Thursday, January 04, 2007

What Are They Really Afraid Of?

So there I was today, enjoying my al pastor tacos, when the question emerged:
What the hell are they really afraid of?
The "they" I was musing about are the people (some latinos included) who pull the "they should speak English when they're here" card out of their sleeve. I'm sure you've encountered them, perhaps you've even entertained the same idea in your head.

Anywho, it got me to thinking. Scary, I know.

I recalled the times I've been in Nogales, Sonora - during the day, not the party nights - and virtually all of the Americanos who were shopping in Nogi spoke in English to the Mexican vendors that were wheeling and dealing in the various mercados. Not to mention the dollars instead of pesos that were used to pay for whatever curiosity tickled the fancy of the buyer (not that the Sonorans cared, have you seen the exchange rate lately?).

I thought about all of this because the young woman at the counter of the taco place I enjoyed immensely was completely bilingual. She spoke to me in Spanish when I approached her - it comes with the morenito skin - yet when the blonde nurses from the nearby hospital came in after me, she interacted with them in flawless English.

It brought a smile to my face.

Such diversity. Such intellect to be able to code-switch without even thinking about it. The sonrisa emerged from my face because I wondered what would happen when the English-only Brigade got what they wished for someday - would they feel inadequate when they realized that the sea of humanity they spent so much time demonizing could speak more languages than they could? (1) Would they make a similar effort to diversify the abilities of their own tongue? (doubtful) Would the resentment further the nasty fight already being waged north of la frontera? (bet on it).

Oh yes, the smile widened as I imagined a future where the multicultural tierra that my roots are sunk deeply also boast a bilingual people. Too bad that the reality I've encountered have made it so that in my daydream, only indigenous people are exercising their brains to embrace growth.

Don't blame me, blame the power-brokers who resent the history of the western United States.

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