Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Se Habla Espanol

First off, having looked through our August schedule, it appears that our free time has been absorbed by events like a bucket is drained of it's water by a particularly retentive sponge. So apologies if August is a sparse month for blog posts. Onto other things;

Over my time I have spotted a fair few bumper stickers that have raised my caterpillar like eyebrows. Bumper stickers seem to belong to two or three different types of people. Firstly there is the pick-up truck that has no more room for any stickers, in fact it's first line of defense against bumps and fender benders is stickers. Typically they're of the right-wing, tea-party persuasion that doesn't appear to understand that raising taxes might actually have some benefit for everyone. Secondly there are the parents who are just so proud of their little munchkin that they feel the need to share with everyone that they got honor roll, nothing like pressuring the little one. Thirdly there's the left-leaning driver, maybe driving some kind of hybrid car who's sole function in life seems to be to prove to everyone else that they are just so much better than anyone else just because they recycle 10% of their waste.

Whilst driving to and from the bank the other day I got stuck behind a truck that had the words in big type along his back window "One America, One Language".

Now I really struggle with this. America has never been a country of one language. It's always been a haven for immigrants from around the world. Why are some people so threatened by other languages? (Presumably, he's rather threatened by the amount of Spanish speakers - for whatever reason) Yes, I think when moving to a country you should always try to learn the native language, but I also think immigrant populations have the right to converse in their own language. A language is much more than just words, it carries culture and identity across boundaries, the Basque poets for instance carry their culture through their work, their language which differs greatly from Spanish tells it's own story and it's own unique way of life.

Is this man just paranoid that all these people around him are speaking a language that he can't understand? I remember feeling vaguely like that when in Wales when the owner was talking to someone in Welsh, concerned that they were laughing at me, but I soon grow out of that and I still maintain that Welsh is not a real language just a vague collection of phlegmy-sounds.

All of this is quite beside the point though, because after all, what's a bumper sticker going to achieve? What has a bumper sticker ever achieved? What exactly is their purpose other than to display your ignorance to the world?


Paul said...

I have noticed the anti-Spanish/Mexican sentiments amongst certain people over here. It's a pretty ignorant attitude, in my opinion. Maybe not quite as bad as, 'Ein Volk, ein Reich, ein F├╝hrer', but along the same lines, as far as I can see.

Rob said...

A unhealthy dose of Xenophobia,which for a country which prides itself on being a melting pot of cultures is really disappointing to see - especially in places like Texas which,lets face it, is a suburb of Mexico.