Thursday, January 17, 2008

Press three for

John Edwards is correct about the Two Americas theme.

But the rich, white guy that went to Narlins (that's New Orleans) to proclaim it simply doesn't have a clue. So...enough about him.

A similar division can be observed in Belgium where most of the power resides in the French-speaking Walloons in the south (roughly 32%) and the Dutch speaking Flemings (58%) in the north. The other 10% are bilingual in the Capitol Region around Brussels. Whereas there is a geographic and cultural divide between these groups, by far their single biggest separator is language.

America is fond of its separations, as well. We, too, have a North and South; but also an East, West, and Fly-over middle; rich and poor; White, Black, Hispanic, and I could go on and on. The contention I wish to hold forth here is the same as tiny Belgium. Language. Or to be more specific, those that care to speak the unofficial but accepted language and those that can't, don't, and most specifically those that won't--those that make a choice to speak something else.

As a representative of a publicly-traded major corporation which services every element of our populace except rural, I speak with everyone from new African immigrants to working class whites to professional people of all sorts.. My company had to outsource a Spanish call center for our Hispanic...ahem...guests. At what cost? Obviously we wouldn't make the expenditure if it didn't increase profits by serving a significant number of customers but it still boils down to the fact that it's an expense we eat because people won't learn this indisputable fact--English is the language of American business, and will remain so until we allow it to not be.

Think about that last bit: until we allow it to not be.

Immigrants from non-English speaking countries have always had challenges to assimilate--the first of which is to learn the language. Providing services in their native languages has never aided in assimilation; only hindered that goal.

Press one for English

Nobody reading this has not let out the exasperated sigh when hearing those words. We know that we're to spend extra time getting to the business for which we're making a call.

para toca dos por Español

At which point the English-challenged Spanish-speaker breathes a sigh of relief that he doesn't have to struggle in the gringo tongue.

Just for fun, imagine this:

Press two for other

Now the caller would hear a list of all languages. Spanish is number 70 in the 'S' list of all listed at Wiki. Oh, and the letter 'S' is the 19th in our alphabet.

Suddenly our Spanish-speaker would immerse himself in English or head for the border.

And now I've come to the real point of this post. This is what the top of this post would look like:

Press three fo' Ghetto


Jiznohn Edwards be right `bout tha Two Americas thing.

But tha rizzay white mofo thizzay went ta Narlins ta proclaim it simply don't has no clue. So...'nough `bout him . Bow wow wow yippee yo yipee yay.
Call me a Racist Relic© but the truth would bely that and I don't need to provide bona fides.

Educational variances aside, a portion of our urban society and a growing portion of suburban youth have made a choice regarding their cultural identity in rejecting the common tongue. This choice is reinforced to everyone's detriment by peer pressure to not be white. Let me lay this out--speaking English, the language of business, is not about being white. At least the people of India, Kenya, and Nigeria don't believe it to be. It's also the language of air traffic control worldwide.

Above all,

Language is an agreement.

I have good ears. I can recognize by tone and accent that Walter Williams or Thomas Sowell are black when I hear them on the radio. I have no problem with their 'blackness' and I'd be very surprised if they had a problem with my race. My problem, such as it is, is that I have to work much harder to accommodate people who equate the proper conjugation of the verb to be with their need to represent that they reject 'whiteness' by disagreeing with the use of the language they learned in school.

I reject the notion that, by habit or otherwise, people can't bring to bear what they learned through at least nine years of formal education when doing business.

So long as people refuse to learn or purposely reject our common language there will be the two Americas of those that choose to speak it and those that don't.

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