July 08, 2007

The impulse behind English-only

Language restrictions invoke intoleranceHistorically, language restrictions have been used as a tool to abrogate and forcibly assimilate people such as those who spoke French in Louisiana and the many indigenous-speaking people throughout the nation. Imposition of the English language came out of a drive to conquer people, acquire property, promote trade and national growth by establishing a singular voice for a young nation. However, most know the price of such progress was paid in the loss of cultural integrity for America's native people and lingering hostilities.

Hopefully as a nation we are willing to own up to the dark side of our past and approach today and tomorrow with a greater sense of enlightenment. No longer is it necessary to stamp out the sense of individualism that language embodies. Technology and education, coupled with simple acts of human compassion, have and will address the challenges of communication, if embraced.

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