Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Melting Pot Or Whirlpool?

It's been kind of odd to see all of the people suddenly up in arms about making English the national language of the United States. The voices were a trickle at first but they seemed to grow during the start of this year and now just don't seem to want to talk about anything else a lot of the time. It can get to the point where it seems like everyone is agreement on the topic.

While that is definately open to discussion, I think that this whole hulabaloo comes from a centralized source. Throughout the history of this country, it's mostly been a white-anglo-caucasian nation with many different ethnic groups making up a portion of the population. There might be a Spanish, Korean, or Indian language station on your local cable network but they tended to be stuck in the more marginalized area of the channel directory.

The last couple of censuses and just general polling of American citizens has started to show that this might not be the case anymore. The United States of America is becoming more of a melting pot than the founding father could have possibly imagined. There are people from all over the world living in the US who speak a multitude of native languages and are here in numbers big enough to actually gain recognition and status. Take a look at your ballot the next time you vote and see how many different languages it is translated into. The mass media has latched onto this and now there are many magazines, television channels, and other things geared directly to non English speaking people.

Which leads directly into the whole "Speak English" debate. There is quickly appearing groups that might have been a minority in the past but now they are growing closer to the majority. This country is rapidly becoming an actual melting pot with people from all over the world all calling the USA home. It is very possible that the next census will show the numbers of nationalities are even closer than we guessed it could be.

This country was created and built under the ideal that everyone was welcome. This is where the melting pot analogy came from. Unlike the other countries of the world, the US was a mixture of all of the people that came to live here (and also the native population) and make a new life. The danger with a lot of the "english only" arguements is that it risks spinning the contents of the pot into a whirlpool, spinning all of us to the sides and away from each other. The center of the pot drops lower and lower until the emptyness goes straight down to the bottom. An emptyness that could become a vacuum and pull us all into it. I don't tend to be a pessimist but that is something that could very detrimental to the country and everyone that lives here.


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