midniterider

Stopped for speaking spanish in Montana

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https://www.cnn.com/2019/02/14/us/montana-border-patrol-spanish-lawsuit/index.html

 

You might think you got rights down in Texas and California, Senorita....but here in Montana ....

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As someone who comes from a culture where people speak weird and unfamiliar languages (India has 27, last time I counted), I'm not sure one should feel much sympathy here. Speaking non-English languages promotes a sense of disunity and is a generally rude thing to do in an English speaking country. My family was very intentional about raising me Indian and Hindu...which I suppose failed because I became a Christian for awhile. But they were equally delibrate in speaking only English at home and ensuring that I didn't learn a word of our native language, because they wanted me to be an assimilated American. Legalities aside, no one here should be incentivized to speak languages other than English. Speaking other languages in public is unseemly and is not conducive of a sense of cultural unity.

 

Before you disagree with me, imagine how you might feel if people in your community regularly spoke languages that you could not comprehend. You would find it difficult to interact and you would likely wonder if others are talking about you or insulting you. Tolerating various lingual groups seems tolerant and progressive in the abstract, but it's a different matter entirely when people come to your home or workplace and start uttering words that sound like gibberish to you. Being fairly involved in the Indian-American community since my deconversion, this is something I deal with fairly regularly, even in my own family. I would personally find it preferable if people restricted themselves to the language of their host country, and made every effort to forget the language of whatever country they come from. Should people be arrested or detained by the police for doing otherwise? Of course not. But at a cultural level it's not something we should encourage. I would strongly support using every means to suppress non-English languages, short of outright compulsion of course. In other words, get rid of the "press 2 for Spanish" option. If you can't speak English you should be incapable of performing simple daily tasks, because this is an English-speaking society. And for goodness sake don't add support for Hindi. My people already speak English, we just do so with obnoxious accents.

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On 2/16/2019 at 9:40 PM, Bhim said:

As someone who comes from a culture where people speak weird and unfamiliar languages (India has 27, last time I counted), I'm not sure one should feel much sympathy here. Speaking non-English languages promotes a sense of disunity and is a generally rude thing to do in an English speaking country. My family was very intentional about raising me Indian and Hindu...which I suppose failed because I became a Christian for awhile. But they were equally delibrate in speaking only English at home and ensuring that I didn't learn a word of our native language, because they wanted me to be an assimilated American. Legalities aside, no one here should be incentivized to speak languages other than English. Speaking other languages in public is unseemly and is not conducive of a sense of cultural unity.

 

Before you disagree with me, imagine how you might feel if people in your community regularly spoke languages that you could not comprehend. You would find it difficult to interact and you would likely wonder if others are talking about you or insulting you. Tolerating various lingual groups seems tolerant and progressive in the abstract, but it's a different matter entirely when people come to your home or workplace and start uttering words that sound like gibberish to you. Being fairly involved in the Indian-American community since my deconversion, this is something I deal with fairly regularly, even in my own family. I would personally find it preferable if people restricted themselves to the language of their host country, and made every effort to forget the language of whatever country they come from. Should people be arrested or detained by the police for doing otherwise? Of course not. But at a cultural level it's not something we should encourage. I would strongly support using every means to suppress non-English languages, short of outright compulsion of course. In other words, get rid of the "press 2 for Spanish" option. If you can't speak English you should be incapable of performing simple daily tasks, because this is an English-speaking society. And for goodness sake don't add support for Hindi. My people already speak English, we just do so with obnoxious accents.

 

I agree with you about the national unity that speaking one language brings ... though I also feel that learning several languages (like Europeans do) can be helpful. We should not mandate learning Spanish in our schools but it would be helpful to learn it, because, like it or not , there's a large Spanish speaking population  in the country.

 

Something related that pisses me off is people that drive around with Mexican flag stickers on their cars and US license plates. If you love Mexico, go back there. If I loved a country enough to emigrate there, I'd be flying its flag sticker on my car. I'd be a proud member of their country. At least I think I would.

 

With regard to the article, I was mostly pointing out that if we are a free country, we ought to be able to speak Spanish in Montana without a cop losing it. My original thought about this article was the fact that I deal with a lot of visitors to the USA who have funny accents and also are multilingual (as are the people in the article  - IIRC). That cop would be very busy in my home town jacking up Russian, Asian and Spanish speakers. :)
 

 

 

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What a snowflake boarder patrol. Better not come to New Zealand - he'd be dealing with Maori, Samoan, Chinese, Indian, a bit of German and French (Mainly tourists)… and the occasional flipping yankee! :D 

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Speaking a language other than English is not illegal here. Neither is racism apparently. As far as Mexican flag stickers on cars, I have seen cars sporting Swedish flags, Japanese, Korean and other flags. I hear Chinese, Japanese and French spoken in public. But Mexico seems to be the only problem. Where did we ever get that idea?

