One of my biggest pet peeves about anti-immigration pro-nativist rhetoric is how it has created this universal idea in U.S. culture about what “stupid” really is, especially in the area of language. Specifically, if you don’t speak English, you are actually (among other things) stupid. Irritating logic to say the least, but somewhat understandable how easily racism can twist lack of comprehension into stupidity.
What is beyond fathomable–what just destroys my faith in humanity every time I hear it, is the idea that being *bilingual* (or speaking more than one language), means you are stupid. Or “lagging behind.” Or somehow unable to keep up with the world or simply unprepared for life.
Witness: This very interesting clip from CNN that showcases a white family that decided to send their white children to a school that teaches it’s kids in Spanish. Which means that the kids are fluently bilingual before they graduate.
Notice how many times the reporter let us know that the kids are not “lagging behind?” And that there is a waiting list to get into the school? And that, holy Jesus, it’s actually a GOOD thing to know more? That when you know more, you are actually SMARTER?
I’ve said it a thousand times, and I’ll say it again here. Only in the Good Ol’ U.S. of A. could the population be so blinded by racism that we actually refuse to be educated in the attempt to ‘be smart.”
Only here could we honestly take pride in and form a national identity around ignorance.
Actually there was one Spanish language moment right before Penelope Cruz won for best supporting actress when Angelica Houston, who was charged with giving Pe her nomination tribute, finished off with a “Felicitaciones”.
“This is not going to be 45 seconds, I can say that right now. Has anybody ever fainted here? Because I might be the first one. Thank you so much to the Academy
I want to share this with my fellow nominees and with the amazing ensemble of actors that I had the privilege to work with in this movie. Thank you, Woody, for trusting me with this beautiful character.
Thank for you having written over all these years some of the greatest characters for women. And I cannot talk about great female characters without thanking my friend Pedro Almodóvar for having made me part of so many of his adventures. Thank you, Bigas Luna, Fernando Trueba, for giving me my first movies. Thank you, Harvey Weinstein. I wanted to dedicate this to my parents and to my brother and sister, to my friend Robert Carlo, who is not with us anymore, and to everyone who has helped me from the beginning and you know who you are and I thank you from my heart.
I grew up in a place called Alcobendas, where this was not a very realistic dream. And I, always on the night of the Academy Awards, I stay up to watch the show and I always felt that this was, this ceremony was a moment of unity for the world because art, in any form, is and has been and will always be our universal language and we should do everything we can, everything we can, to protect its survival.
So I thank you so much and I have to say something in Spanish, because everyone? Todos lo que, desde España, ahora están compartiendo éste momento conmigo, y sientan que esto también es de ellos, se los dedico, y a todos los actores de mi país. Muchisimas gracias. Thank you so much.”
Actor Will Smith was in Spain and stopped by a ridiculous show called El Hormiguero to promote his new movie, which I have no idea what it’s called in English, but is apparently titled “7 Almas” in Spanish. In the video above you’ll see Smith follow the conversation of the host via simultaneous translation, answer a couple questions in Spanish, cry about the Obama victory, and sing a flamenco song en español. Too much weird content for me here folks! I have to admit I pretty much despise him in his natural state, but since he’s so good-natured in Spanish he seems almost…ALMOST palatable.
File under: believe it or not. Spanish language television news broadcasts are winning the ratings game against their English-language equivalents in top markets New York City and Los Angeles, taking the spot as the leader in number of viewers below the age of 49. Spain’s El Periódico reports:
In comments made to the Associated Press, Ray Rodríguez, President of Univisión said that this growth is “a clear indication of how the U.S. is changing and this is a trend that is much more important than just the ratings.” And this is because the Latino population of New York has grown from 2.7 million in 1990 to 4.3 million in 2008, according to data from the U.S. Census.
While this is true, I also believe that a huge contributing factor could be that non-Latinos have moved away from broadcast news — which you have to watch at a certain time of day — to consuming news content online, be that in text or on-demand video form. Spanish language media consumers still have a lot less to choose from (that’s an understatement) with regard to quality news content online.
