The Corner

No Hablo Ingles

The Republican governor of Maryland is taking heat for saying: “I reject the idea of multiculturalism. Once you get into this multicultural crap, this bunk, you run into a problem. With respect to this culture, English is the language.” He was defending the state comptroller, a Democrat, who had announced a personal boycott of McDonald’s following an encounter with a cashier who couldn’t speak English. Now, I don’t think it’s smart to dump on McDonald’s, a large employer of immigrants and an engine of assimilation. I suspect McDonald’s does more to help people learn English than all the government-run adult-ed programs combined. Several years ago, when I was researching my first book, I visited a McDonald’s in Queens that employed people from all over the world. The manager required everybody to speak English because they needed a common language to communicate with each other, let alone customers. Having said all that, Gov. Ehrlich’s remark is basically on target. English is the language, and immigrants know it. Most of them want to learn it because they probably aspire to be something other than McDonald’s cashiers. The notion that Spanish even comes close to being “the language”–now, that’s bunk.

John J. Miller — John J. Miller is the national correspondent for National Review and the director of the Dow Journalism Program at Hillsdale College. His new book is Reading Around: Journalism on Authors, Artists, and Ideas.

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