Tags: One | Reporter's | Opinion: | 'When | Rome | ...'

One Reporter's Opinion: 'When in Rome ...'

Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM

It is this reporter's opinion that about the time you think you've heard every dingbat story about our relations with Mexico – the illegal aliens, the economy, the inequalities in our exchanges – along comes a story reported on Inside Cover at NewsMax.com, headlined "Government Worker in U.S. Fired for Speaking English."

They refer to Zita Wilensky, a 16-year employee of Miami-Dade County, Fla. Zita was the only Anglo in the domestic violence unit; all of her coworkers were Hispanic.

Zita has a personnel file full of letters of praise, but racial discrimination took its toll. She was told she had to speak Spanish in the office and was given 60 days to learn. After 30 days, her boss disguised her voice and called her, pretending to be someone who didn't speak English. When Zita couldn't communicate in Spanish, she was fired and replaced by a Hispanic.

Wait a minute! The Florida Constitution states that English is the official language of the government – that you can't fire someone because they don't speak Spanish or because they are Anglo. That's discrimination! That's illegal! It will probably end up in the courts; meanwhile, Zita is out of a job.

By contrast, consider the case of my fellow American, Allan Wall. Allan lives and works legally in Mexico. He asks for no special linguistic privileges from the Mexican government, nor from individual Mexicans. He voluntarily chose to live in a country that doesn't speak his English language. It's their country and he respects it!

When he goes to the store, he speaks Spanish; when he answers the telephone, he answers in Spanish; when he uses his computer, the directions are in Spanish; when he attends church, he speaks Spanish; when he teaches a Bible class, he speaks Spanish; when he orders in a restaurant, he speaks Spanish.

Even the Mexican immigration bureaucracy that handles his work permit that allows him to live and work in Mexico always speaks to him in Spanish.

Imagine the reaction of Allan when he looks northward to see what happened to Zita in his own country. And yet when you see what is happening at all levels, need one ask?

Richard Gephardt, who has been in Mexico to negotiate an amnesty with Vicente Fox, says he's studying Spanish. George W. Bush's predilection for Spanish is legendary – he speaks it as often as possible. Examples of the increasing use of the Spanish language in America are cropping up all over the largest English-speaking nation in the world.

Vicente Fox of Mexico makes no bones about it; he proudly heralds the exportation of the Spanish language to the world. He speaks of Hacer Patria, an idiom that means to be patriotic or do a patriotic duty. Fox is saying that when Mexican and other Hispanic immigrants in the U.S. continue to speak Spanish, they are being patriotic – to their home country, that is. This, my friends, is sheer insanity!

My late great friend, Professor S.I. "Sam" Hayakawa, said it best: "A common language is the glue that holds a nation – a people – together." Allan Wall knows it. Heaven knows, Zita Wilensky does ... and because of this nonsense, she's forced to look for a job where they speak English.

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It is this reporter's opinion that about the time you think you've heard every dingbat story about our relations with Mexico - the illegal aliens, the economy, the inequalities in our exchanges - along comes a story reported on Inside Cover at NewsMax.com, headlined ...
One,Reporter's,Opinion:,'When,Rome,...'
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2002-00-10
Friday, 10 May 2002 12:00 AM
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