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US-News

Tensions Rise as Trump Takes a Backward Step from Diversity

Tensions Rise as Trump Takes a Backward Step from Diversity
Christina Comben

A lot has happened in the few short days since Donald Trump was sworn in as the 45th President of the United States. From promises of creating millions of jobs and “making America great again,” to widespread protests — it’s been interesting, to say the least.

Controversy

Many of the people most strongly opposed to Trump throughout his electoral campaign have been foreign immigrants and minority groups. With a vocally anti-immigrant leader in the White House, they feared being marginalized – or worse – deported back to their home countries. Promises of building a wall between the United States and Mexico only served to fuel their concerns.

Yet, the United States has a sizeable Latino population (accounting for more than half of the US total population growth from 2000-2014). So, Trump’s latest decision to remove all Spanish content from the White House website seems to be deliberately provocative.

A Move Against Diversity

A direct slap in the face to ex-President, Barak Obama, who created the Spanish version shortly after being inaugurated, it is also a move against diversity. Any user trying to access the Spanish version URL, www.whitehouse.gov/espanol, will be met with a notice saying the page they’re looking for cannot be found.

The Trump administration has also ordered the removal of the Spanish version accounts of both Twitter and Facebook. The drastic move will anger many people within the United States, not only within the Latino Community. The fears that this is just the first of many such initiatives to squeeze out minority groups are rising. However, the move is in keeping with the new President’s belief that Spanish is too widely used within the United States.

No Official Language

How vehemently the move will be contested remains to be seen, yet it is curious that Trump should feel so strongly about the use of Spanish in a country with no official language. While English has undoubtedly become the “de facto” language of the USA, it is, in fact, one of the few countries with no officially registered first language.

How is that so? Back in 1780, founding father, John Adams, proposed making English the official language of the United States to the Congress. Around this time, the US was still a young and growing nation made up of a wealth of immigrants from all over the world. So many different languages were spoken that it seemed “counter democracy” and “individual liberty” to declare that one language should stand out above the rest.

Flash forward more than 200 years to 2017 and it seems that democracy in the United States has become regressive instead of progressive. With so many Latinos living in the United States today, many people believe that Spanish should be declared an official language of the States. Yet, the latest orders from the White House make it unlikely that Spanish will become an official language under the current administration.

Comment Below
  • Alice Manfredini

    As an immigrant who arrived to the US at age 9 in 1956, I can tell you that back then there were no bilingual programs to serve as crutches for non-English speakers. There was no bilingual education, no “press 2 for Spanish”, and no convenient translations in ten different languages for driver exams, employment applications, federal and state forms, etc. it was Sink or Swim……..and we all SWAM!! My siblings and I were placed in English only classrooms and spoke English fluently within a couple of months. It took our parents a little longer, but they made it. The proverbial melting pot worked! Immigrants were proud to assimilate and to embrace the culture and traditions of our host country. Why else come here if not to become Americans! Learning to speak English fluently is the first step for an immigrant to reach his full potential in this land of opportunity. Diversity is beautiful, but even more beautiful is harmony among a diverse people united by their common love and respect for their country. Making it easy for immigrants to live in the US without learning English is the best way to keep them “in their place”…..stagnant and unable to reach their full potential, working menial jobs with no hope of advancing. In the 50s and 60s, we knew that! Taking “a step back in diversity”, as the author of this article calls it, is just what we need to empower immigrants, enhance their opportunities and enable them to get a bigger share of the pie.

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