Is English going the way of the printed newspaper? One Boston columnist seems to think so.
In an article published Wednesday, Jeff Jacoby of the Boston Globe took issue with Gabriel Gomez for launching his U.S. Senate campaign in Spanish rather than English. This bothered Jacoby, who thinks Massachusetts voters, the great majority of whom speak English, should be addressed in their native language first, all the time.
“Spanish is a beautiful language,” Jacoby writes. “But pandering to Hispanics by privileging Spanish in public life is a dangerous strategy for partisan success, and a reckless way to treat American unity.”
The sentiment seems a bit exaggerated. Gomez, a Republican former NAVY Seal with a business background who hopes to take the seat John Kerry left vacant, only utters one sentence in Spanish before switching to English, which he speaks for the rest of the announcement. He departs with one more Spanish-language sentence, saying he hopes he’ll see you one day in the future. Check out the video below.
Jacoby, who apparently doesn’t have much of an ear for the language, writes that Gomez “speaks Spanish like a native.” In fact, Gomez speaks Spanish with a bit of English-tinged accent. Doesn’t sound like he’s interested in dropping the country’s lingua franca any time soon.
We reached out to Gomez for comment through his campaign website, but did not immediately hear back from him.
Jacoby went on to criticize Marco Rubio for delivering a taped Spanish version of his response to the State of the Union Address, writing:
Why didn’t Republicans arrange for a full-blown response to the State of the Union address in Chinese or French or Vietnamese? Why hasn’t Gomez made a point of introducing himself in Portuguese or Italian or Russian?
Well, here’s one good reason: more than 37.5 million people spoke Spanish at home as of 2011, according to the most recent American Community Survey, making it the most common language in the United States besides English by long and far. The second runner up was Chinese, with 2.9 million speakers.
Jacoby’s criticisms of Gomez didn’t sit well with Julio Ricardo Varela of news blog Latino Rebels, who wrote:
To suggest that politicians speaking Spanish will only divide the country reeks of neo-nativism. If Jacoby really wants unity, he could start by getting over his fears and understand that making political parties more diverse is really what America is all about.
A rousing Twitter debate ensued, with opinion writer Charles P. Garcia dropping by. Check out the highlights in the slideshow above.
Also on HuffPost:
"Immigrant: Deport thyself." Not exactly the kind of message you want to send when you're courting Latino voters. Unsurprisingly, Romney backed away from the phrase shortly after taking it for a test spin in the GOP primary, but it reappeared during the presidential debates. Romney won just 27 percent of the Latino vote, the lowest figure since Bob Dole's campaign in 1996.
East Haven Mayor 'Might Have Tacos' To Reach Out To Latino Community
Mayor of the Connecticut town of East Haven, Joseph Maturo Jr. <a href="http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/let_them_eat_tacos_mayors_regrettable_response_to_police_abuse_of_latinos.phphttp://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/01/let_them_eat_tacos_mayors_regrettable_response_to_police_abuse_of_latinos.php">said he "might have tacos"</a> when asked what he'd do for the Latino community after four police officers were arrested on charges of racial profiling. The majority of the Latino community in the town of <a href="http://tpmmuckraker.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/taco_mayor_on_new_appointee_is_he_not_dark_enough_for_you.php">New Haven is Ecuadoran</a>, not Mexican, according to Talking Points Memo.
Rep. Steve King Compares Immigrants To Dogs, Insists It's A Compliment
Iowa Republican Steve King ruffled feathers when he compared immigrants to dogs. In subsequent interviews, King not only stood behind the comments -- <a href="http://latino.foxnews.com/latino/politics/2012/06/14/rep-steve-king-defends-comparison-between-immigrants-and-dogs/">he insisted he meant them as a compliment</a>: "In my house, we have raised really good, high-quality Labrador Pointers, we’ve received the pick of the litter from all over the planet. You pick the vigor, the most perky. It was the utilization of the pick of the litter. What is the pick – the alert, the frisky, that’s the one you want. If someone is insulted by that, I don’t know that they belong in this country."
