Linguist, lexicographer, writer, editor, broadcaster

Empowering imbeciles

Here are two examples of how idiots feel empowered when national leaders use subtle and not-so-subtle demagoguery in the discussions of immigration and language.

Some jackass doesn’t like it that there is a Spanish-language interface on self-serve registers at Home Depot. He feels comfortable enough in his imbecility to broadcast it on the radio. I suspect the story has lost something in its appearance on the web, especially given the stilted cop-like language —”The caller proceeded to the employee overseeing the self-service operation and informed her of the register’s status”—but the gist seems to be there.

Another jackass doesn’t like getting Spanish-language advertisements in the mail. She feels comfortable enough in her imbecility to have it printed in a newspaper.

I’m bothered most by the conflation of questions of race, nationality, citizenship, immigration, and language, which results in the ridiculous notion that if you speak a language other than English, you must not be American.

But I’m also bothered that anyone believes they have a right to English-language everything, everywhere. It’s one thing if a ballot is in a foreign language, it’s quite another when a commercial enterprise has recognized what the thickheads have not, that this is and always has been a multilingual, multiracial, multiethnic country. Always.

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Grant Barrett