Judging by states like New Mexico and California – the two with the largest Spanish-speaking populations in the Union – it is almost a foregone conclusion that the English language is suffering a slow death.
Spanish is all around us. It has somehow become a ‘natural’ part of our lives. Depending on where you live, you can’t go outside for more than a few minutes without hearing someone speaking the language. Elementary schools have classes with more Spanish-speaking children than those who speak English. Employment is getting more difficult because many employers require their employees to be bilingual to be able to serve their Spanish customers. And the laws of the land only encourage the language takeover rather than protecting our national language.
In May, the grocery chain store Albertsons in San Diego, CA had a lawsuit filed against them that claimed they were harassing Hispanic employees for speaking Spanish. According to KDVR, the employees were told they couldn’t speak Spanish around non-Spanish speaking employees. The store, of course, denies the claim, but this is a good example of just how fed up people are getting with the growing use of a ‘foreign’ language.
True, many would argue that Spanish was the language of California when it was part of Mexico. But then, the Golden State is no longer part of Mexico and hasn’t been for a very long time. And before that, it was home to the Indigenous people. Right or wrong, the land was conquered, and the language should reflect the country it belongs to.
One of the biggest areas we see the Spanish language influence is in schools. As The American Conservative reported:
The state now has 22 counties where at least one-third of school-age children speak Spanish, including 46 percent of children in Los Angeles, 60 percent in Monterey, and 71 percent in Imperial County. The same figure rises to over 80 percent in parts of southern Texas and Arizona. Even Kansas and Nebraska—hardly traditional immigrant destinations—now have counties where over half the school-age children speak Spanish at home.
Born and raised in California’s Central Valley, I am well aware of just how much the language influences the area. I grew up with it in schools, heard it in pretty much every store I went into, and I even had to wait for medical care because the facility was seeing to those with translators first. As a reporter, I had to sit through city council meetings that lasted twice as long because councilmembers translated for the Spanish audience.
While America is the land of opportunity and its people are free to practice their own religion and cultures, that doesn’t mean they should supplant our nation’s language and laws. English-speaking children should not be cast aside while Spanish-speaking children are brought up to speed. Yes, this has been done on many occasions.
A New York Post article from 2015 said the United States now has more Spanish speakers than Spain. The article stated that there were 52.6 million Spanish-speaking people in the U.S. at the time. “In comparison, Colombia is made up of 48 million Spanish speakers and Spain only has 46 million.”
Are we losing our national language to Spanish? Will we all be required to speak a new language, and is English to go the way of cursive handwriting? Only time will tell, but it doesn’t look good. Adios!