I’m just going to put a general disclaimer out right now that you probably won’t agree with me on this one. If you do, that’s awesome, but I think the majority of my fellow Americans won’t be “feeling me” (as the kids say).
The subject of Spanish v. English has been increasing prevalent at all the little coffee clatches I attend, which is why I choose to share my thoughts with you. I don’t really want to rail against my new-found friends and coworkers, so I shall rail via the www, against the offending parties, and hope that they all mysteriously get the web address to this blog. And that they read it. And that their minds are changed as a result of my superior wit. Here goes.
No one (repeat: NO ONE) has to or should have to learn English. I don’t give a rat’s behind what country this is (I know it’s America, FYI) or what language you and your mommy and daddy and all your buddys at State U spoke. I’ll give you that it’s bullheaded for people to refuse to learn a trade language (be it English, Spanish, Japanese, etc…). But English ain’t a right, my friends. It’s just a useful tool. No matter where you are in America, you don’t have a right to be greeted in English anymore than a New Zealander has a right to be greated in Māori. Complaining as if you do is just a waste of time and energy.
Further, the trade language in this town isn’t even English (it’s Spanish), which makes all the bitching about Spanish speakers that much more ridiculous and pathetic. Demanding that people speak/learn English here is the equivalent of someone from Moscow visiting a US Army base over there and demanding that everyone on the base speak Russian because this is RUSSIA gosh-darnit.
Main point: It is ignorant to suggest that a group should learn a whole new language purely for your convenience. If people can get by without learning a new language, more power to them. If you live in a town where your native tongue isn’t well known, maybe you should forgo some of the complaining and then use all the time that freed up to learn something new (like a language). Being understood or able to understand isn’t a right. It’s a skill.
Get your head out of your rear, find a tutor, and read up on your history. There’s a reason “immigrants are taking all the jobs.” It’s because when they hit a new situation, they adapt and overcome. Can’t say the same for my “American” compatriots, lately.
[PS added on 10/22 at 7:22pm: It seems necessary to clarify; I’m not suggesting that people who refuse to learn the trade language should have exceptions made for them at work or in commerce. I just don’t agree that English is the default trade language anywhere American soil exists.]