Thursday, March 20, 2008

English Only

A few years ago, Joe Vento owner of Geno's Philly Cheesesteaks hung a sign that said,


He posted this sign because of concerns over immigration reform and an increasing number of people in the neighborhood who could not order in English. He also said that he never refused anyone service because they couldn't speak English, but critics said that the sign discouraged customers of certain backgrounds from eating at the shop. Of course he was brought before the Commission on Human Relations.

Surprisingly, the commission by a vote of 2 to 1 found that the sign did not violate the city's Fair Practices Ordinance. This is good.

While it is difficult to learn a new language, immigrants should be encouraged to learn the language of the country that is providing them with a job. I'm tired of seeing eight language selections when I use the ATM, or having to press "1" to speak in English. There really is no reason why a person can't learn even basic English.

I remember a parish priest who was defending having Mass in another language by saying that people should be able to worship in the language in which they think. If that's the case, there should be a Mass for me in Pitman Shorthand since I often translate the words I hear into the various symbols in shorthand.

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