I’ve been swamped this morning and I’m just now catching up on the whole coca cola controversy. I will say this, I don’t think a lot of the comments against the commercial were articulated well and some were just downright racist and mean. I do however understand where just a small part of it may come from. I am personally happy that we have a multi cultural country where (for the most part) we are all treated equally.
America is a melting pot and is filled with people from every corner of the world seeking the American dream. To my knowledge it always has been that way so unless you are British and your ancestors are from Great Britain than English was not your families first language. Just because you are four generations removed and all you speak is English, there still has to be that respect your family that left their home country to come here. Speaking another language does not make you un-American.
I do get the frustration that a language barrier can cause. I was lost a few years ago in LA and never made it to my destination because not one single person that I could get directions from spoke English. I remember telling my mother and she thought it was funny. To me it wasn’t. I missed an appointment because in “America”, I couldn’t find one person who spoke English. That was extremely frustrating and I was very angry. I get angry when I call for customer service and I get a person in India named Amy who is reading off of a que card and has a horribly thick accent. I always think to myself, I’m sure they could open a call center in Detroit and give the jobs to Americans who speak English since we are the ones calling, paying for the services and could totally use the jobs.
That brings me to the biggest point! Greed is very American, money is the universal language of our country. There used to be a time where coming to America and learning the language and living the American dream was what was striven for. Now, you can actually do all of that without learning English. Why? Companies would much rather make it more convenient for you to spend your money by offering their services in different languages than to not get that selection of people can’t speak English. I was at the DMV in LA and the written part of the drivers test was offered in maybe 20 different languages? I just kept thinking to myself if you can’t read the test in English how are you going to read the detour signs or emergency road signs? Just a thought….
Pride could be at stake for those who feel that “America” is going to the immigrants. Well America was built on the backs of immigrants so I think a little restitution is just. Greed will out weight pride everyday of the week in this country. Truth me told there are lots of things in America to be proud of and then there are some that we should certainly be ashamed of! After all let’s not forget we did hijack a country from the Native Americans and we celebrate it every year!
I grew up in a non English speaking country so I always thought our take on immigration and language was very interesting. In Japan where I grew up it was pretty much learn the language, roll with a translator, or just try your luck. I did a combination of all three because I had to. You cannot exist in most other countries and not find someway to speak their language. You are in their country. Makes sense to me, and I had no problem with it. Most Japanese people are very accommodating when they see you are trying to speak their language and will their best to meet you halfway in understanding. In America, we can get a bit intolerant. We often make fun of people who can’t speak proper English, I might be more inclined to just use my native language if I knew I would be ridiculed for trying to learn and speak the language of this beautiful country I’m in. In Japan you can’t just become a Japanese citizen, you are born one, end of story, the VIP is closed and no outsiders allowed in. In the US completely different. Sometimes for great reasons such as asylum, education, and opportunity. Sometimes not so good reasons such as undocumented and cheap labor.
I think before we start calling out things as “un-American” we have to think of what America really is. Sometimes being a patriot is really accepting your country for what it is, flaws and all. I don’t know if there is any country that doesn’t have it’s fair share of issues. Except maybe Switzerland!
I’m sure my father who was not born in the US, who served 30+ years in the US Navy, and is a true patriot would agree:)