Monday, August 25, 2008

Obama says American kids should learn Spanish

So I will start of with this bit of old news. Back in July Obama gave a speech in Georgia, during which he mentioned that Americans should worry less about immigrants learning English then making sure that their kids spoke Spanish. Sounds very inflammatory right? Sounds like Obama would like Spanish to take over the states, forcing everyone to learn to speak Spanish, adopt it as a second language, that sort of thing. So lets put this statement in context.



And for those of you who can't see the video, here is the transcript, word for word:

[I don’t understand… when people go around worrying about “we need to have English only”. They want to pass a law “we want just, we want English only”. Now I agree that immigrants should learn English. I agree with that. But… but understand this, instead of worrying about whether immigrants can learn English – they’ll learn English – you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish. You should be thinking about how can your child become bilingual. We should have every child speaking more than one language. You know, it’s embarrassing, it’s embarrassing, when… when Europeans come over here, they all speak English, they speak French, they speak German. And then we go over to Europe, and all we can say is “Merci beaucoup.” Right?]

Well, after watching what he actually is talking about, which is not that every child should learn Spanish but that every child should study a foreign language, I think he is completely right. Please note, that he does not say that every child should be forced to learn a foreign language, nor that that the US has to become a bilingual state, but that an American's education should include an appreciation and understanding of foreign cultures. And this goes back to my earlier point of America being woefully lacking in knowledge of much beyond it's borders.

Interestingly, while looking for this video I came across a number of blogs etc that cut off the speech after 30 seconds, just where Barack says "you need to make sure that your child can speak Spanish." And I can see how that would get a lot of people upset.

8 comments:

maeverin said...

i fully agree eveyone, especially in this country, would benefit from learning another language. to me, it is embarrasing for an american to travel abroad and expect everyone to understand english. even as a tourist, there sould be SOME effort to learn a little. i don't agree it should be mandatory. it should be an informed decision.
however, Obama seems to have this delusional thought the illegals (note i say illegals so as to differentiate from regular immigrants) will learn english. why does he think this? they have no interest in learning english. especially if they think we are going to just learn spanish to make it easier for them.

Paulina said...

I suspect that some legal and illegal immigrants, Spanish speaking or others, will not learn English or at least won't learn it well. Old people for example, have a hard time learning a new language. But I think that all newcomers who can will learn English eventually. And language isn't really the issue anyway, it's the illegal part that is a problem. Still, you know I have a soft spot for all immigrants legal and otherwise. If we are worried about loosing jobs, we should worry about jobs going overseas. For instance, why is everything made in China?

maeverin said...

it's more than just losing jobs, it's about everything that comes with them. mexico is not in a good way, and they want to bring mexico to america. that means all their drugs, their gangs, and they expect american handouts that aren't even afforded to american citizens! it would be nice to think they will get around to learning english, but in reality, they aren't being given much incentive to.

Paulina said...

I don't know that I agree. If they want drugs and gangs they can stay where they are. In general people come to this country to escape what they don't like in theirs. What kind of handouts do they get that american citizens don't? Is there some study to support the rise of drugs/gangs in Mexican-rich communities in the US? As an example: "a study done by the Immigration Policy Center showed that immigrants and especially illegal immigrants are five times less likely to be in prison than American citizens, it is thought that the fear of deportations serves as an incentive to be more law abiding. Also, cities with large immigrant populations showed larger reductions in property and violent crime than cities without large immigrant populations." Anyway, I think the number of illegal immigrants who are involved in violent or narcotic crimes is a small percentage.

maeverin said...

from the annual FBI uniform crime report:

"In the population study of a sample of 55,322 illegal aliens, researchers found that they were arrested at least a total of 459,614 times, averaging about 8 arrests per illegal alien. Nearly all had more than 1 arrest. Thirty-eight percent (about 21,000) had between 2 and 5 arrests, 32 percent (about 18,000) had between 6 and 10 arrests, and 26 percent (about 15,000) had 11 or more arrests. Most of the arrests occurred after 1990.

They were arrested for a total of about 700,000 criminal offenses,
averaging about 13 offenses per illegal alien. One arrest incident may include multiple offenses, a fact that explains why there are nearly one and half times more offenses than arrests. Almost all of these illegal aliens were arrested for more than 1 offense. Slightly more than half of the 55,322 illegal aliens had between 2 and 10 offenses"

Paulina said...

I wish the study mentioned the total number of illegal immigrants in the USA convicted of a crime. I tried to read the report but it does seem to break down crime by ethnic or nationality status. Persumably there are many more than 55,322 illegal alien criminals among the 12 million illegal aliens living in the USA at the moment, cause otherwise the number of criminals among the population would be 0.46%.

Paulina said...

wow, many spelling mistakes in last post. forgot the spell check... meant to say the report does NOT break down by ethnicity.

Paulina said...

anyway, more crime, is not good no matter where it comes from. I just want to say that criminals are the exception to the illegal alien population, not the norm. Albeit a common exception, which is too bad. I am all in favor for arresting their drug/gang asses and tossing them in, preferably Mexican, prisons.