Press 1 For English: Is America Destined To Become A Multilingual Nation?

The quickest way to divide people is to have them speak different languages.  America has always been a nation of immigrants, but one of the things that has always united us as a nation has been the English language.  In the past, it was always understood that if you wanted to thrive in the “land of opportunity” that you had better learn English and learn it well.  Unfortunately, times have changed.  Today, many radical activist groups are actually referring to the English language as a “tool of oppression” and are demanding that special accommodations be made for those that do not wish to learn the English language.  But what languages are we supposed to accommodate?  Overall, there are 325 different languages spoken at home in the United States today.  So which of those languages should receive special treatment?  How far are we really going to take all of this?  Someday, instead of your telephone telling you to “press 1 for English, 2 for Spanish”, it may tell you to “press 323 for Italian, 324 for Arabic or 325 for English”.  Yes, that is kind of a ridiculous example, but we really should examine where all of this is headed.  Is America destined to become a multilingual nation where we all struggle to understand one another?


This debate can become very heated.  The first thing that both sides should acknowledge is that everyone deserves to be loved and respected no matter where they are from and no matter what the color of their skin is.  If someone speaks English that does not make that person better than someone who speaks Spanish and vice versa.  Every single person on this planet is extremely valuable no matter where they come from and no matter what language they speak.

And the reality of the matter is that tens of millions of Americans speak Spanish as their primary language today.

All of us have noticed many of the changes that have occurred as a result.

If you use an ATM in America today, you will likely have the option to conduct your business in the Spanish language.

If you call a customer service hotline, you can “press 1 for English” or “para español oprima dos”.

In many areas of California, Texas and Florida some employers have made being bilingual a mandatory requirement for many jobs.  If you apply for those jobs and you do not speak both English and Spanish you can just forget it.

Down in Miami, there are large areas of the city where Spanish is actually the primary language.  It is almost like going to a foreign country.

Big retailers in many parts of the country have also hopped on the bandwagon.  The following is a photo sent to me by a reader of the interior of a Home Depot store….

There is certainly nothing wrong with wanting to be helpful to your customers, but are we eventually going to get to the point where almost everything in America is done in two or more languages?

Increasingly, radical activist groups are deciding that it is not right to expect that immigrants will attempt to assimilate into our culture.  Instead, they are demanding that all of us must be willing to make special accommodations for them.

This whole “political correctness” thing has totally gotten out of control.

According to Marta Jimenez, a lawyer for the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund, “the historical use of English in the United States” has been used as “a tool of oppression”.

A tool of oppression?


One of the biggest areas where we are seeing this kind of activism is in the education system.  In some areas of America today, Hispanic students are taught most of their subjects in Spanish.  This makes it very difficult for them to successfully integrate with the larger society.

The consequences of not insisting that public school students become proficient in English have been very dramatic at times.  The following example comes from an article by Mauro Mujica….

In May, about 20 percent of the students at Miami Senior High School, where 88 percent of the students speak English as a second language, failed the annual Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test (FCAT) exam, which is required for graduation. The poor results prompted protests and demands for the test to be given in Spanish as well as English. Over 200 students and teachers gathered outside the school waving signs and chanting “No FCAT.” A state senator from Miami introduced a bill that would allow the FCAT to be given in Spanish.

Unfortunately, these issues are not going to go away any time soon.  Today, approximately 20 percent of the entire population of the state of California is considered to have limited English proficiency.

The federal government certainly has not been helping matters.  Illegal immigrants are much less likely to integrate into society, and the federal government continues to do very little to stop the flow of illegal immigrants coming into this country.

Meanwhile, legal immigrants (those that would be more likely to integrate successfully) have to go through paperwork hell in order to do things correctly.

Our entire immigration system is totally upside down.

Much of this article has focused on Spanish so far, but that is far from the only language that is becoming a major issue.

For example, those immigrating from the Middle East are also often not very eager to integrate into our culture.

Thanks to the federal government, very large numbers of Muslims have been immigrating into the United States, and as a result Islam is now the fastest growing major religion in America.

Many communities in America have actually altered their school calendars to accommodate Islamic holidays, and Arabic is commonly spoken in many areas of the United States today.

Someday members of your family may be taught Arabic in school.  Don’t think that it can’t happen.  As the New York Post recently reported, one public elementary school in New York will now require students to study Arabic….

An upper Manhattan public elementary school will be the first in the city to require that students study Arabic, officials said yesterday.

Beginning next semester, all 200 second- through fifth-graders at PS 368 in Hamilton Heights will be taught the language twice a week for 45 minutes — putting it on equal footing with science and music courses.

So will we soon hear “press 3 for Arabic” when we call a customer service line?

America is rapidly changing.

Barack Obama issued a memorandum which authorized the admission of up to 80,000 additional immigrants during fiscal year 2011.  Most of the additional “refugees” were from areas that were highly Islamic.

As their numbers grow, will they be willing to learn our language and our culture?

Most Americans do not realize this, but there is even a requirement that ballots in other languages be available on a nationwide basis.

So you don’t even need to know English in order to be able to vote.

Unfortunately, those alternate ballots cost a lot of money to print up.

According to one estimate, providing bilingual and multilingual voting ballots nationwide costs close to 5 million dollars.

But it isn’t just ballots that are the issue.

Executive Order 13166, which was signed by Bill Clinton when he was president, essentially requires that all federal agencies ensure that individuals with limited English proficiency have “meaningful access” to all services that they provide.

That means that millions upon millions of dollars is spent printing up forms and documents in other languages.

A recent CNS News article discussed one example of this….

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said the government is working on including more questions about the health concerns of the LGBT community. The National Health Survey questions will be in multiple languages to “drill down on what are the specific health needs around the LGBT community.”

So is the federal government going to print up the National Health Survey in all 325 languages that are spoken in American homes?

If not, why not?

Don’t all language groups deserve equal treatment under the law?

Hopefully you are getting an idea of how bizarre all of this can potentially become.

The truth is that if we could focus on just one language that might help our education system.

Today, 47 percent of all people living in the city of Detroit are functionally illiterate.  Getting the people of Detroit to be able to use one language correctly would be a major step in the right direction.

And if we allow other languages to become dominant in the United States it is only going to be a matter of time before that creates very deep political divisions in this country.

Theodore Roosevelt once made the following statement….

“There is no room in this country for hyphenated Americanism…. The one absolutely certain way of bringing this nation to ruin, of preventing all possibility of its continuing to be a nation at all, would be to permit it to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities.”

So what do you think about all of this?

Please feel free to post a comment with your thoughts below….