Friday, June 15, 2007

This never used to be a political blog...

I know I'm getting bad at updating this thing, I really am. It's not like I'm too busy. I mean, I am busy in the sense that I'm working a lot, pretty much six days a week. But other than that, I don't really do anything. I come home and just sit around. And while at home I have nothing but time. Usually I'm quite drunk or too occupied with staring at the walls. That's exactly why I don't post. I have nothing to post on. This was all supposed to be devoted to discussing my wretched life, but seeing as I have none...well, whatever little things I can come up with will have to suffice.

I'm a huge fan of Arnold's and I really do think it's criminal that he's not able to run for the highest office of them all. Just read this and Gov. Schwarzenegger is right on the money. He was even right when he said that it might get him into trouble, but he still went ahead and said it. Why? Because he is 100% right. As one of the greatest immigrant success stories in the history of the country Arnold has never been afraid to tell it like it is.

One of the things that has always infuriated me is people who have lived in Canada for many years and don't speak a bloody word of English. Indeed my very own grandfather is one of them and I never thought it was right. Now people coming to Canada and the U.S. from abroad understandably want to keep their own language and heritage etc. and that's totally cool. But back in the day you had something called the Melting Pot (more so in the States than here I suppose) where people from all over came to the country, bringing their own unique culture, but sharing one thing: They were all American (or Canadians). That is no longer the case.

You see, the Melting Pot is now considered to an outdated notion, one which has been replaced with a 'cultural mosaic' in which all sorts of people come together, don't learn English and only interact with people from their own background. That my friends, is ghettoization.

In Canada we have two official languages, those being English and French. English is spoken in most provinces, but if you live in Quebec or New Brunswick, there are a great deal of French speakers. Once upon a time, one had to actually understand and speak one of those to live here. No longer it seems. So long as you stay within your isolated little Chinatown or Little Italy or whatever, there's no need. It really is quite the disgrace. Imagine I were considering moving to Germany or Japan and I had the gall to not learn the native language there. As a visitor, sure. But if I lived there for many years I would be ashamed of myself not have the decency to learn the local tongue. Yet is happens here and in America oh so often.

Yes, we are both multicultural societies. That's very cool and something to be proud of for sure. In Canada we have two official languages. In the United State there shockingly isn't one but it is an English speaking nation, no two bones about it. Come to Canada and chose to make it your home. Awesome. I am very proud that you've chosen to make it your home and you're just as much a Canadian as I am. But once here, you're a Canadian first and whatever else second. Don't lose sight of that 'whatever' but at the same time be sure to remember where you are now.


Blogger Andrea said...

OK, I actually do agree with Arnold on the principle that exposing oneself to English TV/media only is likely to increase the speed at which one learns to speak English, and that this could be beneficial to Hispanic students who have struggled in school due to a lack of proficiency with the language. I don't really think it's that controversial of a thing to say. I mean, when I was in French immersion as a child, the idea was that we would only be allowed to speak French to the teacher and one another in class so that we would be forced to continually practice and almost learn by osmosis. It would be quite another thing if he proposed to ban Hispanic television and radio for that purpose, but he's done no such thing, so I don't really see what the debate is.

I can sympathize on the language thing here in Canada, as I am also irritated by people who never bother to learn either of the national languages, although I would call it a knee-jerk and not really a rational reaction. But rationally, I don't think it should matter too much what language one does or does not speak, so long as public institutions still operate in English and French only. I much prefer the cultural mosaic to the melting pot, but there is a way to maintain one's cultural identity and still learn another freakin' language. I think cultural diversity should be lauded for its educational value alone, but I don't think that Canadian public services should be offered in anything but English or French. People who refuse to learn the language will then be disadvantaged in terms of the accessibility of these services, but that's the way it should be. The only government assistance that should be offered are language classes. On the other hand, if you can get by without learning English and without the government helping you out, more power to you. Just don't expect anyone to do you any favours.

June 16, 2007 12:51 PM  
Blogger Kid Icarus said...

Quite right. Arnold certainly didn't get to where he is now by hiding away in some Austrian community or whatever. He came to the States not knowing a lick of English, immersed himself in it and is one of the great successes of our time.

And you're also right on the second point. Don't learn English if you chose not to. Good for you. Otherwise, don't expect anyone to go out of their way for you, to bend over backwards to accommodate you. Language classes are certainly the exception though. For once we actually agree!

June 18, 2007 9:43 PM  
Anonymous Robyn said...

Interesting to know.

November 10, 2008 8:00 PM  

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