Oh, my! We’re the United States of Aliens! We’re a Halloween Nation! Our monsters don’t all speak English at home! Write your last will! The end is near!
Xenophobic Americans — you know, Trump supporters convinced that poor immigrants rather than the establishment are responsible for our rigged system — are circulating news like this to reinforce their xenophobia.
In summary, the Census Bureau found that a sizable portion of people in the U.S. speak something other than English at home, 21.6 percent nationwide, larger percentages in some peak immigration states. So, is the collapse of America imminent because of this? Are we losing our culture to “alien” influence?
Actually, this is nothing new. America has always been an immigrant nation, and immigrants have always been far too busy surviving, often working multiple jobs to make ends meet, to spend a lot of time in English classes. On top of it, when they do make time for English classes, they find themselves standing in long lines winding around school buildings, trying to get into quickly sold-out courses. Better luck next time, amigo! Try to show up several hours early for registration, and do pray and hope to get in! That’s the reality.
The children of immigrants learn the new home country’s language far better than their parents; but it’s usually the third generation where linguistic and cultural assimilation is finally complete. This has always been so. Your own ancestors, if you aren’t a recent arrival still learning English, went through exactly the same process, even if you and your living relatives no longer remember any of it since the memory has disappeared in the mists of time along with any other memory of your great-great-grandparents. So, don’t pretend this is new and threatening. Don’t make a witch hunt out of it.
Since the earliest days of our nation, there has been a never-ending tug of war between English-only nationalists and repeated efforts to translate our laws into immigrant languages, especially German because of so many German immigrants that didn’t speak English well. All those Americans of at least partial German ancestry (most of us!) now speak English at the native level. Then, again, the native level isn’t all that high in a growing number of folks, in case you haven’t noticed — no matter what their ethnicity!
Say, can you still use the past perfect correctly or the past participle of irregular verbs like ‘to go’? Do you say “I have gone” or “I have went”, “I am done” or “I am did”? Do you perhaps replace the auxiliary verb ‘have’ with the preposition ‘of’? If your native English is marred with these abysmal mistakes, maybe you should come down from your high horse and join the immigrants in English class. If you are concerned about the English (or “American”?) language in our country, this would do a lot more for it than grumbling about the linguistic difficulties of immigrants — difficulties only made worse when the English they hear from nativist Americans is so faulty.
And since we are on the topic of language, you may want to read this CNN article: Why ‘illegal immigrant’ is a slur. It’ll teach you a lot about language use and the reality of undocumented immigrants.
In conclusion, what is being reported is just the usual process of immigration and integration that has been the hallmark of these United States since the founding of our nation. So, let me say it again: don’t make a witch hunt out of it!
Don’t let yourself be distracted by trivialities which the establishment rain on us to distract, divide, and confuse us. Look around you. What do you see? Money in politics, a corrupt twin-party tyranny that we must end, healthcare denied to millions of Americans, a rigged and dying economy, a unique opportunity in human history to turn our world into a paradise… Halloween is over! We have real issues to deal with.
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