There are many groups of privileged people in our nation. It can be based on race or gender or economic class or by other means but I believe that normal privilege exists through common bigotry, ignorance and exclusion of others. But few privileges are supported by so many people as the privilege of language. That would be the idea that the foreign language of English is supported above all other languages. This privilege is so pervasive that most people don’t even call it a foreign language but call all others “foreign” as if English is somehow more “American” then all others.
I believe that this misunderstanding is based on the idea that the majority of Americans speak English but English is as foreign as any other language. When the US was founded, citizens spoke many languages that include various European languages including English. Throughout US history, the use and popularity of various languages has changed. Many Americans knew the German language because the largest ethnic group in the US is the German-American group but Americans begun to reject that language closer to World War I and schools even ceased teaching that particular foreign language during that time. English is not a special language and I would wish that so many people would stop trying to force English to remain as the most common language when other languages may naturally take its place as the most common. If Spanish becomes the most common then it may remain equally as foreign as it was before with English. Of course this isn’t about logic from those that support their idea of “English only” US; for them this is about xenophobia and the support of the privileged status of their chosen language. If they can keep their chosen language as the privileged language of the nation then they will even at the expense of freedom of speech and equality for all citizens.
Language is about speech and we have the freedom of speech. This is in the Constitution. So why does the US government work to advocate the expansion and privilege of English at the expense of equal opportunity for its citizens to learn what they want? Certain US politicians even desire to enshrine English language privilege as official US policy. And the US denounces non-English speakers when they reject their entrance into the US as immigrants because they must be forced to learn English to maintain its privilege. If the US respected our freedom of speech then language requirements would be abolished. And I think students should be allowed to learn any language in public schools that their parents/guardians would wish them to learn. Keeping English as a privileged language that all children must learn in government schools is inherently wrong.
Opponents of my opinion may state that English is the most dominant language and it should be protected by government. I would state that it isn’t government’s place to involve itself in what language that its citizens speak and if government protects and expands language based on population then why not help to expand Christian ideals as it is the most dominant religion? I would again state that dominance of languages in the US is not permanent and can change over periods of time. Some may not like it but a future US may have Spanish as its dominant language. But it wouldn’t be our national language as we have 322 languages spoken in the US. California has the most as an individual part of the Union at over 200.
The decline of English language privilege is likely part of this nation’s future and if it is then I recommend that those that disagree with me should get used to it. And I will not entertain ideas that those that don’t speak the foreign language of English is in any way disadvantaged. If it seems like that then blame lingual privilege. We need to start respecting the differences that all Americans have and that includes differences in language. If we can’t do that they we will continue to witness this strained and pathetically futile attempt from certain people to keep their language of choice as the dominant language in this country. Failure to respect differences leads to bigotry and discrimination and we should not be bigoted against other Americans because of language.
This is my opinion on the language of privilege. Thank you for reading it and I hope you respond if you have constructive criticism or if you agree and want to add anything to my message that includes valuable links to other information or your opinion.
English language bill.