Dec. 14, 1995
For the last five years, Political Correctness has forced the
academic (and much of the political) world to pay homage to the
new sacred cows called multiculturalism and diversity. Those are
usually used as code words to challenge the assumption that
Western Civilization is the basis of what we call the American
system, and to pretend that all cultures are equal and
contributed equally to the America we know.
This fad seems to be trying to get us to change our national
identity from E pluribus unum (From the many, one) to E uno
plures (From the one, many). Indeed, Vice President Al Gore's
goof last year indicates that he has already made that
But cultures are not so easily rationalized. Cultures are
grounded in deeply held emotions, history and relationships that
defy logical analysis. The separatist movement in Quebec and the
fighting in Bosnia are two recent evidences of how inherited
cultures cause bitter, current problems.
The United States is the world's most stunning example of a
nation that has peaceably and successfully assimilated people
from many disparate cultures. So why are some people trying to
separate us into factions, emphasizing what divides us instead of
what unites us?
The $8 billion bureaucratic failure called "bilingual education"
keeps more than two million immigrant children in a three-to-five
year program where as much as 90 percent of their school day is
spent in their native language. Sometimes their teachers speak
almost no English.
New York City students are taught in 82 languages, including
Kpelle, Nyanja, Twi, Gurma, Ewe, Cham, and others most Americans
have never heard of. The bureaucrats try to put all children
with Hispanic-sounding names in bilingual education programs even
though they may be fully English-speaking and come from English-
The term bilingual education is a complete misnomer because there
is no requirement that children in bilingual programs ever become
fluent in English. Our tax dollars are used to promote
unilingual education in the immigrant's native tongue, and this
is nurturing a permanent, non-English-speaking subculture.
Without any proof that bilingual classes promote their announced
purpose, and despite the opposition of the majority of those the
program is supposed to serve, the bilingual education lobby has
shifted its objective. It is now trying to make foreign language
and culture an integral component of American society.
Some advocates see bilingual education as the first step in a
radical transformation of the United States into a nation without
one common language or fixed borders. Josue Gonzales, director
of bilingual education during the Carter Administration and now a
professor at Columbia University Teachers College, says that
Spanish "should no longer be regarded as a foreign language" but
should be considered "a second national language."
Some in the bilingual lobby have even more extreme views. At the
annual conference of the National Association for Bilingual
Education in Phoenix in February 1995, several speakers
challenged the very idea of U.S. sovereignty and promoted the
notion that the Southwest and northern Mexico are really one
cultural region, which they call La Frontera.
Eugene Garcia, head of bilingual education at the U.S. Department
of Education in the Clinton Administration, told the conferees
that "the border for many is nonexistent. For me, for
intellectual reasons, that border shall be nonexistent." His
rhetoric was greeted by thunderous applause.
The November 1994 meeting of the Texas Association for Bilingual
Education in Austin featured both the Mexican and American flags
on the stage. The teachers and school personnel in attendance
stood for the singing of the national anthems of both countries.
The political battle over California's Proposition 187 in 1994
featured a huge demonstration of people marching with Mexican,
not U.S., flags.
The bilingual movement should be stopped before it causes any
more damage to our national fabric. At least it should be
stopped insofar as this lobby is financed by the taxpayers, and
those who work for separatist causes should do so on their own
dollar, not ours.
Rep. Toby Roth (R-WI), with 91 co-sponsors, has introduced a bill
to make English our official language. It would end the
government's multilingual policies, including bilingual
education, voting ballots in languages other than English, and
foreign language citizenship ceremonies.
You can't be an American if you don't speak English. Our public
schools should be mandated to teach all children in English.
President Theodore Roosevelt said it best: "The one absolute
certain way of bringing this nation to ruin would be to permit it
to become a tangle of squabbling nationalities. We have but one
flag. We must also have but one language, and that language is