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2 hours ago, florduh said:

Speaking a language other than English is not illegal here. Neither is racism apparently. As far as Mexican flag stickers on cars, I have seen cars sporting Swedish flags, Japanese, Korean and other flags. I hear Chinese, Japanese and French spoken in public. But Mexico seems to be the only problem. Where did we ever get that idea?

 

 

You're right, Mexico is the only problem. That makes me a bit racist perhaps. On the other hand I don't mind my tax dollar or private dollar helping out the caravan people. Like everyone, I'm a mixed bag of ideas and beliefs. And I try to follow my advice below. :)

 

Regarding our national language(s):

 

Living in a country where you may pursue happiness any way you see  fit does not promote uniformity nor conformity. If uniformity and conformity are not mandated then try not to be too sad when you get an America like it is now. The great part of the USA is going anywhere and doing anything you want. But, the 'down' side is there will be AMERICANS of many different cultures and languages enjoying it right along with you.

And they will be bringing their previous culture and language and customs along with them. And their damn Mexico flag bumper stickers...and one of them might be my doctor, grocer, or whatever.

 

Sometimes it's annoying when random people are speaking Spanish (or another foreign language) around me but then I also consider that I dont pay much attention to the random people who are speaking English either , so....whatever.
 

 

I'm a white native American like the majority of the US population. Why the heck don't I speak Navajo or something? :)

 

 

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This guy is an inexperienced rube.

 

Any experienced Leo knows that you come up with another excuse when you stop someone for speaking a foreign language.

 

People get stopped for speaking foreign languages all the time in my state, hell, they'll stop you for just having an accent here, but most officers wouldn't be dumb enough to say it out loud, much less to a potential suspect's face.

 

Mexico is the only problem? Whatever happened to Cuba and Haiti? Speaking Creole will get you stopped just as fast around here as Spanish will, and officers aren't picky about what type of Spanish it is.

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In our city there are over 50 languages spoken and it doesn't bother me in the least to hear them. Some have a beautiful sound and are enjoyable to hear even without understanding what's being said.

 

When you study languages you learn that there are idioms and phrases that express notions and thoughts that can't be directly translated into another language. And since we think with language more often than with visual images, having more than one language available expands the ways in which we can think as well as some of the things we might think about. In some languages a single word or two can express an idea that would take multiple sentences to explain in another language and even then certain nuances can be lost. In my travels on four continents I've admired those who are multi-lingual and I feel that our educational system is derelict in not starting children on a second language in the lower primary grades. Learning other languages increases cultural understanding, the lack of which is the cause of many interpersonal and international problems.

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I frequent a French restaurant in Portland, and on any given Sunday there are probably between four to seven different language groups represented (really good food and prices!), all speaking in their own languages with each other until the waiter comes by and talks to them. I see no problem with people being themselves with family and friends even in a public place. I've seen videos where it has been purposefully otherwise (like the Muslims on a subway loudly praising Allah like a war cry), but I've never encountered it. The city here has LOTS of different ethnicities, and I've never seen anyone get upset over a foreign language.

 

 

 

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On 2/18/2019 at 6:34 PM, florduh said:

Speaking a language other than English is not illegal here. Neither is racism apparently. As far as Mexican flag stickers on cars, I have seen cars sporting Swedish flags, Japanese, Korean and other flags. I hear Chinese, Japanese and French spoken in public. But Mexico seems to be the only problem. Where did we ever get that idea?

 

For what it's worth, when I talk about the rudeness of speaking other languages, I'm thinking more about Indians speaking Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, or whatever else, as well as Chinese speaking...well, Chinese. At a philosophical level I have the same problem with Spanish-speakers, but the former two are what I interact with on a regular basis, and in a majority English-speaking country we should not have to deal with this. I would reiterate that speaking non-English languages in public should be regarded as unseemly and an embarassment, and at a cultural level shouldn't be encouraged. People commonly state that America has no official language. What is omitted is that an earlier version of the pledge of allegience includes the phrase "one language." Granted, that pledge also mentions God, so I don't much like it either. But rather than quibbling about history, we should ask whether it's a good idea to encourage foreign languages in public spaces.

