Sunday, January 22, 2006

Fact: The United States is NOT Mexico

Let me start out by saying I'm okay with Spanish language channels. We already have 4 of them on regular air TV, and a number of them on the AM and FM band. Plenty in fact. But upon reading that WKY-AM 930, changed their regular programming and began simply being a translator station for yet another Spanish language station, followed by a drive down south Agnew, I steped from my usual, casual self to being lightly vexed.

My main problem with Spanish speaking stations is that I cannot always follow them. I know a bit of Spanish, but am by no means fluent in any way shape or form. And with the growing number of Hispanic Americans I can understand there being a station or 3 being broadcast in Spanish. I can. But here's where the problem starts: These stations need the option of captions in English. If they can carry their business based on people only speaking spanish, fine, they have a right to exsist. But they would benefit a good deal more if they did offer a translation to text for the Majority of persons here, namely English speakers. And frankly, I'd like to learn more Spanish.

Under reasonable circumstnaces, if someone moved from one contry to another, they would at least try to learn the native language. Or at least learn it to a capacity to be able to get around and live their daily lives. If I moved to China, I would learn Mandarin. If I moved to Russia I would learn Russia, and so on and so forth. One is not expected to knwo the language from the minute they mvoe there. But learning it to some level is expected. As I drove Agnew I noticed a trend in the Hispanic American culture of Oklahoma, though I'm sure it happens elsewhere. A trend within the Hispanic American community to be exclusive to only Spanish speakers, a trend that works one of two ways. To either segregate the English speaking populace (a staggering majory by comparison) from being customers in Hispanic owned shops, or an expectation on those whom are established here to learn a language that is, frankly, foreign to them. Parts of OKC are flooded by Spanish signage on businesses, on billboards, etc.. And the fact of the matter is this is the opposite direction that this trend should be moveing in either case.

I know OKC isn't the only city with this trend. But when it's home, well... I tend to care more.

And, again, I'm fine with the signs being in Spanish. but If they are going to be in Spanish, "Panaderia" should read in captoins below it "Bakery" or "Bread Market". And many other examples could be given. And to be honest, their business would do better based on it. Heck, I've bought form a local Panaderia. They have good products made by working individuals. I respect that, and on top of that it's they are usually delicious. And while I can't speak fluent Spanish, thankfully the younger staff (20-midthirty year olds) speak english well that I can deal with them. Which is a step in the right direction.

I, I suspect like most people, respect quality and hard work. Hard work is something people that imigrants, regardless or cultural origins, have always brought to the United States. It's driven us forward and made us the country we are today. And I suspect it will always be such. There is oppertunity here. Now I don't like illegal imigration, and think prehaps legal imigration should be a bit more open with Mexico. Basically so long as we know we aren't being flooded with individuals that have committed violent crime or intend to do so once here. Goodness knows we have plenty of space and resources. And I can't think of another place that would be better to live. Mind you this isn't a racist jab, but given the standard wages a Mexican worker can expect in Mexico, I can understand wanting to cross the border to here and work hard labor as opposed to working the same job in Mexico for less than half the same wage. A man should get paid a honest/reasonable wage for the services rendered. period. It's a right. One worth fighting for.

Back to the subject. If charitable funding should be poored into anything imigrant related it's in English learning programs. Not that I shouldn't learn Spanish. I want to learn more, and I mean that. But that desire should be even greater for those whom have made Estados Unidos their home to learn English. It's been proven that the melting pot culture mixing system we've been using since the establishment of our nation works. The isolation of Spanish Speaking businesses and Regions where only Spanish is used to communicate only hampers one's ability to make money, and more importantly sets up walls between different cultures in our society. We're Americans. We need to act like it, and be accepting of each others differences rather than setting up barriers between one another.

Has anyone else ever noticed how many different languages we see on the products we buy? Why is that? So that the product can be bought, used, and accepted by a wide and multi-cultural group of consumers. It expands the customer-base, and there-by sales, and there-by profits, and thereby prosperity. A real simple concept. Though, some get offended by it. I say embrace it. Especially here, in the United States, it makes sense to ease the transition of imigrants to life here. Just as it does to added 8 different languages to packaging so it can be received by a wider customer base. And so such tactics have multiple benefits. What I'm proposing is simply that it work more than one direction. I'd like it to be easier for me to communicate with you, just as much as you want your product to sell.

Of course there are more reasons for it. But the most easily persuasive is coin. Making ends meet. I could bark on all day about the benefits to other things. It makes sense to expand your customer base. It makes sense to offer quality goods and services to those whom want them. And sticking to only-Spanish does nothing but limit the possibilities.

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January 29, 2006 at 3:57 AM  

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