January 1997 Notebook Entries
Feb. 10, 1997...notebook notes
The English Only debate has been with us
for some time now. The recent flare up over Ebonics, (African-American street language),
is just the latest in a long series of debates which states that only English should be
used in America.
The English Only camp have declared that
English is the language that bonds America together into one. If today's immigrants want
the fruits of this great nation, then they should work as hard, and expect no favors like
their predecessors before them. Overcoming all of these hardships is what made America
great. Survival of the fittest and all that. Besides, look at Belgium and French Canada,
with all their social discord and riots -- all over language!
. I agree in the importance of our
language in that English is the language of international aviation, international
diplomacy, and international finance. Because of the vast economic implications I agree
with the importance of the English language, but I want to raise an objection from an
evolutionary point of view. In America, English is the language of business, and because
of that it sets off a series of influential events:
1). English is the language of commerce.
2). Commerce means businesses and jobs.
3). Jobs create incomes which are needed to form staple family units.
4). Staple family units pass strong family values onto their children which contributes to strong communities.
5). Children in safe and secure communities grow up and base behavioral mechanisms as young adults on the family values (or lack of), that they received as children.
6). Repeat the cycle over and over again until you have a strong nation.
Once again, let us go back to the first
rule of evolution: Evolution is the adaptation to local environment. Hence, Ebonics
represents the local species' attempt at adaptation in local environment void of commerce
and jobs. Quite simply, Ebonics is the local language of survival adaptability that has no
reason to speak English. If you want to replace Ebonics with English you must have a
reason for the people of the area to speak it. If jobs were available in Ebonic-speaking
zones, these jobs would mean income which would bring food, shelter, and safety to the
region. If the job required English to be spoken, then English would be learned, because
it brought survival for the family unit.
So if you want to eliminate Ebonics,
Spanish, Chinese, Italian, Gaelic, or whatever language that you feel would be a threat to
national security, replace it with the language of commerce. Jobs.
Quite simple, yet, at the same time, difficult.