Here's why we need official languageArizona Republic
Feb. 4, 2005
Objections and controversy about making English the official language of Arizona (and the U.S.) are senseless. There are many reasons for states to have official languages. Fairness and cohesiveness are just two of them.That is why Mexico has an official language!
Oh, you didn't know Mexico had an official language? It is Spanish, of course. Do an Internet search for "official language of Mexico" and see for yourself.The strange thing is, no one accuses Mexico's official language of being discriminatory or racist against its native Indian tribes. The same can be said for the other Latin American countries.
Why then do Hispanics object to a state or the U.S. having an official language? Not for any good reason. Isn't their complaining bizarre?
Definitely. Doesn't the U.S. have the same right to an official language as other nations? The reasons countries need official languages answers that question.Communication is the first reason for having an official language.
We must all speak the same language for understanding, discussion, mediation and dialogue. We cannot feel part of a nation's fabric or feel allegiance for and belonging to that country unless we speak the dominant language.We have to think in the language and pick up the nuances for effective communication.
Information is the second reason for having an official language.Immigrants and new arrivals must have no option but to learn a nation's language, so they can be informed. This enables everyone to know what services are available, make responsible decisions, and protect themselves from harm. The complete flow of information will be only in the dominant language, and people should have no choice but to learn it.
Education is the third reason for an official language. No country can run a complete and equal, dual language education system. That would be too expensive and unwieldy, so much so that the high courts in some countries have ruled this illegal.A nation's educational system will be administered in the dominant language by default. Therefore, an official language is needed to compel everybody to learn it so no one gets left behind from being at an educational disadvantage.
The fourth reason is opportunity. If people can't communicate, are ill-informed, and are lacking in education, they have zero chance for success and will become a burden on society.An official language prevents all but a tiny percentage from falling into a bottomless quicksand pit of no hope and taxpayer burden.
The final reason is cohesion. The people doomed by not learning the dominant language will feel left out of the larger society.They will coalesce into impoverished, negative subcultures with their own language and destructive mores. This result is aptly called "balkanization," and bodes ill for any nation.
An official language protects and benefits both the state and the citizens of the state. That is why nations have official languages.Fred Pinkney is a former Air Force health care administrator. He and his wife moved to Gilbert in 1997. The views expressed are those of the author.