When I am out alone, or with my wife, it is not uncommon for me to engage people who are Spanish-speakers.
My wife is Peruvian.
Through my travels throughout Latin America, I have gained enough Spanish that I can communicate with native Spanish speakers.
Though my wife understands English, trying to speak on her own makes her very nervous, so she hesitates to try. This is perfectly normal.
But my wife recognizes that she needs to learn English. She is looking forward to taking classes, because she recognizes that English is essential for her to understand and speak.
People sometimes forget, that when the United States experienced huge growth in immigration, it was very normal for segregated communities to take shape.
We had Irish neighborhoods in South Boston, and Italians in North End of the city.
New York had a similar experience. And with different people moving into cities like New York, Houston, and Los Angeles, communities are changing shape – and new ethnic minority groupings are forming.
Today, you will find lots of Colombian and Latin restaurants in parts of the North End.
Annandale, Virginia, has large Korean and Vietnamese populations. Herndon, Virginia, I’ve heard be called Hernandez, because of the large Hispanic population.
Everywhere you go, there are immigrants who huddle together and form communities to share in a common language, culture, and identity.
This behavior has gone on since the country was founded.
Perhaps more importantly, this kind of behavior is not an uniquely “American” experience.
You see similar trends, for example, in Argentina during its immigration boom periods. Immigrants from Spain, Italy, Germany, the UK, and even Japan formed ethnic communities, schools, and more.
German explorers and immigrants helped form, and in some cases stabilize, cities in southern Chile over the course of the last hundred to two hundred years. In places like Valdivia, Chile, German-Chilean founded breweries (such as Kunstmann) and German architecture are popular.
Watching New York attorney Aaron Schlossberg rant about people speaking Spanish to one another in a deli is a display of ignorance, but it also is the action of a narcissistic, and angry person who feels offended that the world does not conform to his narrow view.
You can watch the video below.
Not having met or talked with Schlossberg, or done extensive research on his writings, comments, or beliefs, I will reserve the possibility that he may not hate Hispanics, or Jews who support Palestinians, or other people or other groups of people.
But one thing is evident: the rant in this video does prove that Schlossberg has strong, self-centered, narcissistic, and under-informed opinions of how people should communicate with one another, and what viewpoints are acceptable, and how people should identify themselves.
He is a classic “My Way, or the Highway” kind of person.
Now, should people who immigrate to the United States learn to speak English? Of course. I believe that.
I also believe that English is (and should be officially declared) the language of the United States. That is not an extreme point of view, but a reflection upon something that should be common sense to us all: a common language is a force that brings people together. Oh… And… We speak English here.
While there are some arrogant Americans who expect everyone to learn English all over the world, I don’t expect the people who work or shop in stores like Wong or Vivanda in Lima, Peru, to learn English to meet my needs. They are Peruvians. They speak Spanish in Peru. Hence, it is my responsibility to learn Spanish.
But what is at issue here is something simple: people who are employees in a restaurant can speak Spanish to Spanish-speaking customers. This was true of Italian store or restaurant employees who spoke Italian to Italian customers in New York City decades ago. And it is true of anyone who speaks more than one language.