official english legislation

Douglas Bigham TlhovwI at AOL.COM
Sun Jun 3 19:31:07 UTC 2001

Short of being "truly ignorant", I have some questions.  Doesn't point (2) of the proposal have some value and truth?

"(2) Throughout the history of the United States, the
common thread binding individuals of differing backgrounds has been the
English language."

Not that this is a bill I support (at least not in any form like this), but, if the point of some supporters (the non-xenophobes and non-racists) is that SOMETHING is needed to united our "nation" to our "national identity", wouldn't language be a good starting point?

Also, is there precedent for such harsh claims against the bill?  Has this particular type of legislation been passed elsewhere in the world and shown to add to racist sentiment in that nation?  I'm not asking about cases where a language of some 10% or so is elevated to "officiality", or where a common "other" language is adopted for official purposes, but, cases where 70+% of the population has been speaking a language for nearly 200 years, that language is declared as "official", and the subsequent effects add to the impoverishment of the "non-native/non-fluent/non-proficient" speakers?

Douglas S. Bigham
Southern Illinois University - Carbondale

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