Most of our readers probably aren’t bothered by websites being available in Spanish as well as English, in fact many of you are pleased with that option that includes a large, growing portion of our population. The Hillary Clinton campaign website and Barack Obama campaign websites both have Spanish language versions available from their main page (not so for John McCain). One U.S. Senate race in Texas however, is getting heat for offering information in Spanish. Texas Democrat Rick Noriega’s site is being called offensive for having an en Español button. One blogger asks:
Is it just me, or is the “en español” button on Noriega’s site highly offensive?
Spanish speakers have gotten used to seeing their language take a beating when it comes to URLs, since such common accents and even an entire letter — the beloved Ñ – have previously been unavailable for use in our browser address bar. Given the constraint, concessions have been made over the years, or people have simply had to call their website something else so as not to risk embarassment in the form of words like year becoming anus. But that’s all going to change now, as the Spanish government has labored to get the standards changed to accommodate the proper use of the language on URLs, as well as the characters associated with the other languages of Spain (Catalan, Valencian, Euskera and Galician):
Red.es, the industry in charge of domain registry in Spain, has informed the 62 accredited registry agents to allow names with the the characters ‘á’, ‘à’, ‘é’, ‘è’, ‘í’, ‘ï’ ‘ó’, ‘ò’, ‘ú’, ‘ü’, ‘ñ’, ‘ç’ y ‘l.l’.
While Newt Gingrich might think that Spanish is the language of the ghettos, la lengua de Cervantes is now the second most studied language in the world, after English. According to Spain’s 20 Minutos, there are now more than 14 million people studying Spanish in 90 countries in which Spanish is not an official language.
According to the Director of the Instituto Cervantes – the Spanish organization that looks to promote the language all over the world — one of the main reasons that people are choosing to study Spanish is because they believe that it will professionally benefit them in today’s global economy. He also pointed to Brazil’s decision to make Spanish an mandatory subject in schools as an example of the growing importance of Spanish in the world.
Nelly Furtado is pretty hot right now, and she seems to know that recording in English and en español a la Shakira is hot, too, as she’s in the midst of recording a CD in Spanish:
“I’m in the midst of recording a Latin album,” Furtado revealed when she stopped by the MTV offices Wednesday. “It’s like, ‘Wow, I’m writing a song in Spanish.’ It’s really bizarre, but really great.”
Furtado, who grew up speaking Portuguese, didn’t learn Spanish until she was in high school at age 14. Although she has sung a few songs in Spanish already (such as “Te Busqué” on Loose), this is the first time she’s attempted to write songs in Spanish from scratch.
Like Beyonce, Nelly might also be after a piece of the Latino wallet, but at least her first attempt at recording in Spanish with Juanes yielded a great song. I’m not a huge fan but anxious to hear what she comes up with.
According to the National Assn. of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, no other city with a population over 300,000 holds that distinction. Santa Ana is the 51st-largest city in the nation, and the ninth largest in the state, with a population of nearly 350,000.
According to the LA Times, Latinos gained majority of the Council in 2002.
If the politicians behind the story I am about to cite read this post, I’ll be crucified by writing a headline which begins “In Spain…” To some people in the Catalunya region, their territory is not Spain. For some real life manifestations of this sentiment, read on. It’s eerily similar to our own “You’re in the U.S., speak the language!” issue, the difference being the language that a couple of luminaries in Barcelona are being asked to speak is not Spanish.
Eto’o, the Cameroon-born star of Barcelona’s soccer team — arguably the most famous soccer team in the world — El Barça, has made a grave mistake that may cost him some fans in Spain’s Catalunya region. He spoke Spanish.
During a press conference, the player was spoken to by a journalist in Catalan, one of the two official languages of Catalunya, and when he didn’t understand the question, asked the reporter to repeat the query in Spanish. This caused a polemic among local politicians who deemed the request “disrespectful” and among team officials, who are encouraging the player to “learn the language” of Barça’s home base.
One politician, Artur Mas, is even demanding that Eto’o apologize for his error. The debate was even hashed out in the Catalan parliament today.
The poor guy doesn’t seem to see what the big deal is, and has said he didn’t understand the question and has nothing but the utmost respect for Catalunya and the Catalan people:
Eto’o is defending himself saying he didn’t hear the question and that “The reporter was behind me, there was a lot of noise and it was almost impossible to hear. That’s why I asked that she speak to me in Spanish.”