Last summer , William Donald Schaefer, former governor and present
comptroller of the state of Maryland, made the news when he groused
about a worker at McDonald’s who couldn’t take his order
because he couldn’t speak English. “I don’t want
to adjust to another language,” Mr. Schaefer grumped in public
comments. “This is the United States. I think they ought to adjust
They, of course, means immigrants, and us means — well — us,
Americans. Predictably, Mr. Schaefer took some gas for his frankness,
but he probably should get used to that. Thanks to mass immigration,
he should also start learning Spanish, if not several other languages.
What Mr. Schaefer was complaining about is the obvious result of allowing
millions of immigrants from dozens of different countries and cultures
into your own country in the course of a generation, and it’s
a result that even slow learners like the Washington
Post are starting
to absorb. Last week the Post visited the problem of “multilingualism” in
the workplace in its “Business” section, since employers
are also starting to figure out that the predictable consequences of
mass immigration aren’t always good for business.
That is why a number of companies are effectively making their employees
learn English — to deal with customers like Mr. Schaefer as well
as to expedite simple administrative processes like safety and health.
The National Restaurant Association has developed a program to teach
immigrant employees English, and so has Allied Domecq, the parent company
of Dunkin’ Donuts and Baskin-Robbins.
Optimists will say, See, that means the free market will solve the
problem of multilingualism. Since employers realize it’s good
business for employees to speak a common language, they will encourage
linguistic assimilation, and cultural assimilation will follow. The
truth is less simple and less rosy. Sometimes that may be the case;
Other companies don’t encourage English among employees and
in fact encourage American employees to learn foreign languages. “Some
employers maintain that teaching workers English doesn’t make
sense,” the Post reports, “in part because demographics
Target, for example, started offering Spanish classes to its managers
in Virginia and Maryland two years ago and encourages them to take
them. The chain now offers the course in all its outlets in 47 states. “It
really has to do with serving our guests,” smirks a spokeswoman
of the effort to get the employees to learn what the Post calls the “language
of Cervantes.” “It’s a way to get them to feel comfortable
at our store.”
Presumably it is too much to ask that the chain might feel some attachment
to the language of Shakespeare and Jefferson and wish to preserve or
encourage it. What does matter to the chain, as to most other businesses,
is how much they can sell. As one businessman quoted by the Post remarks, “You
can sell more widgets to someone in their language than you can in
yours.” The truth is that the market doesn’t help solve
the problem. The market is the problem.
It does not seem to have occurred to some managers that the problems
they have already created by encouraging mass immigration in the first
place and refusing to encourage assimilation in the second are only
going to get worse — as more and more immigrants from more and
more cultures, countries, and linguistic traditions invite themselves
here. The problem does occur to some who have to live with it.
Carlos Figueroa, maintenance crew member in Arlington, says that “from
time to time he finds himself at a loss when trying to communicate
with employees who speak Arabic and Korean. His work-team partner,
Aron Jones, said he has resorted to drawing pictures in the dirt to
get his point across.” That’s one thing when it’s
a maintenance crew. It might be another when it’s a hospital,
as it is at Washington’s Sibley Memorial.
“We do a lot of show and tell,” says one manager at the
hospital, where workers are shown videos in Spanish and English about “the
handling of infectious materials and working with hazardous chemicals.” “And
then we show and tell again so that basic communication isn’t
an issue. Repetition is very big around here.” Patients can only
hope the staff shows and tells correctly.
What employers, from food services to hospitals, are starting to discover
is what customers like Mr. Schaefer found out years ago — that
mass immigration causes far more problems than it solves as the common
culture — not just language but also manners and morals — that
defines and disciplines a society crumbles under immigration’s
impact. For many, including those who can make money from the crumbling,
it’s good business. For everyone else, it’s the chaos that
the collapse of a common civilization always causes.
[This column was originally published by Creators Syndicate, September
Back to Samuel Francis Classics archives
The Samuel Francis Classics are copyright © 2008
by the Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation, www.fgfbooks.com.
All rights reserved.
Political pundit Samuel Francis was an author
and syndicated columnist. A former deputy editorial page editor for
THE WASHINGTON TIMES, he received the Distinguished Writing Award
for Editorial Writing from the American Society of Newspaper Editors
in both 1989 and 1990.
FIRED: SAM FRANCIS ON AMERICA'S CULTURE WAR, a collection of some
of Mr. Francis' writing and speeches,
was published by FGF Books, a division of the Fitzgerald
Griffin Foundation. See www.shotsfired.us
To sponsor the FGF E-Package:
please send a tax-deductible donation to the
Fitzgerald Griffin Foundation
P.O. Box 1383
or sponsor online.