No habla ingles, Ich spreche nicht Englisch, Je ne parle pas anglais

Imagine yourself walking down the street, through the grocery store or up the apartment stairs. Lost in your own existence, a faint noise encroaches your perfect world. A muffled tone slowly but surely invades your personal calm. At first, your attempts to identify the noise fail miserably; your brain can’t seem to process what your ears are hearing.

Finally, it dawns upon you. That noise, that infernal racket, is someone carrying on a conversation, but not just any conversation. They are speaking in a foreign language. Irritation then usually rears its ugly head. In rare occurrences, you dismiss the incident, extending grace to their alien speech.

Living in the melting pot of cultures we call America, we run into this situation time and time again. It happens to everyone sooner or later in that we are English-speaking Americans. This irksome scenario rabbit-trails onto a related subject: should the U.S. government require all foreign aliens to learn English? Is it morally justifiable to impose our language on another?

For instance, should we require all Hispanics, who according to the U.S. census constitute 13.7 percent of the total populace, to learn English? By the year 2050, the projected Hispanic population will make up 24 percent of our population. It is undeniable that the United States is becoming more diverse as more and more ingredients are thrown in our melting pot, yet no matter how many foreign-speaking individuals enter our country, it will take nothing short of a Mexican invasion to overthrow the English language’s dominance in our country.

You might make the claim that Spanish seems to be encroaching upon every part of our society; our labels, our TV, even our radio. Surely eventually it will at least rival English’s place in American society. As long as English-speaking politicians and the wealthy remain in power, English will remain the language of choice in the land of the free.

It is without a doubt that learning English will always be a practical requirement for foreign aliens. However, making it a law seems to run into some deeper ethical questions. Why, might you ask, would such questions even need to be asked? Because the requirements we believe our country should put on aliens reflects the way we relate to them on a personal level.

Looking back upon America’s history, we have to realize that our English roots lie in our government. Our populace has a multicultural and multiracial background, and it’s mainly our leadership that finds its foundation in English-based ethnicity. Calling our country an English one seems to be denying our very foundations of equality for all. Thus we run into a quandary which questions our moral beliefs.

Thinking back to the people we run into that are unable to converse competently in the English language, requiring them to conform to our way of life seems to contradict the American dream; for those of us who claim to be Christians, it conflicts with our faith.

At the same time, there’s no denying that learning the English language greatly benefits any immigrant to the U.S. So while necessity may supersede conviction, if we at the very least claim to believe in American ideals, and hopefully a higher power, then we should remember to extend courtesy, and more importantly, equality to those who don’t speak our tongue.

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