Rothell’s comment deserves headline status here at the Logipundit. I just came back from Houston and noticed some similar problems with workers in the hospitality industry. Asking for help was useless as I couldn’t understand the bad, broken English from the hispanic waitress and had to find a hotel restaurant on my own. Surprisingly, Houston seems to show much more animus to Katrina refugees than to immigrants of questionable or variable legal status. Say what you want about Katrina refugees, they are at least American citizens.
I have a feeling that the motivation for English-only policies in businesses mentioned in the article stems from growing agitation caused by the overwhelming number of Spanish-speaking people (usually Mexican) living and working here today.
My girlfriend meets men and women patients from other cultures who, despite being middle-aged or older, are learning or are already proficient in English despite having lived here for as little as one or two years. Virtually all of these determined individuals are Asian. The patients who can’t or won’t speak English are Mexicans. There are Mexicans who have lived here for fifteen or twenty years who still can’t speak English. It is not uncommon here in L.A. to find yourself facing a Hispanic cashier in many business establishments (usually restaurants or grocery stores) who are unable to speak English. At the cash register!
The tendency among any immigrants living anywhere to flock together is inevitable. You see this with Chinese in San Francisco or New York, with Polocks in Chicago, Persians in southern California. But most of these people arrive legally, are usually not poor, are often professionals, and have to know English to assimilate in the workplace. Mexicans arrive illegally, are destitute, usually have no skills and do work that requires next to no English. These people are typically from undereducated familes. This separates them from other cultures who’ve moved in. That is forgivable. But there is also an unwillingness or lack of interest among Mexican immigrants (illegal and legal) to learn English. This is not so forgivable. Mandating an English-only atmosphere at work is in my opinion purely the result of the ubiquity of millions of Spanish-speaking people not taking the responsibility to learn English.