With the immigration protests making headlines across the nation, many people have expressed their respective views on immigrants living in the United States, one comment being, “Learn the language or get out of the country.” Learning the language of the country you reside in is not an absurd idea, but most of the people who make such abrupt comments have never stopped to think about the ignorance of Americans.
We can’t expect foreigners to know English when we so heavily rely on others to know our language in foreign countries. For instance, Mexicans who cross the border should know how to speak our language because they are in our country, but most of us can’t carry on a conversation in Spanish, nor do we need to, when we are in Mexico, because they have actually tried to pick up English.
Americans have this double standard that others should know our language, but do many of us actually take the time to learn someone else’s language?
Many people take a foreign language in high school thinking it’s a progressive move on their parts. Does four years of a language actually make you fluent in that language? And there are those who have even taken it since their early school days, but guess what – that doesn’t even mean those Americans are fluent.
While schools that teach in two languages do exist here, they don’t even compare to the number of educational institutes in Europe that stresses multiple languages.
Maybe it’s time for America to expand its horizon. Perhaps we should stop relying on others to know our language and truly make an effort to know another nation’s. We should stop being hypocritical and make our actions match our accusatory words.
Associate editor Adrienne Lang for the editorial board.