I have a new essay in The American Conservative, on the dangers of nationwide bilingualism. The piece is on the long side (2,600 words) but hopefully an entertaining read. It's chock-full of statistics, studies, and anecdotes. A sample:
Separate media lead to separate political messages. We often hear of “dog whistles” and “coded language” that politicians use to appeal to a particular interest group without alienating the general electorate. In the U.S. today, Spanish is the ultimate “code” for speaking to Hispanics about immigration and other issues on which non-Hispanics may have opposing views.
An egregious example occurred last fall, when Arizona Sen. John McCain put two very different immigration positions on his campaign website. The Spanish version of his site touted his work on behalf of “immigration reform that is humane and sensible to the needs of the immigrant community,” including his leadership on the Schumer-Rubio amnesty bill from 2013. The English text on McCain’s site, however, featured tough talk on border enforcement exclusively. No mention of amnesty. No mention of the “needs of the immigrant community.”
A related controversy arose during the Republican presidential primaries, when Ted Cruz implied that Marco Rubio spoke more favorably of amnesty on Spanish-language Univision than he did on English-language media. “First of all, I don’t know how he knows what I said on Univision because he doesn’t speak Spanish,” Rubio replied, unintentionally highlighting the problem with conducting a campaign in two languages.Stay tuned for more from me on language assimilation.
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