— Pro Vs Con Essay, Research Paper
Let’s play a game of “WHAT IF?” However, instead of using childish concerns as the focus of our game, let us concentrate on socio-politcal issues. As a matter of fact, we have been playing a game of “WHAT IF?” throughout the entire semester. For instance, WHAT would have happened IF the constitutional congress had not merged the Virginia Plan and the New Jersey Plan? Or, WHAT would happen if the delegates to the electoral college went against the grain and decided to cast their votes for whomever they saw fit?
In fact, one big example of the “WHAT IF?” game would be the reflection papers assigned this semester. The purpose of these papers was to analyze two different perspectives on a certain “WHAT IF?” question. For instance, “WHAT would be the effects IF a constitutional amendment endorsed school prayer?”
Moving on to the next question in our game, WHAT would be the effect on unity in the United States if English was adopted as the official language? Well, to provide us with some answers are our two contestants who will each offer arguments either for or against. Offering an endorsement for official adoption of English will be Samuel Ichiye Hayakawa, while James C. Stalker will provider a rebuttal on the issue.
Hayakawa, a Canadian-born descendant of Japanese-immigrants, starts his piece by citing how Chinese-Americans and Japanese-Americans managed to quell generations of cultural strife by simply communicating in English in the years following WWII. The author parlays this example into the first point is his essay – English will unite the entire nation regardless of where they were born. With everyone speaking the same language, Hayakawa believes this will eliminate mistrust, bigotry and racial tension. His reasoning of this is based on the theory that if a country’s population all speaks the similar language, it will foster a sense of pride and nationalism. He further strengthens this argument by citing examples of other countries where a divided language bases has caused a divided political scene – such as India, Belgium and Canada.
Hayakawa then moves on to his next reason for the adoption of English as the official language, but uses his previous illustration as a stepping-off point. A divided language base will be a source of additional expense to any government. From the additional costs of having documents or signage in both language to the requirement of having additional services in order to accommodate bilingualism, the costs will add up. Such as in Canada, where the government spends $40,000,000 annually due to the bilingualism. He fears the U.S. government is heading towards such a reality and believes the government should have kept up its pressure on immigrants to learn English, instead of relaxing this stance with the cultural consciousness of the 1960s and 70s. Instead the government has “coddled” immigrants in their native language.
The author then cites current methods of bilingual education as an example of this, using his experience as an educator to rule them unsatisfactory, due to the fact there is little emphasis on English. Instead, students are taught subjects in their native language, reducing their opportunities to use their newfound language. The emphasis should be put on students to learn their new language – as well as having them taught the various in English. Hayakawa states this solutions – as well as others – will increase ESL students to jump into the mainstream with other student, making them feel less segregated and will increase their likelihood of receiving post-secondary education and scholarships.
Hayakawa then finishes his essay by bringing up the practice of printing a majority of the ballots in the U.S. in only English and Spanish, labeling it as inherently racist and just another way our country sends an unspoken endorsement of bilingualism.
A rather sly “all-or-nothing” approach by the author used to drive home his point, but it provides a perfect segue into the rebuttal by Stalker, who also hits upon the notion of racism. He sees it the other way, however, believing the official endorsement of English to be a form of racism. It will also send a subtle message to anyone who is an immigrant or a non-WASP that they must assimilate into the American mainstream. Stalker mandates that it is necessary for all U.S. citizens to maintain and celebrate some modicum of their cultural heritage, since the “melting pot “ of cultural awareness is one of America’s biggest principals. Stalker then tackles the issue of bilingual education by conceding that they do have their faults, but indicates he does not want to see “Official English” used as a cure-all. In fact, he feels it would have a overall negative effect on current ESL programs.
The author also delves into some history behind our country’s language base over the years and uses it as a setup for another point in his essay. He describes how German at one point was the second major language spoken in the colonies during the American Revolution and at one point was neck-and-neck with English. However, English obviously survived the challenge and Stalker uses it to rebuff the fears that. Spanish will overtake English as the official language. He believes that the condition do exist for such an undertaking, but they seem so outrageous that they are unlikely, thus negating any worries that the U.S. will become a “nacion espanol.” He also extrapolates the negative effects such a law would present, such as setting up language police who will be forced to patrol constantly and dispense justice to those who see fit to break the language law. At this point, the reader has to wonder if the author has his tongue planted firmly in his cheek.
Germans are brought up yet again as Stalker uses them to illustrate his next example – the utility of English. Germans have picked up English over the years because it is useful to them, which Stalker feels that immigrants to America will also see the usefullness of English, especially if it keeps them from being deported back to their homelands.