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Newt Gingrich: Tellin’ It Like It Isn’t

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

So who in there right mind would ever think, or argue, that one of the three romance languages (deriving from Latin) would be a “ghetto” language? Well…none other than former disgraced Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

I first read this about four days ago in the San Francisco Chronicle in where the AP article stated:

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich equated bilingual education Saturday with “the language of living in a ghetto” and mocked requirements that ballots be printed in multiple languages.

“The government should quit mandating that various documents be printed in any one of 700 languages depending on who randomly shows up” to vote, said Gingrich, who is considering seeking the Republican presidential nomination in 2008. He made the comments in a speech to the National Federation of Republican Women.

And that:

In 1995, for example, he said bilingualism poses “long-term dangers to the fabric of our nation” and that “allowing bilingualism to continue to grow is very dangerous.”

The only comment I have to make is that when many people talk about a national identity and keeping a national identity it is the “classic” American identity. That is, the identity of the classic White Anglo Saxton Protestant. This identity does not include people of color. When someone is talking about a national identity one has read in between the lines and dig beneath the surface in order to see what they really mean when referring to national identity.

Nezua blogs:

Who is this “American People” the politicians keep mentioning? It seems a strange group, how they always seem to speak with one (English) voice, and always in the ear of the Right wing politicitans.

Don’t be afraid of the multi-lingual alleys and loquacious shadowlands, Newt. Nobody will force you to understand a damn thing you don’t want to.

The Angry Indian states:

However valid his point may be about a common language (and that can
certainly be argued on the merits), why would you refer to languages
other than English as “the language of living in a ghetto”? That’s just
bigoted, inflammatory and divisive if you ask me. First he assaulted free speech, then Katrina victims. What’s next?

And ending with the blog Richard Is Retired the author writes:

The Pew Hispanic Center has looked into native language retention and found that the children of Hispanic immigrants speak English well or very well and half are English dominant. By the third generation — the grandchildren of the original immigrants — English is the dominant language and a number of this generation actually lose all knowledge of Spanish. Only 7.7% of second generation and not even 3% of third generation Hispanics don’t speak English well.

Gingrich’s inflammatory language only provokes prejudice amongst those who dislike those who are dissimilar. Gingrich reaches back into American history and borrows the language of hate employed by the Nativists of the mid-19th century. He uses hate to gain political advantage.

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