AN ISSUE IN SEARCH OF A POINT
Jan. 18, 2005
Earl de Berge
Public opinion and market research
Ironic isn't it, that as free enterprise increasingly finds huge profits and
opportunities in using Spanish-language media, Spanish-speaking employees and
Spanish-language sales contracts to make money off those in our population whose
first language is not English, conservative and so-called pro-business
Republicans in the State House insist government should march in exactly the
While Rep. Russell Pearce crows ... "If you come to American, you should speak
English," he should reflect on a more widely held belief, one which seems to be
heartily embraced by President Bush, "If it is good for business, it is good for
He should also reflect on this reality: consumer research on Hispanics
demonstrates that from first to second generation, the proportion of
Spanish-speakers who become bi-lingual and who prefer English language media
jumps to well over 80 percent.
This traces to their powerful desire to learn English and demonstrates that no
governmental intervention is needed. It also underscores the potent influence of
the bi-lingual work-a-day commercial and governmental world in which they work,
in helping them learn English.
So where is the value in eliminating one of the very tools people rely upon to
learn English - the ability to lay an English-Spanish document side-by-side and
study them both as they learn?
That people who come to America should learn to speak English is not at issue.
What is at issue is whether government should go out of its way to make the
process more difficult and even insulting.