Press One For English

A local pizza chain that sports a major percentage of Hispanic patrons will soon give away a free promotional pepperoni pizza to anyone that comes in and orders it in Spanish. Some buzz around town by paranoid men and women who sleep with guns under their pillow is they think this is the sinking stone on a doomed American future. This pizza chain just wants to drum up more business; their largest consumer base is Latino families, makes perfect sense to me. The increased marketing to other cultures and groups of people whose primary language is not English will pay off in a global economy and a global economy is becoming more and more evident in our shrinking world.

I tend to take a less popular approach to the ongoing bilingual/multilingual communication fiasco in these United States. You’re putting up a no-win battle folks. Our population, our social structure is mutating, evolving into something neither good or bad, just different. We can either become cognizant of the change and help it form into a mutual consent of cross language cooperation or wander back to the Tower of Babel existence, running ass wild berserk, unable to understand one another.

To arrive downtown I take one of the more (reputed) insane buslines-straight down Colfax. The jaunt starts in the heart of a busy Latino community, houses with families, people buying food and diapers and sundries and all sorts of shit. This is their neighborhood and their inherited language is Spanish, yet many of these households adopt bi-lingual survival skills to get around in both Latino and Anglo communities. This technique, being fluid to your surroundings helps one navigate, understand a larger demographic and be part of a larger global connection.

Right now, if space beings from some far away planet landed saucers on Earth, we would want to learn their language in order to communicate with them. We wouldn’t be so stubborn as to insist they learn English before we talk with them, would we?

Would we?

How long will America try to halt natural progression of a society and at what cost would they be willing to do it? I think one of the most brutal examples of assimilation tactics on a society in our country was the American Indian tribes throughout the U.S.-cut their hair, made them wear different clothes, forced them to learn and speak English and look at them now. Indians have one of the highest suicide rates in our country, rampant alcoholism…tore their culture apart.

It’s a chore to speak another language-English included, but overcoming the language barrier is getting easier all the time. We now have a lot of new tech methods to use as a crutch to conquer this beast. I have a hand held device I can speak English into and it spits out Spanish, written or vocal. The entire app cost me ninety nine fucking cents, a steal for a Star Trek inspired Universal translator.

Open yourself up to a little educating folks, pick up a new language. You don’t have to become fluent, just learn to get around. It’s not a dirty thing to broaden your skills in oration. The anger over this pizza promotion thing is a bit much for me. I’ll go say three words in Spanish and get a free pizza while some just sit there and balk that you’re trying to make them broaden their learning palette. Language usage will transform as our census of people changes, and that’s a reality you can’t change. It’s already happening.


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