Mitt Romney Wishes He Were Latino, Because It's Easier To Win The Presidency That Way
"My dad, as you probably know, was the governor of Michigan and was the head of a car company. But he was born in Mexico ... and had he been born of Mexican parents, I'd have a better shot at winning this. But he was unfortunately born to Americans living in Mexico. He lived there for a number of years. I mean, I say that jokingly, but it would be helpful to be Latino." -- Mitt Romney Mitt Romney was apparently unaware that most Mexican immigrants face greater obstacles on their path to the presidency than white children born to wealthy parents with political connections.
Bill O'Reilly Says Latinos Want Things, Stuff
Upset about Obama's electoral victory, Bill O'Reilly lamented the country's demographic shift, saying "the white establishment is now the minority." (In fact, it's not. <a href="http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2012/05/how-white-will-the-electorate-be.html">Whites still make up a solid majority of the electorate</a>.) Latinos, O'Reilly says, want "things" and "stuff." Cristina Costantini <a href="http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/News/analysis-bill-oreilly-wrong/story?id=17702328#.UOHpn4njnoo">dissects the argument at ABC/Univision</a>.
Romney Says Obama Won Because He Dolled Out "Gifts" To The Latino Community
Unsatisfied with the hole he dug himself when he said 47 percent of the country was government-dependent and not worth reaching out to, Romney doubled down after the election saying Obama had won because he offered the Latino community "gifts" in the form of health care and other government subsidies. Most analysts familiar with Latino politics agree that Romney alienated Hispanic voters during the GOP primary, when he embraced extremist positions on immigration. The insensitive comments prompted criticism from conservatives including Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and unsuccessful GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich. "When you're in a hole, you stop digging," <a href="http://articles.latimes.com/2012/nov/18/news/la-pn-republicans-abandoning-romney-gifts-20121118">said Republican Sen. Lindsay Graham</a>. "He keeps digging."
Ann Coulter Lashes Out At Latinos Without Checking Her Facts
Rightwing columnist Ann Coulter lashed out at Latinos in a mean-spirited, inaccurate column painting Hispanics as dependent on government. We <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/12/07/ann-coulter-attacks-latinos-conservatives-hispanic-voters_n_2253721.html">fact-checked her statements here</a>.
Sheriff Joe Arpaio Says Latinos "Love Him" As Latino Journalists Berates Him On TV
Maricopa County Sheriff Joe Arpaio, famous for the zealous crackdowns on illegal immigration that have led to investigations by the Justice Department and a civil lawsuit, says that he's "never had any problems with a Latino" and that Hispanics "love" him. (The Latinos imprisoned in Arpaio's Tent City might disagree.)
Adam Carolla Goes On Rambling Anti-Mexican Rant
In a rambling diatribe that overuses the word "culture," Comedian Adam Carolla railed against the California school system because it's "full of Mexicans" who he says don't like to study. An educated person might take a closer look. Mexico has the second-highest education attainment levels in Latin America behind Chile, <a href="http://www.economist.com/node/18682699">The Economist reports, citing an annual survey commissioned by the OECD</a>. Immigrant students, however, face particular obstacles, ranging from language barriers to poverty. "As a result," <a href="http://www.oecd.org/pisa/pisainfocus/pisa%20in%20focus%20n%C2%B022%20(eng)--Final%20bis.pdf">the authors of an OECD education study write</a>, "immigrant students often have to overcome multiple barriers at once in order to succeed at school: a language barrier, their own immigrant status, a disadvantaged background – and the fact that many of their classmates are struggling to surmount these same obstacles to success at school." <a href="http://www.latinorebels.com/2012/12/01/adam-carollas-mind-boggling-anti-mexican-rant-explicit/">H/T: Latino Rebels.</a>