Thursday, April 29, 2010

Alabama and the English Language

According to our new George Wallaces, in which the South and Southwest GOP has transformed itself into the hub of anti-Latino racism, it is all about speaking English. No, seriously.

'This is Alabama; we speak English,' governor candidate says

Amid a national debate over Arizona's tough new immigration law, Republican Alabama gubernatorial candidate Tim James (and son of previous Gov. Fob James) vows in a new campaign ad that if he's elected, he'll give the state driver's license exam only in English, as a cost-saving measure.

"This is Alabama; we speak English," he says in the ad. "If you want to live here, learn it."

Tim James' campaign video -- Language @ Yahoo! Video

It's not clear how James thinks the change would save the state money. Marc Ambinder of the Atlantic says Alabama could actually lose billions of dollars in federal funding if it enacts the measure, and he points to an Alabama political blog that runs down the legal history for why the exams are in multiple languages.

James says he's been attacked by the left for the ad, singling out MSNBC host Rachel Maddow. A writer on her blog called the ad "just plain mean" and argued it was simply pandering to the candidate's conservative base.

"I have come under attack and under assault by a very interesting group of far-left reporters," he said Monday, according to the Birmingham News. He said English exams are a public safety issue, to ensure drivers can read signs. Exams are currently given in Arabic, Chinese, English, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Russian, Spanish, Thai and Vietnamese, according to AOL News.

— Liz Goodwin is a national affairs writer for Yahoo! News.

By the way, this is what the gubernatorial candidate of Alabama considers 'speaking English.'

Yes, Mr. James, that is an amazing display of English speaking skills in your part of the country. I am certain when Shakespeare was writing his plays and sonnets, he had you and your voters in mind.

I do not know how to disappoint all of those white people in the state of Alabama, but if speaking proper English was the requirement for living in the US, you would be deemed no more American than any first generation immigrant. Actually, they would be worthier of citizenship, since many of those immigrants already speak better English than the the Republican gubernatorial candidate and the barely-hinged base of his state's primary voters.

How sad that we deport the wrong people.

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