 

When you start a graduate program in the sciences, usually a professor will sit down with you and all the other first year graduate students and talk to you about the grand adventure upon which you're embarking. My class - like pretty much every graduate physics class in the nation - had more Chinese than domestic Americans. The professor explained the importance of learning English, and suggested that when the Chinese are at social events with other Chinese, it would be a good idea to use their English as a way of assimilating more easily. This was back in 2007, I wonder if such speech would be allowed in the #woke era. Nonetheless it's good life advice for non-English-speaking immigrants. You should speak English even when no English speakers are around, because the English speakers aren't going to go out of the way to learn your language. In my experience in the very multicultural setting of academia, I worked with people from all over the world. They all spoke English. Heck, at one particle physics institute in Germany, the German scientists spoke English when speaking to each other, because English is the language of science.

 

It's interesting that when Europeans and Asians come to the United States, they are expected to speak English. No one is going to learn Russian just to communicate with a coworker from Moscow, or Italian to interact with someone from Rome. Why is there sympathy for only Hispanic people? This to me seems like the effect of groupthink, whereby the #woke culture is focused entirely on the intersectional politics of refugee migration from South America and Muslim countries (e.g. metropolitan areas offering K-12 education in Somali). I have to ask, how far are you willing to go with this? Are you willing to offer all government services in Spanish? In Somali? In Arabic? How long before Americans have nothing in common with each other anymore?

 

As for the mention of racism, I'll go ahead and say I'm not racist, and leave it at that. If someone thinks that what I say is racist, they are welcome to that opinion. As I am not white, I don't harbor any white guilt, so the charge of racism doesn't sting very much. Heck, even if I were publicly accused of racism, I could simply point out that I'm a brown immigrant and that I've been oppressed by the whites. Or something.

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On 2/18/2019 at 1:47 PM, midniterider said:

 

I agree with you about the national unity that speaking one language brings ... though I also feel that learning several languages (like Europeans do) can be helpful. We should not mandate learning Spanish in our schools but it would be helpful to learn it, because, like it or not , there's a large Spanish speaking population  in the country.

 

Something related that pisses me off is people that drive around with Mexican flag stickers on their cars and US license plates. If you love Mexico, go back there. If I loved a country enough to emigrate there, I'd be flying its flag sticker on my car. I'd be a proud member of their country. At least I think I would.

 

With regard to the article, I was mostly pointing out that if we are a free country, we ought to be able to speak Spanish in Montana without a cop losing it. My original thought about this article was the fact that I deal with a lot of visitors to the USA who have funny accents and also are multilingual (as are the people in the article  - IIRC). That cop would be very busy in my home town jacking up Russian, Asian and Spanish speakers. :)
 

 

 

 

Totally agreed on the Mexican flags and the utility of us learning other languages. And you'll get no argument from me that speaking Spanish shouldn't result in a police incident. The furthest I'd go is to say that English enforcement should be purely at the cultural level. Someone who can't speak English should not be able to so much as go to a grocery store and get food. There should be no resources available to translate for someone who didn't learn English before arriving here. If you can't speak our language, you have effectively nothing in common with us and shouldn't be here.

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8 minutes ago, Bhim said:

In my experience in the very multicultural setting of academia, I worked with people from all over the world. They all spoke English. 

I am happy to report that I have recently returned to the academic world, myself.

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12 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

I am happy to report that I have recently returned to the academic world, myself.

 

Wow, is that possible once you've defected to private industry? I don't think I could take the pay cut, but I do miss something about academic life, Chinese speakers and all. My company lets me go to an academic conference every year, and I have to admit it makes me miss that side of the world. I'm happy for you Prof!

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9 minutes ago, Bhim said:

 

Wow, is that possible once you've defected to private industry? I don't think I could take the pay cut, but I do miss something about academic life, Chinese speakers and all. My company lets me go to an academic conference every year, and I have to admit it makes me miss that side of the world. I'm happy for you Prof!

The pay cut does put a damper on things; but pharmaceuticals is not the most stable of industries.  I like the security of knowing there will be a small but steady stream, rather than a large river that might dry up at any time.

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21 minutes ago, TheRedneckProfessor said:

The pay cut does put a damper on things; but pharmaceuticals is not the most stable of industries.  I like the security of knowing there will be a small but steady stream, rather than a large river that might dry up at any time.

 

Yeah that's a good point. I'm living the life now, but I suppose we're one economic collapse away from me being out in the cold.

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23 minutes ago, Bhim said:

 

Yeah that's a good point. I'm living the life now, but I suppose we're one economic collapse away from me being out in the cold.

I've been out there already: company mergers, buy-outs, lay-offs.  That's pharmaceuticals.  Come on back into the warmth when you need to.

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