Bill Murchison

Nowadays, in stores like Target, with large Hispanic clienteles, we find Spanish-English signs: electronicas along with electronics. Golly -- you suppose a customer looking for electronicas is so mentally disabled as not to be up to the task of figuring out the English equivalent? Linguistic crutches of this sort aren't kind, they're insulting; as well as subversive of hopes to get us all reading and talking off the same page.

Ja, the Texas Germans spoke their original tongue for a long time, without substantial harm to our state's social fabric. They also spoke good English, especially those who wanted to. I wouldn't submit the Latin Americans among us won't make a similar peace with changed conditions, but I wouldn't bet many dolares on it either, given the propinquity of the United States to the Spanish-speaking homelands.

Another thing I'm not going to do is blame our Spanish-speakers terribly much. They'd be a lot further along in the assimilation game were it not for all the 1960s relics who dominate the universities and the media, and who think anyone out of tune with their quaint notions of cultural equivalency -- all cultures and nations at eye level -- is a nativist with kinfolk in Jena, La., if not Neshoba County, Miss.

The cultural left's ongoing primal scream over our racism, imperialism, greed, spiritual poverty, whatever, is part of the furniture of modern life. There's at least one consolation. Much more downplaying of the tongue of Shakespeare, Johnson and Melville, and hardly anyone will be able to understand a word they say up there in the Harvard philosophy department.

Bill Murchison

Bill Murchison is the former senior columns writer for The Dallas Morning News and author of There's More to Life Than Politics.
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