Thank you for printing the commentary by Nichols. I have only recently become aware of the English-only movement and the laws they are attempting to pass; I was not even aware that an English-only law had been passed here in California. I feel that these laws are discriminatory and unfair, and that they only promote the harassment of minorities.
The statement that making English the “official” language is simply an effort to preserve our national heritage is based on the ignorant belief that the history of the U.S. consists only of the history of white Anglo-Saxons. This concept is insulting to our country’s rich variety of racial and cultural backgrounds. It is particularly insulting to descendants of Native American tribes and to the many people here in California who have a strong Spanish heritage.
Perhaps the ridiculous nature of these laws is best illustrated by the amusing irony that was pointed out in the February issue of Hispanic magazine. It was suggested that if the legislatures of the three states that recently passed English-only laws--Florida, Colorado, and Arizona--really wished to take these new laws seriously, they should consider changing the names of their states, all of which are clearly derived from Spanish words!