Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom
I don't think I made my point very clearly, then. I don't just mean that there have always been immigrants who don't speak English. I mean the situation with German was exactly the same as it is now with Spanish and Hispanic immigrants. There was violent backlash against them, laws were passed banning education in 9 million people's first language, they published newspapers in German, signs in some areas were in both English and German, the same thing that is happening now. http://www.ohiohistorycentral.org/entry.php?rec=592 http://www.ulib.iupui.edu/KADE/adams/chap7.html
I meant a large number of immigrants... not just those of German descent. I do understand what you're referring to, really. What I'm reading from the links you sent is this: the violent backlash inflicted upon the Germans back then wasn't so much about learning English, but about WWI and WWII (eventually) and the stigma attached to speaking German... hysteria/paranoia of the non-German speakers here in the US. Last I checked, we're not 'at war' with Spanish-speakers...
I'm fine with the newspapers and such... smaller press papers for all languages, but in dealing with day to day life: driving cars, shopping in mainstream stores, etc... English is dominant. Would you want your street signs (caution: men at work, etc) bilingual? It'll be more confusing for everyone... not to mention the safety concerns. People (speaking all languages, mind you) seem to have difficulty reading the signs in JUST English... you put two languages up there? All h*** will break loose.
When I'm dealing with someone at my store who doesn't speak any English, it's very difficult... I'm in a fabric store... it's very hands-on... they HAVE to interact with us, to get fabric/notions cut, cashing out, etc... Now, I also get many, MANY customers who are from Eastern Europe countries (don't ask me which ones... I really have no clue), and many of them don't speak any English either. It's awkward and frustrating as a retail clerk to try assisting anyone who doesn't speak any English.
If someone gave me the excuse of not having the money to take classes, I'll tell them that's B***. There are community colleges that offer classes for decent rates. I used to tutor students in two of those very schools. There are options out there, if you make the effort. If you have enough money to buy all that fabric, you have enough money to take classes.
I'm gonna stop now... just like over in IMO... if i get too feisty, I have to back off, or I'll type things I KNOW I'll regret.