“Speak English” is the rally cry for many anti-immigrants who feel that Hispanics are being favored by “press 1 for English….” and many companies catering to their language in ads and on products. U.S. English Inc. has set itself up as a pro-English lobby group that, since 1981, has been trying to make English the official language of the United States. Contrary to popular belief, there is no official language in this country.
One celebrity that has put his name out there for this movement is John Rocker. Though I believe that a person can change we shouldn’t forget that John Rocker was made very famous for his hateful and borderline racist comments in New York:
While at his peak as Atlanta’s closer he was heavily criticized for making statements that were viewed as racist, anti-gay and sexist. Speaking of New York City, Rocker told Sports Illustrated in January 2000: “It’s the most hectic, nerve-racking city. Imagine having to take the 7 Train to the ballpark, looking like you’re riding through Beirut next to some kid with purple hair, next to some queer with AIDS, right next to some dude who just got out of jail for the fourth time, right next to some 20-year-old mom with four kids. It’s depressing.”(Rocker’s feud with New York City began in earnest during the 1999 National League Championship Series against the New York Mets, during which Mets fans threw batteries at him.) In game 5 of the series, he allowed a 2-run single to John Olerud which proved to be the game winning runs. (click John Rocker above to read more on Wikipedia
Back in 1985 a band called S.O.D. (Stormtroopers Of Death) released a song called “Speak English Or Die.” The lyrics are as follows:
You come into this country
You can’t get real jobs
Boats and boats and boats of you
Go home you fu—- slobs
Selling hot dogs on the corner
Selling papers in the street
Pushing, pulling, digging, sweating
Where you come from must be beat
You always make us wait
You’re the ones we hate
You can’t communicate
Speak English Or Die
You don’t know what I want
You don’t know what I need
Why must I repeat myself
Can’t you fu—– read?
Nice fu—– accents
Why can’t you speak like me
What’s that dot on you head,
Do you use it to see??
Basically this “Speak English” issue has been out there for some time, but recently it has begun to reach it’s pinnacle as anti-immigrant groups have latched onto it as a means of demonstrating how “real Americans” are being abused by the needs of immigrants. The mood in the above lyrics is currently being shared by many anti-immigrants. Behind the “Speak English” credo there’s a lot of hatred.
Now a politician has jumped on the “Speak English” bandwagon. Pat McDonough, a member of the Maryland House of Delegates, representing Legislative District 7, has “Speak English” as his campaign slogan. Here’s one blogger’s reaction to Pat’s campaign.
So what’s next for you, I ask? Perhaps you should add to the campaign “No Asians” or “No Blacks” and see how many people you piss off. After all, it would fit nicely with your current campaign since you’re discriminating against those legal residents here who CHOOSE to speak Spanish or another language rather than English. Let me also remind you of freedom of speech and the choice to speak the language you are most comfortable with, have grown up with, or simply prefer.
Nobody is going to argue that English is the most widely spoken language in the United States. However, the message behind the “Speak English” campaign is intolerance toward others. With this realization I’m sure the final effect of the “Speak English” campaign will be to make English the official language of the United States while outlawing the use of any other language in public. You may believe that’s a little far fetched, but personally I don’t think so.
It’s one thing to encourage something, it’s another to jam it down someone’s throat using it to ridicule or cause hatred and intolerance towards others.