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Location: California, United States

I am a neolibertarian minded individual who feels that freedom and individual rights take precedence over the wants of government. I believe government exists to serve the people and not to protect us from ourselves. I am an advocate for private firearms ownership, smaller government, reduced taxes and freedom to live your life however you choose, providing you do not directly hurt others.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

Donut Store Manager Imposes "English Only" Rule

A donut store manager mandated that employees only speak English while in the presence of customers because:
people "were complaining about my employees speaking Spanish in front of them, saying that was disrespectful."
Interestingly, the manager who imposed this rule was a 20 year old immigrant who learned English as his second language. This clearly was not an issue of racism or xenophobia.

Unfortunately, the corporate offices did not approve of this policy. According them:
Chalco's intent "was to address a customer service and satisfaction issue _ but his approach was inappropriate."
Why was it inappropriate to require employees in an American store to speak the dominant language of America?!? It is long past time we made English our national language. No more printing government paperwork in dozens of languages and bending over backwards for people who have the audacity to come here and reject our language and culture. We need to make people learn English so that we as a nation can all communicate with each other. I speak Spanish when traveling in Spanish speaking countries and if I moved to a non-English speaking country I would learn the native language of that country as quickly as humanly possible. I expect visitors to show me the same courtesy of speaking English when they come to my country, especially if they expect to get my business.

I don't care what people speak in private, but it is not unreasonable for a customer to expect people to be able to communicate with a vendor in English. It is one thing for short term visitors such as tourists, to come here and speak their native language. It is quite another to move here, join a community and get a job without bothering to learn and speak English. Inviting a person into your business and then refusing to speak in the customary language of the land is rude. This is no different then inviting someone into your home, sitting them down on the couch, and then proceeding to ignore them and hold a whispered conversation with someone else in the room while the guest just sits there and wonders what is going on.

I was pleased to read that it is still legal to require employees to speak English to customers, even if the people at the corporate donut office chose not take advantage of that law:
Alison Greene, executive director of the Westchester County Human Rights Commission, said an English-only requirement can be legal if it is limited to "a bona fide business reason" such as conversations with customers.
Already our nation is filled with pockets and communities of people that cannot easily communicate with most of our nation. If this continues for another 100 years, imagine how hard it will be to reach a national consensus on any issue. Already police officers must be multilingual in some areas, school teachers are encouraged to be bilingual and driver's tests are conducted in dozens of languages. This is not the way to hold our nation together and maintain a national identity.

Imagine how difficult coordinating a community response to a disaster or terrorist attack would be in an area where half of the population doesn't speak English. I grew up in an area where there are entire neighborhoods that spoke only Vietnamese, Korean and Cambodian. I now live near communities that speak mostly Spanish. How can people in these neighborhoods follow a national political debate, quickly act on a public safety warning, give directions to a lost stranger or even understand and comply with state and federal laws? I think it is fantastic when people are multilingual, but one of those languages had better be English if the person is going to make this country their home.



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