Once again, hoopla hits the headlines. Last month it was an onslaught of illegal immigrants hitting the streets in protest over possible legislation to have them sent back to wherever it is they came from. This time around, they're still voicing their protesta, but have now introduced a version of the national anthem in español. Ooooh, Chicken Little, the f*cking sky is falling.
All right, maybe this is a testy subject for me, since my parents were (legal) immigrants from South America. I had to subject myself to such uniquely American dictums as "It's okay to play with you because you're not really black. You're tan." Or, after having a 'friend's' dog growl at me, have the friend's older brother explain, "Don't worry about the dog. He just thinks you're a n*gger."
I don't know when xenophobia was written into the constitution. I know racism's been a wart on the collective asses of Americana since the git-go ("Yeeeee - haw, Cooter. Slaves at five for a dollar!"), but what the f*ck is wrong with embracing other languages?
Case in point: My mother was speaking in Spanish to a co-worker in an elevator.
Anglo American: Ughhh. It's too early for this sh*t.
Mom: Wassamatter weeth eSpanish? I never complain when I live in Black Rock* and people speaking Polack.
Me: Um. Mom. You didn't say "Polack" did you?
Me: Because that's um... Uh, never mind. That's tellin' them.
Yesterday, as a matter of fact, I was speaking Spanish to one of my students. She kept answering me in English. I asked her why she wouldn't answer me in Spanish.
"Last year the teachers yelled at us to speak English only. 'You're in America,' they told us."
It didn't surprise me. In fact, Anglo students just go through the motions at the Spanish class they have to take.
Even when I was living in South America it annoyed me that American housewives stubbornly refused to try to learn Spanish while their husbands earned good pay from Venezuelan oil companies and construction sites. They criticize similar mindsets here.
The rest of the world isn't so myopic when it comes to linguistics. Any traveler in a pinch can count on finding someone to speak English. Hell, while I was in Paris, my French was too p*ss poor to buy a pair of sneakers, so I had to resort to pointing or having an English speaking 'Frog" stoop to my level and speak English to me. I was grateful, since my feet had swollen during the flight and my f*cking feet were killing me.
Speaking of sales, my brother-in-law has to have my sister handle phone calls when he is trying to sell a vehicle, because people hang up on him as soon as they hear an accent. That's enlightenment for you. It's the 21st Century and some people are still remembering the Alamo and its basement.
We should learn a lesson from our neighbors to the North, the Canadians. They've got at least two versions of their national anthem that I know of (judging by watching the Montreal Canadiens play on Hockey Night in Canada). I don't see people throwing sh*t-fits in the crowd. Being a bi-lingual nation is part of their fabric, history and their hockey games.
In order to alleviate some of the fears people have about "nuestro himno," the Spanish version of the American anthem, I thought I'd give you the courtesy of translating it, using my bilingual expertise. Got it, pendejos?
Courtesy of Prego
Oh say can you see by the lawn mower shed
What a hottie she is, going down on the mail man
Whose broad broads and fat dudes
Pay me under the table
No documentation required
As they can't find any good help no-how.
And the kids are just as bad
Learning sh*t from mom and dad
Gave proof through the night
that our jobs will always be there
Oh say does that star mangled banner yet waaaaave
As we barrage Prego
With indignant comments talking about what a mother f*cker he is to make fun of our national anthem. Go back to South America, you spick. It's like it or leave it around these parts. I'll kick your Macarena ass back to Cuba. Got it, Josè?
* Black Rock is the neighborhood I grew up in (where the other two incidents took place, by the way). I was the only kid in my class that didn't have the Polish -ski suffix in my surname. Tres Poli (Very Polish).