process, none of us would be speaking English right now, BUT as I was told “No offense to your ‘book’ you put on my page, but I don’t need a fucking history lesson. I’m just trying to make a point” Well, so am I.
A lot of foreign countries expect and require their high school students to learn a second language. It’s not an option, it’s not suggested, it’s required. Not all of them choose to learn English. It’s no wonder the rest of the world thinks we’re a bunch of stuck up assholes!
The ideology of expecting people to abandon their beliefs, culture and language when they come to America either on holiday or as a permanent resident is outrageous. This “speak like me, act like me, dress like me” bullshit is outrageous. Without this country’s vast history and open gates, we wouldn’t have such a wide culture. We wouldn’t have Little Italy and Chinatown. The same friend that had said this was a nationalistic way of thinking, also had made a valid point. People like this dehumanize foreigners. If a well-dressed, Japanese, business man, little knowledge of the English language were to walk into a restaurant, he’d get great service because he looks like he has money and could probably tip well. If a middle class family of the same origin, dressed like everyday people, and same amount of English speaking skills were to do the same, they probably wouldn’t be treated the same. Maybe that way of thinking plays into a whole other bag of beans that I will not open right now.
The fact of the matter is, they’re dehumanized by this way of thinking. If they can’t speak English they must be poor and they MUST BE trash. People with this ideology would no doubt go to a foreign country, and not learn the basics of the native language but expect everyone there to be okay with that, expect them to speak English back to you, and get upset when they don’t, but how dare you come to America without the basic knowledge of the English language! Get out! It would be like going to France, for instance, and having someone say “You don’t speak basic French get out of this country!” NO DOUBT this would upset you. They’re basically telling you you’re not welcome there, and you, being the self righteous asshole you are, would get extremely upset failing to remember that just last week you said the same thing to a Mexican family that came to our country on vacation.
This particular person works in a store, in a town, that is HUGE on tourism during the summer. So what is she going to do when she encounters a customer that can’t speak English? Ignore the person? That sounds like awesome customer service! Now, I deal with a wide variety of people everyday from Muslim to Russian to Mexican and you can damn well bet I get frustrated when I can’t understand them, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try. That doesn’t mean that THEY aren’t trying. That doesn’t mean they aren’t getting frustrated with the fact that I can’t understand them. There have been plenty of times when I’ve actually considered learning Spanish (since most of our foreigners and regular customers are Mexican) so I can speak to my non-English speaking customers. I feel as though it’s my duty to welcome them with open arms. They’re doing their best to become accustomed to life in another country, and we should do our best to welcome them here and tell them it’s okay to still follow your own traditions. It’s okay if you still want to speak your own language. You are welcome here. But instead we get upset because “They’re too stupid to learn English. How dare they?” The other thing we need to remember is that we have Hawaii, and Guam, and Puerto Rico. Are all of their native languages English? Not the last time I checked, but maybe I’m getting my facts wrong. Yep, that’s it. I’m the one that’s wrong.
The Statue of Liberty says “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore, Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!” When was this translated into something that’s such a far cry to what it actually means? This is supposed to be the Land of the Free. A nation that started off accepting people that were held down by oppressive states and famine, that welcomed people openly to help them begin again. The land of hope. Not the land of “get the fuck out.”
How can we sit here and be proud of ourselves? Of what we have become? When we’re constantly oppressing those who come here yearning for a new start. A good start. A fresh start. Instead they find discrimination, and they don’t feel welcome. It’s a sad, sad world we live in.
All I ask is that you don’t preach how diversity is good, how accepting we should be of gay marriage, how bullying is wrong, and then turn around and say shit like that. Don’t post something so controversial and expect for EVERYONE to agree with you. It’s ignorance in the flesh, and it’s gotten worse since 9/11. We’re all a paranoid bunch of self righteous dicks. We think we’re better than everyone else in this world, but refuse to look at our own faults.