I become granite when I hear “English only” bandied about in this country. I don’t even try to be civil. All respect flies away. I am mean and hard, an unreasoning wall. I’ve even heard people complain about Spanish signage in Home Depot. How do they think this can hurt them? “These people should learn to speak the language,” they say. They mean Mexicans. My teeth clench. My skin crawls. I want to spit on them.
“How many languages do you speak?” I want to howl. Do you have any idea how hard it is to learn another language? Not to mention the fact that our corner of the country used to be Mexico. Not to mention the fact that when California became a state it was under the condition that it be bilingual. If we hadn’t broken that pledge, those of us who came up through the public schools here would all speak Spanish fluently. If we hadn’t broken that pledge, maybe I wouldn’t have to listen to the screaming racism underneath their words. Maybe I wouldn’t have to turn to stone.