Monday, August 6, 2007

A Memo Malfunction

Somewhere along the line, I think I misplaced a memo. I tend to do that with paper - but then I find it again not even realizing it was lost. Or maybe it was lost in the mail, filtered out as SPAM. And much like SPAM, mechanically separated pig parts (which, where I come from, anything that's mechanically separated is "roadkill"), some parts of this memo are going to prove hard to swallow.

I'm just guessing, but I think the memo went something like this:

"Dear John,

Hereinafter, you shall be called Juan. Esta bien. Having established your new identity as a former American citizen to a subject of the Mucho Grande Estado de MexAmerica, it is my pleasure to inform you that you are now a minority and will be treated as such. We are renaming Washington DC after our favorite side dish, Pico de Gallo, and May 5 will be your favorite nationale holiday. Bien. Restaurants that once touted Mexican fare will now be standard issue and our new nation will feature classic restaurants of yesteryear serving hamburgers and hot dogs. If you lease real estate for your business and you are not bilingual and/or Hispanic-friendly, your lease will be terminated. Our vision is to cater to the unique needs of the Hispanic community therefore if you aren't doing that, well, as they say in France: Ce qui sera sera.

Hasta la vista,

Jorge Miguel de Santos Rodriguez
Executivo Director de Assimilation"

How exactly does one cater to the unique needs of the Hispanic community? Sell old shoes? International calling cards? Write a book titled "The Idiots Guide to Fitting 14 People in an F150, en espanol"? When I last checked, irrespective of skin color and language, we are all of one race: human. Therefore, catering to the needs of a particular clientele amounts to little more than discrimination under the guise of niche marketing.

While the US does not have an official language, the language of business is still English. And I am insulted that it's virtually being mandated that I should have to learn another tongue in order to communicate with immigrants. Again, if I immigrated elsewhere, like, oh, SWEDEN, I'd have to learn their tongue. I could not expect them to learn English on my account. The French, especially in and around Paris, consider Americans to be arrogant slobs because the tourists expect to be catered to in English. Which reminds me of the adage, "when in Rome . . . do as the Romans do." Therefore, if America is so great and so worthy of you either A) jumping through all the legal hoops to lawfully immigrate, or B) jumping, running, and swimming through the illegal barriers, then it should be worth you learning the tongue. It's been said that history is written by the victors of war. Granted, the Native Americans didn't do so well against the European settlers. But unless the Hispanic community is planning a hostile takeover, they should be reading and discussing the US Constitution in English.

All of this leads me to Stuart, Florida, where a local businessman essentially gets evicted from his leased space because his business no longer fits the landlord's Hispanic-friendly profile. Perhaps there is more to this story; maybe the rent was woefully late. But at face value, it seems that the landlord has a soft spot for the otherwise disenfranchised Mexican community.

And this leads me back to my original comment: are we not all human? Why must lines be drawn among race, language, creed, and gender? And when they are drawn, why is it OK to draw them one way but not the other? Reverse this story and imagine the outcry. Or what about a local NAAWP? Or maybe a White-American club to counter the Jewish-American, Italian-American, Hispanic-American, and Irish-American clubs? No? At one time, this country was segregated amongst nationality, but after two hundred years of homogenization, it would seem that uniting simply as Americans would be adequate, if not ideal.

But if you're not willing to do that, then maybe I need to add another foreign expression to my ever-growing repertoire: GO HOME.

And when you get there, know that back in America, zendagi migzara . . . life goes on.

No comments: